Statement Of An Eye-Witness

This article from the July 21, 1877 issue of the Baltimore American gives an eye-witness account of the confrontation between the military and the rioters.

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When the detachment of the Sixth Regiment soldiers, under Captain Tapham, reached Frederick street, the attention of the people on the sidewalks about Holliday street was directed to some confusion in rear of the troops, sounds of missiles striking the pavement, and one or two shots were heard as if from pistols. Shortly after some yells were heard and more shots. These were soon followed by about half a dozen shots as if from muskets. At this time the soldiers were seen marching on the north side of the car track in compact column[s], and singularly enough, as in line of battle, two or three deep, the captain in front. The men were marching at a quick step, and kept well together. When near Gay street, above Frederick, several more shots were heard, and at Holliday street there was quite a fusillade from the soldiers, who turned slightly to the rear, toward the crowd following, the most of whom were on the sidewalks. A street car was stopped at this point in the street, and just here the whistling of a ball was heard fired from the crowd following the soldiers. Between Holliday and South streets the soldiers fired many times. About the time the shot was heard from the crowd the commanding offier turned to his men and said: "Fire back on them, men." The firing was brisk from South street to Calvert street, and was continued until near Light street. The firing from the soldiers came from those in the rear of the two ranks in which they were marching, and was quickly done by turning round to the rear. They did not seem to take aim, and many of the shots were too high to hit. Some shots were fired in the air. There were at least 150 shots fired between Gay street to Calvert street. Some bystanders estimated the number to be much greater. At no time while the firing was witnessed was a large crowd seen behind or immediately following the troops, and what were in view were one the sidewalks. About five minutes after the troops had passed by the corners of South and Holliday streets a crowd of about one hundred greatly excited men followed - but at a safe distance. B[?] two men were seen to fall, one at Holliday street within the distance described. In only one of them were any passengers noticed. The excitement succeeding the unfortunate affair was very great. There was, however, very little noise beyond that produced by the firing and the people running away from the danger. The sidewalks on Baltimore street and the streets crossing it were greatly crowded with people in front of the troops, but they rapidly got out of the way as the troops advanced.

About this Document

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