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Baltimore, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Baltimore Riot Trail

Combat on Pratt Street

 

—Baltimore – A House Divided —

 
Combat on Pratt Street Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, July 3, 2006
1. Combat on Pratt Street Marker
Inscription.
(Preface) On April 19, 1861, Confederate sympathizers attacked the 6th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment as it changed trains en route to Washington, which the secessionists hoped to isolate. To learn more about the Baltimore Riot, the city’s role in the Civil War, and railroad history, please visit the Baltimore Civil War Museum—President Street Station, at the corner of President and Fleet Streets. Open daily 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

When Capt. Albert S. Follansbee’s four companies of the 6th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment passed here en route to Camden Station to change trains for Washington on April 19, 1861, a pro-Confederate mob attacked with rocks and bullets. As George Wilson Booth, a state militiaman who joined the rioters, later wrote,
A soldier, struck by a stone, fell almost at my feet, and as he fell, dropped his musket, which was immediately seized by Edward W. Beatty a port customs officer, who raised it to his shoulder and fired the first shot into the column.

As he fired he turned to the crowd and asked if anyone had a cartridge. I gave him one or two and showed him how to reload then betook myself to the protection of the first doorway thus escaping the bullets that were sweeping the street.

The rear files faced about and delivered a volley into the crowd, who responded with pistol
Combat on Pratt Street Marker on the waterfront image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, July 3, 2006
2. Combat on Pratt Street Marker on the waterfront
Forth marker on the Baltimore Riot Trail.
shots, stones, clubs, and other missiles. A perfect fusillade for the next few blocks was kept up between the troops and the outraged mob.


The volley killed 20-year-old William Clark, of Company C, 15th South Carolina Heavy Artillery Battalion, making him the first Confederate casualty of the war. Francis Xavier Ward was wounded as he tried to seize the regimental flag from Sgt. Timothy Crowley. Later, James Ryder Randall, a Marylander teaching in Louisiana, expressed his sympathies in the secessionist poem “My Maryland,” the official state song since 1939.

(Sidebar): My Maryland
The despot’s heel is on thy shore,
Maryland!
His torch is at thy temple door,
Maryland!
Avenge the patriotic gore
That flecked the streets of Baltimore,
And be the battle queen of yore,
Maryland! My Maryland!
 
Erected by Maryland Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Maryland Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 39° 17.189′ N, 76° 36.558′ W. Marker is in Baltimore, Maryland. Marker is at the intersection of Pratt Street and Commerce Street, on the right when traveling east on Pratt Street. Touch for map. Marker is located at the Baltimore waterfront. Marker is in this post office area: Baltimore MD 21202, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers.
Baltimore Riot Trail Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 16, 2010
3. Baltimore Riot Trail Marker
At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Lightship Chesapeake (within shouting distance of this marker); Top of the World Observation Level World Trade Center (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); An Active Port for 300 Years (about 300 feet away); USS Constellation (about 500 feet away); The Port of Baltimore (about 600 feet away); Holocaust Memorial (about 600 feet away); Discover Baltimore: Four Centuries of Change (about 700 feet away); Exodus 1947: "The ship That Launched a Nation" (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Baltimore.
 
More about this marker. The marker features photos of George Wilson Booth and William Clark. There is also a picture in the lower right part of the marker with the caption: The beleaguered 6th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment fires at the attacking mob.
 
Regarding Baltimore Riot Trail. Nicholas Biddle (a Black volunteer with the militia company known as the “Washington Artillerists” from Pottsville, Pennsylvania) was seriously wounded by Confederate sympathizers rioting in Baltimore on April 18, 1861, and attacking Federal reinforcements bound for Washington, DC by rail to bolster the Capital’s defenses against Rebel attack. The next day, the bandaged Nick Biddle was recognized by
Nicholas "Nick" Biddle, <i>carte de visite</i> image. Click for full size.
circa 1861
4. Nicholas "Nick" Biddle, carte de visite
- a fugitive slave (apparently born in Delaware) who took the name of the well-known Pennsylvania banker, "Nicholas Biddle"
President Lincoln as the Union Army’s first combat casualty of African descent during a reception for the “Artillerists” and other “First Defender” units arriving in Washington, D.C.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Take a tour of the Baltimore Riot Trail.
 
Also see . . .
1. Baltimore Riot (April 19, 1861). (Submitted on March 14, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
2. Maryland Civil War Trails. Baltimore: A House Divided (Submitted on March 14, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

3. "A Forgotten Hero of the Civil War" by John David Hoptak. Pennsylvania's "First Defenders", the Washington Artillerists of Pottsville; the overlooked Baltimore Riot of April 18, 1861; and Nick Biddle (African Descent), the first actual military casualty (W.I.A.) of the American Civil War. (Submitted on July 26, 2011, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.) 

4. 48th Pennsylvania Infantry: The Union's "First Defenders", The Washington Artillerists). (Submitted on February 25, 2014, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
 
Additional comments.
1. Military unit that did not exist at that time
Marker states: "The volley killed 20-year-old William Clark, of Company C, 15th South Carolina Heavy Artillery Battalion, making him the first Confederate casualty of the war." Battery C was not organized until November 1862. The battalion itself was not organized until June 1861, as infantry. He doesn't appear on the rolls of this unit. Note To Editor only visible by Contributor and editor    
    — Submitted August 25, 2010, by Stewart Sifakis of Washington, District of Columbia.

 
Additional keywords. Pottsville, Pennsylvania Militia: the "Washington Artillerists" (sic); Nick Biddle: assigned orderly for Captain James Wren, commanding officer of the artillery company; ... "First Defenders" Association.
 
Categories. African AmericansNotable PersonsWar, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 17, 2017. This page originally submitted on March 14, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 2,942 times since then and 125 times this year. Last updated on February 24, 2014, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 14, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   3. submitted on July 6, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   4. submitted on February 24, 2014, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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