War of the Rebellion: Serial 002 Page 0154 OPERATIONS IN MD., PA., VA., AND W. VA. Chapter IX.

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titled to demand that those who assume so grave a responsibility shall furnish some sufficient reason for their action. It is impossible to believe that the Federal authority have wantonly disturbed the peace and good government of the city. No doubt statements have been made to which credit has been given, and on the faith of which the Government has acted. The proclamation of the general in command, issued immediately after the arrest of the members of the board of police, vaguely charges that the board "hold, subject to their orders, now and hereafter, the old police force, a large body of armed men for some purpose unknown to the Government and inconsistent with its peace and security." Your memorialist are left in doubt as to the precise nature of the purpose referred to, but the suspension of their authority, and the subsequent imprisonment of the board of police, seems to have been the result of a belief that their authority would be used to the injury of the Government of the United States.

That this opinion has any foundation in facts your memorialist deny, and appeal to the history of the official acts of the police authority of this city.

For a detailed account of the unhappy occurrences of the 19th April you are referred to the statement of the mayor of the city, which is herewith submitted.* No evidence of failure of duty on the part of the police authority on that day can be produced. The mayor, ex officio a member of the board, shared the dangers to which the troops were exposed, and both he and the marshal of police risked their lives for their protection. The great excitement which ensued, and which was intensified by the wanton killing of a citizen at a distance from the scene of the riot, and who was shot from the window of the cars as the train passed out of the city, was represented to the President by the mayor of the city. The President and his Cabinet recognized the necessity of temporarily avoiding a passage through Baltimore, and gave repeated assurances that the troops should not be brought through the city.

Unauthorized persons declaring openly their intention to cut their way through Baltimore with or without the orders of the Government, the authorities of Baltimore, as well the police board as your memorialist, called their people to arms, procured such weapons as could be hastily gathered, and did all in their power to provide for the defense of their city from the threatened danger. This they did, and this they justify. In the then excited condition of the people a portion of our population may have entertained designs of active hostility to the Government.

If such designs existed they were frustrated by the precautions or the board of police. Fort McHenry, believed to be without either a sufficient garrison or armament, was nightly guarded by the military of the city, acting under the orders of the board of police. Other Government property received especial protection. Arms, supposed to belong to the United States and found in the hands of individuals, were taken possession of and preserved by the board of police, who gave notice to the Government agents of their action. The persons and property of all citizens received equal and sufficient protection. Whatever charges malice may suggest, the preservation of peace in the city, the prevention of conflict between citizens divided in opinion, the protection of life, limb, and property during a period of great popular excitement, is a monument to the zeal and good faith of our police authorities. When there no longer seemed any necessity for a military array, the arms placed in the hands of the people were recalled, and the city resumed


*See pp. 15-20.