April 19, 2011 is the 150 th anniversary of the first combat deaths in the conflict of what is commonly referred to as the "Civil War". The story of the first combat deaths is remarkable because the conflict was not between the Union and Confederate armies but between the citizens of Maryland and the Massachusetts infantry. Here are the facts:
1. On April 19, 1861, Baltimore residents , who wanted their state to remain neutral, blocked the route of the 6th Massachusetts Infantry while they marched through part of Baltimore from one set of rail cars to another as they were traveling to Washington D.C.
2. As the soldiers tried to force their way through the blockcade, they were pelted with rocks and bottles. They then opened fire on the crowd according to the report of the Baltimore police commissioners
3. Individuals who were armed with revolvers in the crowd returned the fire and more infantrymen began firing into the crowd. Twelve Maryland citizens and four infantry members were killed
4. Dozens of Massachusetts soldiers and Maryland citizens were wounded and the first act of aid described by Clara Barton, founder of the Red Cross, was helping the wounded infantry soldiers
5. Maryland Governor, Thomas Holiday Hicks, invoked his state's rights and requested that Abraham Lincoln send no more troops through Maryland, however, Lincoln refused to honor the request
6. On April 22, 1861, Abraham Lincoln began sending federal troops under the direction of General Benjamin Butler to occupy Annapolis, Baltimore and other Maryland cities for the duration of the war
7. During the same time, Gov. Hicks convened a special session of the legislature in Frederick Maryland, where the legislature discussed secession, attempted to remain neutral, refused to reopen rail links to the north and sent a letter to Abraham Lincoln protesting federal occupation of Maryland
8. On August 7, 1861 as the legislature adjourned, Lincoln's federal troops arrested and imprisoned for years without trial members of the legislature who were known to favor neutrality or secession
9. Those imprisoned at Fort McHenry, Point Lookout or Fort Lafayette included 30 state legislators, a U.S. Congressman, Baltimore police commissioners, most City Council members and Mayor George W. Brown
10. Also at that time in 1861, Lincoln began imprisoning hundreds of newspaper editors or publishers including Baltimore Exchange editor, Francis Key Howard, grandson of "The Star Spangled Banner" author
11. The Baltimore riots, imprisonment of legislators and federal occupation inspired James Ryder Randall to write the lyrics that document these dilemmas in what is now the state song, "Maryland, My Maryland"
12. On May 25 1861, John Merryman, who became the Maryland state treasurer, was arrested while carrying out orders from Gov. Hicks to block northern bridges so that the Union army could not enter Maryland
13. Merryman petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for a Writ of Habeas Corpus. Chief Justice, Roger Taney, agreed to hear his case but General George Cadwalader refused to bring Merryman and appear in court.
14. Chief Justice Taney then issued his legendary opinion, entitled ex. Parte Merryman, that emphatically states how the President and the General had overstepped U.S. Constitutional bounds
15. Abraham Lincoln responded by giving Ward Hill Laman, federal marshal for the District of Columbia, an arrest warrant for Chief Justice Taney. According to Laman, Lincoln told him he could use his discretion in deciding to make the arrest unless he received further orders. Laman decided not to carry out the order
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