Runaway Slave Advertisements During the Revolutionary War Era

Introduction

Runaway advertisements and Notices of Committal are some of the most rewarding sources for ascertaining the movement, motivation, and destination of enslaved persons have have taken flight. Runaway ads were placed by slave owners or their representatives in newspapers. These selection of the press in which to post such ads was aimed at recapture of the fugitive, so often ads were placed in papers outside of the slave’s farm or plantation site. Out-of-State owners, especially Virginians, advertised in Maryland’s press for the state represented the last obstacle to the “free” North. Committal Notices were announcements of capture and detainment of persons suspected of being fugitives from slavery. Not being able to prove their free status, persons so detained faced return to their masters (if they were fugitives), or sale into slavery at the benefit of the county (if no owner claimed the detainee). Only those able to prove their free status, by document or corroboration of status from white persons, were released. Owners seeking fugitives knew that is was to their advantage to give as complete a description of the person being sought as possible. Names and aliases, gender, age, physical features, and distinguishing marks, clothing and apparel are the most basic components. Often a biographical sketch was included. This gave highlights about the fugitive’s friends and familial connections in other parts of the state or region. The picture that emerges is one of a slave community that was not necessarily bounded by the farm or plantation property lines. Many times, advertisers would give hints as to why the enslaved person may have taken flight. While such insights reflected masters’ perceptions of the enslaved’s world, and are frequently biased, the descriptive quality nonetheless provides researchers with valuable tools for understanding slave psychology as well as the give-and-take relationship between members of Maryland’s slave society.

From: Beneath the Underground: The Flight to Freedom and Communities in Antebellum Maryland

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades K-4:

Topic 1: Living and Working Together in Families and Communities, Now and Long Ago 

STANDARD 1: Family life now and in the recent past; family life in various places long ago. 

Standard 1A: The student understands family life now and in the recent past; family life in various places long ago. 

K-4: For various cultures represented in the classroom, compare and contrast family life now with family life over time and between various cultures and consider such things as communication, technology, homes, transportation, recreation, school and cultural traditions. [Distinguish between past and present]

Standard 1B: The student understands the different ways people of diverse racial, religious, and ethnic groups, and of various national origins have transmitted their beliefs and values.

K-4: Explain the ways that families long ago expressed and transmitted their beliefs and values through oral traditions, literature, songs, art, religion, community celebrations, mementos, food, and language. [Obtain historical data]
3-4: Compare the dreams and ideals that people from various groups have sought, some of the problems they encountered in realizing their dreams, and the sources of strength and determination that families drew upon and shared. [Compare and contrast]

STANDARD 2: The history of students’ own local community and how communities in North America varied long ago.

Standard 2A: The student understands the history of his or her local community.

3-4: Identify a problem in the community’s past, analyzing the different perspectives of those involved, and evaluate choices people had and the solution they chose. [Identify issues and problems in the past]

Standard 2B The student understands how communities in North America varied long ago.

K-4: Draw upon written and visual sources and describe the historical development and daily life of a colonial community such as Plymouth, Williamsburg, St. Augustine, San Antonio, and Fort Vincennes, in order to create a historical narrative, mural, or dramatization of daily life in that place long ago. [Construct a historical narrative]
3-4: Describe and compare daily life in ethnically diverse urban communities long ago, such as a free African American community in Philadelphia, an Italian community in New York, or a Chinese community in San Francisco. [Draw upon visual data and read historical narratives imaginatively]

Primary Resources

  1. DESCRIPTION: Fugitive slave advertisement for LESTER, CAESAR, ISAAC, and MINGO placed by William Bull, New York
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: October 27, 1763
    NOTES: See Conditions of Use
    SOURCE: New-York Gazette; or, the Weekly Post-Boy, October 27, 1763; published in Graham R. Hodges and Alan E. Brown, eds., Pretends to Be Free: Runaway Slave Advertisements from Colonial and Revolutionary New York and New Jersey (New York, 1994). See The Atlantic Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Americas: A Visual Record

RUN AWAY

THE 18th Instant at Night from the Subscriber, in the City of Ney-York, four Negro Men, Viz. LESTER, about 40 Years of Age, had on a white Flannel Jacket and Drawers, Duck Trowsers and Home-spun Shirt. CAESAR, about 18 Years of Age, clothed in the same Manner. ISAAC, aged 17 Years cloathed in the same Manner, except that his Breeches were Leather; and MINGO, 15 Years of Age, with the same Clothing as the 2 first, all of them of a middling Size, Whoever delivers either of the said Negroes to the Subscribe, shall receive TWENTY SHILLINGS Reward for each beside all reasonable Charges. If any person can give Intelligences of their being harbour’d, a reward of TEN POUNDS will be paid upon conviction of the Offender. All Masters of Vessels and others are forwarn’d not to Transport them from the City, as I am resolved to prosecute as far as the Law will allow.

WILLIAM BULL.

N.B. If the Negroes return, they shall be pardon’d.

2. DESCRIPTION: Fugitive slave advertisement for BOOD placed by Wilson Hunt, New York
DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: October 27, 1763
NOTES: See Conditions of Use
SOURCE: New-York Gazette; or, the Weekly Post-Boy, October 27, 1763; published in Graham R. Hodges and Alan E. Brown, eds., Pretends to Be Free: Runaway Slave Advertisements from Colonial and Revolutionary New York and New Jersey (New York, 1994). See The Atlantic Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Americas: A Visual Record

HIRTY DOLLARS REWARD

RUN-AWAY from the Subscriber, the 16th of September last, a Negro Man named BOOD, about 38 Years old, 5 Feet 10 Inches high, yellow Complexion, thin Visage, has had the Small Pox; his great Toes have been froze, and have only little Pieces of Nails on them: He is much addicted to strong Liquor, and when drunk very noisy and troublesome. Whoever takes up said Slave, and bring him home, or secures him in Gaol, so that his Master may get him again, shall be intitled to the above Reward of THIRTY DOLLARS, paid by

WILSON HUNT.

Any Person who takes up said Negro, is cautioned to be particularly careful that he does not make his Escape, as he is a remarkable stout, cunning, artful Fellow.

Hunterdon-County,
Maidenhead, December 20, 1766.

DESCRIPTION: Fugitive slave advertisement for SANDY placed by Thomas Jefferson, Virginia
DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Sept. 14, 1769
NOTES: See Conditions of Use
SOURCE: Virginia Gazette, Sept. 14, 1769. See The Atlantic Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Americas: A Visual Record

RUN away from the subscriber in Albemarle, a Mulatto slave called Sandy, about 35 years of age, his stature is rather low, inclining to corpulence, and his complexion light; he is a shoemaker by trade, in which he uses his left hand principally, can do coarse carpenters work, and is something of a horse jockey; he is greatly addicted to drink, and when drunk is insolent and disorderly, in his conversation he swears much, and in his behaviour is artful and knavish. He took with him a white horse, much scarred with traces, of which it is expected he will endeavour to dispose; he also carried his shoemakers tools, and will probably endeavour to get employment that way. Whoever conveys the said slave to me, in Albemarle, shall have 40 s. reward, if taken up within the county, 4 l. if elsewhere within the colony, and 10 l. if in any other colony, from

THOMAS JEFFERSON.

DESCRIPTION:  Fugitive slave advertisement for TOM placed by James Jordan, Maryland
DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  January 16, 1775
SOURCE:  Maryland Gazette Collection, MSA SC 2313
REPOSITORY:  Maryland State Archives

RAN away from the subscriber, living in St. Mary’s county, Maryland, on the 4th of November last, a mulatto man slave, named Tom, about fifty years of age, five feet nine or ten inches high, by trade a carpenter and cooper; he formerly did belong to Philip Key, Esq; at which time he resided chiefly at Beed’s creek, and it is supposed that he is now harboured somewhere in that neighborhood; one of his knees is swelled, which causes him to limp. He has lost the fore finger of his left hand, it was cut off some years ago: had with him many good cloaths of different sorts, and a set of carpenter’s tools; he is an artful deceitful villain, and may endeavour to pass for a free man. Whoever secures him in such a manner that I may have him again, shall receive six dollars reward, and if brought home, reasonable charges paid, by

JAMES JORDAN

DESCRIPTION:  Fugitive slave advertisement for JAMES MASON placed by Walter Beall, Maryland
DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  April 6, 1775
SOURCE:  Maryland Gazette Collection, MSA SC 2313
REPOSITORY:  Maryland State Archives

FIVE POUNDS REWARD,

RAN away from the subscriber, living in Frederick county, near Bladensburgh, a likely mulatto fellow named James Mason. He is about 5 feet nine or 10 inches high, has short black hair curled behind, and is a straight well made active fellow, of about twenty-seven years of age. He understands a little of the blacksmith’s business, and is a tolerable good waggoner: he had on, when he went away, a brown cloth coat, an old double breasted jacket, a pair of white [ ] or fustian breeches, a white shirt, a new hat with a white band and loop, and a pair of [] buckles in his shoes. As he is a sensible, artful fellow, it is probable he may have a forged pass, or a discharged indenture from some of his acquaintances, and may endeavour to pass as a freeman. Whoever takes up the said slave, and secures him in any jail so as I may get him again, shall have the above reward, and if brought home, their travelling expenses, paid by

WALTER BEALL

DESCRIPTION:  Fugitive slave advertisement for SAM LOCKER placed by Benjamin Brookes, Maryland
DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  May 25, 1775
SOURCE:  Maryland Gazette Collection, MSA SC 2313
REPOSITORY:  Maryland State Archives

SIX DOLLARS REWARD

RAN away from the subscriber, living in Prince George’s county, near Upper-Marlborough, on Sunday the 26th of March, a negro man, named Sam, but generally called and known by the name of Sam Locker; he is a thin clean made fellow, between thirty and forty years of age, has rather long hair, being of the East-India breed; he formerly belonged to Mr. Isaac Simmons near Pig-Point, in Anne-Arundel county, the said Simmons now lives near Calvert county court-house, and I suppose the fellow may endeavor to get down to his old master’s; as he took with him sundry cloaths, it is impossible to describe his dress with certainty; he had on when he went away, a new searnought coat, lightish colour, blue cloth breeches, osnabrig shirt, felt hat almost new, white yarn stockings, and good shoes, (the soles nailed) has a wife at Mr. Walter Bowie’s, near the Forest chapel, is a talkative artful fellow, and will endeavour to impose himself as a free man. Whoever takes up and secures said runaway, so as his master gets him again shall receive the above reward, from

BENAJMIN BROOKES

DESCRIPTION:  Fugitive slave advertisement for PEIRCE BURN (Irish servant) and NANCY BANNAKER  (slave) placed by Abidnigo Hyatt, Maryland
DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  June 15, 1775
SOURCE:  Maryland Gazette Collection, MSA SC 2313
REPOSITORY:  Maryland State Archives

RAN away from the subscriber, living in Frederick county, on the 15th of April last, an Irish servant named Peter Kelly, but has changed his name to Peirce Burn, and has a pass for that purpose; he is about 5 feet 8 inches high, has dark brown hair, and of a dark complexion, and down look, this apparel is a light coloured country cloth coat, 1 Holland shirt, 2 osnabrigs ditto, blue yarn stockings with shoes and buckles, a felt hat bound with black worsted binding, striped linen trousers; also went with him a lusty negro woman named Rhoad, now goes by the name of Nancy Bannaker, her apparel a white humhums gown, her other clothing such as is common for slaves. Whoever takes up said servant and slave, and secures them, so that their master gets them again, shall if taken in this province, be intitled to 20 dollars reward, and if out, the sum of ten pounds, including what the law allows, paid by

ABIDNIGO HYATT

DESCRIPTION:  Fugitive slave advertisement for TOM placed by John Ashton, Maryland
DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  June 15, 1775
SOURCE:  Maryland Gazette Collection, MSA SC 2313
REPOSITORY:  Maryland State Archives

SIX POUNDS REWARD

RAN away from the subscriber, living near Bellair, on Patuxent, in Prince George’s county, Maryland, a mulatto fellow called Tom, a shoemaker by trade: he is about one and twenty years old, 5 feet 9 or 10 inches high, stoops naturally, he is fair, but has a remarkable beard when he lets it grow; he has the look of a rogue when sharply spoken to, and discovers a great deal of assurances and impudence in his conversation. As he has always lived in the neighbourhood of Queen Anne’s, the Governor’s Bridge, and Bellair, and has been acquainted with the priests of this province, his conversation may easily discover him: It is likely he may call himself free, and have a forged pass under another name, or he may probably be concealed and kept at his trade in Annapolis, or in the neighbourhood of Bellair, on Patuxent, where he lived, by some white people, who make to familiar with my slaves to my great prejudice, and whom I hereby forewarn from having any dealings with them, either in the shoemaking business, or in any other way, without my express consent. Whoever secures the above fellow in jail, or brings him home to me, will be entitled to the above reward, from

JOHN ASHTON

DESCRIPTION: Fugitive slave advertisement for TOM and MILBEY placed by Roger Johnson
DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  June 19, 1776
SOURCE:  Maryland Gazette Collection, MSA SC 2313
REPOSITORY:  Maryland State Archives

FIVE POUNDS REWARD

RAN Away last Monday morning, from Bush Creek Forge, near Frederick-Town, two NEGRO men, viz.

TOM, a country born fellow, about 33 or 34 years of age, 5 feet 8 or 9 inches high; thin faced, he formerly belonged to Mr. Thomas Johnson, late of Leonard’s-Creek, in Calvert county; had on and with him two felt hats, country linen shirt and trousers, a blue jacket without sleeves, figured with white.

MILBEY, about 23 years of age, 2 feet 9 or 10 inches high, not very black, was lately purchased on Mr. Samuel Wilkins, of Princess-Anne, in Somerset county; had on a country linen shirt, old country cloth breeches, shoes lately soaled;

There were both seen at Mansfield’s, on their way, as supposed, to Annapolis or Calvert county, though they may probably separate, and each make for the place he came from.

Five pounds for taking up and securing them, or fifty shillings for either.

ROGER JOHNSON

DESCRIPTION: Fugitive slave advertisement for SARAH placed by George Somerville
DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: January 27, 1778
SOURCE: Maryland Journal & Baltimore Advertiser
REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

TEN POUNDS REWARD

January 24. 1778

RAN away, on the evening of the 14th instant, from George Fox’s plantation, near Dr. Stevenson’s copper mine, in Frederick county, a likely molatto wench, named SARAH; she took with her a molatto boy, about 6 or 7 years old; she also stole and carried off a man’s surtout coat, and a straight bodied ditto, both light colour’d, three mens white shirts, a sum of money, a bed and beding, and many other articles — She went off in the company of Valentine Lind, by trade a taylor, who had been employed in that neighbourhood; ’tis supposed they have one or more horses with them, and may possibly attempt to pass for man and wife.– She is a lusty wench, speaks good English and Dutch, has plenty of good clothes with her, and a large sum of money.—-Whoever apprehends said woman and boy, and brings them to the copper mine, or to the subscriber in Baltimore, shall have the above reward, and all reasonable charges, paid by

GEORGE SOMERVILLE

DESCRIPTION: Fugitive slave advertisement for DAVID placed by Basil Roberts
DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: March 17, 1778
SOURCE: Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser Collection
REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

TEN DOLLARS REWARD

March 16, 1778.

RAN away, on Sunday morning the 1st of February last, from the subscriber, living in Montgomery County, at Mr. Dawden’s tavern, on the main road that leads from Frederick Town to George-Town, a likely Negro man, named DAVID, about 30 years of age, 6 feet high, is country born, speaks very slow, and seems by his discourse as if he would not tell a lye, and will be apt to say he is free, as he has often before told strangers; he has a large scar on his throat, and another on the side of his mouth; he has one or two teeth out before. It is needless mentioning his clothes, because, if he is at camp, I expect he has changed them ere this, tho’ had on when he went away, a soldier’s old blue coat, with linsey sleeves, old leather breeches, grey yarn stockings, old shoes, country linen shirt, and a new felt hat, with a yellow button.–
About the time he went away, there was six baggage waggons passed by, going to Little York, to stay all winter, and I expect, if he is gone to camp, he kept with them until they stopt and then went forward, and perhaps will endeavour to get to the English. — Whoever will apprehend the above Negro, and secure him, so that the owner may get him again, shall receive the above reward, and if brought home, reasonable charges, paid by

BASIL ROBERTS.

DESCRIPTION:  Fugitive slave advertisement for SAMUEL JOHNSON placed by Peregrine Thorn
DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  July 28, 1785
SOURCE:  Maryland Gazette Collection, MSA SC 2313
REPOSITORY:  Maryland State Archives

TWENTY POUNDS REWARD.

Charles county, near Newport, July 18, 1785.

RAN away from the subscriber, the 14th instant, a likely negro named SAM, alias SAMUEL JOHNSON, and has frequently passed under the  names of James Willis and Samuel Perkins, by the latter he had a pass by a person in Baltimore, under the appeliation of a magistrate. Sam is about 23 years old, near 6 feet high, of a yellowish complexion, has a down impudent look, is pitted with the small-pox, and has a remarkable cut with an ax on one of his legs, which may not yet be well; had on when he went off, an old pair of trousers, asnabrig shirt worn through at the elbows, and old short blue jacket without sleeves, and an old hat; he is an artful rogue, born on the eastern shore, and is well known there and in Baltimore, where he ran away from his master in time of the war, was taken up in Philadelphia, after making several voyages to the West-Indies, has been latterly sent to Baltimore for sale, he then made his escape for several days, but was luckily apprehended, and is now, I understand, making for that place, and it is more probable will pass by many other names, as he has informed sever, since gone, that he is free, and others that he has a master in Baltimore, and is going to inform him of his being wrecked down the bay, carrying him a parcel of goods. Whoever takes up the said negro, and brings him to me, shall receive the above reward, by

PEREGRINE THORN

DESCRIPTION:  Fugitive slave advertisement for MATTHEW BUTLER placed by Basil Edelin
DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  February 23, 1786
SOURCE:  Maryland Gazette Collection, MSA SC 2313
REPOSITORY:  Maryland State Archives

SIXTEEN DOLLARS REWARD
Piscataway, Prince-George’s county, February 8, 1786.

WENT away last October, from Mr. Queens, Eastern Branch a yellow negro fellow, of the Butler breed, named MATTHEW, about nineteen or twenty years of age, five feet 7 or 8 inches hight; when examined speaks soft, and has a down look. He formerly belonged to Edward Newport, of Charles county; he was seen at Annapolis about three or four weeks before Christmas, and it is supposed he went from there to Baltimore about that time. His father and mother belong to one Mrs. Bradford, near Bladensburg, and he may perhaps be lurking about there. Whoever will secure the said fellow, so that I get him again, shall receive the above reward, and if brought home all reasonable charges, paid by

BASIL EDELEN.

N. B. I do not recollect his apparel; he probably may change his name, and endeavour to pass for a free man.

DESCRIPTION:  Fugitive slave advertisement for NACE placed by Samuel Abell
DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  May 29, 1788
SOURCE:  Maryland Gazette Collection, MSA SC 2313
REPOSITORY:  Maryland State Archives

TWENTY DOLLARS Reward.

RAN away from the subscriber, living in Saint Mary’s county, and state of Maryland, a negro man named NACE, about twenty five years of age, of a dark complexion, about 5 feet 9 or 10 inches high; his cloaths uncertain, as he had many, and very likely may shift them. The above negro formerly belonged to my brother Robert Abell, who lately removed to Kentucky, and believe he ran away on account of his unwillingness to go out with him, although I purchased him some time before, he thinking it was a sham sale, in order to keep him until my brother set off, and then that he was to be confined and carried out with him. The above reward will be paid to any one securing the said negro in any gaol so that I may get him again, and if brought home the above reward and all reasonable traveling charges, including what the law allows.

SAMUEL ABELL, Youngest

DESCRIPTION:  Fugitive slave advertisement for BESS and JERE placed by Henry Hill, 3d
DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  August 27, 1789
SOURCE:  Maryland Gazette Collection, MSA SC 2313
REPOSITORY:  Maryland State Archives

RAN away from the subscriber, on the 3d inst. a mulatto wench and fellow; the wench named BESS, is about fifty years of age, a bright mulatto colour, and mother to the fellow, who is called JERE, is about sixteen years of age, and lighter than his mother; as to their cloaths it is uncertain; it is supposed that they will make for Annapolis, as they pretend to be descendants of the famous NELL BUTLER. Whoever will take them up and secure them, so that their matter can get them again, shall receive, besides what the law allows, four dollars for each, paid by me

HENRY HILL, 3d

All persons are forewarned hiring the above-mentioned slaves.

Ex Parte Merryman

Maryland State Archives
350 Rowe Boulevard
Annapolis, MD 21401

Introduction

Etching of John Merryman from Scharf, J. Thomas. History of Baltimore City and County. Baltimore, MD: Regional Publishing Company, 1971, p. 884.

Are all the laws, but one, to go unexecuted, and the government itself
to go to pieces, lest that one be violated?

— President Lincoln, in a message to a special session of Congress, July 4, 1861

John Merryman was born at “Hereford Farm” in Baltimore County on August 9, 1824, the son of Nicholas Rogers and Ann Marie (Gott) Merryman.  He was educated in the business world beginning in 1839 as an employee in Richard Norris’ hardware store in Baltimore City.  A year later he moved to Guayama, Puerto Rico, to work for his uncle, Samuel N. Gott, in his counting room.  Merryman returned to Maryland in 1842 to manage a number of farms belonging to his uncle John Merryman.  It was at this time that Merryman became involved in the raising and breeding of Hereford cattle with stock which he imported from England.

In 1865 he branched out into the fertilizer business by establishing John Merryman & Co. of Baltimore City, fertilizer dealers.  Merryman’s interest in cattle and farming remained constant throughout his life.  He was a lifetime member of the U.S. Agricultural Society and the National Agricultural Association.  He exhibited his cattle at numerous national fairs and won countless prizes and a widespread reputation for his stock.  He was also a member of the Maryland State Agricultural Society, serving as vice-president from 1852-1857 and president from 1857 to 1861.  This organization later became the Maryland State Agricultural and Mechanical Association, and John Merryman served as president from 1877 to 1881.

Prior to the Civil War, John Merryman was a 3rd lieutenant in the Baltimore County Troops.  By 1861 he was a 1st lieutenant in the Baltimore County Horse Guards.  Under orders from Governor Hicks, he aided in the destruction of several bridges north of Baltimore to prevent troops from Pennsylvania from marching through Baltimore and inciting riots.  On May 25, 1861, Merryman was arrested by U.S. troops, indicted for treason, and confined in Fort McHenry.  Through his lawyers Merryman petitioned Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney for a writ of habeas corpus.  The writ was disobeyed by General Cadwallader, the arresting officer, under orders from President Lincoln even though Taney cited Cadwallader for contempt.  It was then that Taney, who had traveled to Baltimore to hear the case, ordered that Merryman was “improperly held” and had him released. Merryman was never tried for treason.  Taney, in a “test between that which personified law on the one side and that which represented the sudden and unlimited development of military force on the other,” vindicated the writ of habeas corpus.

Merryman, a democrat, served as president of the Board of County Commissioners, Baltimore County, in 1857.  He was State Treasurer from 1870 to 1872 and served in the House of Delegates from Baltimore County from 1874 to 1876.

In 1844, John Merryman married Ann Louisa, daughter of Elijah Bosley Gittings.  John and Ann Louisa had eleven children:  Nicholas Bosley, John Jr., Elijah Gittings, David Buchanan, William Duvall, James McKenney, Roger B.T., Ann Gott, Bettie M., Louisa Gittings, and Laura Fendall.  The family resided on their farm, “Hayfields,” in Baltimore County, and attended Sherwood Protestant Episcopal Church in Baltimore County where John Merryman served as register, treasurer, and vestryman over the years.  Merryman also owned a pew in St. Paul’s Church, Baltimore City, at his death.

John Merryman died November 15, 1881, and it is interesting that his biographers noted that he believed “the most important class of workers is the farmer, who subdues the earth, and makes it fulfill its highest mission, of supporting man and developing his marvelous powers of mind and body.”

Source: Archives of Maryland (Biographical Series) John Merryman.

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12:

Era 5: Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877)

    Standard 2B: The student understands the social experience of the war on the battlefield and homefront.

Standard 2B: The student understands the social experience of the war on the battlefield and homefront. 

9-12: Evaluate the Union’s reasons for curbing wartime civil liberties. [Consider multiple perspectives]

Primary Resources

  1. DESCRIPTION: Hayfields Farm Buildings, Worthington Valley, Cockeysville vicinity, Baltimore County, MD
    ALTERNATE TITLE: John Merryman Farm Buildings
    MEDIUM: Measured Drawing(s): 8; Photo(s): 23; Data Page(s): 5 plus cover page
    NOTE: This was the farm where Merryman was arrested. It is now a golf course.
    SOURCE: Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress
  2. DESCRIPTION: Luther Littig vs. John Merryman, Ann L. Merryman, Richard Emory, Ann Emory, Henry Gittings, Elizabeth R. Gittings, Eleanor A. Bosley, Ann G. Merryman, Nicholas M.B. Emory, Anna Emory, Thomas L. Emory, and Richard Emory.  BA.  Trust estate under will of Nicholas M. Bosley –  Bellevue, Hayfields.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: June 27, 1848
    NOTES: Includes last will and testament of Nicholas M. Bosley, from whom John Merryman inherited Hayfields.
    SOURCE: CHANCERY COURT (Chancery Papers) 9366. Accession No: 17,898-9366. MSA S512-9283, 1/38/4/93.
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  3. DESCRIPTION: [Nicholas R. Merryman and Ann Merryman]
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1850
    SOURCE: U.S. CENSUS BUREAU (Census Record, MD) 1850 Slave Schedule, Baltimore County, District 1,  MSA SM 61-158, M 1504-3
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  4. DESCRIPTION: [John Merryman, Jr.]
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1850
    SOURCE: U.S. CENSUS BUREAU (Census Record, MD) , 1850, Baltimore County, District 1 page 432, MSA SM 61-131, M 1484
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  5. DESCRIPTION: [John Merryman]
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1860
    SOURCE: U.S. CENUS BUREAU (Census Record, MD) John Merryman, 1860, Baltimore County, Cockeysville/District 8 pp. 488-489, MSA SM 61-196, M 7213-6
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  6. DESCRIPTION: [John Merryman]
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1860
    SOURCE: U.S. CENSUS BUREAU (Census Record, MD) John Merryman, 1860 Slave Schedule, Baltimore County, Cockeysville/District 8 Page 93, MSA SM 61-228,  M 7229-4
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  7. See: Ex Parte Merryman case materials
  8. DESCRIPTION: Abraham Lincoln
    ARTIST: Adalbert John Volck (1828–1912)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Etching, 1861
    NOTE:  Lincoln’s foot rests on a stack of books labeled “Constitution,” “Law,” and “Habeas Corpus.”
    SOURCE: CivilWar@Smithsonian
    REPOSITORY: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
  9. DESCRIPTION: Letter, D. Wilmot to [General Scott]
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: April 20, 1861
    NOTES: “Rumor says the bridge across the Gunpowder is destroyed and also a bridge some six or eight miles out of the city….”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 565-566.
  10. DESCRIPTION: Letter, D. Wilmot to [General Scott]
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: April 20, 1861
    NOTES: “Have just heard that the bridges between Ashland and Cockeysville and two or three nearer town are burned….”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 566.
  11. DESCRIPTION: Letter, J. Edgar Thomson, President, Pennsylvania Central Railroad to Simon Cameron, Secretary of War
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: April 23, 1861
    NOTES: “Since I wrote my last of this date I have been informed that the Baltimoreans and Marylanders have destroyed the whole of the bridges of the Northern Central….”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 566.
  12. DESCRIPTION: Message to Governor Thomas Hicks from Senate of Maryland
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 3, 1861
    NOTES: “You will inform the Senate if you authorized, or consented to, the burning of the bridges on the Northern Central and Baltimore, Wilmington and Philadelphia Railroad.”
    SOURCE: Proceedings of the Senate
    April Special Session 1861, pp. 33-34.
    Archives of Maryland
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  13. DESCRIPTION: Report of Hon. George William Brown, Mayor of Baltimore acknowledging decision to destroy bridges to impede the movement of troops to Baltimore.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 9 (?), 1861
    NOTES: “In the report recently made to your honorable body by the board of police commissioners of the city of Baltimore it is stated that, in the great emergency which existed in this city … it was suggested that the most feasible, if not the only practicable, mode of stopping for a time the approach of troops to Baltimore was to obstruct the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore and the Northern Central Railroads by disabling some of the bridges on both roads; and it is added that ‘his honor the mayor stated to the board that his excellency the governor, with whom he had a few minutes before been in consultation, in the presence of several citizens, concurred in these views.’
    As this concurrence has since been explicitly denied by his Excellency Governor Hicks in an official communication addressed to the senate of Maryland on the 4th instant, which I have just seen, it is due to myself that I lay before you the grounds on which the statement was made to the board of police, on which they, as well as myself, acted.”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 1 – Volume 2. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 12-15.
  14. DESCRIPTION: Register of Prisoners, John Merryman
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 25, 1861
    SOURCE: Selected Records of the War Department Relating to Confederate Prisoners of War, 1861-1865. Microfilm No. 598. Roll 96. Volumes 305-310. Register of Prisoners and Ledger of Prisoners’ Accounts, 1861-65: Fort McHenry, Md. Military Prison.
    REPOSITORY: National Archives
  15. DESCRIPTION: Letter, General George Cadwalader to Colonel E. D. Townsend
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 27, 1861
    NOTES: “On the 25th instant Mr. John Merryman was arrested near Cockeysville…. I directed the offices … who brought the prisoner [to Fort McHenry] to have more specific charges and specifications furnished against the accused with the names of witnesses…. I regret to say that I have not as yet been furnished with this information. I was yesterday evening served a writ of habeas corpus issued by the Hon. Roger B. Taney….
    From Enclosure No. 2: “This is to certify that Mr. John Merryman was arrested by orders of Colonel Yohe as first lieutenant of a secession company who have in their possession arms belonging to the United States Government for the purpose of using the same against the Government…. It can also be proven that the prisoner has been drilling with his company and has uttered and advanced secession doctrines.”
    From Enclosure No. 3: “You are hereby commanded to be and appear before the Hon. Roger B. Taney … and that you have with you the body of John Merryman.”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 574-576.
  16. DESCRIPTION: “Arrest of John Merryman, Esq., by the Military.”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 27, 1861
    SOURCE: The Sun Collection, MSA SC 2852-1-105
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  17. DESCRIPTION: “Conflict of Civil and Military Powers. General Cadwallader refuses obedience to the writ of habeas corpus.”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 27, 1861
    SOURCE: The South Collection, MSA SC 3768
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  18. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Assistant Adjutant-General E. D. Townsend to Maj. Gen. George G. Cadwalader
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 28, 1861
    NOTES: “The general-in-chief directs me to say under authority conferred upon him by the President of the United States … that you will hold in secure confinement all persons implicated in treasonable practices unless you should become satisfied that the arrest in any particular case was made without sufficient evidence of guilt…. In returns to writs of habeas corpus by whomsoever issued you will most respectfully decline for the time to produce the prisoners but will say that when the present unhappy difficulties are at an end you will duly respond to the writs in question.”
    SOURCE:
    United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 576-577.
  19. DESCRIPTION: Ex Parte John Merryman Before the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
    DATE CREATED/PUBISHED:
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 577-585.
  20. DESCRIPTION: “Charge of Treason. Case of Mr. John Merryman. Writ of Habeas Corpus. General Cadwalader’s Refusal to Obey. An Attachment of Contempt Issued.”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 28, 1861
    SOURCE: The Baltimore American and Commercial Advertiser Collection
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  21. DESCRIPTION: “United States Court.  Important Proceedings.  The Case of John Merryman, Esq.”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 28, 1861
    SOURCE: The Sun Collection, MSA SC 2852-1-105
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  22. DESCRIPTION: “The Habeas Corpus Case:  Gen. Cadwallader Refuses To Allow The Process Of The Court To Be Served Upon Him.”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 28, 1861
    SOURCE: The South Collection, MSA SC 3768-2-1
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  23. DESCRIPTION: “The Habeas Corpus Case of John Merryman, Esq.”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 29, 1861
    SOURCE:
    The Sun Collection, MSA SC 2852-1-105
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  24. DESCRIPTION: “The Suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus.”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 31, 1861
    SOURCE: The Sun Collection, MSA SC 2852-1-105
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  25. DESCRIPTION: “The Merryman Case:  Opinion of Chief Justice Taney.”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: June 3, 1861
    SOURCE: The Sun Collection, MSA SC 2852-1-105
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  26. DESCRIPTION: “The Merryman Case:  Decision of Chief Justice Taney.”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: June 3, 1861
    SOURCE: The Baltimore American and Commercial Advertiser Collection, MSA SC 4104-1-2
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  27. DESCRIPTION: “The Habeas Corpus Case.”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: June 4, 1861
    SOURCE: The Baltimore American and Commerical Advertiser Collection, MSA SC 4104-1-2
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  28. DESCRIPTION: Reverdy Johnson to Abraham Lincoln (Merryman case)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: June 17, 1861
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916.
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress
  29. DESCRIPTION: Abraham Lincoln, (Message to Congress, Handwritten Draft)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: July 4, 1861
    SOURCE: From The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916.
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress
  30. DESCRIPTION: Abraham Lincoln, [May-June 1861] (Message to Congress, July 4, 1861, First Printed Draft)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: July 4, 1861
    SOURCE: From The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916.
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress
  31. DESCRIPTION: “The Indictment for Treason Against John Merryman.”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: July 11, 1861
    SOURCE: The Sun Collection, MSA SC 2852-1-105
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  32. DESCRIPTION: Extracts from the message of the Mayor of Baltimore
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: July 11, 1861
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 1 – Volume 2. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 15-20.
  33. DESCRIPTION: “Proceedings of the Courts:   The Indictment for Treason Against John Merryman.”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: July 12, 1861
    SOURCE: The Baltimore American and Commerical Advertiser Collection, MSA SC 4104-1-2
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  34. DESCRIPTION: Letter, John A. Dix to William H. Seward
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: February 17, 1862
    NOTES: Includes report of political prisoners taken, released, and remaining since March 4, 1861, at Fort McHenry, Md.
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 2. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1897): 226-228
  35. DESCRIPTION: [John Merryman]
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1880
    SOURCE: U.S. CENSUS BUREAU (Census Record, MD) John Merryman, 1880, Baltimore County, ED 240 Sheet 28 Line 1, MSA SM 61-307, M 4732
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  36. DESCRIPTION: “Death of John Merryman.”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: November 16, 1881
    SOURCE: The Sun (Baltimore)
    REPOSITORY: From microfilm at Maryland State Law Library.
  37. DESCRIPTION: [Will of John Merryman]
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1881
    SOURCE: BALTIMORE COUNTY REGISTER OF WILLS (Wills, Original) John Merryman, 1881, Box 1541 [MSA  T 1764-3,  0/38/11/53]
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  38. DESCRIPTION: [Inventory of Estate of John Merryman]
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1881
    SOURCE: BALTIMORE COUNTY REGISTER OF WILLS (Inventories, Original) John Merryman, December 1881, Box 499, MSA T1205, 2/58/9/24
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  39. DESCRIPTION: John Merryman. Air-“Old Dan Tucker.” 
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: n. d.
    SOURCE: Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress
  40. DESCRIPTION: There’s life in the old land yet. By Jas. R. Randall, of Baltimore.   
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: n. d.
    SOURCE: Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress

See also:

  • Baltimore and the 19th of April
  • Suspension of Civil Liberties in Maryland: The Case of Richard Bennett Carmichael
  • Prisoners of War in Maryland

Additional Media Resources

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine — Official National Park Service siteFort McHenry — Site of Patriots of Fort McHenry

Additional Instructional Resources

Resources on Incorporating Primary Sources and Historic Sites in Classroom Instruction

The Civil War and Civil Liberties. Lesson plan concerning the loss of civil liberties in wartime

The President and War Powers: Lincoln and the Civil War. Lesson plan from the White House Historical Association. Includes links to text of Ex Parte Merryman

President Lincoln Maintains National Security: The Case of Maryland, 1861. In: American History and National Security: Supplemental Lessons for High School Courses, Ed.  John J. Patrick, Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1989.

Secondary Resources

“Ex Parte Merryman:  Proceedings of Court Day, May 26, 1861.”  Maryland Historical Magazine 56 (1961):  384-398.

“Merryman Family.”  Maryland Historical Magazine 10 (1915):  176-185; 286-299.

The Suspension of Habeas Corpus During the War of the Rebellion.” Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 3, No. 3. (Sep., 1888), pp. 454-488. [JSTOR]

Adams, James Truslow ed.  Dictionary of American History.  5 vols.  New York:  Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1940.

Brown, George William.  Baltimore and the Nineteenth of April, 1861:  A Study of War.  Baltimore, MD:  The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1887.

Duncan, Richard R. “The Era of the Civil War: the Crisis of Loyalty” Chapter V-2. in Maryland, a History, pp. 333-360. Edited by Richard Walsh and William Fox, Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1974.

Fehrenbacher, Don E. “Roger B. Taney and the Sectional CrisisThe Journal of Southern History, Vol. 43, No. 4. (Nov., 1977), pp. 555-566. [JSTOR]

Kleinfeld, Joshua. “The union Lincoln made. (Political and Legal Aspects of Suspension of Writ of Habeus Corpus by President Lincoln during Civil War).” History Today (November 1, 1997).

Lewis, Walker.  Without Fear or Favor:   A Biography of Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney.  Boston:  Houghton Mifflin Company, 1965.

National Biographical Publishing Company. The Biographical Cyclopedia of Representative Men of Maryland and District of Columbia. Baltimore, MD:  National Biographical Publishing Company, 1879.

Neely, Mark E., Jr. The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties. Oxford University Press, 1992.

Papenfuse, Edward C., Earl Arnett, and Robert J. Brugger.  Maryland: A New Guide to the Old Line State. Baltimore, MD:  The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1999.

Scharf, J. Thomas. History of Maryland. 3 vols. Hatboro, PA: Tradition Press, 1967.

________. History of Baltimore City and County.  2 vols.  Baltimore, MD:  Regional Publishing Company, 1971.

Schoettler, Carl. “A time liberties weren’t priority.” Sun (Baltimore) November 27, 2001.

Steiner, Bernard C.  Life of Roger Brooke Taney, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.  1922. Reprint, Westport, CT:  Greenwood Press, 1970.

Swisher, Carl Brent.  Roger B. Taney.  New York:  The Macmillan Company, 1935.

________.  The Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise History of the Supreme Court of the United StatesVol. V:  The Taney Period 1836-64. New York:  Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc.  1974.

Rehnquist, William H. All the Laws But One: Civil Liberties in Wartime. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998.

Password Access to Journal Articles

Some journal articles linked to this site require password access due to copyright and other restrictions. Teachers participating in the Teaching American History in Maryland program with a valid University of Maryland (UMBC) Library card can access these materials through ResearchPort.

Associated Heritage and Preservation Organizations

Copyright and Other Restrictions

Access to materials linked within these document packets is intended for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or holders of other rights (such as publicity and privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. The responsibility for making an independent legal assessment and independently securing any necessary rights rests with persons desiring to use particular items in the context of the intended use.

Password Access to Materials

The use of any user name and password to access materials on this web site constitutes an agreement by the user to abide by any and all copyright restrictions and is an acknowledgement that these materials will be used for personal and educational use only. In most instances, the username aaco and password aaco# will work. Contact ref@mdsa.net if you have any questions or have difficulty accessing files.

Credits

Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

Nat Turner’s Rebellion

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12:

Era 4: Expansion and Reform (1801-1861)

STANDARD 2: How the industrial revolution, increasing immigration, the rapid expansion of slavery, and the westward movement changed the lives of Americans and led toward regional tensions 

Standard 2D: The student understands the rapid growth of “the peculiar institution” after 1800 and the varied experiences of African Americans under slavery.

5-12: Identify the various ways in which African Americans resisted the conditions of their enslavement and analyze the consequences of violent uprisings. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]

Primary Resources

  1. DESCRIPTION: The Confessions of Nat Turner, the leader of the late insurrection, in Southhampton, Virginia
    AUTHOR: Thomas R. Gray
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1831
    NOTES: Transcription available in Documenting the American South
    SOURCE: African American Odyssey
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Rare Book and Special Collections Division
  2. DESCRIPTION: John Floyd, governor of Virginia, to James Hamilton, governor of South Carolina
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: November 19, 1831
    SOURCE: African American Odyssey
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Rare Book and Special Collections Division
  3. DESCRIPTION: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself
    AUTHOR: Harriet Jacobs
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1861
    REPRODUCTIONS: Rights and Reproductions
    NOTES: In Chapter 12, “Fear of Insurrection,” Jacobs describes the treatment of slaves following the rebellion.
    SOURCE: The Nineteenth Century in Print: Books
    REPOSITORY: Digitized by the University of Michigan Library
  4. DESCRIPTION: The Richmond Enquirer on Nat Turner’s Rebellion
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1831
    SOURCE: Brotherly Love (PBS)
  5. DESCRIPTION: Horrid massacre in Virginia
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: [1831]
    REPRODUCTIONS: See item description for information
    SOURCE: Illus. in: Authentic and impartial narrative of the tragical scene which was witnessed in Southampton County. [New York], 1831.
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Rare Book and Special Collections Division

See also:

  • Runaway Slave Advertisements in the New Republic
  • Runaway Slave Advertisements in Antebellum Maryland

Additional Media Resources

African American Odyssey. From Library of Congress

Brotherly Love. From PBS’s African’s in America

Additional Instructional Resources

Nat Turner’s Rebellion, 1831: A Document-Based Question.

Runaway Slaves: From the Revolution to the New Republic From the UMBC Center for History Education

Freedom for All? The Contradictions of Slavery and Freedom in the Maryland Constitution From the UMBC Center for History Education

The Untold Story: The Black Struggle for Freedom during the Revolutionary War in Maryland From the UMBC Center for History Education

Daily Lives of Slaves – What Really Happened? From the UMBC Center for History Education

Secondary Resources

Cromwell, John W. “The Aftermath of Nat Turner’s Insurrection.” The Journal of Negro History (Apr., 1920): 208-234.

Duff, John B. and Peter M. Mitchell. The Nat Turner Rebellion: The Historical Event and the Modern Controversy. New York: Harper & Row, 1971.

Gross, Seymour L. and Eileen Bender. “History, Politics and Literature: The Myth of Nat Turner.” American Quarterly (Oct., 1971): 487-518.

Oates, Stephen B. The Fires of Jubilee: Nat Turner’s Fierce Rebellion. New York : Harper & Row, [1975]

Tragle, Henry Irving, ed. The Southampton Slave Revolt of 1831: A Compilation of Source Material. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1971.

See also fictionalized account and related secondary sources:
Styron, William. The Confessions of Nat Turner. New York: Random House, Inc., 1967

Casciato, Arthur D. and James L. W. West III. “William Styron and The Southampton Insurrection.” American Literature (Jan., 1981):  564-577.

Davis, Mary Kemp. Nat Turner before the Bar of Judgment: Fictional Treatments of the Southampton Slave Insurrection. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1999.

Ratner, Marc L. “Styron’s Rebel” American Quarterly, Vol. 21, No. 3. (Autumn, 1969), pp. 595-608.

Shapiro, Herbert. “The Confessions of Nat Turner: William Styron and his Critics.” Negro American Literature Forum (Winter, 1975): 99-104.

Copyright and Other Restrictions

Access to materials linked within these document packets is intended for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or holders of other rights (such as publicity and privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. The responsibility for making an independent legal assessment and independently securing any necessary rights rests with persons desiring to use particular items in the context of the intended use.

Password Access to Materials

The use of any user name and password to access materials on this web site constitutes an agreement by the user to abide by any and all copyright restrictions and is an acknowledgement that these materials will be used for personal and educational use only. In most instances, the username aaco and password aaco# will work. Contact ref@mdsa.net if you have any questions or have difficulty accessing files.

Credits

Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

This document packet was researched and developed by Nancy Bramucci.

Elizabeth Keckley: 30 Years a Slave

Introduction

Elizabeth KeckleyMy life has been an eventful one. I was born a slave–was the child of slave parents–therefore I came upon the earth free in God-like thought, but fettered in action. My birthplace was Dinwiddie Court-House, in Virginia. My recollections of childhood are distinct, perhaps for the reason that many stirring incidents are associated with that period. I am now on the shady side of forty, and as I sit alone in my room the brain is busy, and a rapidly moving panorama brings scene after before me, some pleasant and others sad; and when I thus greet old familiar faces, I often find myself wondering if I am not living the past over again. The visions are so terribly distinct that I almost imagine them to be real. Hour after hour I sit while the scenes are being shifted; and as I gaze upon the panorama of the past, I realize how crowded with incidents my life has been. Every day seems like a romance within itself, and the years grow into ponderous volumes. As I cannot condense, I must omit many strange passages in my history. From such a wilderness of events it is difficult to make a selection, but as I am not writing altogether the history of myself, I will confine my story to the most important incidents which I believe influenced the moulding of my character. As I glance over the crowded sea of the past, these incidents stand forth prominently, the guide-posts of memory. 

From: Behind the scenes, or, Thirty years a slave, and four years in the White House

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12:

Era 4: Expansion and Reform (1801-1861)

STANDARD 2: How the industrial revolution, increasing immigration, the rapid expansion of slavery, and the westward movement changed the lives of Americans and led toward regional tensions.

Standard 2D: The student understands the rapid growth of “the peculiar institution” after 1800 and the varied experiences of African Americans under slavery.

5-12: Describe the plantation system and the roles of their owners, their families, hired white workers, and enslaved African Americans. [Consider multiple perspectives]
5-12: Identify the various ways in which African Americans resisted the conditions of their enslavement and analyze the consequences of violent uprisings. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]

Era 5: Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877) 

STANDARD 2: The course and character of the Civil War and its effects on the American people.
Standard 2B: The student understands the social experience of the war on the battlefield and homefront. 

5-12: Compare women’s homefront and battlefront roles in the Union and the Confederacy. [Compare and contrast differing sets of ideas]

Primary Resources

  1. DESCRIPTION: Behind the scenes, or, Thirty years a slave, and four years in the White House: a machine-readable transcription
    AUTHOR: Elizabeth Keckley (New York: G.W. Carlton)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1868
    SOURCE: Prepared as part of The Digital Schomburg
  2. DESCRIPTION: Engraving, Elizabeth Keckley
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1868 in Behind the scenes, or, Thirty years a slave, and four years in the White House: a machine-readable transcription
    SOURCE: Prepared as part of The Digital Schomburg
  3. DESCRIPTION: Dressmaker and Former Slave Elizabeth Keckley (ca.1818–1907), Tells How She Gained Her Freedom
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1868
    NOTES: Description from History Matters: Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley was born around 1818 in Virginia, a slave of the Burwell family. At fourteen she was loaned to the Rev. Robert Burwell, her master’s son, who lived in North Carolina. There she gave birth to her son George, the product of an unwanted encounter with a white man. After several unhappy years with Robert Burwell and his family, Keckley was sent to live in St. Louis with Anne Burwell Garland, a married daughter of the Burwells. In this selection from her 1868 memoir Behind the Scenes, Keckley describes how she bought her freedom from the Garland family, a process that was completed in November 1855. Her sincere efforts to live within slavery’s rules are striking and indicate how deeply the slave system’s practices and values permeated both the black and white cultures of the South. After her emancipation Keckley earned her living as a dressmaker in Washington, D.C.; she died there in poverty in 1907.
    SOURCE: History Matters
  4. DESCRIPTION: Gown made by Elizabeth Keckley for Mary Todd Lincoln
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: about 1864
    COLLECTION: First Ladies Collection
    SOURCE: Legacies: Collection America’s History at the Smithsonian
  5. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Cloak worn by Mrs. Lincoln on the night of the assassination with blood stains
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:
    NOTE: “In packing, Mrs. Lincoln gave away everything intimately connected with the President, as she said that she could not bear to be reminded of the past…The cloak, stained with the President’s blood, was given to me, as also was the bonnet worn on the same memorable night.” From: Behind the Scenes.
    SOURCE: The Bloody Evidence
  6. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Mary Todd Lincoln to Abraham Lincoln 
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: November 3, 1862
    NOTES: Mrs. Lincoln notes Elizabeth Keckley’s participation in the Contraband Association and her authorization to collect clothing, bedding, etc. on their behalf. She has been unsuccessful. “Out of the $1000 fund deposited with you by Gen Corcoran, I have given her the privelege of investing $200 her, in bed covering– She is the most deeply grateful being, I ever saw, & this sum, I am sure, you will not object to being used in this way– The cause of humanity requires it — and there will be $800 left of the fund– I am sure, this will meet your approbation”
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress
  7. DESCRIPTION: Former Slave Elizabeth Keckley and the “Contraband” of Washington DC.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1862 [1868]
    NOTES: Description from History Matters: Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley was born in slavery in Virginia around 1818 and purchased her freedom in 1855. In 1862 she was living in Washington DC and working as a skilled dressmaker; her principal client was Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of the president. Keckley sympathized with the former slaves, or “contraband,” as they were called, who fled to the relative safety of Washington during the Civil War. The Contraband Relief Association, which Keckley founded and headed, gathered funds and clothing for the poor former slaves. Yet, as her rather condescending remarks make clear, Keckley felt superior to the people she helped. Keckley’s memoir Behind the Scenes was published in 1868. The book included revelations about Mary Lincoln’s private life, and, feeling betrayed, the former First Lady shunned Keckley. Her dressmaking business declined, and she died in poverty in 1907 at the Home for Destitute Women and Children in Washington, one of the institutions she had helped to found.
    SOURCE: History Matters
  8. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Mary Todd Lincoln to Abraham Lincoln
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: November 2 [1862]
    NOTES: Helps to illustrates relationship between Mrs. Lincoln and Mrs. Keckley. “A day or two since, I had one of my severe attacks, if it had not been for Lizzie Keckley, I do not know what I should have done– Some of these periods, will launch me away.”
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress

Additional Media Resources

Mr. Lincoln’s Virtual Library From the Library of Congress American Memory Project

American Women in the Civil War, 1861-1865

The Time of the Lincolns. From PBS

Additional Instructional Resources

A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE ON SLAVERY: Writing the History of African American Slave Women

Secondary Resources

Andrews, William L. “Reunion in the Postbellum Slave Narrative: Frederick Douglass and Elizabeth KeckleyBlack American Literature Forum, Vol. 23, No. 1. (Spring, 1989), pp. 5-16.

Baker, Jean H. Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography New York: W. W. & Company, 1987.

Fleischner, Jennifer. Mrs. Lincoln and Mrs. Keckly: The Remarkable Story of the Friendship Between a First Lady and a Former Slave. New York: Broadway Books, 2003.

Foster, Frances. “‘In Respect to Females…’: Differences in the Portrayals of Women by Male and Female NarratorsBlack American Literature Forum, Vol. 15, No. 2. (Summer, 1981), pp. 66-70.

Ostendorf, Lloyd. “Elizabeth Keckley’s Lost Lincoln Relics.” Lincoln Herald 71, no. 1 (1969): 14-18.

Polsky, Milton. “The American Slave Narrative: Dramatic Resource Material for the ClassroomThe Journal of Negro Education, Vol. 45, No. 2. (Spring, 1976), pp. 166-178.

Rutberg, Becky. Mary Lincoln’s Dressmaker: Elizabeth Keckley’s Remarkable Rise from Slave to White House Confidante. Walker & Co, 1995. [Juvenile non-fiction, grades 6-10]

Sorisio, Carolyn, “Unmasking the Genteel Performer: Elizabeth Keckley’s Behind the Scenes and the Politics of Public Wrath”; African American Review (34): 19-38.

Password Access to Journal Articles

Some journal articles linked to this site require password access due to copyright and other restrictions. Teachers participating in the Teaching American History in Maryland program with a valid University of Maryland (UMBC) Library card can access these materials through ResearchPort.

Copyright and Other Restrictions

Access to materials linked within these document packets is intended for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or holders of other rights (such as publicity and privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. The responsibility for making an independent legal assessment and independently securing any necessary rights rests with persons desiring to use particular items in the context of the intended use.

Password Access to Materials

The use of any user name and password to access materials on this web site constitutes an agreement by the user to abide by any and all copyright restrictions and is an acknowledgement that these materials will be used for personal and educational use only. In most instances, the username aaco and password aaco# will work. Contact ref@mdsa.net if you have any questions or have difficulty accessing files.

Credits

Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

This document packet was researched and developed by Nancy Bramucci.

Cone Sisters

Maryland State Archives
350 Rowe Boulevard
Annapolis, MD 21401

Introduction

The Cone sisters’ legacy to Baltimore and to the art world at-large is that they were witnesses to an incredibly vibrant period in modern art and literature. Their affluence, education, and sociability allowed them to intermingle with Gertrude Stein, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, thus giving them an opportune vantage point from which to compile a premier art collection.

Born to Herman and Helen Cone, both German-Jewish immigrants, Claribel (November 14, 1864-September 20, 1929) and younger sister Etta (November 30, 1870-August 31, 1949) moved with the family to Baltimore in 1871. The family’s wholesale grocery would soon be re-named H. Cone and Sons as it prospered. Meanwhile, the eldest Cone brothers had relocated to Greensboro North Carolina to establish a textile business named Proximity Manufacturing Co. (now known as Cone Mills Corp.).

Both sisters graduated from Western Female High School. Whereas Etta was comfortable managing the family household, Claribel pursued a medical degree. First studying at the Woman’s Medical College of Baltimore from which she would graduate in 1890, Claribel would continue her education at the Johns Hopkins University Medical School. Although she never practiced medicine, Dr. Cone taught pathology and continued to study with researchers throughout Europe over the next two decades.

The Cone sisters owed much of their initial forays into the art world to their friendship with Gertrude and Leo Stein. After being orphaned, the Stein siblings moved to Baltimore to live with an aunt and soon became part of the Cone’s social crowd. Gertrude Stein studied at the Women’s Medical College during Claribel’s professional tenure. Despite the age difference, these unconventional women were drawn to one another by their love of conversation and music, while demure Etta was beguiled by Gertrude’s Bohemian lifestyle.

Inheritances from their parents allowed the Cone sisters to live comfortably; profits from their brothers’ mills during World War I would increase their fortunes considerably. It was Etta who first purchased artwork. In 1898, she began her collection with five paintings by Theodore Robinson. Etta would continue to acquire art sporadically. While on a European holiday and visiting the Stein’s in Paris, the younger sister was introduced to Picasso and then to Matisse. This initial encounter with Matisse would lead to a lifetime patronage. Much of Etta’s purchases were inspired by ‘romantic charity’ rather than a true desire to compile a collection of work. She would make small acquisitions to help up-and-coming arts like Matisse, Picasso, and even students at the Maryland Institute, College of Art; she would buy from the collection of the financially strapped Stein’s. Her tastes tended toward the conservative; more frequently than not, she bought portraits to decorate her home.

Contrary to Etta, Dr. Claribel purchased much more avant-garde works. She was responsible for the addition of Matisse’s Blue Nude and Paul Cézanne’s Mont Sainte-Victoire Seen From the Bibemus Quarry to their collection. Whereas Etta might pay 10000 francs for a painting or a group of drawings, Claribel was much more bold in her purchases; the aforementioned paintings costing 120,760 and 410,000 francs respectively. But like her younger sister, building a collection was not the focus from the acquisition. Instead, the sisters covered every wall space of their apartments in the Marlborough building in Baltimore with their purchases.

It wasn’t until Claribel’s untimely death from pneumonia that Etta sought advice and used brokers to add to the personal collection. Upon her death, Claribel willed her paintings to Etta stipulating that the work should eventually be given to the Baltimore Museum of Art “if the spirit of appreciation of modern art in Baltimore should improve.” Etta would continue her patronage of Matisse, while not necessarily purchasing from his less-conservative periods. For instance, she never acquired one of his paper cut-outs. Over the next two decades, Etta made shrewd purchases to fill gaps in the collection.

Upon Etta’s death in 1949, despite overtures by New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Cone Collection was donated to the Baltimore Museum of Art. It contains over 3000 works, 500 of which are by Matisse. The estimated value is one billion dollars.

The Cone sister’s legacy is not one of radical feminism as was Gertrude Stein’s. Claribel and Etta remained unmarried, as did 10% of women during this time period. They traveled extensively within the company of other women as was customary within their social sphere. However, Claribel’s pursuit of a medical degree was at the forefront of the profession. And their use of the family’s prosperity to observe and collect art documenting the dynamism of post-World War I Europe was unparalleled among other women.

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12:

Era 6 The Development of the Industrial United States

STANDARD 1: How the rise of corporations, heavy industry, and mechanized farming transformed the American people

Standard 1B: The student understands the rapid growth of cities and how urban life changed.

5-12 Trace the migration of people from farm to city and their adjustment to urban life. [Appreciate historical perspectives]

STANDARD 2: Massive immigration after 1870 and how new social patterns, conflicts, and ideas of national unity developed amid growing cultural diversity.

Standard 2A: The student understands the sources and experiences of the new immigrants

5-12 Assess the challenges, opportunities, and contributions of different immigrant groups. [Examine historical perspectives]

Standard 2C: The student understands how new cultural movements at different social levels affected American life.

5-12 Investigate new forms of popular culture and leisure activities at different levels of American society. [Draw upon visual sources]

Primary Resources

  1. TITLE:  The Cone Collection at the Baltimore Museum of Art
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 2001
    NOTE: Virtual tour of Marlborough apartment; “Collectors Extraordinaire;” “Matisse in the Cone Collection;” and     “Picasso: The Circus”
    SOURCE:  Baltimore Museum of Art
    RESPOSITORY:  Baltimore Museum of Art, Cone Archives
  2. TITLE:  Will of Dr. Claribel Cone
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: April 25, 1929
    NOTE: serial #10225, folio #531, Book #165, Case #447, p. 61.
    SOURCE:  Baltimore City, Register of Wills
    RESPOSITORY:  Maryland State Archives
  3. TITLE:  Will of Etta Cone
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 18, 1949
    NOTE: serial #52036, folio #35, Book #233, CR 232, case #690, p.35
    SOURCE:  Baltimore City, Register of Wills
    RESPOSITORY:  Maryland State Archives
  4. TITLE:  Probate inventory of Dr. Claribel Cone
    NOTE: serial #10225, folio #315, Book #257, p. 315; shows location of paintings within Marlborough apartment
    SOURCE:  Baltimore City, Register of Wills
    RESPOSITORY:  Maryland State Archives
  5. TITLE:  Probate inventory of Etta Cone
    NOTE: serial #52036, folio #14, Book #308 and serial #52036, folio #557, Book #308; first entry shows stocks and bonds including $1.3 million of Cone Mills stock; second entry addresses bequeathment, but does not contain a specific inventory of paintings
    SOURCE:  Baltimore City, Register of Wills
    RESPOSITORY:  Maryland State Archives
  6. TITLE:  Marlborough apartment hotel
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  after 1907
    NOTE: Z24.1515
    SOURCE:  Photo Collection – Baltimore houses
    RESPOSITORY:  Maryland Historical Society
  7. TITLE:  Dr. Claribel Cone A Remarkable Woman
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  April 8, 1911
    NOTE:  Interview with Dr. Cone available on microfilm from Enoch Pratt Library, Morgan State University, UMBC, and UMCP.
    SOURCE:  The Evening Sun (Baltimore)   
  8. TITLE: “Correspondence of Claribel and Etta Cone.”
    AUTHOR: Liza Kirwin
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  1987
    SOURCE:  Archives of American Art Journal. V. 27 No. 2(1987) p. 34.
  9. TITLE: “Sopher Recalls Patron”
    AUTHOR: Sharon Dickman
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  April 5, 1971
    SOURCE:  Evening Sun

Additional Media Resources

Michael Palin on the Cone Sisters (Michael Palin and the Ladies Who Loved Matisse). BBC, 2002.

Cone Mills, Greensboro, North Carolina

Women’s Medical College of Baltimore

Additional Instructional Resources

Resources on Incorporating Primary Sources and Historic Sites in Classroom Instruction

Matisse for Kids

Secondary Resources

Abrahams, Harold J. Extinct Medical Schools of Baltimore, Maryland. Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1969.

Cone, Edward. “Shirtsleeves to Matisses.” Forbes.com, 1999.

Cone, Edward T. “The Miss Etta Cones, The Steins, and M’sieu Matisse: A Memoir.” The American Scholar. Summer 1973 (vol. 42, no. 3) pp.441-460.

Cordell, Eugene F. Medical Annals of Maryland. Baltimore: Medical and Chirurgical Society of Maryland, 1903.

Gabriel, Mary. The Art of Acquiring: A Portrait of Etta & Claribel Cone. Baltimore: Bancroft Press, 2002.

Hirschland, Ellen B. “The Cone Sisters and the Stein Family.” Four Americans in Paris: The Collections of Gertrude Stein and her Family. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1970.

Pollack, Barbara. The Collectors: Dr. Claribel and Miss Etta Cone. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1962.

Richardson, Brenda and William C. Ameringer. Dr. Claribel and Miss Etta. Baltimore: Baltimore Museum of Art, 1985.

Associated Heritage and Preservation Organizations

Credits

Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

This document packet was researched and developed by Traci Siegler.

Baltimore, Allan Pinkerton

The Plot to Assassinate President Lincoln, 1861

Introduction

Allan PinkertonOn February 11, 1861, President-elect Abraham Lincoln boarded an east-bound train in Springfield, Illinois at the start of a whistle stop tour in seventy towns and cities ending in Washington, DC. While enroute to Washington, Lincoln was introduced to Allan Pinkerton, founder of the Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency of Chicago, who had been hired by the Baltimore, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad to investigate suspicious activities along the Baltimore route and the destruction of railroad property. Pinkerton became convinced that a plot existed to ambush Lincoln’s carriage between the Calvert Street Station of the Northern Central and the Camden Street Station of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, allowing conspirators to assassinate the President-elect during his passage through Baltimore on February 23, 1861.  Pinkerton tried to convince Lincoln to cancel his stop at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and proceed straight through Baltimore, but Lincoln insisted upon keeping to his schedule.

On the evening of the 22nd, telegraph lines to Baltimore were cut to prevent communications from passing between potential conspirators. Meanwhile, Lincoln left Harrisburg on a special train, arriving in Baltimore in the middle of the night. Since a city ordinance prohibited night time rail travel though the downtown area of the city, the railcars had to be horse-drawn between the President Street and Camden Street stations. Once Lincoln’s rail carriage had safely passed through Baltimore, Pinkerton sent a one-line telegram to the president of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad: “Plums delivered nuts safely.”

On the afternoon of February 23rd, Lincoln’s schedule train arrived in Baltimore. The large crowd that gathered at the station to see the President-elect quickly learned that Lincoln had already passed by and had to be content with viewing Mary Todd Lincoln, her sons, and John Hay, Lincoln’s private secretary. The newspapers, however, harpooned Lincoln for slipping through Baltimore in the dead of night. Adalbert Volck, a Baltimore dentist and caricaturist, was inspired to pen his famous satirical etching, “Passage Through Baltimore.” Volck’s image of a startled Lincoln in his nightshirt peering out of the side of his rail car as it passes through Baltimore has become part of the Lincoln iconography.

Most historians believe that Pinkerton perception of an assassination plot was incorrect and Lincoln came to regret that he slipped through the city unannounced.

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12:

Era 5: Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877)

STANDARD 2: The course and character of the Civil War and its effects on the American people.
Standard 2A: The student understands how the resources of the Union and Confederacy affected the course of the war.

5-12: Identify the turning points of the war and evaluate how political, military, and diplomatic leadership affected the outcome of the conflict. [Assess the importance of the individual in history]

Standard 2B: The student understands the social experience of the war on the battlefield and homefront.

5-12: Compare the human and material costs of the war in the North and South and assess the degree to which the war reunited the nation. [Examine historical perspectives]

Primary Resources

  1. DESCRIPTION: [Antietam, Md. Allan Pinkerton (“E. J. Allen”) of the Secret Service on horseback].
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1862 September.
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Photographic Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE: Selected Civil War Photographs, 1861-1865
    REPOSITORY:
    Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.
  2. DESCRIPTION: Letter, R. A. Hunt to Abraham Lincoln (Warns Lincoln of assassination attempt)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: January 18, 1861
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress, Washington, DC
  3. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Charles Gould to Henry C. Bowen (Plot to assassinate Lincoln)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: February 5, 1861
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress, Washington, DC
  4. DESCRIPTION: [Charles P. Stone] (Memorandum pertaining to danger in Baltimore)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: February 21, 1861
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress, Washington, DC
  5. DESCRIPTION: Letter, William L. Schley to Abraham Lincoln (Plot to harm Lincoln in Baltimore)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: February 23, 1861
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress, Washington, DC
  6. DESCRIPTION: Passage Through Baltimore
    ARTIST: Adalbert John Volck (1828–1912)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Etching, 1863
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Photographic Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE: Civil War Treasures from the New-York Historical Society
    RESPOSITORY: New York Historical Society
  7. TITLE:  Baltimore and the nineteenth of April 1861
    AUTHOR:  George William Brown
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 
    1887
    NOTE: 
    Brown was the mayor of Baltimore at the time of the riot. See chapter 1 for account of plot.
    SOURCE:
      The Capital and the Bay: Narratives of Washington and the Chesapeake Bay Region, ca. 1600-1925 
    REPOSITORY:
    Library of Congress, American Memory
  8. DESCRIPTION: Published transcription, Pinkerton’s Account of the Plot
    DATE CREATE/PUBLISHED: 1866
    SOURCE: Norma B. Cuthbert, Lincoln and the Baltimore Plot 1861: From Pinkerton Records and Related Papers. San Marino: The Huntington Library, 1949.
    REPOSITORY: Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore
  9. DESCRIPTION: Published transcription, Allan Pinkerton’s Record Book, 1861
    DATE CREATE/PUBLISHED: 1866
    SOURCE: Norma B. Cuthbert, Lincoln and the Baltimore Plot 1861: From Pinkerton Records and Related Papers. San Marino: The Huntington Library, 1949.
    REPOSITORY: Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore
  10. DESCRIPTION: Published transcription, Judd’s Account of the Plot, 1866
    DATE CREATE/PUBLISHED: 1866
    SOURCE: Norma B. Cuthbert, Lincoln and the Baltimore Plot 1861: From Pinkerton Records and Related Papers. San Marino: The Huntington Library, 1949.
    REPOSITORY: Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore
  11. DESCRIPTION: Plot to Assassinate Abraham Lincoln. 
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: June 1868 in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine
    COPYRIGHT:
    Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:
    The Nineteenth Century in Print: Periodicals
    REPOSITORY: Digitized by Cornell University Library and the Preservation Reformatting Division of the Library of Congress

See also:

  • “Ward H. Lamon and the Baltimore Plot” In  Norma B. Cuthbert, Lincoln and the Baltimore Plot 1861: From Pinkerton Records and Related Papers. San Marino: The Huntington Library, 1949.

Additional Media Resources
Abraham Lincoln Research Site. Website compiled by a former American history teacher.

Secondary Resources
Arnold, Isaac H. “Plot to Assassinate Abraham LincolnHarper’s Magazine (June 1868): 123-128.

Mason, Victor Louis. “Four Lincoln Conspiraces.” The Century. (April 1896):889-912.

Sheads, Scott Sumpter and Daniel Carroll Toomey. Baltimore During the Civil War. Linthicum: Toomey Press, 1997.

Copyright and Other Restrictions

Access to materials linked within these document packets is intended for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or holders of other rights (such as publicity and privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. The responsibility for making an independent legal assessment and independently securing any necessary rights rests with persons desiring to use particular items in the context of the intended use.

Password Access to Materials

The use of any user name and password to access materials on this web site constitutes an agreement by the user to abide by any and all copyright restrictions and is an acknowledgement that these materials will be used for personal and educational use only. In most instances, the username aaco and password aaco# will work. Contact ref@mdsa.net if you have any questions or have difficulty accessing files.

Credits

Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

This document packet was researched and developed by Nancy Bramucci.

Suspension of Civil Liberties in Maryland

The Case of Richard Bennett Carmichael

Introduction

“… if you have unquestionable proof that Judge Carmichael has uttered treasonable language in his charge to the grand jury…
arrest him and bring him to Fort McHenry.”

Richard Bennett CarmichaelDuring the Civil War, Judge Richard Bennett Carmichael was a presiding circuit court judge for Kent, Queen Anne, Caroline, and Talbot counties. In November 1861, federal officials arrested three men charged with interfering with the election process after they heckled Unionists at a rally. Opposed to the arbitrary arrests and abuse of civil liberties, Carmichael instructed grand juries to indict the persons who made or abetted such arrests. As a result, Secretary of State William Seward ordered Judge Carmichael’s arrest. On May 27, 1862, Federal troops entered Carmichael’s courtroom in Easton where he was pistol whipped and dragged from the Talbot County Circuit Court bench.

Instantly this Officer with his revolver drawn pushed on Judge Carmichael and seized him by the breast of his coat. The other officer closed in also. I could not then see Judge Carmichael, but could see they were surging and pulling at him. I saw three pistols snapped at him in the scuffle. In dragging him from his seat the person of the Judge was again concealed from me for some short time. I saw however the officers in front of him striking at him with the barrels of the revolvers. In a short time the Judge covered with blood was dragged from his seat and platform. I soon after left courtroom. Several citizens meantime had been struck with the barrels of the revolvers by the deputies above named. I saw no citizen display a weapon of any sort or offer the least shadow of opposition or resistance. 

Taken to Fort McHenry, Judge Carmichael spent six months in various Union prisons without a trial and was unconditionally released on December 4, 1862.

After the war, Judge Carmichael served in the Maryland House of Delegates and preside over the Maryland Constitutional Convention of 1867. He died October 21, 1884.

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12:

Era 5: Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877)

Standard 2B: The student understands the social experience of the war on the battlefield and homefront.

Standard 2B: The student understands the social experience of the war on the battlefield and homefront.

9-12: Evaluate the Union’s reasons for curbing wartime civil liberties. [Consider multiple perspectives]  

Primary Resources

  1. DESCRIPTION: Richard Bennett Carmichael
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 
    SOURCE: J. Thomas Scharf, History of Maryland from the Earliest Period to the Present Day. Vol. 3. Hatboro, PA: Tradition Press, 1967.
    RESPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  2. DESCRIPTION: Fort McHenry
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:
    SOURCE: J. Thomas Scharf, History of Maryland from the Earliest Period to the Present Day. Vol. 3. Hatboro, PA: Tradition Press, 1967.
    RESPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  3. DESCRIPTION: Letter, William H. Seward to John A. Dix
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: October 3, 1861
    NOTES: “It seems to me that that functionary should be arrested even in  his court if need be and sent to Fort Lafayette. You may proceed accordingly.”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 2. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1897): 85
  4. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Major General John A. Dix to Governor Augustus W. Bradford
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: February 10, 1862
    NOTES: “Hon. R. B. Carmichael has for many months been one of the prime movers of disaffection and disloyalty on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. He was the author of a treasonable memorial to the legislature, published and circulated under his own signature while holding a place on the bench. His charges to the grand juries in his district have been inflammatory and insulting to the Federal Government…. It was proposed months ago to arrest him and send him to Fort Lafayette. Though he deserves it I prefer to have him sent into the Confederate States to be turned over to the insurgents with whom he sympathizes and whose cause he is doing all in his power to promote. He is unworthy of the protection of a Government which he is laboring to subvert and he ought not to enjoy its privileges.”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 2. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1897): 213
  5. DESCRIPTION: Letter, John A. Dix to H. H. Goldsborough (p. 576, p. 577)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 23, 1862
    NOTES: “I am disposed however, to defer to your judgment, and if you have unquestionable proof that Judge Carmichael has uttered treasonable language in his charge to the grand jury and that the officers of the court have been so biased and are so controlled by the disloyalty of the judge as to render a fair trial hopeless, then the deputy provost-marshall, Mr. McPhail, is authorized on consultation with you to arrest him and bring him to Fort McHenry.”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 576-577.
  6. DESCRIPTION: Docket entry, Talbot County Circuit Court, indicating that the activities of the court have been interrupted because of the arrest of Judge Richard Bennett Carmichael
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 27, 1862
    SOURCE: TALBOT COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT (Minutes) [MSA C1892, 1-43-4-6]
    RESPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  7. DESCRIPTION: Letter J. L. McPhail to W. W. Morris
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 27, 1862
    NOTES: “You will receive the Hon. Judge R. B. Carmichael …. The charges will be sent in the morning.”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 600.
  8. DESCRIPTION: Register of prisoner, R. Carmichael
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 28, 1862
    SOURCE: Selected Records of the War Department Relating to Confederate Prisoners of War, 1861-1865. Microfilm No. 598. Roll 96. Volumes 305-310. Register of Prisoners and Ledger of Prisoners’ Accounts, 1861-65: Fort McHenry, Md. Military Prison.
    REPOSITORY: National Archives
  9. DESCRIPTION: “An Exciting Scene at Easton. Arrest of Judge Carmichael and Others on The Charge of Treason.”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 29, 1862
    SOURCE: The Maryland Newsheet Collection
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  10. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Col. Samuel Hambleton and James Lloyd to James A. Pearce providing a detailed account of Carmichael’s arrest.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 29, 1862
    SOURCE: TALBOT COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT (Minutes) [MSA C1892, 1-43-4-6]
    RESPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  11. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Thomas H. Hicks to Abraham Lincoln,  (Release of suspected conspirators)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 30, 1862
    NOTE: Thomas H. Hicks was the governor of Maryland, 1858-1862.
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916.
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress
  12. DESCRIPTION: Letter, William Wilkins Glenn to unknown correspondent
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 31, 1862
    NOTES: Includes statement from Judge Carmichael
    SOURCE: Bayly Ellen Marks and Mark Norton Schatz, Between North and South: A Maryland Journalist Views the Civil War: The Narrative of William Wilkins Glenn, 1861-1869. London: Associated University Presses, 1976.
    REPOSITORY: Original letter in the collections of the Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore
  13. DESCRIPTION: Letter, George Vickers to William Price,  (Arrests in Maryland)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: June 3, 1862
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916.
    RESPOSITORY: Library of Congress
  14. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Samuel Hambleton to James A. Pearce,  (Statement regarding arrest of Judge Richard Carmichael)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: June 9, 1862
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916.
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress
  15. DESCRIPTION: Letter, William Price to William H. Seward (Arrest of Judge Richard Carmichael)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: June 9, 1862
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916.
    RESPOSITORY: Library of Congress
  16. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Abraham Lincoln to John W. Crisfield,  (Arrest of Judge Richard Carmichael)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: June 26, 1862
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916.
    RESPOSITORY: Library of Congress
  17. DESCRIPTION: Letter, A. Minor to Abraham Lincoln, (Arrest of Richard B. Carmichael)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: July 1862
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916.
    RESPOSITORY: Library of Congress
  18. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Richard B. Carmichael to Abraham Lincoln,  (Seeks release from prison)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: July 22, 1862
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916.
    RESPOSITORY: Library of Congress
  19. DESCRIPTION: Letter, James A. Pearce to Abraham Lincoln, (Arrest of Judge Richard B. Carmichael)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: August 8, 1862
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916.
    RESPOSITORY: Library of Congress
  20. DESCRIPTION: Letter John A. Dix to Augustus W. Bradford
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: February 10, 1862
    NOTES: “Hon. R. B. Carmichael has for many months been on of the prime movers of disaffection and disloyalty on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. He was the author of a treasonable memorial to the legislature, published and circulated under his own signature while holding a place on the bench. His charges to the grand juries in his district have been inflammatory and insulting to the Federal Government. He has caused military officers to be indicted and has charged grand juries that it was their duty to find bills against all persons who had given information on which arrests had been made by order of the Government….”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 2. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1897): 213

See also:

Secondary Resources

Neely, Mark E., Jr. The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties. Oxford University Press, 1992.

Preston, Dickson J. Talbot County: A History. Centreville: Tidewater Publishers, 1983.

Rehnquist, William H. All the Laws But One: Civil Liberties in Wartime. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998.

Scharf, J. Thomas History of Maryland from the Earliest Period to the Present Day. Vol. 3. Hatboro, PA: Tradition Press, 1967.

Associated Heritage and Preservation Organizations

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
Fort Avenue
Baltimore, MD

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Credits

Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

This document packet was researched and developed by Nancy Bramucci.