This Site:

Discovery of America

The Explorers

Post Columbian Exploration

Thirteen Original Colonies

Colonization of America

Colonial Life

Colonial Days and Ways

Independence Movement

The Patriots

Prelude to War

Revolutionary War

Revolutionary War Battles

Overview of Revolutionary War

Revolutionary War Timeline


Civil War

American Flag

Mexican War

Republic of Texas


Baltimore Map

Revolutionary War Map of Baltimore

Baltimore Maryland; History Of.—Under authority of an act of the Assembly, Aug. 8, 1729, a town of sixty acres was created, and in the following year it was officially laid out and named Baltimore in honor of Cecil Calvert (see BALTIMORE, LORDS) . The territory covered by the town was that now bounded approximately by Liberty, Saratoga, and Frederick streets and the Basin or inner harbor. Two years later Jones's Town, subsequently Old Town, east of the falls, was laid out. The first parish church, on the site of the present corner of Saratoga and Charles streets, was begun in 1730 and finished in 1739. In 1745 Baltimore began its course of expansion by having Jones's Town incorporated with it, and in 1753 it was again enlarged by the absorption of thirty-two acres of what was known as Coles's Harbor. At this time Baltimore Town contained 25 houses and 200 inhabitants. Charles Carroll erected Mount Clare house, using imported brick, in 1754, and the town received its first immigrants—a body of Acadian exiles. The year 1768 was one of large political significance, the town being then constituted the countyseat. The first issue of the first newspaper, the Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser, came from the press on Aug. 20, 1773, and in the same year a stage route to Philadelphia was opened, the first Methodist meetinghouse was erected, and the first display of popular benevolence was made, the citizens sending a goodly supply of corn, rye, and bread to the poor of Boston. In 1775 the town contained 564 houses and 5,934 inhabitants.

Revolutionary War Period

During the Revolutionary War period the town escaped the horrors of hostile strife, yet had several exciting incidents connected therewith. The Continental Congress was in session here from December 20, 1776, to Jan. 20, 1777, sitting in the hall on the corner of Baltimore and Liberty streets. On March 25, 1777, a political riot occurred, caused by a body of members of the Whig Club, excited by an article in the Maryland Journal praising King George and the British Parliament, storming Mr. Goddard, the editor, in his office. In March of the following year Count Pulaski organized his famous corps here. The first connection between the town and the national government was made in 1780, when a custom-house was erected. In 1781 the paving of the streets was begun ; in 1784 the streets were first lighted with oil-lamps; on Oct. 5, 1786, the first destructive flood occurred; in 1791 the Bank of Maryland was organized; and in the summer of 1794 the town was first visited by an epidemic–yellow fever. A second epochal year was 1796, when, on Dec. 31, the town was incorporated as a city. It then had 20,000 inhabitants. James Calhoun, the first mayor, was elected Jan. 16, 1797. Water was first supplied through castiron pipes in May, 1807.

War of 1812

The part borne by Baltimore in the war of 1812–15 began on June 12, 1812, when a mob attacked the office of the Federal Republican., because of the publication in it of an article denouncing the declaration of war against England. On July 27 following, the mob resumed the attack and destroyed the office and its contents. On Sept. 12, 1814, a British force, under General Robert Ross, advanced against the city. They were met by a defensive column at North Point, where an engagement was fought in which the British commander was killed. Finding the city much more strongly fortified than they had anticipated, the British soldiers retired from their position, leaving the task of punishment to their fleet, which bombarded Fort McHenry unsuccessfully on the following day. During the attack on the fort Francis Scott Key, a witness of the action, composed " The Star-spangled Banner," and it was printed in the Baltimore American and Daily Advertiser on Sept. 21, 1814. The cornerstones of the Washington and Battle monuments were laid in 1815, the latter on the anniversary of the North Point engagement.

Another increase in the area of the city was made in 1816, when a number of precincts with a combined population of 16,000 were annexed. On Aug. 8, 1817, a freshet at Jones's Falls overflowed the " Meadows " section to a depth of from ten to fifteen feet. American Odd-Fellowship had its birth in Baltimore on April 13, 1819, when Washington Lodge, No. 1, was organized at Fell's Point through the efforts of Thomas Kildey. The lodge received its charter from Duke of York Lodge, of Preston, England, in February following. In 1820 the first public building and the first private house were lighted with gas; the first building of all to be so improved was Peale's Museum, in 1816. The city had its first serious visitation of fire on June 23, 1822, three lumberyards and from twenty-five to thirty buildings, mostly warehouses, being burned. An evidence of the financial prosperity of the citizens in this period is shown by the fact that in March, 1827, when subscription books for stock of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad were opened, 22,000 persons subscribed $4,178,000. This popular expression of confidence both in the promoters and the project was so effective that on July 4 of the following year the' foundation-stone of the rail-road was laid by the Masonic Grand Lodge of Maryland, assisted by the venerable Charles Carroll, of Carrollton.


Baltimore celebrated the centennial of its official creation, Aug. 8, 1829, and in the following month dedicated its first public school. It had its second epidemic –this time of cholera–in 1832; its first bank failure in 1835; its fourth riot, because of the bank failure, in 1835; and its second freshet at Jones's Falls in 1837, when nineteen lives were lost, and Harrison and Frederick streets were flooded to the depth of ten feet. Foreign commercial intercourse began on May 20, 1838, when the City of Kingston, the first steam-vessel from Baltimore to Europe direct, left the port. The principal occurrences in the next ten years were the explosion of the boiler of the steamer Medora, just as she was about to start on her trial trip, April 15, 1842, in which twenty-seven persons lost their lives and forty were injured, and the reception of the first magnetic telegraph communication from Washington, " What hath God wrought," May 27, 1844. On May 28, 1848, the city was visited by another conflagration, breaking out in a cotton-factory in Lexington Street, and destroying sixty dwellings. The next five years marked the death of Edgar Allan Poe (1849), the arrival of Jenny Lind (1850), the reception of Louis Kossuth (1851), and the arrival from Louisville, Ky., of the remains of Junius Brutus Booth (1852). The most serious calamity occurred on July 4, 1854, when thirty persons were killed and about 100 injured by a collision of an excursion with an accommodation train near the Relay House. On June 18, 1860, the adjourned Convention of Democratic delegates who had first assembled in Charleston, S. C., met in Baltimore under the chairmanship of Caleb Cushing. A number of delegates who had withdrawn from the Charleston Convention and reassembled in Richmond claimed the right to sit in the Baltimore Convention, and the chairman, declining to decide the delicate question, referred it to tStephen A. Douglashe Convention. This action precipitated an acrimonious debate. The case of the contesting delegates was referred to the Committee on Credentials, which, owing to diversities of opinion, submitted two reports on the 21st, which gave rise to another heated debate and the advocacy of the reopening of the slave trade. On the following day the majority report was adopted; the places of most of the seceders, who were unseated, were filled by Douglas men ; another withdrawal of Southern delegates occurred; and finally Mr. Cushing and a majority of the Massachusetts delegation also withdrew. Governor David Tod, of Ohio, succeeded Mr. Cushing as chairman, and the Convention proceeding to ballot for a Presidential candidate, Stephen A. Douglas, of Illinois, was nominated for President, and Herbert V. Johnson, of Georgia, for Vice-President. The Convention adjourned on June 23.

Baltimore in the Civil War

Because of subsequent events it may be noted here that when the larger part of the Massachusetts delegation withdrew from the Convention Benjamin F. Butler explained the action in the following vigorous language: " We put our withdrawal before you upon the simple ground, among others, that there has been a withdrawal, in part, of a majority of the States, and, further (and that, perhaps, more personal to myself) , upon the ground that I will not sit in a convention where the African slave trade - which is piracy by the laws of my country-is approvingly advocated."

General Benjamin ButlerThe results of the Baltimore Convention thickened rather than cleared the political atmosphere. Party and sectional feelings were alike stirred to fever heat, and the election of Abraham Lincoln furnished the fuel on which the flames soon burst forth. Early in January, 1861, Governor John A. Andrew, of Massachusetts, tendered a body of State troops to the national government for its protection. Fort Sumter was attacked, and on the day that the President's call for volunteers was issued, Governor Andrew was telegraphed to send twenty companies of militia to Washington immediately. Four regiments were at once brigaded and placed under the command of Benjamin F. Butler, just commissioned a brigadier-general. On Jan. 16, United States Senator Wilson telegraphed from Washington for four regiments. They were in readiness to start directly the necessary order was received, and the 6th Regiment, under Colonel Jones, was dispatched first, by way of New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. The regiment at this time consisted of thirteen companies, two having been added to the original force.

Blood in the Streets of Baltimore

News of the approach of these troops, followed by details of the destruction of the arsenal and armory at Harper's Ferry, created intense excitement in Baltimore, and by the time the train bearing the Massachusetts soldiers reached the President Street station near noon on April 19, a crowd of about 500 excited men were waiting to receive them. While horses were being attached to the cars to draw them to the Camden Street station this crowd was increased to about 2,000 men, who followed the cars to the station, where another large one had gathered. On reaching Pratt Street the crowd began shouting for Jefferson Davis and the Southern Confederacy, and when near the corner of Gay Street, where there was a large heap of stones, they broke loose from all restraint and hurled these missiles on the soldier-laden cars as they passed. Every window was demolished, and several soldiers were injured.

Failing to tear up the track, the crowd made a barricade across the street. The troops back of this, comprising four companies, then alighted from the cars for the purpose of marching the remaining distance to the Camden Street station. As they started in close order, the crowd, led by a man bearing a Confederate flag on a pole, fell upon them, shouting that they should never pass through the city alive, and hurling bricks and stones into their ranks. The troops then began advancing on the " double quick "; the attack-became more furious; several soldiers were knocked down and robbed of their guns; suddenly shots began to be fired from the crowd. Up to this time the troops had offered no resistance, but when it was evident that the crowd was deter-mined on wholesale murder in order to prevent the passage of the troops, the latter prepared to defend themselves.

Baltimore Mob

Riot on the Streets of Baltimore

On reaching Gay Street, where the crowd had increased to 10,000 men, the troops turned and fired at random into their assailants. This greatly intensified the excitement. The mayor tried in vain to quell the riot, and the troops were left to fight their way through to the station. The severest of the fighting was in Pratt Street, between Gay and Bowley's wharf, near Calvert Street. From the beginning of the riot till the troops reached the Camden Street station, three of their number were killed outright, one mortally wounded, eight were seriously injured, and several others slightly. Nine citizens were killed, but how large the number of wounded was will never be known. As the train proceeded on its journey it was followed by the crowd for more than a mile, and was frequently fired into from the hills on the way. The troops reached their destination that evening, and were quartered in the Senate Chamber.

A meeting of some State and city officials was held the night of the riot, and Governor Hicks was besought for permission to destroy the bridges on lines of railroad over which it was believed other troops might be transported to Washington. Governor Hicks refused, but Marshal Kane, Mayor Brown, and President Howard of the Board of Police, organized gangs of men, who destroyed the Canton, Gunpowder, Bush, and Cockeysville bridges, and cut all telegraph wires leading out of the city, excepting the one to Harper's Ferry, then held by the Confederates. Thus all communication by railroad and telegraph between the national capital and the Northern States was severed.

The State and city authorities then undertook to obtain a pledge from the President that no more troops should be permitted to pass through the city, but he replied in substance : " I must have troops for the defense of the capital. The Carolinians are now marching across Virginia to seize the capital and hang me. What am I to do? I must have troops, I say; and as they can neither crawl under Maryland nor fly over it, they must come across it." Several delegations failed to swerve the President from his determination, and, finding this scheme fruitless, the authorities planned other measures to accomplish their purpose, but were frustrated by General Butler, who, ascertaining that Baltimore was in his department, organized an expedition that took possession of the Relay House on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, nine miles from the city, on the morning of May 5. An immense Union meeting had been held in the city on the previous evening, and from its leaders General Butler obtained such full information concerning local conditions that he was enabled to inaugurate energetic measures at once. On May 14 by a feint movement of troops he took possession of the city and established his headquarters on Federal Hill. Soon afterward the President commissioned him a major-general and assigned him to the command of a more extended military district-the Department of Virginia, which included Fort Monroe.

Nathaniel P. BanksGeneral Butler was succeeded in command of the Department of Annapolis, with headquarters in Baltimore, by General Nathaniel P. Banks, who, in June, became satisfied that Marshal Kane and the Board of Police were in league with the Confederates in a combination to assist General Beauregard to seize the national capital by preventing the passage of Union soldiers through the State and aiding Marylanders to cross into Virginia to the Confederate army. General Banks arrested Marshal Kane and the police commissioners, organized a new police force of loyal men, and soon had the city under effective control.

Baltimore Fire

On July 25, 1873, the city was visited by a conflagration in which two churches, three school-houses, and 108 other buildings were destroyed, causing a loss of $750,000, and on Sept. 2, 1888, another fire, in Hopkins Place, caused a property loss of $2,000,000, and the lives of several firemen. Its greatest disaster by fire, however, occurred on Feb. 7-8, 1904, when a territory measuring twelve by nine full city blocks and extending for more than a mile of water front was left in smoking ruins. The fire was in the business section, and only the City Hall, Court House, and United States Government Building escaped. A remarkable feature of the disaster was the fact that the casual-ties were limited to one fireman killed and less than fifty persons injured. In the adjustment of insurance claims the property loss was placed at $45,000,000, and the insurance loss at about $30,000,000.



free web hit counter


Site Copyright 2003-2018 Son of the South.  For Questions or comments about this collection,


privacy policy

Are you Scared and Confused? Read My Snake Story, a story of hope and encouragement, to help you face your fears.