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Maryland's Part in Saving the Union

By William L. W. Seabrook, Ex-Commissioner of the Land Office

Part Four

Read Part One | Part Two | Part Three

I have elsewhere quoted Genera! Butler's assertion that in his interview with the governor and the mayor of Annapolis, "they said all Maryland was ready to rush to arms and that the enthusiasm of the people of Annapolis could not long be restrained." The only proof at hand to contradict this is the letter of Mayor Magruder, who makes no allusion to it, but does state what reason they assigned for objecting to the landing of the troops. I think it may be fairly implied that the mayor, in this, gives substantially the whole story of the cause which prompted them to seek the interview with Butler. I have already shown conclusively that there was not the slightest danger of an uprising of the people of Annapolis against the troops, who were called "invaders" by Mr. Blank in his frantic appeals to those same people to rise and repel them; appeals which aroused no enthusiasm, but actually met with derision. I cannot say that Mayor Magruder did not apprehend some act of violence on the part of inconsiderate secession sympathizers towards the troops, when it was supposed the Seventh New York Regiment was about to march through the city, as he went about summoning a posse to quell any hostile demonstration; but his apprehension was that such an act would take the form of stone throwing by some thoughtless individuals, not a concerted attack by a body of citizens. And the mayor did this on the afternoon of the same day he and Governor Hicks had, according to General Butler, declared that the enthusiasm of the people of the city could not long be restrained. I observed, too, that the mayor was discreetly summoning known loyal citizens to act as the posse referred to. A day or two elapsed, however, before any considerable number of the troops marched in a body through the town. But they did come into the city from the camp in the Naval Academy, either singly or in small squads, to purchase such things as they needed or desired, and not one of them was molested.

There seems to have been a tendency on the part of General Butler to magnify the dangers he encountered, or thought he was encountering, in hastening to the defense of Washington. He makes much, in his book, of the wild rumors that met him in Philadelphia, and on his passage from that city to Perryville, of the supposed hostile attitude of the people of the State. Yet he saw no signs of such hostility in any portion of Cecil county, along the line of the railroad over which his troops were transported, nor at Perryville, where he seized the ferryboat Maryland. Was it a coincidence, or a trick of the imagination, that credits the governor of the State with repeating rumors, the falsity of which had already been abundantly demonstrated by his own experience?

Monument to Officers and Sailors who perished in the war with Tripoli

The truth is that there was not the slightest danger of all Maryland, or of any part of it, "rushing to arms." A few rails were probably taken up from the track of the Annapolis and Elkridge Railroad, and the only engine of the road in Annapolis was partially disabled; but the road was nowhere guarded by armed men, as Butler states the governor informed him it was. Any damage to the railroad and to its engine was done by a few irresponsible and foolish people.

The riot in Baltimore was not as extensive nor as serious as was generally reported and believed, and it is very doubtful whether the rioters ever contemplated a march to Annapolis and an attack on the Naval Academy. But for the burning of the bridges on the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad, Butler could have gone to Washington with his troops by rail without encountering much opposition. I am convinced that if, instead of going to Annapolis, he had diverted his course to Baltimore and landed at Fort McHenry, he could have proceeded to Washington without difficulty. I am confident he could have quelled the mob and put an end to the riot in Baltimore with his single regiment. He would have found in Baltimore, as he did in Annapolis, many loyal men to assist and advise him in his movements. His seizure of the Washington Junction of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, at the Relay House, 7 miles from Baltimore, was suggested to him at Annapolis. Its importance is a strategic point was well known to numbers of citizens. I had, myself, in traveling between Annapolis and Frederick, which I did frequently, gained a full knowledge of the locality; but it was Mr. Purnell, the comptroller of the treasury, who suggested that we call Butler's attention to it. We went together to Butler's headquarters, at the Naval Academy, and gave him the information we possessed concerning the importance of occupying the Junction with government troops, against a possible raid upon it by the Confederates. This was only a day or two after his arrival at Annapolis.

It is true, the collision between the men of the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment and the mob in Baltimore, on the 19th of April, 1861, had a depressing effect upon the unionists of the State. But that was due mainly to the misrepresentations with which reports of the occurrence were colored. The report carried to Annapolis and elsewhere was that some persons in a crowd of men, women and children, standing on the sidewalk at Gay and Pratt streets, watching the troops marching by, were fired upon and several of them killed, for no other reason than that somebody in the crowd jeered at and taunted the soldiers. No other cause was assigned for an apparently murderous assault upon the defenseless people. But it was added that the alleged outrage had aroused the whole city to frenzy; that thousands of citizens tad jailed, hurried to the scene and attacked the troops with no other weapons than paving stones, but with such fury that their march through the city was obstructed and that no other troops would be permitted to pass that way to Washington.

That was the story as it was told to me by an exultant secessionist, who, with a crowd of people of like mind, was shouting in tones of triumph, over and over, again and again: "Hurrah for Maryland! Hurrah for Maryland! Hurrah for Maryland." I was at my home when I heard *is outcry and hurried out to the street to ascertain its cause. I did not think of questioning the truth of what was told me and returned to my home greatly depressed and sick at heart. I told my good wife what I had heard and the fear that it might lead to the secession of the State. To this she replied, with womanly intuition, "Wait; that is not the true story. Don't worry; wait until we hear the truth about it. It will all come right." Her words cheered me, while they did not entirely relieve my anxiety. But she was right, and the truth came the next morning and confirmed her judgment. The soldiers were not the aggressors, but were pursuing their march in a perfectly orderly manner when they were assailed by the mob, and only fired upon their assailants when no other method of defending themselves was possible.

I have always entertained a suspicion that the riot in Baltimore was not as spontaneous as it appeared, but that it was fomented by men among the secessionists who were personally interested in the efforts to make the State a member of the Southern Confederacy. Those men saw the last hope of the success of their plans vanishing as Federal troops began pouring down from the North, and it does not seem imaginary to suspect that they quietly prompted some of their followers to begin an uprising in Baltimore which they hoped would speedily be spread throughout the State and end in carrying her out of the Union in a whirlwind of enthusiasm. The wild rumors persistently circulated, that all the people of the State were ready to rush to arms to oppose the Federal troops, probably had their origin in a purpose to carry such a program into effect. But, whether the suspicion does or does not rest upon a reasonable basis, it is clear that the riot in Baltimore utterly failed to provoke a response from the people outside of the city. They were excited, to be sure, but nowhere was there anything like a concerted or formidable movement to oppose the march of Federal troops through the State. In fact, that is putting it too mildly. None of the troops encountered any opposition whatever except the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment, at the hands of the rioters on Pratt street, as already related. A Jew members of an Anne Aruudel county cavalry company came into Annapolis in uniform about the time the New York Seventh Regiment landed at the Naval Academy, and it was whispered about that they were seeking to ascertain whether an attack on the troops was advisable. They strolled about the streets with their sabers dangling at their sides, but made no hostile demonstration and soon disappeared. I believe they had no hostile intention, either, as some of the members of the company were pronounced unionists and subsequently enlisted in the Union army and fought in defense of the country. There were a few militia companies scattered about the State, but I have heard of only one, the membership of which approximated a unit in favor of resisting Federal authority. That was a Carroll county company, the officers of which were strongly in favor of secession and offered its services to aid in resisting the passage of Federal troops through Baltimore. It was subsequently disbanded by the United States military. There was another company in Carroll county composed almost, if not quite, exclusively of unionists. It was commanded by the late George E. Wampler, and the late Col. William A. McKellip was its first lieutenant.

But to return to another feature of the subject: It seems to me that no importance can be attached to the suggestion that the return of the Democratic party to power in the State, by an overwhelming majority, after the war v, as a confession of the sympathy of the State with secession. It did not return to power by the name "Democratic" alone, but adopted the name of "Democratic-Conservative" party. Issues had then entirely changed. It was no longer a question of union or disunion. The Union was saved. That was a fact patent to the dullest intellect and many loyal citizens felt themselves free to form new political alliances and thousands of them united with the opposition to the Republican party, the natural successor of the Union party of the State. Among these thousands were many of the most prominent leaders of the unionists during the war, such men as Governor Thomas Swann, ex-Governor Augustus W. Bradford, General John S. Berry, Reverdy Johnson, William H. Purnell, Judge William P. Maulsby, General Edward Shriver, Col. William J. Leonard, General John W. Horn, Col. Edwin H. Webster, John V. L. Findlay, Joshua Biggs, Robert Fowler and many others of about as much prominence. These men were, without doubt, in most instances, actuated by principle and what they considered just and sufficient cause. That cause I believe was principally hostility to unlimited negro suffrage. That question was thrust upon the People soon after the close of the war, as a consequence of the conflict between President Johnson and Congress. The universal enfranchisement of the negroes was exceedingly distasteful to many of those who had been active supporters of the Government during the war, and when ex-Governor Bradford, who had been one of the most zealous and influential unionists in the State, appeared upon the hustings and counseled Union men to vote for the new party, he easily carried multitudes with him.

I had, personally, an interesting experience in winning back to the Republican party a staunch old unionist in Frederick county, who had made up his mind to follow the ex-Governor. He was a man I had known from my boyhood, a plain, unassuming farmer. While visiting at my boyhood's tome soon after Governor Bradford had spoken at a mass meeting in Frederick, I was invited lo address a Republican gathering in the village. After the meeting my old friend came to me and, in evident perplexity, informed me that I had unsettled him in purpose concerning his proper course as a voter. He said that Governor Bradford had convinced him that he ought to vote the Democratic-Conservative ticket, and that, until he heard my address, he had fully made up his mind to do so, but was then in doubt on the subject. At the end of a long talk with me he had determined to stand by the old party. This he did and remained to the end of his life an ardent Republican. But. while its advocacy of negro suffrage was the chief cause of the hejira of so many unionists from the Republican party, oilier causes had weakened the party long before the close of the war. Presdent Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation had alienated a number, especially in the slaveholding sections of the State; the unfortunate contest between the State Central Committee and the Union League, of which I have already spoken, had a detrimental effect upon the zeal of some of those who were on the side which suffered defeat, the abolition of slavery by State action, in 1804, completed the alienation of many who had grown lukewarm in the cause and added others to the number; the practical disfranchisement of many Southern sympathizers aroused sympathy for that class of citizens and their re-investiture with the right of suffrage was espoused by Governor Swann, ex-Governor Bradford and many other strong unionists.

It is but proper to say here, parenthetically, that the action of election officers in debarring secessionists from the exercise of this right, was confined chiefly to Baltimore Guy, the counties bordering on Pennsylvania and some of the counties on the Eastern Shore. There was little or no restraint upon voters in Southern Maryland.

Governor Swann espoused the cause of the disfranchised citizens with ardor, and appointed election officers who did not discriminate against any, not even those who had borne arms against the State and General Government. Of these thousands came into the State from the South, seeking to mend their broken fortunes, and thus augmented the opposition to the party which had stood loyally for the Union throughout the war.

Governor Swann was severely censured by many for his course, not, perhaps, because it was not just, but because he was charged with having done so for a price his election by the legislature to the United States Senate. I heard the story of this alleged bargain told on the floor of the State Senate during the discussion of a bill to repeal what was known as the Eastern Shore law, a statute that required one of the United States Senators to be a citizen of that section of the State. It was told by Levin L. Waters, then State Senator from Somerset county. Mr. Waters was one of the beneficiaries of the governor's action and spoke in favor of the repeal of (he law as a preliminary to Mr. Swann's election to the Upper House of Congress, as the repeal was considered necessary to make such an election valid. Mr. Waters declared unequivocally and in the strongest language that he would vote for the bill because he had bargained to do so He assorted that an agreement had been made with the governor to elect him United States Senator as the consideration for his appointment of election officers who would restore the lost rights of disfranchised citizens, and that he felt bound to carry out the bargain.

The Eastern Shore law was repealed, Governor Swann was elected United States Senator, and the law was then promptly reenacted. For some reason the genet, or refused to accept the high office to which he had been chosen and which, it was said, it had been the ambition of his life to attain. One cause assigned for this was a rumor that, in consequence of the circumstances under which he was elected, the Senate would reject him. It was also said that he was influenced by a suspicion that Lieutenant Governor C. C. Cox who would have succeeded him in the gubernatorial office, was not in sympathy with the new combination and might hamper the legislature in its purpose to call a constitutional convention, the design of which was to oust from office all the Union men in the State. This design was really carried into effect and the convention vacated all the offices.

Whatever may be said about this alleged bargain between the Democrats and Governor Swann, I believe he would have made the appointments of election officers of the character desired if no such an agreement had been entered into. He was intensely hostile to negro suffrage of any sort. Long before the appointments were to be made he had requested an interview with me at the executive chamber and when I called informed me that he wished to talk with me about the suffrage question. He said that if negroes were universally enfranchised it would not be more than five years before Maryland would have a negro governor and legislature. That the State would become a veritable Mecca for all the negroes of the South who would flock into her by the hundreds of thousands.

Without expressing an opinion upon the propriety of universal suffrage for the blacks I assured him that I had no fears, in that event, of the dire consequences he apprehended. He became very much excited and used some very harsh language in the discussion that followed. We parted in anger and he never spoke to me afterwards, I did not have an opportunity to tell him, during the conversation, that I was not committed to the universal enfranchisement of the negroes at that time. 1 did believe in a qualified negro suffrage, based upon education, the possession of property, and military service.

I believe Governor Swann was a sincere unionist. It was well known at the beginning of the Civil War that he was opposed to secession, but there was some doubt about his attitude upon maintaining the Union by coercion. Subsequently, however, he gave the Government his unqualified support and in 1864 was in favor of the adoption of the Constitution by which the slaves in the State were emancipated. After his term as governor expired he was repeatedly elected to the Lower House of Congress as a Democrat.

I believe that all the causes leading to the overthrow of the Republican party in the State, other than hostility to negro suffrage, were far less than that in their combined effect. Many of the more than thirty thousand voters who remained true to the party, felt decided repugnance to their association with negroes, politically, but maintained their party fealty because they believed in Republican principles generally and were attached to the party because it had saved the Union from dissolution. At this day it is known there are many citizens of the State who are voting with the Democrats, but outside of the negro question are Republicans in principle. Of the leading unionists whom I have named as having united with the Democratic-Conservative party, Ex-Governor Bradford, William H, Purnell, Edwin H. Webster, and John V. L. Findlay eventually returned to the Republican fold.

In this narrative I have not intentionally omitted any circumstance which might in the slightest degree disprove the claim I make that Governor Hicks arid a majority of the people of the State were loyal to the cause of the Union. Yet I would not undertake to say that she would not have been forced into secession, as I believe Virginia was, against the will of a majority of her citizens, if the legislature had been called together at an early period of the secession movement. Such an act on the part of the governor would have been construed as an invitation from hi n to the Confederate Government to send troops into the State, and Maryland might, in that case, have repeated the experience of her neighboring sister. When Virginia seceded she was already, practically, under the control of the Confederate Government. General Butler, in his book, page 257, tells of a circumstance which forcibly demonstrates the truth of that assertion. The day after the people of Virginia had voted on the ordinance of secession, Major Carey, who represented Col Mallory, commander of the secession military force about Hampton, sought an interview with Butler by a flag of truce. Butler was then commanding the Union troops in that locality and Carey sought the interview for the purpose of securing the return, to Col. Mallory, of three of his negro slaves who had escaped and made their way into the Federal lines. Butler declined to return the negroes and declared them "contraband of war," a phrase which he undoubtedly invented, although his claim to have done so has been disputed. Then Major Carey inquired whether the passage of families desiring to go North would be permitted, and to this General Butler replied: "With the exception of an interruption! at Baltimore, which has now been disposed of, travel of peaceable citizens through to the North has not been hindered: AND AS TO THE INTERNAL LINE THROUGH VIRGINIA, YOUR FRIENDS HAVE FOR THE PRESENT ENTIRE CONTROL OF IT."

I have recited this incident as stated by Butler as conclusive evidence that Virginia was then entirely under the control of the Confederate military, and that balloting upon tie ordinance of secession was conducted under that surveillance. It can never be known with absolute certainty that a majority of the people of the State were in favor of her secession. The extreme probability is that if those who were opposed to the ordinance to carry her out of the Union had voted against it instead of remaining away from the polls, as many of then did under restraint, the ordinance would not have been adopted. But what a price Virginia paid for her action, whether it was voluntary or otherwise.

It is a possibility that Maryland might have followed her example if a convention had been called before the National Government passed into the control of those who were determined to prevent the dissolution of the Union. The unionists, in that case, would have resisted secession to the best of their ability, but the State would almost certainly, have been occupied by Confederate soldiers and the loyal people would have had an uphill fight. That contingency, happily, did not arise, because of the sturdy refusal of the governor to call a special session of the legislature until it was too late to take effective steps to bring about the secession of the State. Members of the legislature were elected in 1859, when the question of secession was not mooted, but as both branches were strongly Democratic, there was no doubt about their proclivities. Some of the Democrats, it is true, were strong unionists, but probably an equal number of the American party members went over to the secessionists and there is no doubt that a convention to vote the State out of the Union would have been convened if an extra session of the legislature had been held in time for such action. And then Maryland would have shared the sad fate of Virginia.

I maintain, therefore, that it was the firm resistance of Governor Hicks to the immense pressure brought to bear upon him from within and without the State, to induce him to place her in a position to co-operate with the States of the South that kept Maryland anchored to the Union. And this was in harmony with the desire of a decided majority of her people. Her "bent" was to the Union, not against it. In fact, there were few secessionists per se in the State. Her people, with a very few exceptions, desired the preservation of the Union. As late as in February, 1861, I circulated a petition in Annapolis praying Congress to adopt the Crittenden compromise measure, and I do not remember that a single Southern sympathizer refused to sign it. All wanted the South back in the Union; but those with Southern proclivities were determined to join in the disunion movement, if no method short of war could have been employed to prevent it, and hence the clamor for an extra session of the legislature.

Thus far I have said nothing about the more than 60,000 men sent by Maryland into the Union army and navy. The records of the adjutant general's office at Washington place the number at more than 62,000. But their participation in the war on the side of the Government was emphatic evidence of the loyalty of her people. It is true, that numbers of Marylanders entered the Confederate service to fight against their own State. But those who did so were numerically far below those who entered the Union service. Many of the prominent unionists whose names I have mentioned fought for the preservation of the nation.

And now, to sum up: I think I have demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that Governor Hicks and a majority of the people of Maryland were loyal to the Government of the United States before and daring the Civil War. As over against the implication of disloyalty or instability of purpose on the part of the governor, predicated upon his Monument Square speech, his alleged order to burn the bridges of the P. W. and B. Railroad, his pro­test against the landing of Federal troops at Annapolis, and his statement that he had changed the place of meeting of the legislature because it was not proper for it to meet in a city under control of United States soldiers, we have:

1. His statement to me, on his return from Baltimore the morning after his speech in Monument Square, that his utterances on that occasion were made under duress, his life having been threatened; his assurance that he would not desert his loyal friends and his declaration that "the Union must be preserved."

2. His emphatic denial that he gave an order for the burning of the railroad bridges, or gave his assent to that act.

3. His frank avowal of loyalty in the interview, in my presence, with the man who called himself Col. Harrison. the day after the attack of the mob on the Massachusetts troops in Baltimore.

4. His action in authorizing Mayor Magrudar and myself to select only loyal men to whom the State arms were to be distributed, and his doing that at. the very time when he was protesting to General Butler against landing his troops at the Naval Academy.

5. His emphatic declaration to Judge Handy, the commissioner from Mississippi, that Maryland was not going with the new Confederacy.

6. His declaration to me that, notwithstanding his protest against the landing of Butler's troops, he wanted them to land, and that the protest had only been made for the purpose of deceiving the secessionists and retaining some hold upon them.

7. His explanation that his real purpose in selecting Frederick as the place at which the legislature should meet was to have it surrounded by a thoroughly loyal populace.

8. His acknowledgment to me that he committed a grave error in protesting against the landing of the troops and his appeal to my knowledge of his unfaltering loyalty.

9. And above all other evidences, his determined stand against convening the legislature in extra session while there was an opportunity remaining for it to take action to carry the State out of the Union. If there were no other evidences of his loyalty this one thing should stand as indubitable proof of it.

And what stronger proofs of the patriotic devotion of a majority of the people of the State to the Union could be given than their votes, which elected Union candidates to Congress in June, 1831, and a Union governor, by an overwhelming majority, in November of that year. And it should not be overlooked, in this connection, that at the Presidential election in 1864, President Lincoln carried the State over McClellan and received a sufficient number of votes to constitute a majority of the entire voting population. The results of these elections are not offset by the actions of an ephemeral mob in Baltimore, while their significance, as indications of the loyalty of the people, is emphasized and confirmed by the failure of the secessionists to poll a third of the votes of those entitled to the suffrage, at the special election for members of the House of Delegates, in Baltimore, while the mob spirit was still prevalent in that city at the breaking out of the war.

I have shown, too, that the wild rumors of an uprising of the people of the State against the Government, so freely circulated immediately after the attack on the Massachusetts troops in Baltimore, were utterly without foundation. That no such uprising was anywhere threatened. The story of Mr. Blank's vain appeal to the people of Annapolis to "rise and repel the invaders." sufficiently negatives the assertion that the people of the State Capital were ready to rush to arms against the Northern troops. The undisturbed passage of General Butler from Philadelphia to Annapolis, with his troops, was in itself a proof that the people were nowhere preparing to dispute the march of the soldiers who were hurrying forward to the defense of the National Capital. There is not, indeed, a scintilla of evidence that anywhere in the State the people contemplated armed resistance to the Government. This only proves, however, that they were quiescent. Their active, positive unionism was shown in the elections to which I have referred and to the open stand taken by so many prominent men, some of whose names I have introduced in this narrative, and by large masses of the people generally.

The little incident connected with the discussion I had with Col. Pugh, in the summer of 1860, as I have elsewhere related it; the violence with which Judge Mason was threatened by working men in the meeting at the Assembly Hall in Annapolis, in February, 1861, when he advocated secession; the gratification of the crowd of working men on Taylor's wharf, on the after­noon of April 21, 1861, when I denounced any outrage on the flag as meriting the condign punishment of the perpetrator, were all incidents marking the drift of public sentiment as distinctly as a true weather vane indicates the direction of the wind.

And so I hold, and believe have proved, that Maryland's part in saving the Union, was the voluntary action of a majority of her people.

It would be difficult to over-estimate the extent of that part in the great work, or to gauge the importance of Maryland's fidelity to the Government, in its far-reaching influence and effect upon the struggle for national unity, She furnished her full quota of the men who made up the great armies of the Republic, and by voluntary State action she wiped the stain of slavery from her organic law, releasing a hundred thousand slaves from bondage. Mr. Lincoln assured me that he regarded that act as of immense advantage in the Union cause. Sometime in the latter part of September, 1834, after the convention which framed the Constitution abolishing slavery had adjourned and the instrument was pending ratification or rejection by the votes of the people, I had an interview 'with him on a personal matter and when that was disposed of was about to retire; but he detained me by saying: 'Stop, I want to talk to you. What are you Marylanders going to do with your Constitution?"

These, as nearly as I .can recall them, were his exact wards, and my reply was: "That is very doubtful, sir."

With an expression of incredulity on his face he exclaimed: "You surely do not mean that." . I saw that he was startled and disposed to question my own attitude toward the abolition of slavery in the State and to doubt my sincerity in replying as I had done to his inquiry, but was constrained to answer in the affirmative and to inform him that I was perfectly serious in advancing that opinion. Then he said, in a tone that implied doubt about the value of my judgment: "Well, sir, you are the first man from Maryland who has intimated such an opinion to me. All my information derived from many of your leading citizens, gives me the assurance that the Constitution will be adopted by an overwhelming majority."

The conversation had become very embarrassing to me, but I felt sure of my ground and believed that it was important that Mr. Lincoln should be undeceived in his anticipation of an easy victory. I therefore challenged the judgment of those upon whose information he was relying. I said to him, without reservation, that they ware either in ignorance of the true state o£ affairs or were not frank, enough, to tell him what they really thought about it. I gave him a brief analysis of the situation; showed him that every secessionist in the State would vote against the Constitution; that with very few exceptions, every unionist slaveholder would do likewise and would also exert an influence upon his non-slaveholding friends against emancipation without compensation, as many of them believed that slaves were legitimate property, of which the owners should not be deprived without receiving some remuneration. I concluded this summary by the prediction that nothing could save the Constitution from defeat, except the votes of soldiers in the camps and field, as the convention which framed the instrument had provided a plan by which the soldiers from the State were given an opportunity to vote on the question.

As I proceeded to explain the reasons which impelled me to believe there was grave doubt about the result of the election, Mr. Lincoln became more and more agitated and when I ceased, exclaimed: "You alarm me sir! you alarm me! you alarm me! I did not dream there was the slightest danger of such a calamity as the defeat of this Constitution. I fear you and others of our friends in Maryland are not alive to the importance of this matter and its influence upon the conflict in which we are engaged. The adoption of your Constitution abolishing slavery will be equal to a victory by one of our armies in the field. It will be a notification to the South that, no matter what the result of the war shall be, Maryland is lost to that section forever."

We were seated during this conversation and Mr. Lincoln did not seem in haste to end the interview, but I finally rose and then, standing beside me with his hand on my shoulder and his tall form towering above me, he exclaimed: "I implore you, sir, to go to ,work and endeavor to induce others to go to work for your Constitution, with all your energy. Try to impress other unionists with its importance as a war measure, and don't let it fail! Don't let it fail."

I assured him that I would not only vote for the instrument, but that I was doing all that I could in its favor. I called his attention to his own powerful influence and exhorted him to exert it to the utmost, as it would require the best efforts of the friends of emancipation to secure the adoption of the Constitution. This ended the interview. The result of the election proved the accuracy of my judgment concerning it. About 2500 soldiers voted in the camps and in the field, but the majority for the Constitution was less than 400.

I have told the story of this interview with Mr. Lincoln in detail to exhibit, in its full force, his opinion of the great service rendered the Union cause in this one single act. His exclamation of alarm when I explained fully my reason for believing the result of the vote on the Constitution in doubt, and his declaration that the adoption of the measure would be equal to a victory of one of our armies in the field, are given in his exact words, and I have followed very closely his language throughout the interview.

But after all, what was putting 62,000 men into the army and the abolition of slavery in the State, compared with the effect, in other respects, of the State's adherence to the Union. That was worth half a million of men. To unreflecting readers that opinion may seem to be wild and extravagant perhaps ridiculous. But consider, for a moment, what her se­cession at any time before President Lincoln's call for volunteers would have meant. Look at the map of the United States and see that, in that event, the National Capital would have been surrounded on every side by hostile territory. That the shortest distance from Washington to the border of a loyal State, in a direct line, would have been more than fifty miles. That this hostile territory would at once, upon the secession of the State, or probably upon the first official act in the direction of secession, have been occupied by Confederate troops and that, in all human probability, the National Capital would have been seized and declared the seal of government of the new Confederacy. This is not a vague surmise. The Confederacy was prepared for war. I need not repeat at any length the story of the depletion of arsenals in the North, by Buchanan's Secretary of War, to supply the South with munitions of war. That is a matter of un-contradicted history. And thus strongly entrenched and ready for the conflict, with augmented armies, the South would not only have been in a position to long repel invasion, but would have been prepared for an aggressive movement against the North, with a much brighter prospect of victory than awaited Lee at Gettysburg.

But that is not all. It is scarcely problematical, as I have stated, that, with the secession of Maryland, the National Capital would have fallen to the Confederacy, and that would have meant, beyond a doubt, the recognition of the independence of the new Government by every Power of any consequence in the civilized world. And following that recognition, offensive and defensive alliances would have been formed by the South that would have made it well nigh impossible to conquer her. I believe this theory not only tenable, but sound and logical, and considering this view of the subject, the part played by Maryland in saving the Union, far transcends that of any other State.

Astronomical Observatory and Monument to the Naval Heroes in Naval Academy

And for this the country is indebted to the loyalty of Governor Hicks, and the men who were closely allied with him, in resisting the efforts of the secessionists to bring the State into line with her seceding Southern sisters, as well as to the devotion of. a majority of her people to the cause of the Union. This fact cannot be too strongly emphasized, but it is a fact which the country at large has seemingly failed to recognize, because, perhaps, no historian has deemed it of sufficient importance even to allude to ii, while most if not all of them have belittled the State's part in resisting the secession movement, by unjustly attributing it to the military domination of the Government, when, in fact, that did not have an existence till Annapolis was first occupied by Northern troops, more than a month and a half after the inauguration of President Lincoln.

I trust the time will come when the injustice of this view will be, recognized and understood by the people of the whole country and when the great share of the State in preserving the nation from dissolution and disintegration will be generally recognized and acknowledged.

It is a source of pride and pleasure to me in my old age to remember that circumstances placed me in a position to have some share in holding Maryland to her fealty to the Union and to sincerely believe that her loyalty had much to do with preventing its dissolution and in bringing about the causes which have made the country great and honored among the nations of the earth, as well as in preserving "government of the people, by the people, and for the people," from a disastrous overthrow.

The reader of this should understand, also, that this course was not unmarked by sacrifices on the part of mast Maryland unionists, sacrifices of the closest ties of friendship, and, in many cases, of the tenderest cords of near relationship. In innumerable instances brother was arrayed against brother and friend against friend. I had, myself, the experience of alienation from some of those who were near to me in "kinship and very close and dear in association, and from others with whom I had always been identified in social, political and other interests. That was the common experience of almost all Maryland unionists, than whom there were none more faithful and true to the country in the struggle which reunited the States and made this one of the greatest, freest and happiest nations and people in the history of the world.

As this narrative is designed to exhibit only the civilian side of Maryland's part in saving the Union, no attempt is made to show the part her soldiery played in the accomplishment of that most desirable result. The troops she sent into the field were not a whit less courageous than the bravest in arms of their comrades from other States. They were Americans first, and after that Marylanders. The armies of both sides were largely composed of native born citizens and when American meets American, "then comes the tug of war." It was this quality of persistence and unfaltering courage in the people of the North and South alike, that prolonged the war until the weaker side was exhausted and the country was saved.

Special thanks to John Miller for his efforts in scanning the book's contents and converting it into the web page you are now viewing.