American History Stories—Volume IV - Mara L. Pratt

The First Bloodshed

Do you remember what happened in the Revolution on one 19th of April?

And now we have another 19th of April to learn about—19th of April, 1861.

In answer to Lincoln's call for seventy-five thousand men, many a small company from the different States had been got together, and were training for service. One of these companies, the "Sixth Massachusetts Regiment," reached Baltimore, on its way to Washington, on this morning of the 19th of April, 1861. When the cars which brought them reached the city, it was met by a crowd of angry people armed with sticks, and clubs, and guns—a blacker, angrier mob was never seen.

These cars were drawn through the city from one depot to another, the soldiers inside. The mob followed, throwing stones and brick-bats into the windows from every side.

At last, unable to endure it any longer, the officer, ordered the soldiers to form into ranks, and march in a solid column to the depot.

On they marched, the brick-bats and balls whizzing about their ears. Just as they reached the depot, the command was given, "Fire!"

Then the troops turned their guns into the crowd; and many a man fell before the fire of these soldiers whom they had attacked. For a moment there was a lull! The mob itself stood still before its awful work! But only for a moment; then with yells of rage and threats of revenge, they fell upon the troops, surrounded the cars, filling the air with howls and curses. Amid this terrible scene the cars rolled out of the depot. Three of the soldiers had been killed, and there were eighteen wounded.

[Illustration] from American History Stories - IV by Mara L. Pratt