"Keep back ... or I Shoot"
Baltimore - A House DividedOn 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.
A stone-throwing secessionist mob attacked Capt. Albert S. Follansbee's four companies of the 6th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment here as they marched to Camden Station to change trains for Washington on April 19, 1861. Just to the east, the harassed troops finally opened fire. Here, the violence reached a crescendo. Massachusetts Corp Sumner H. Needham was struck in the head, fell to the pavement, and died. Earlier, he told a comrade, "We shall have trouble today, and I shall never get out alive. Promise me, if I fall, that my body will be sent home." Pvt. Luther C. Ladd was shot and killed, proclaiming "All Hail to the Stars & Stripes" as he collapsed. The mob shot Addison Whitney dead and beat Charles Taylor to death. The rest of the soldiers marched at the double-quick down Pratt Street, dragging their muskets between their legs and reloading as they ran.
Baltimore Mayor George W. Brown learned of the riot and hastened first to Camden Station, where all was calm. Then he heard shots coming from Pratt Street. He met Follansbee at the head of the marching column near here and told him, "You must defend yourselves." Brown picked up a dropped musked and brandished it, threatening the mob. Police Marshall George P. Kane and a company of policemen soon arrived to hold the crowd at bay as Kane shouted, "Keep back, men, or I shoot!"