Death at President Street Station
Baltimore - A house Divided
In 1861, as the Civil War began, Baltimore secessionists hoped to stop rail transportation to Washington and isolate the national capital. On April 19, the 6th Massachusetts Regiment arrived here at the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad's President Street Station at 10 a.m. en route with other troops to Washington to answer President Abraham Lincoln's call for 75,000 volunteers to counter the "rebellion." Because of anti-Unionist demonstrations the day before, the 720 soldiers were ordered to load their weapons while horses pulled their cars to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's Camden Station (locomotives were banned from the city streets).
Regimental commander Col. Edward Jones led the first of seven cars to Pratt Street and safely across the waterfront. The eighth car turned back after Southern sympathizers blocked the rails. From Camden Station, Jones sent orders to Capt. Albert S. Follansbee, commanding the remaining four companies here: "You will march to this place as quick as possible [and] follow the rail-road track."
The Lowell City Regimental Band, baggage, and supply cars remained here after Follansbee left, awaiting their own instructions. When a pro-Confederate mob threw bricks at the musicians, they tore the stripes from their uniform trousers to be less recognizable as soldiers and fled on foot into the city.
Col. William F. Small's 1,200-man 26th Pennsylvania Volunteers (Washington Brigade of Philadelphia) had also arrived with the 6th Massachusetts. As Small persuaded railroad officials to pull the train and troops out of the city to safety, the mob attacked, fatally injuring Pennsylvania Volunteer George Leisenring. The riot here lasted for more than two hours until Baltimore Police Marshal George P. Kane restored order.