Artifacts, Photos, and other related material associated with the 6th Massachusetts Vols, and Baltimore Riot of 1861.
I’m sure that practically everyone has heard the words how “history repeats itself,”and surely there is no mistaking how providence once again hurled the 6th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry to the forefront of this significant event in the early days of the American Civil War.
On April 12th, 1861, the heated words of succession and open armed conflict between North and South erupted with the devastating bombardment on Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, plunging America into four years of bloody civil conflict.
Colonel Edward F. Jones of Pepperell, Ma (home of Col. William Prescott of Bunker Hill fame) received President Abraham Lincoln’s official call for troops, through the Massachusetts Adjutant General’s Office three days later on the 15th, directing the 6th Massachusetts to depart the state for Washington. At noon on the 18th the regiment departed Boston, arriving in Philadelphia at 1:00 o’clock A.M., April 19th. Taken from the 6th Mass history comes this extract highlighting history’s repetitive powers for the “Minutemen of 1861”; “If it had been in the power of the government, for dramatic and patriotic effect, to arrange the programme in the best possible manner, could any other day have been so propitious for treason to strike down its first victims, as the anniversary of the day, on which was
“Fired that shot- heard round the world” –
at Lexington, April 19, 1775? And is it not remarkable, that some of the descendants of the very men who then shed their blood in the beginning of the first great war for independence, should have been the first to fall in the last, and that, too, on the same immortal day? The nineteenth of April will, hereafter, unite Lexington and Baltimore on the page of American history; for each begun a long and bloody war, and Middlesex county was represented in both conflicts.”
I can’t know how you react to this historical repetition, or similar enlightening events, but it gives me an epiphany that charges through me. Trying to grasp that deeper meaning is for another time, but it is so compelling to truly comprehend the its cause and effect….again and again.
Once the regiment arrived in Philadelphia, Colonel Jones had received information that word coming from Baltimore was that trouble was brewing, causing the colonel to inquire of railroad officials at to the availability of transportation through Baltimore, thus avoiding any open conflict with the citizenry there. Railroad officials in Baltimore assured constantly that no trouble would occur unless the regiment provoked it.
The arrival of the 6th Mass in Baltimore at 10:00 A.M. took the city by surprise, but very quickly any assurances made previously where lost in the immediate confusion and the growing mobs now prevented safe and organized passage through the city. Clubs, bricks, rocks, anything that could used by the mob now had officer’s of the regiment concerned about the ranks opening fire on civilians, which they had been ordered prior to their arrival in Baltimore not to do.
Do to the many obstructions of the track, or that simply torn up across the city, transportation for four remaining companies was not forth coming. The mob had grown to an estimated 10,000, “the air was filled with yells, oaths, taunts, all sorts of missiles, and soon pistol and musket shots.” The officer who, at the desire of the other officers in the regiment decided to take command of the four companies was Captain Albert S. Follansbee, who now gave orders to the soldiers to fire at will. Through the danger proceeded the column in the following order, Co. C, I, L, and lastly Co.D. Finally making it to the station, amid the carnage, four men from the column had been killed, and about 36 wounded soldiers; several of them left in Baltimore and the bulk of the wounded brought with the regiment to Washington and sent to hospital there. Colonel Jones later said of Captain Follansbee, “..proved himself worthy of the confidence which I had always placed in him, and never after, while under my command, did he do aught to sacrifice one particle of the esteem and respect I entertained for him.” On their way to the seat of war, the first bloodshed had been spilt in a northern city, with unfortunately, a numerous constituency of southern sympathizers.
There is too much history to every attempt to convey it all here, but more will come forth as the following items from this collection are described in detail. I thought about breaking the material up for obvious business concerns, but having concluded to give a great effort in keeping together this history seems the likely course at present. Nearly all of this collection came from one source and a good deal of the material was framed for display. I have left it that state for convenience and simply because it is more impressive that way.
- Lot of 3 framed carte de visites; Colonel Edward F. Jones, commander of the 6th Massachusetts (3 Month Regiment), signed on the reverse, no back mark. Col. Jones was a 32 year old merchant from Pepperell, Ma.; formally a member of the Prescott Guard of the town, named after Colonel Wm. Prescott, who had command of the militia at Bunker Hill in Charlestown, Ma in June, 1775. He is know for saying the words, “Do not fire until you see the whites of their eyes.” Jones would later command the 26th Mass. Regiment, retiring in 1862. Breveted Brigadier General in March, 1865 for gallant and meritorious service during the war. Excellent photo quality; the signature is bold. The next cdv I believe is signed by Beal; Back mark “Warren, Lowell and Cambridgeport. Lieutenant Colonel Melvin Beal was commissioned a 2nd Lt., mustering into Co. “F” of the 6th Mass Inf. (3 Months) on April 1861 to August, 1861, rising in rank in that regiment to captain then Lt. Col. Commissioned into the 6th Mass Inf. (9 Months) in September 1862 as Lt. Colonel. Also as Lt.Col. of the 6th Mass. Inf. (100 Days) July to October,1864. Beal was from Lawrence, Ma. a painter before the war. Excellent photo quality. Sergeant George W. Snell enlisted in Co. “A” of the 3 Month regiment and later in the 9 month regiment as well attaining the ranks, 1st Sergeant, 2nd and 1st Lieutenant. He was a machinist from Lowell, Ma. Excellent photo quality and possibly signed on the reverse, back marked, “N.C. Sanborn, Lowell.” All three images are mounted and framed with backs visible and protected by glass.
- CDV of Colonel Edward F. Jones in a standing pose, wearing a non- regulation slouch hat of a light color, perhaps, grey or tan. The left is pinned up with the use of a black silk cockade and presumably a button as seen on officer’s Hardee hats. The photo quality is very good to fine with the mount corners clipped and shorted at the bottom. The photographers name is not present, but visible is “Lowell.” Possibly taken before taking command of the 26th Mass.
- CDV of Major Thomas Otis Allen enlisted in April of 1861 as a sergeant in Co. “C,” under Captain Follanbee’s command. He was in the lead company through the streets of Baltimore on April 19, 1861. Allen was from Lowell, and served in all three of the 6th Massachusetts’ regiments later as adjutant and finally as Major in the 100 Day unit. Back marked N.C. Sanborn, Lowell, photo quality is very good.
- CDV of Eben H. Ellenwood of Lawrence, Ma. a stonecutter who enlisted into the 6th Mass as a 3rd Lieutenant in April of 1861, commissioned into Co. “I,” one of the four companies that marched through the Baltimore. As a 1st Lieutenant he served in the subsequent 6th Mass regiment, raised for 9 months service. On May 10, 1864 he was mustered into the 8th Company Mass. Unattached Infantry for three month service. The photograph is Hall from Lawrence. Ellenwood signed the reverse, “Lieut. E. H. Ellenwood, with regards.” Signed in light pencil. Photo quality very good.
- CDV of Augustine L. Hamilton of Lawrence, another Lieutenant in company “I,” a 25 year old mason who was on the roster for this company, a member of the original “Lawrence Light Infantry, having enlisted in 1860. He was also commissioned a captain in the 9 months 6th Mass. In May of 1864 he was commissioned into the 8th Company Mass. Unattached Infantry. Back mark for photographer Hall, Lawrence, Mass. Photo quality is very good, and clean condition.
- CDV of yet another of Company “I,” Lieutenant Frederic G. Tyler of Lawrence who was commissioned in the 9 month regiment, but enlisted as a corporal in Co. I in the 3 month regiment that went through Baltimore. He was also in the 8th Co. Mass. Unattached Infantry. He held rank from corporal, 1st Sergeant and 2nd Lieutenant. Tyler signed the reverse, ” F.G. Tyler, 2d. Lieut. Co. ‘I’ 6th. Mass. Vols.” The photographer Hall, Lawrence. Photo quality is very good. Notice, the small numeral “6” on the slouch hat versus the large embroidered bullion infantry horn insignia. Lt. Hamilton in the last item wore the same simple numeral on his slouch hat.
- CDV of John Henry Symonds of Boston a 28 year old reporter who enlisted as a private on April 16th, 1861 into company “K” of the 3 month regiment. In September of that same year, Symonds was commissioned a 2nd Lt. in Company “D” of the 22nd Mass Infantry, later being promoted to 1st lieutenant and captain before resigning in August of 1863. In this image John Henry is wearing the uniform of a company grade officer, no doubt taken when serving in the 22nd Mass. Note he has opted to wear a Massachusetts two piece belt plate that he probably wore with his old uniform in the 6th Mass. He signed the cdv below the image on the mount; a bit weak, non-the-less signed. The image is by Brady, Washington. Photo quality about fine.
- Framed print of the Baltimore Riot of 1861 entitled, “Attack Of The Massachusetts 6th At Baltimore, April 19th, 1861.” This steel engraving by O. Pelton after William Momberger, C-1862. The engraved print has been hand tinted; image size is 5×7. In excellent condition. The print captures the ferocity of the mob as it attacks the 6th Mass and Pennsylvania troops near the train station. A multitude of weapons can be seen here, muskets, knives, clubs, rocks and other objects being hurled at the soldiers who at this point were free to return fire on the mob.
- 1850 Foot Officer’s Sword, made by C. Roby & Co., W, Chelmsford, Mass, “Presented to Lt. J.F. Rowe by the Stoneham Light Infantry.”The 31 inch blade is wonderfully etched: the left side of the blade from hilt to tip, an eagle from neck upward-a military camp scene with troops at drill- “U.S.- a panoply of arms surmounted by the federal shield- an eternal flame atop wavy vines with a banner within that reads: “April 19th, 1861.” The right side begins with the etched name of the maker-the same bust of the eagle-a small flurry of oak leaves and acorns-a panoply of drums and crossed flags- another eagle mounted upon a federal shield with a banner in the beak that reads, “Union”- another panoply similar to the lower one and finished with wavy foliage. The blade retains most of the original bright etchings on frosty backgrounds. The hilt has little gilt remaining but an even overall patina gives the brass an untouched look. The grip is shagreen, finished with a simple finely twisted wire wrap. The scabbard has all the original mountings of brass; the upper mount bears the presentation. The leather shows typical wear with chipping, crackling and a few areas of were the stitching has been broken; there may be a brake under the middle mount, so care should be taken when examining. The retaining screw is missing from the drag. James F. Rowe of Stoneham was commissioned into Co. “L” of the 6th Mass. Infantry in April of 1861, and was wounded in the head by a brick thrown from a window when Captain Follansbee four companies tried marching on Pratt Street, Baltimore. It is nearly certain he is the first officer wounded in the Civil War. (Some may say it was not a combat wound-imagine the reaction from hearing that from any of the men hoping to survive Baltimore that morning). Although the presentation was not dated on the sword, It may be assumed that the sword was given by the fellow members of the Stoneham Light Infantry upon the return of the regiment to Massachusetts and prior to Rowe’s taking a commission in the 33rd Mass Infantry in July of 1862, the key being the “April 19th, 1861” date on the blade. The 33rd Mass saw some heavy fighting, first in the Army of the Potomac and then serving in the western theater in General Sherman’s army and it’s march to the sea. Lieutenant Rowe was with his regiment in the field for many engagements including Gettysburg-Resaca, Ga.- Kennesaw Mountain, Ga.- and various engagements through North Carolina to the coast. The history of the 6th Mass makes mention that Rowe served on the staffs of Hooker, Howard and Mower. Lt. Rowe fought the entire war, mustering out on June 11, 1865, attaining the rank of captain from August of 1863. A great sword with an fabulous history.
- Patriotic cover, dedicated to the 6th Regiment Mass. Volunteer Militia with an engraved bust of one of the fallen soldier at the Baltimore Riot, Private Luther C. Ladd, from Alexandria, New Hampshire. He was shot and bleed to death on April 19th. This is an un-used cover in very good condition; framed. Overall size is 6 1/2x 9 inches. It is interesting to note that of the 4 men killed at Baltimore, one (Ladd) was from New Hampshire, 2 were from Maine, and the last is unknown.
- Two more un-used patriotic cover relating to the 6th Mass. The first is a small, narrow cover bearing the seal of Massachusetts, making reference to April 19th, 1861; The other, printed in red, has a spread winged eagle and a brief poem of the event. Both are in fine plus condition.
- “The Slain At Baltimore” is what some say fits into the song sheet category. Although not dated most likely concurrent with the late events at the Baltimore Riots. Printed by A.W. Auner, Song Publisher, N.W. Cor. 8th and Market Sts., Philadelphia. The composer or writer is only known by the initials, “G.S.S.” Framed and approximate sheet size is 6 x 9 inches. Fine condition with light toning
- A period printed broadside advertising the “Attack of the Massachusetts Troops at Baltimore ——-se Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.” This unfortunately has only one half of a large sheet on newspaper; a Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper printed in German. The remaining half measures 16 x 21 approximately. It is assumed that when this sudden major news story came to light, the window of the printers posted this impromptu printed broadside, by simply using an handy newspaper lying about. True ephemera.
- Soldiers Pass made out by his company commander for a Corporal J.W. Haskell of Company “F,” 6th M.V.M. and signed by Captain Henry W. (Warren) Wilson. Both of these men were member of the 6th Mass 100 Day regiment, and both where from Boston.The note was contained in an envelope simply addressed, ” Corporal Haskell- Co F. – Sixth Mass. Reg’t.” The note is hard to make out as it bears two endorsements over the original pass in Wilson’s hand. The pass reads. “Guards and Patrols well pass Corporal J.W. Haskell of Co. F. 6th M.V.M. from 8 A.M. to 6 P.M. Aug 2d. 1864, Henry W. Wilson, Capt. Co. F. 6th Regt.” The first endorsement written on the vertical, “Approved A.S. Follansbee, Col 6th Mass Vols.” The other is, “Approved by Com’d of ?, 2nd N.Y. Art’y (very hard to make out).” Corporal Haskell, a machinist by trade, served only in this one regiment. Captain Wilson as well served only in this unit, a civil engineer who made his home Boston before and after the war. The pass is framed; pass size is 3 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches and in very good condition.
- Framed CDV of Colonel Albert S. Follansbee, seated, holding forage cap, and sword. No photographer information. Photo quality is very good.
- Colonel Follansbee’s slouch hat which he most likely wore after his stint with the 3 month regiment that went through Baltimore. The hat was deaccessioned from the Chicago Historical Society in 1974 by evidence of an official letter issued from that society and signed y Herbert G. Howe, Curator of Weapons & Military History. Colonel Follansbee had removed from Massachusetts after the war to Chicago and passed away in 1891. His remains were buried in Mount Prospect Cemetery, Amesbury, Mass. Records indicate the hat being donated by Dr. Wm. K. Harrison of Chicago to the Society in 1919. It is believed the Dr. obtained the hat from the 1911 sale of the James W. Eldridge Collection. I am of the opinion that this hat was worn during Follansbee’s colonelcy of the 9th month regiment, as in several photos of the other officers of the period and unit, they are viewed as wear identical slouch hats. Although it is a bit late to worry about space, I have taken a close shot of the description on the letter to same me time. The current condition is very good considering the age and the wear the hat no doubt absorbed during its war service and after. The crown of the hat has 5 finger tip sized holes from wear around the folds there. There is one separation at the brim on the left front for about 2 inches; the hat cord and 6th Mass Infantry horn insignia are very good. The interior shows heavy wear to the very wide sweatband and soiled red silk lining. A round tag placed by the Society reads, “Col. Albert S. Follansbee, Gift W.K. Harrison, 9/11/19. The history of the two regiment for its 9 month period was its being engages in the fall and winter in the in the Blackwater region, and in the spring took part in the defense of Suffolk, Virginia, while that city was menaced by a large force under the command of General Longstreet. At Carrsville, Va., May 14-16, 1863, the 6th Mass was engaged in combat with loss to the command. After the siege had ended the regiment returned to Boston, mustering out on the 26th of May, 1864. The history of the 100 Day regiment under Follansbee’s command served in the defenses of Washington, and for the remainder of its time of service were employed as guards over 7000 confederate prisoners of war held at Fort Delaware and were mustered out in October of 1864. A scarce item belonging to a heroic officer who saw service throughout much of the war. The letter from the Chicago Historical Society is framed.
- Printed and hand embellished Civil War service escutcheon for 1st Lieutenant Eugene J. Mason, an officer in the 6th Mass. and a veteran of Co. “I,” one of Follansbee’s companies that went through the Baltimore Riots of ’61, and an officer of the 40th Mass. Infantry. The escutcheon is unframed had has some staining at the bottom of the paper going slightly into the escutcheon itself, and some tears and folds are found along the edges, but would frame nicely and display very well. The history is great, as not many come to light concerning such an important unit and event so early in the war. Mason’s rank straps, unit affiliations, corps badge, insignia, and a list of all his engagements are found here painted in gold leaf. The Massachusetts seal is seen front and center. Among the battles are; Baltimore, Capture of Marshal Kane and the Ross Winan’s Steam Gun, Defenses of Washington. His service in the 40th Mass was brief as he was discharged for disability 4 months after being commission. He was a Merchant from Lawrence, Mass. Size of the escutcheon is 18 x 24 inches.
- CDV of the Ladd & Whitney Monument, Lawrence, Mass, June 17, 1865. Photographed by S. Towle, Lowell, Ma. The condition is superb with excellent photo quality. The monument was made by Runels, Clough & Co. and erected in Merrimack, “hereafter Monument Square.” It was to be dedicated on the 19th on the anniversary of the event, but the death of President Lincoln postponed the dedication until June 17th. The monument was 27 feet and 6 inches high. The one of the plinths reads: “Addison O. Whitney, Born in Waldo, Me., Oct. 30, 1839. Luther C. Ladd, Born in Alexandria, N.H., Dec. 22, 1843. Marched from Lowell in the 6 M.V.M. to the Defence of the National Capital, And fell mortally wounded in the attack On their regiment while passing through Baltimore, April, 19, 1861. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, And the City of Lowell, Dedicates this monument to their memory, April 19, 1865.”
- Print of George Proctor Kane, Marshal of Police, City of Baltimore. Printed by the Franklin Engraving & Printing Co., New York. Framed and oval matted with print view size 7 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches, and in very good condition. Kane was also the 26th Mayor of Baltimore 1877-78. Although there was no doubt about his southern sympathies, Kane did his best to aid in seeing the Massachusetts troops through the city, using his armed police to form a line between the mob and the soldiers, threatening the mob with a volley of pistols. He was also linked to a plot in Abraham Lincoln’s presidency to aid in an assassination attempt, which he vehemently denied. A nice illustrated piece of one of the major players in the events of April 19th.
- Print of Thomas Holliday Hicks, Governor of the State of Maryland 1861. In looking up this print I found virtually no information regarding a date of printing or who made it. Approximate size is 8 x 11 viewed size; framed. Governor Hicks was a pro-slavery -but anti secessionist. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1864 and endorsed Abraham Lincoln’s re-election. He died shortly after that. Writing to the president on April 22, 1861, Hick stated in his letter that it not be advisable to send any additional troops through Baltimore. Like the Kane print, this one as well makes a great illustrated companion piece to the collection.
- 9th Plate Ambrotype of a soldier in a frock coat, holding his forage cap. The case is identified in period pencil, “Sgt. E. 6th Mass.” I have not done any major research on this ID. Photo by Davis & Co, Boston. The photo has a patriotic gilt mat, and the leatherette case is in very good condition as is the photo.
- Cabinet Card of Gilbert P. Converse. Converse was mustered into Co. “F” 6th Mass. Inf. on April 16, 1861 as a corporal. He was a 20 year old from Lawrence, Mass. He later was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, Post 144, (Charles W. Carroll) in Dedham, Mass. He died in 1908. Converse is seen here in this dated 1891 image wearing his G.A.R. uniform, decked out in membership badge, and floral boutonniere, white leather belt and buckle, kepi, while holding his sword. Photographed by A.A. Smith, Dedham, Mass. The image is identified on the reverse. Photo quality is excellent.
- Historical Sketch of the Old Sixth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers during Its Three Campaigns in 1861-1862-1863 and 1864. By John W. Hanson, published by Lee and Shepard, Boston, 1866, first edition. Hardcover in brown cloth with gilt stamping on boards and spine. Spine is very good with just the back paper torn at the folds. A good copy, illustrated with photos of many of the officers, etc, monument.
- History and Complete Roster of the Massachusetts Regiments, Minute Men of ’61, who responded to the First Call of President Abraham Lincoln, April 15, 1861, to defend the Flag and Constitution of the United States, Together with photographs and Biological Sketches of Minute Men of Massachusetts, By George W. Nason. Published by Smith & McCance, Boston, 1910. Ex Libris copy, good condition, worn on the corners, spine inside and out. Holding well together, and an excellent source for images of the men having served in these early Mass. regiments.
There is so much to take in here I realize. The internet provides a good source for reading up further on the history of these three Mass regiments, primarily the 3 month regiment. I truly want to keep the collection together, and won’t entertain breaking it up for at least a year. Here is one more time consuming poem from the 6th Mass history which really brings home the lasting significance of this event and how it connect of closely with the past. It is important to note that Pennsylvania volunteers, “The First Defenders,” later formed into the 48th PVI had the distinction of being the first troops to arrive in Washington, answering President Lincoln’s call for 75,000 troops shortly after the firing on Fort Sumter. They are included in this poem as well
The Men Who Fell in Baltimore
Dedicated to the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment
By J. W. Forney
Our country’s call awake the land
From mountain height to ocean strand.
The Old Keystone, the Bay State, too,
In all her direct dangers true,
Resolved to answer to her cry,
For her to bleed, for her to die;
And so they marched, their flag before,
For Washington, through Baltimore.
Our men from Berks and Schuylkill came –
Lehigh and Mifflin in their train,
First in the field they sought the way,
Hearts beating high and spirits gay;
Heard the wild yells of fiendish spite,
Of armed mobs on left and right;
But on they marched, their flag before,
For Washington, through Baltimore.
Next came the Massaschusetts men,
Gathered from city, glade and glen;
No hate for South, but love for all,
They answered to their country’s call.
The path to them seemed broad and bright,
They sought no foeman and no fight,
As on they marched, their flag before,
New England’s braves, through Baltimore.
But when they showed their martial pride,
And closed their glittering columns wide,
They found their welcome in the fire,
Of maddened foes and demons dire,
Who, like the fiends from hell sent forth,
Attacked these heroes of the North;
These heroes bold, with travel sore,
While on their way through Baltimore.
From every stifling den and street,
They rushed the gallant band to meet –
Forgot the cause they came to save –
Forgot that those they struck were brave—
For the dearest ties of blood
That bound them in one brotherhood –
Forgot the flag that floated o’er
Their countrymen in Baltimore.
And the great song their son had penned,
To rally freemen to defend
The banner of the stripes and stars,
That makes victorious all our wars,
Was laughed to scorn, as madly then
They greeted all the gallant men
Who came from Massachusetts shore
To Washington, through Baltimore.
And when, with wildest grief, at last,
They saw their comrades falling fast,
Full on the assassins in their track,
They wheeled, and drove the cowards back.
Then, with their hearts o’erwhelmed with woe,
Measured their progress, stern and slow;
Their wounded on their shoulders bore
To Washington, through Baltimore.
Yet, while New England mourns her dead,
The blood by Treason foully shed,
Like that which flowed at Lexington,
When Freedom’s earliest fight begun.
Will make the day, the month, the year,
To every patriot’s memory dear.
Sons of great fathers gone before,
They fell for Right at Baltimore.
As over every honored grave,
Where sleeps the “unreturning brave,”
A mother sobs, a young wife moans,
A father for his lost one groans,
Oh I let the people ne’er forget
Our deep, enduring, lasting debt
To those who left their native shore
And died for us in Baltimore.