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Wisconsin in the Civil War

A Hostile Mob Surrounds Wisconsin Soldiers

Maryland was a slave-holding state with many Southern sympathizers. On April 19, 1861, a mob attacked Massachusetts troops as they changed trains in Baltimore, killing four soldiers. Just a few weeks later, on the night of June 22, some companies of Wisconsin's 2nd Infantry arrived in the city far ahead of the others. An unidentified soldier, probably from Racine, describes holding off a crowd of jeering Confederate supporters.

We left Harrisburgh in four trains, at intervals of half an hour. Companies A., D. and F. (our boys) were in the first train and reached Baltimore just at twilight — got out of the cars and formed in line, to wait for the other 7 companies to come up; and there we had to wait till nearly 12 o'clock, owing to some slight accident to the engine of the train next behind us. It was rather exciting I can assure you, as well as fatiguing, standing there with our knapsacks on our backs, 40 rounds of ammunition in our cartridge boxes, cap box, bayonet scabbard, two day's rations in our haversacks besides knife, fork, spoon and plate. But there we stood not daring to sit down or be off our guard for a moment, surrounded by thousands of the roughs of Baltimore, who were armed to the teeth with pistols and knives. These rascals would cheer Jeff. Davis and then groan for the Wisconsin volunteers. It looked many times as though we were bound to have a fight, but they dared not commence the cotillion…

Between 11 and 12 o'clock the other trains came in and were soon on the ground with us. Lieut. Col. Peck broke us into sections, closed columns by sections, and thus we march through Baltimore at midnight. We all expected to have a brush, and once I really thought the ball had opened. As we were passing through the street in which the 7th Mass. Regiment was fired into some six weeks ago, a huge ruffian stepped out on the right flank of our company, with a revolver in his hand, and proposed three cheers for Jeff. Davis and three groans for Col. Coon and the Wisconsin Volunteers, which were repeated by the crowd; …

In many of the streets we were received with great enthusiasm; the side walks were lined and the house tops covered with people. Bouquets were showered upon us by the ladies, and the stars and stripes were waved over us. In other streets we were hissed and insulted. It was 2 ½ miles from one depot to the other, but we finally got seated in the cars ready for our journey to Washington, which place we reached this morning at 5 o'clock.

Source: E.B. Quiner Scrapbooks: "Correspondence of the Wisconsin Volunteers, 1861-1865," Volume 1, page 85.

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Attack on Massachusetts troops in April.
Attack on Massachusetts troops in April.

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Cartoon: The way to go through Baltimore. A man outfitted with shin guards over his boots and a basket on his head is carrying the basket lid as a shield in his left hand and a rifle in his right hand.
Cartoon: "The way to go through Baltimore."

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