An Alarm Of Fire

This article from the July 21, 1877 issue of the Baltimore American describes the mob setting fire to railroad passenger cars and an engine.

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was sounded, and a light appeared on Ohio avenue, at Lee street. The enraged populace had set on fire three passenger cars attached to an engine. Shortly after the south end of the passenger platform was seen to be one fire. Whether it was set on fire or caught from the burning cars was not known. The fact that both were on fire at nearly the same time would indicate that the shed was also intentionally fired. Several engines were soon on the ground, and laid out their hose and started the pumps of the engines to put out the flames. For some time after the arrival of the Department no water was thrown upon the burning cars, and the impression rapidly spread that the mob would not permit them to put out the flames. Great consternation prevailed among those in the crowd who were not in sympathy with the mob, and the people living in the vicinity became greatly alarmed. The fear was general that the mob intended to burn the depot, and probably other property of the Railroad Company, and not a few expressed fears that they would burn the city.

These fears fortunately were not realized. The firemen finally went to work and extinguished the burning shed. A good portion of the roof was destroyed, and the train dispatcher's telegraph station damaged. Three passenger cars, a passenger locomotive and the switchman's house at Lee street were destroyed. During the enactment of these exciting scenes outside the depot the soldiers remained in the cars or on the platform. Mayor Latrobe, Gen. Herbert, Mr. James A. Buchanan, City Solicitor, Mr. John King, Jr., and other officials of the Company and prominent citizens were in conferences in the Vice President's room devising some plan of procedure to quell the disturbance and get out of the difficulty, which was freely acknowledged to be fraught with serious consequences, involving perhaps the safety of a part of the city. It was agreed that the Mayor should issue a proclamation, which was accordingly done at once.

Geo. Berkley was driven from engine No. 410, that was to have taken out the troops. The engine was cut loose and allowed to run at full speed until it collided with an Annapolis and Elkridge coach [?] it on fire. The fans of the furnace were [?] on and the fires heated to a pitch that destroyed the iron, thus leaving the engine unfit for use. Engine No. 407 was also cut loose. Engineer J. Shepherd was driven from his post. This engine ran into two cars which were wrecked. About a dozen cars and engines, all wrecked, lay about the tracks outside the depot.

About this Document

  • Source: Baltimore American
  • Date: July 21, 1877