who were on their way to the city of Washington in pursuance of a call for 75,000 men made by the President of the United States.
On the day previous troops had been safely passed through the city under the escort of the police. In the afternoon of the same day (18th) the regiments from Massachusetts were expected, and provision was made by the police for their reception; but they did not arrive, and the board of police could not ascertain when they would come, although two of the members of the board went in person to the station of the Philadelphia Railroad Company to obtain the necessary information.
On the morning of the 19th, about 10 o'clock, I was at my law office engaged in the performance of professional business, when three members of the city council came to me with a message form Marshal Kane, to the effect that he had just learned that the troops were about to arrive, and that he apprehended some disturbance. I immediately hastened to the board of police and gave notice. George M. Gill, esq., counselor of the city, and myself got into a carriage, and drove rapidly to the Camden station, and the police commissioners followed without delay. On reaching Camden station we found marshal Kane in attendance, and the police coming in squads to the spot. The plan of the against of the railroad companies was that the troops which were to way be conveyed through the city, and be transferred to the cars for Washington at the Camden-street station. Accordingly, the police were requested by the agent of the road to be in attendance at the latter station. After considerable delay the troops began to arrive, and were transferred, under the direction of the police, to the Washington cars large and angry crowd assembled, but the transfer was safely effected. No one could tell whether more troops were expected or not. At this time an alarm was given that a mob was about to tear up the rails in advance of the train on the Washington road, and Marshal Kane ordered some of his men to go out on the road as far as the Relay House, if necessary, to protect the track.
Soon afterwards, and when I was about to leave the station, supposing all danger to be over, news was brought to Commissioner Davis and myself, who were standing together, that other troops were left at the President-street station, and that the mob was tearing up the track on Pratt street. Mr. Davis immediately ran to summon a body of police to be sent to Pratt street, while I hastened alone down Pratt street towards President-street station. On arriving at the head of Smith's wharf I found that anchors had been piled on the track so as to obstruct it, and Sergeant McComas and a few policemen who were with him were not allowed by the mob to remove the obstruction. I at once ordered the anchors to be removed, and my authority was not resisted.
On approaching Pratt-street bridge I saw several companies of Massachusetts troops, who had left the cars, moving in column, some persons in the crowd shouting, as I approached, "Here comes the mayor." I shook hands with the officer in command, saying, as I did so, "I am the mayor of Baltimore." I then placed myself by his side and marched with him as far as the head of Light-street wharf, doing what I could by my presence and personal efforts to allay the tumult. The mob grew holder and the attack became more violent. Various persons were killed and wounded on both sides. The troops has some time previously begun to fire in self-defense, and the firing, as the attack increased in violence became more general.