Personally appeared on this 12th day of August 1812, before John Fleming, Justice of the Peace for Montgomery County, the following persons: Peregrine Warfield, Richard I. Crabb, Charles J. Kilgour, Henry Nelson, Ephraim Gaither, Robert Kilgour, John A. Payne, H. C. Gaither, and Alexander C. Hanson, who being sworn on the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God, do declare and depose in the manner and form following — to wit:
That these deponents are some of the surviving persons who were devoted, or meant to be devoted, to the brutal and murderous fury of the Mob, in the late Massacre in the Jail at the City of Baltimore — That these deponents having seen the following statement submitted to them of that horrid atrocity, and the proceedings connected with it, do swear, that as far as their individual sufferings or particular opportunities of observation may enable them to testify, they believe the facts and circumstances detailed in the following statement to be truly and accurately stated — These deponents not intending hereby to preclude themselves from a further narrative or disclosure, of such other circumstances and special injuries and sufferings as are within the particular knowledge of each of them respectively, or which they may have individually experienced and endured.
Sworn to before me, JOHN FLEMING.
State of Maryland — Montgomery County, ss.
I hereby certify, that John Fleming, Gent. before whom the foregoing affidavit appears to have been made, and whose p4 name is thereto subscribed, was at the time a Justice of the Peace in and for the county aforesaid, duly commissioned and sworn.
L. S. In testimony whereof. I have hereto subscribed my name, and affixed the public seal for Montgomery County, this twelfth day of August, Anno Domini, eighteen hundred and twelve. UPTON BEALL, Clerk of Montgomery County Court.
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On the night of the 22d June, the office and entire printing apparatus of the Federal Republican was demolished by a Mob in Baltimore, in the presence of the Mayor, the Judge of the Criminal Court, and several other Magistrates and Police Officers, whose authority was not exerted to save it, and preserve the peace of the city. One of the Editors narrowly escaped with his life after being pursued by ruffians, who avowed their fell purpose of assassination.
Mr. Hanson, the other proprietor of the paper, heard of the depredations committed by the Mob the evening after, and went to Baltimore the next day, accompanied by his friend Captain Richard I. Crabb, to make arrangements for reestablishing the paper. Finding it impossible to render any service, the laws being effectually silenced, and his friends unanimously urging his departure,º he left the town in a few hours, having first walked the streets as usual, and made all the arrangements that could be made, in conjunction with his friends and agents, for reviving the paper with all possible despatch.
p5 Upon his return home to Rockville, Montgomery County, Mr. Hanson communicated to some of his most intimate friends his determination to recommence the paper in Baltimore, and declared he never would visit Baltimore again until he could go prepared to assert his rights, and resist oppression. He was aware, that the execution of his plan would be accompanied with much difficulty and danger, but his friends admired and approved it the more on that account, and volunteered to accompany him to Baltimore, to participate his dangers or successes, in maintaining the rights of person and property, and defending the Liberty of the Press. They were nine in number: — General James M. Lingan, (murdered,) General Harry Lee, Captain Richard I. Crabb, Dr. P. Warfield, Charles J. Kilgour, Otho Sprig, Ephraim Gaither, and John Howard Payne. Several others were to have gone, but were prevented; and on the night of the attack, the party was joined by three other volunteers from the county, who were not fully apprised by Mr. Hanson, of his determination, but received their information in confidence from others: — Major Musgrove, Henry G. Gaither, and William Gaither. On the evening of the attack, they were joined by about twenty gentlemen living in Baltimore, one or two only of whom were invited to the house by Mr. Hanson.
When the office was first demolished, Mr. Wagner, one of the proprietors, lived in a house in Charles street. On that event, he removed p6 his family from the house, but did not relinquish it, or remove his furniture.
In this situation it remained until the 26th of July, when the paper having been re-established in Georgetown, and the proprietors having resolved to attemptº its reestablishment in Baltimore, one of them, Mr. Hanson, came and occupied this house, (having first taken a lease) as a place from which the distribution of the paper might be made. He was attended by the friends before mentioned, who were to remain as his guests until their business called them home.
They thought it very probable, that an attempt would be made to prevent the distribution of the paper, and they might even be attacked in the house for that purpose. But they hoped, by the appearance of determined resistance, to deter the assailants from actual violence, till the civil authority should have time to interpose and prevent mischief. Should they be disappointed in this hope, and find themselves in danger from the unrestrained violence of a Mob, they were resolved, and were prepared to stand on the defensive, and to repel force by force. Reliance upon the civil authority they early perceived to be fruitless, for on application to the Mayor by the owner of the house, he peremptorily declined all interference, and left town, as it was understood, to prevent his repose from being disturbed. The civil authority refusing to interfere when applied to by Mr. White, the son, and Mr. Dennis Nowland, the son-in‑law of the owner of the house, there was p7 nothing left but to resist the Mob in the house, and while this resistance was made with a mildness and forbearance scarcely ever equalled, and which excited the wonder of the spectators, several messages were sent to Brigadier General Stricker to disperse the Mob and prevent the effusion of blood, which would otherwise be unavoidable.
If it be objected, that the scheme was rash or imprudent, all must admit it was strictly and clearly lawful. Mr. Hanson had an undoubted right to distribute the paper in Baltimore, from this or any other house in his occupation, and to defend his person and property by force, in case they were assailed by unlawful violence, and left unprotected by the civil authority.
On Monday, the 27th of July, the distribution of the paper was commenced, and proceeded without molestation or tumult, till evening. But soon after twilight, a Mob collected before the house, and soon began to act in a very threatening and riotous manner. The gentlemen in the house, with great mildness, patience and forbearance, repeatedly advised and requested them to disperse, assuring them that the house was armed, and would be defended, and that the consequences of attacking would be dangerous.
This, however had no other affect than to increase the boldness and violence of the Mob, as well as its numbers. A vigorous attack on the house was soon commenced. — Stones were thrown in showers at the front windows, all of which were soon broken, and not only the glass, but the sashes and shutters were demolished, p8 and an attempt was made to break down the street door, which was at length actually broken and burst open. All these acts of violence were accompanied by loud and reiterated declarations by the Mob of a determination to force the house, and expel, or kill all those who were engaged in its defence.
These scenes continued for more than two hours, without the least interference of the Mayor, or any appearance of an intention to interpose. At length, the persons thus threatened and assailed, finding that little hope remained of protection from the local authorities, and that forbearance, expostulation and entreaty on their part, served only to increase the audacity of the Mob, resolved to try the effect of intimidation. Orders were therefore given to fire from the windows of the second story over the heads of the Mob, so as to frighten without hurting them. This was done. — The Mob was at first intimidated by this blank fire, but soon finding that no hurt was done by it, they returned, and recommenced the attack with increased violence. — The windows having been all before broken, and the room on the lower front floor abandoned, the Mob prepared to enter by the door and take possession of the house. The gentlemen from within, therefore prepared themselves for the worst and resolved, that when things should be pushed to extremities, they would make a serious fire on the assailants. Some gentlemen were stationed on the stairs in the entry, opposite the front door, and the entry itself was barricaded, as well as could be done, with chairs, p9 tables, and other furniture. Other persons were posted at the windows, in such a manner, as best to command the approach to the doors. They renewed their warnings and entreaties to the Mob, but with no other effect than before, and in this situation they remained until effectual resistance should become absolutely necessary. — Still the civil authority did nothing, save the fruitless efforts of Judge Scott, who was ultimately obliged to leave the street: The military was equally supine or indifferent. It was now about 11 o'clock. The violence of the attack increased, and in a short time a part of the Mob with a Dr. Gale, their apparent leader and instigator, (who had harranguedº them in the street) at their head, made an attempt to enter the passage and advance towards the stairs.
Orders were now given to fire from the windows and staircase. By this fire Dr. Gale was killed, and carried off by his companions and followers. Several were wounded in the street. The Mob fled in every direction, carrying with them the wounded and the body of Dr. Gale but before they fled they fired frequently into the house, where the marks of their shot are to be seen, and a pistol aimed at the breast of General Lee flashed, while he was expostulating with the Mob. One of the defenders of the house, (Ephraim Gaither) was wounded at the time of the fire from the street, but how or with what has not been ascertained. He bled profusely, and had a convulsion in the morning white Standing at his post upon duty.
This was the time for the gentlemen in the p10 house to make their escape. — Could they have seen that their enterprise had become impracticable, they might have made good their retreat. But they judged otherwise. They thought rather of their rights than of the prudence of a further effort to assert them, and resolved still to defend the house, indulging the hope too, that no further violence would be attempted after this experience of its consequences, or that the civil authority would effectually interpose.
The Mob came very cautiously and almost by stealth in front of the house after the effectual fire. They still, however, remained in the streets and increased their numbers gradually, a drum parading the streets to beat up recruits, and continued to throw stones in front and back of the house. — Between two and three o'clock the military having been ordered out, Major Barney appeared in the street at the head of a small party of cavalry.
The Mob again fled at his approach, crying out as they heard the trampling of horses, "the troop is coming, the troop is coming." Near the front of the house Major Barney halted and addressed them. On this they again returned. He told them he was their friend, their personal and political friend, that he was there to protect person and property, to prevent violence, "to secure the party in the house," and that those in the street must disperse. They then asked him by what authority he came. — He answered by order of the Brigadier General Stricker. They demanded a sight of the order which he consented to show them, and for that purpose went p11 round the corner into an ally where they assembled round him to see it. He said something in a low voice on hearing which the mob gave three cheers.
What did he then say to them? This can be answered only from conjecture and from what happened afterwards. Many of the gentlemen in the house judging from subsequent events believe that he communicated to the Mob the plan of assassination, which was put into execution, and which they suppose to have been then already formed with his knowledge and participation. But this supposition would ascribe to that officer a degree of ferocious profligacy which ought not to be imputed to him or any other man without the clearest proof. — The subjoined extract from the Whig, explains Major Barney's conduct.
"We regret that our committee have not after so much pains and promise, stated some particulars minutely; particulars necessary to be known — we mean the circumstances of the negotiation (as it were) between Major Barney and the populace. They agreed to rest satisfied, if the murderers should be carefully kept from escaping, and be surrendered into the hands of the civil authority; in other words be committed to jail for trial. To the fulfilment of hisº was Major Barney pledged."
His instructions were nevertheless for the safety and honor of the gentlemen in the house!
There can be no question, he had orders while he protected the house from further attack, to secure the party in it so as to prevent them from p12 escaping, and to bring them to trial for the deaths which had taken place or were expected, and that he communicated this part of his orders to the Mob. This supposition is favoured by what he was heard to say on his first approach — that "he was there to take possession and secure the party in the house."
And when the gentlemen distrusting his views in consequence of what they had observed, demanded an explanation, he assured them that he had no orders or instructions but such as were consistent with their safety and honor, but he was obliged to talk otherwise to the Mob to deceive and keep them quiet.
The Mob made no further attempt on the house in front of which Major Barney and his cavalry remained constantly wrangling and talking with the Mob, who soon prepared for a more effectual attack by bringing up a field piece. With this they attempted to fire on the house, but were always prevented by Major Barney, who more than once mounted on the cannon declaring that if they fired they should fire on him, that they would kill their own friends — all which trouble he might have saved himself, if he pleased, by remounting his horse, and dispersing the Mob which fled at his first approach.
This state of things continued till about six o'clock, A.M. when Mr. Johnson the Mayor, arrived from the country whither messengers had been despatched for him by those out of the house, and Brigadier Gen. Stricker, who commands the militia of the town, appeared before the door and commenced a parley with the party p13 within. Being admitted into the house, they represented to the party defending, the irritation which prevailed in the town, the exasperation of the public mind, and the impossibility of maintaining the defence against the force which would soon come in aid of the attack. The Mayor asked for and addressed Mr. Hanson with warmth and great agitation. Spoke of a civil war, saying, we are impressed with the belief that a civil war is inevitable, and I consider this a party thing, and the commencement of it. He complained also of the government's being implicated in the dispute between parties and the paper, and added such opposition must or will be noticed. To all which Mr. Hanson replied that he would not enter into a political dispute with the Mayor, that he had a right to defend his house which was his castle, and his person, and that he and his friends were competent to the protection of both, that it was the Mayor's duty to disperse the Mob. The Mayor and General Stricker then declared their own inability to protect the party in the house while there, and proposed that they should surrender themselves into the hands of the civil authority, and be taken to the public jail as a place of safety, promising an effectual escort on the way, to be composed of Mr. Hanson's own friends, in town if he pleased, and also an effectual guard at the jail till they could be released on bail.
To this many of the party, particularly Mr. Hanson, strongly objected. He was indignant at the proposal to go to jail — "to jail said he, for what? for protecting my person and property p14 against a Mob who assailed both for three hours without being fired upon when he could have killed numbers of them; it is your duty to disperse the Mob, and if you cannot disperse them, you cannot protect us to jail or after we are in jail." Mr. Hanson then, after the Mayor and General went into the front room to converse with General Lee, exhorted his friends never to surrender, declaring that no reliance could be placed on the assurances of such men, who were his bitter enemies, and who, however willing they might be, were unable to afford effectual protection, as was proved by their inability to disperse the Mob then assembled before the house. He repeated over and over, that if they surrendered they would all be sacrificed, and from his knowledge of the men they had to deal with, particularly John Montgomery who had just before passed into the room, he expected they would all be given up to be massacreedº either on the way to jail or in the jail." Mr. Hanson then stated his objections to the Mayor and General Stricker, who in answer gave the most solemn assurances on their faith as officers, and their honor as men, to afford the promised protection, or die in the attempt. General Stricker assured them on his honor that he would never quit them while there was danger, and if they were attacked he would rescue or fall with them; these assurances were repeated frequently with the most solemn asseverations and appeals to God. — Mr. Hanson having said something to his friends in regard to the house and furniture, a pledge was instantly p15 given by the Mayor to leave a guard to defend both. Gen. Lee, and other gentlemen attempted to get better terms of capitulation, such as marching out with arms in their hands to assist in protecting themselves, and riding on their horses among the cavalry, and in carriages. The Mayor and General went out to see if the Mob would consent to any other terms. While gone, Mr. Hanson made two propositions to different gentlemen of his party, the one to hold the Mayor and Brigadier General as hostages for their safety, and the other, offering to give himself up to the Mob who would then be appeased, repeating his belief that every man would be sacrificed if they surrendered.
When the Mayor and General Stricker returned, they informed the party in the house, that no other terms could be obtained from the Mob, than those first proposed, and urged their immediate acceptance, declaring that a delay of five minutes might be fatal. Mr. Hanson still vehemently opposed surrendering, and said he had nothing to say to the Mob, but would negotiate only with the civil authority, in order to prevent the further effusion of blood, which he was as anxious to do as any one. General Lee, who had been chosen to command the party, was then sought for in the front room, up stairs. He was of opinion, that the proposition of the Mayor and General Stricker ought to be accepted, and endeavoured to gain over Mr. Hanson to his opinion, by expressing the warmest confidence in their sincerity and honor, and their competency to afford full protection to and at p16 the jail. Gen. Lee probably saw that the defence was wholly desperate. The numbers in the house had diminished from about thirty to twenty, by sending out detachments for various purposes who could not return, and from other causes not now satisfactorily known. This remaining number was barely sufficient to man the essential stations. — There were none to relieve them. The effects of fatigue and want of sleep began to be felt. Those of hunger and thurstº must soon be added, for their stock of provisions and water was small, and a supply was impossible. To a military man of judgment and experience, like General Lee, these circumstances would naturally appear in all their force. He saw the defence necessarily and rapidly becoming weeker,º while there was reason to believe that the attacking force would greatly and rapidly augment. Being a soldier too himself, he could not doubt a soldier's honor, nor believe that General Stricker, who had served like himself in the war of our revolution, could abandon those who surrendered their arms on the faith of his word. General Lee therefore gave his opinion early and strongly in favour of a surrender.
Several others no doubt from similar motives, and some in deference to his opinion, declared for the same course. But Mr. Hanson, more ardent because younger, smarting under wrongs unredressed, and flushed by the hope of gaining in the end a glorious victory, and less confiding because better acquainted with the weakness, timidity and disposition of the persons on whom p17 they were invited to rely, strongly and pertinaciously opposed this sentiment to the last, contending that if the defence was really impracticable, which he by no means believed, it was better to die there with arms in their hands, than to surrender for the purpose of being led through the streets like malefactors, and in the end massacreedº by the mob, against which he insisted no effectual protection would be afforded, or ought to be expected. The opinion of General Lee, however, finally prevailed and the whole party to the number of between twenty and thirty surrendered themselves into the hands of the civil authority. An escort of horse and foot was provided by General Stricker, and they were conducted from the house to the jail. This took place between eight and nine o'clock in the morning.
In going to the jail, they were to pass by a large pile of paving stones, which had been provided for paving the streets. — While the negotiation for the surrender was going on, a plan was laid to massacre the party at this pile of stones, and a company from Fell's Point, headed by a Mr. Worrel, was to join the mob at that place for the purpose. The plan was to drive off, or knock down the escort with the stones, and then beat the prisoners to death. But the pile of stones was passed a few minutes before the party from the Point arrived and thus the scheme was frustrated, not without two of the gentlemen receiving severe blows with stones, said to be aimed at Mrs. Hanson. This important fact was related on the same day to a gentleman p18 by one of the Chiefs of the Mob, who very coolyº added; — "It is only a short delay, for we shall take them out of the jail to night and put them to death."
This intention was publicly and frequently avowed, in the course of the day; an express invitation to that effect was given in the principal democratic paper of this city; and the preparations for carrying it into effect, were openly made. A particular incident will shew how well it was known, and how confidently expected.
A youth of the name of M'Cubbin, a clerk in the counting house of Hollins and M'Blair, had opened the counting house in the morning as usual, and after attending to his ordinary business, was led by curiosity or accident, into the neighbourhood of the jail, at the moment when the party from the house entered it. Being with the crowd he was hurried into the jail by mistake, and was actually locked up with the party. Messrs. Hollins and M'Blair, finding his situation, and knowing what would happen at night, exerted themselves to the utmost, with some of their friends, to effect his release, which they effected a little before night, with very great difficulty. Those gentlemen despairing, it must be presumed of success, made no effort as far as is known to prevent the catastrophe. Some of their freinds,º however, and particularly Colonel James A. Buchanan, exerted themselves to the almost, as is said and believed, but to no purpose.
General Stricker and Mr. Johnson being informed of the intended massacre, an order was p19 obtained in the legal form to call out the military for the protection of the jail. This order was given to Gen. Stricker by Mr. Johnson, on the certificate and requisition of two magistrates. General Stricker accordingly ordered out the fifth regiment (commanded by Colonel Joseph Sterrett, a brave man, and to be relied on in all situations,) but directed expressly, that they should be furnished with blank cartridges only. This part of the order might very well deter, and no doubt did deter many of the well disposed militia from turning out. They might well suppose, that the order might by some means become known to the Mob, who, far from being intimidated by the appearance of soldiers known to be unarmed, would naturally consider it as it was, a pledge for their perfect impunity, and might probably slaughter the soldiers themselves.
The general exasperation, moreover, which prevailed on account of the events of the morning, which, as always happens on such occasions, had been wholly misrepresented, and were almost universally misunderstood, was so high that great numbers of the militia, and some entire companies, especially one of cavalry, absolutely refused to turn out; many it may be supposed, were prevented by their fears. Yet notwithstanding all these unfavourable circumstances, a number did appear, which is stated by some to be sixty, and by others, not more than thirty. Colonel Sterrett was at the head of this fragment of his regiment. Capt. Samuel Sterrett, who commands one of the companies, was p20 also at his post. So was Major Richard K. Keath. The other officers who appeared are not recollected.
The Brigadier General himself after his solemn pledge of his word and honour as an officer and a man, in the presence of God, did not appear. He was not seen with the troops, and if seen in the streets at all, it was in his common dress with a rattan in his hand. — He no where showed himself as the commander of the militia, made no call in person on the troops, or citizens to rally round him, but contented himself with barely doing what was required of him according to the strict letter, by ordering out a part of the militia, and rendered that order futile and nugatory, or wosreº by combining it with an order to come within effective arms.
This part of his order was however disobeyed by many, if not all of the militia, who came out — Resolved not to be exposed to massacre by this unaccountable conduct of their General, they furnished themselves, as well as they could with ball cartridges.
In the afternoon, while the troops were ordered out, and while they were assembling, Mr. Johnson, Mayor, went to the jail, accompanied by Mr. Hargrove, Register of the city, and together with General Stricker, Judge Job Smith, Mr. Wilson, Magistrate, Mr. Calhoun, Brigade Inspector, visited the gentlemen in the jail, to inform them of the efforts that were making and would be made for their protection. — They renewed their assurances of protection, and told the party to rest satisfied, as the military p21 would be out in a very short time, when there would be no danger of an attack upon the jail. A butcher by the name of Mumma, and two others, understood to be prominent in the Mob, entered in company with the Mayor, and remained after him. While the interview between the Mayor, General, &c. and the gentlemen continued, this butcher was employed in observing, and most attentively remarking their countenances and their dress. As many of them were strangers in Baltimore, his object no doubt was to enable himself to identify them, and to point them out to his associates, when the massacre should commence. This very butcher did stand at the first iron gate and knock down the gentlemen as they were brought out. It was by him so stationed, that Mr. Hanson was first recognized and shockingly beaten.
In the course of the afternoon the gentlemen were apprised, from various quarters, of the fate which awaited them at night, and particularly a gentleman of the democratic party (who is, nevertheless, a man of honor, courage, and humanity) after struggling, in vain, to provide means of protection, or to avert the danger, informed them of all they had to expect.
The door of the room in which they were confined was very strong, composed of thick iron bars fastened together, so as to make a grate, it enabled them to see what was done on the outside, while, if kept locked it was capable of affording them a very considerable defence. That they might make the most of this feeble resource, in the apprehended absence of all others p22 they sent for the turnkey, and requested him to lock the door and give them the key. This he promised, but did not perform — They sent to him again and reminded him of his promise, which he repeated and again neglected. They saw no more of him until the slaughter commenced.
The militia having assembled in front of their Colonel's quarters in Gay-street, at a considerable distance from the jail. The General, instead of putting himself at their head, endeavouring to increase their numbers, and leading them to the jail, left them standing in Gay-st. — and hearing that the Mob had assembled at the jail in great numbers, he and the Mayor, accompanied by John Montgomery, Attorney General of the State, went to them a little before sunset to expostulate with them on the impropriety of their conduct, and persuade them to disperse.
The object which the mob then thought proper to avow openly, was to prevent the gentlemen from being admitted to bail. An assurance being given to them by the Attorney General and the judge, that bail should not be received before next day, they are said to have declared themselves satisfied, and to have promised to disperse. Some of them, no doubt, made such a declaration and promise — with what intentions will soon appear.
General Stricker and Mr. Johnson, Mayor, thought fit to be satisfied with these assurances. Some of their friends, supposed to be men of influence among the Mob, are said to have obtained p23 similar assurances, and to have been equally satisfied. Be that as it may, the Brigadier General, the Mayor of the city, and the Attorney General of the state, left the jail with the Mob still assembled before it, and went into the city proclaiming that every thing was settled, and all danger at an end. On this ground Gen. Stricker dismissed a body of militia under Major Heath, which he met in his way from the jail, notwithstanding the advice and remonstrance of Major Heath, who exhorted them to go once more to the jail before they were dismissed, and see whether all was safe.
From Major Heath he proceeded to Colonel Sterett, and ordered him to dismiss the party which was under arms in Gay-street — an order which Mr. Sterett obeyed with a heavy heart. Gen. Stricker then proceeded through the town to his house, which is in a part still more distant from the jail, and on his way he proclaimed that every thing was settled, all danger is over, and no further need of any protecting force. By this means he dispersed a number of citizens who had assembled with a view of giving their aid. When he reached his own house he shut himself up, and ordered himself to be denied, or was out of the way.
The dismissal of the military was instantly made known to the Mob at the jail by their associates, stationed for that purpose; and they regarded it, as was natural, as the signal of attack. They immediately made a furious attack upon the outward doors of the jail, which being observed by a gentleman who happened at that p24 moment to pass on horseback, he rode full speed to Gen. Stricker's house, to give him the information. The gentleman was told "that General Stricker could not be seen; and that if he could it would be unavailing, for he had already done all he could or would do."
The gentleman then went in quest of the Mayor, who fearing of being informed of what had happened, had gone to jail with two or three men supposed to have influence with the Mob, whom he had engaged to assist him. With them he attempted to prevent the doors from being forced open; but his attempts were fruitless, and at length his assistants fearing for his safety and their own, almost forced him away. The attack then proceeded without further hindrance or fear of interruption: and when the violence of the attactº upon the outward door to the east increased, a voice from within was heard, saying — "Come round to the other door," — which they were seen to do by some of the gentlemen in prison.
There can be no doubt that it was in the power of Gen. Stricker to prevent, or easily repel, this attack. Had he put on his uniform, mounted on horseback, put himself at the head of such of the military as had assembled, called for more force, exhorted the citizens to volunteer, and marched to the gaol with all the force which he could thus collect, had he, as his duty and plighted honor required, taken post at or in the gaol, even with the small body of militia which had assembled, the Mob would unquestionably have been deterred or repulsed. But he was p25 blind to all such considerations, and left the Mob to their course by dismissing the military, and infusing a false and fatal security into the citizens. But above all, after the massacre, when it was discovered that some of the persons thrown into the pile of the supposed slain were not quite dead, and might be restored, intelligence of the fact was carried to town. Upon receiving the information, a distinguished gentleman went to Gen. Stricker's house and had him called out of bed. He communicated to the Gen. the joyful tidings and added "the physicians will go out to preserve all they can, if you will furnish a guard or go with them." The General said he was fatigued, had lost his rest the night before, and it was an improbable tale, that any of the prisoners were alive. The gentleman urged and remonstrated, offering to bring him a horse immediately; but the Gen. flatly declined, and returned to his bed to find repose. God of Heaven! did he sleep? he "who hath murdered, sleep!" — slaughtered honor, patriotism and courage ensnared by treachery, betrayed the brave, and handed them over to the executioner to be tortured in a manner until now unknown in the annals of all time, to satiate the bloody appetites of cannibals and tygers in human form. Have not ages of wickedness and barbarity and guilt, been crouded into days? An all wise and good Providence will avenge these horrid enormities.
The Mob gained possession of the principal entrance into the prison, but there were still two very strong doors to be forced before they p26 could reach the party within. One of these doors detained them more than a quarter of an hour. Whether it was finally forced or unlocked is not known. When they reached the last door after a few slight blows it was unlocked. Bentley the gaoler, was the first man who entered the room, to the best of these deponent's recollection, and was instantly followed by the mob. He was probably compelled to unlock the door.
From this it appears that a very small military guard posted in the first entry of the jail, especially, with the Brigadier General and the Mayor at their head would have been a sufficient protection. This was the post in which the plighted faith and honour of General Stricker would have placed him. But his pledge was forgotten or neglected and the post was left wholly unguarded.
When the victims saw the danger approach nearer and nearer they calmly prepared for their fate, but resolved to make every possible effort for effecting their escape. They had three or four pistols among them and one or two dirks. It was proposed as soon as the last door should be forced, they should shoot as many of the assailants with these pistols, for which there was no second charge, as possible. Mr. Hanson dissuaded from this course, saying it would be of no avail to kill one or two of the Mob and would only increase their fury and render escape more difficult. He strongly recommended that they should all rush among the Mob, put out all the lights, create as much confusion as possible, p27 and by that means many would escape; as for himself he would be recognized, but every man must do the best to save himself. All-seemed at once to embrace the plan, but when the Mob were about entering the last door, Mr. Murray and Mr. Thomson presented their pistols, the former saying very familiarly "my lads, you had better retire, I can shoot either of you." It was replied, "I can kill you," by the Mob. Murray rejoined "I can kill any one of you first." Mr. Thomson was also disposed to fire, but General Lee, and Mr. Hanson urged the contrary, and the Mob coming in were rushed upon and the confusion commenced.
The plan proposed by Mr. Hanson availed many of his friends who escaped almost, and some entirely unhurt, to the number of nine or ten who made their way through the crowd in the confusion that ensued. But it was useless to himself because he was known to Mumma the butcher, who recognized and knocked him down after he had made good his way to the lobyº as it is called or hall of the gaol. He was then dreadfully beaten, trampled on, and pitched for dead down the high flight of stairs in front of the gaol. The purpose for which Mumma came into the prison room in the evening now appeared. He was posted at the door to make the victims as they came out, and designate them for slaughter by giving each a blow or two, which was the signal for his associates, who proceeded to finish what he had begun. The fate of Mr. Hanson, befel General Lee, General Lingan, Mr. Hall, Mr. Nelson, Mr. Kilgour, Major Musgrove, p28 Dr. P. Warfield and Mr. William Gaither, all of whom were thrown down the steps of the gaol, where they lay in a heap nearly three hours. During this whole time the Mob continued to torture their mangled bodies, by beating first one and then the other; sticking penknives into their faces and hands, and opening their eyes and dropping hot candle grease into them, &c. Mr. Murray, Mr. Thomson and Mr. Winchester were carried in a different direction and not thrown into the heap of the supposed slain.
Major Musgrove was the last who remained in the prison room when the Mob broke in. — While the slaughter of his friends was going on in the passage in his view, he calmly walked about the room waiting for a fate which he saw no possibility of averting. At length one of the assassins came and called him out. He went and was attacked in the entry, knocked down, and beaten till he was supposed by the butchers to be dead.
Some of the victims were rendered wholly insensible by the first blows which they received. Others who preserved their senses and recollection resolved to feign death, in hopes of thus escaping farther injury. The brave Gen. Lingan lost his life by his endeavours to save it. He so much mistook the character of the monsters, as to suppose them capable of feelings of humanity. He reminded them that he had fought for their liberties throughout the revolutionary war, that he was old, infirm, and that he had a large and helpless family dependent on him for support. These remarks served only to attract p29 their attention to him, and to inform them that he was still alive. Every supplication was answered by fresh insults and blows. At length, while he was still endeavouring to speak, and to stretch out his hands for mercy, one of the assassins stamped upon his breast, struck him many blows in rapid succession, crying out, "the damned old rascal is hardest dying of all of them," and repeating the opprobrious epithet of Tory! These blows put an end to his torments and his life. In a few minutes after his removal into jail, he expired without a groan. His name will be immortal as his soul.
While Gen. Lee's mangled body lay exposed upon the bare earth, one of the monsters attempted to cut off his nose, but missed his aim, though he thereby gave him a bad wound in the nose. Either the same person or another attempted to thrust a knife into the eye of General Lee, who had again raised himself up. The knife glanced on the cheek bone, and the General being immediately by the side of Mr. Hanson, fell with his head upon his breast, where he lay for some minutes, when he was kicked or knocked off. A quantity of his blood was left on Mr. Hanson's breast, on observing which one of the Mob shortly afterwards exclaimed exultingly "see Hanson's brains on his breast!"
During these horrid scenes, several of the gentlemen, Mr. Nelson, Dr. Warfield, Mr. Kilgour, Mr. J. E. Hall, and Mr. Hanson, perfectly retained their senses. They sustained, without betraying any signs of life, or gratifying their butchers with a groan or murmmur,º all the tortures p30 that were inflicted on them. They heard without showing any emotion, the deliberations of the assassins, about the manner of disposing of their bodies. At one time it was proposed to throw them all into the sink of the jail. Others thought it best to dig a hole and bury them all together immediately. Some advised that they should be thrown into Jones' Falls, a stream which runs in front of the jail. Some that they should be castrated. Others again were for tarring and feathering them, and directed a cart to be brought for that purpose to carry them about town. Others insisted upon cutting all their throats upon the spot, to make sure of them. And lastly it was resolved to hang them next morning, and have them dissected. Pointing to Hanson, and jobbing him severely with a stick on the privates, one exclaimed, "this fellow shall be dissected." Being particularly desirous of insulting and mangling the body of Mr. Hanson, but finding great difficulty in identifying it, they at length thought of examining his sleeve buttons, supposing they should there find the initials of his name. It was insisted by some one present, that he knew Hanson well, and it was not him but Hoffman. Before they seemed to have settled the dispute, their attention was attracted to some other object. Dr. Hall, personally unknown to all but one, it is believed, of the sufferers, was instrumental in rescuing them from the Mob, which he did by a stratagem, which will endear him to all good men, and brighten his course through life. He with the aid of others, not now known, induced p31 the Mob, to place the supposed dead bodies under his care till morning, and he conveyed them into the jail to the room whence they were first taken. There he was assisted by doctors Birckhead, Smith, Owen, and a gentleman who assumed the name of Dr. Page, but is better known by the name of the "Boston Beauty," and was extremely active in assitingº Dr. Hall to administer drinks and opiates. Having examined their wounds, some of the doctors went to town privately for carriages to carry off the bodies. By management, they had induced nearly all the Mob to retire till morning. Some of them no doubt being fatigued, retired to rest and refresh themselves. A large part followed Mr. Thomson who had been carried off in the manner stated in his narrative. Some perhaps felt satiated with the cruelties already committed and withdrew. The remainder were in a measure exhausted, and the two democratic physicians, Drs. Hall and Owen, had the address ultimately to prevail on all of them to leave the jail for the present.
While the physicians were gone for carriages, Mr. Hanson proposed to Drs. Hall and Owen, to convey him if possible to Mr. Murray's, about three miles off, where his family was on a visit. He said it was likely he might live until morning, when if he remained in jail he would be again taken by the Mob. He was told carriages would soon be at the jail, but upon discovering impatience, Dr. Owen went out to see if he could be safely carried off at once. — When he returned Bentley came with him, and p32 Mr. H. again urged his removal, upon which Bentley objected, saying that he had no right to permit the prisoners to go away, as they were in custody. He was answered by Mr. H. that the jail being broken open and the prisoners rescued by the mob and brought back for security without being recommitted, he could not be blamed. Bentley replied, "very well, do as you please." A person then presented himself, and offered to carry Mr. H. off, who fell and fainted several times upon attempting to rise. Dr. Owen recommended and gave him a glass of brandy, which he took and was quickly invigorated and enabled with the aid of his deliverer to stand up and walk. He asked to be carried to General Lingan, over whose dead body he stood for a moment and was hurried off. When he got to the outward jail door he was taken on the back of his deliverer, who ran with him to the falls, conveyed him over, and helped him over into a small garden opposite, where he was told to lie until called for. After lying some time wrapped up in a blanket, he heard a wrangle at the jail, and concluded it was the best time to crawl away as well as he could, which he did to a place of safety whence he was conveyed in the morning at daylight, some distance from town.
Mr. Nelson and Mr. J. E. Hall, left the jail at the same time Mr. Hanson did. The former, though among the most injured, found his way to a secure retreat within a few hundred yards of Mr. H. and was taken in a cart covered with hay to the same house in the country, p33 where the wounds of both of them were dressed, and they were taken to Annaº Arundel county without delay. — Mr. Hall got unassisted to the house of a humane gentleman, up the falls, near the jail. This gentleman dressed his wounds, put him to bed, and early in the morning sent him further into the country. The names of all the others who escaped in this manner are not yet known.
By whom or with what intention he is ignorant, but Mr. Murray was carried by some persons and laid on the ground by the falls. They left him there probably supposing he was dead and all went away but one. That person after all the rest were gone approached Mr. Murray and laid his hand upon him. He took the hand of the man and pressed it. He started with surprise and dread at feeling his hand pressed by what he had supposed to be a corpse. Murray then begged his assistance to escape which he promised, adding that he was one of the Mob but thought "there should be fair play." He then assisted Mr. Murray to rise and conducted him to a neighbouring hovel whence, at Murray's request he went into town to inform his friends where he was and conduct them to the place. This office he faithfully and successfully performed, though so much intoxicated as to be hardly able to walk. Murray's friends, thus conducted, came and removed him to a place of safety.
General Lee was taken to the hospital where his wounds were dressed by the physicians, and p34 he received every assistance of which his deplorable and mangled situation admitted. — Hence he was next conveyed to the country and arrived at Little York, where he is said to be doing well. Major Musgrove it is understood was also taken to the hospital, and carried the next day four miles above Ellicott's mills on the Montgomery road. A mortification having taken place in some of his wounds after he reached home, his life was, for a time, despaired of; but the skill and attention of Dr. Charles A. Warfield, Dr. Mathews and Doctor Allen Thomas have preserved this gallant officer, and he is now out of danger.
Dr. Peregrine Warfield, Mr. Charles J. Kilgour and Mr. William Gaither, all of them much mangled, were conveyed without molestation in a hack brought by the physicians about 4 o'clock in the morning, to Ellicott's mills, and thence to the house of the father of Dr. P. W. about 24 miles from town. They are all recovering.
It would remain now to relate the last act of this horrible and bloody tragedy, which included the fate of Mr. Thomson, now safe and recovering in Little York, Pennsylvania. He was the unhappy victim reserved, for what special cause is unknown, by the butchers for their infernal pastime. His narrative already before the public, saves us the pain of describing the unheard of tortures which untamed ferocity delighted to inflict on him. His prayers to put an end to his sufferings by death, were inhumanly rejected as often as repeated.
p35 Such are the particulars of this atrocious and bloody affair, which it has hitherto been impossible to collect in an authentic shape, and a parallel to which is scarcely to be found in the annals of revolutionary France, even after the actors in similar scenes there had become hardened by custom, and familiar to deeds of horrour, cruelty and crime. The blood hounds of republican France, massacreedº by thousands those obknoxiousº to their vengeance, but they despatched their victims quickly, rarely ever resorting to such lingering tortures as the exclusive republicans of this boasted land of liberty and happiness have the credit of inventing.
It is proposed as soon as practicable to obtain from each of the gentlemen a separate statement on oath, of what he suffereedº himself, and of all that passed within his observation. Meantime the above statement must receive universal credit, every material circumstance being embraced in the introductory affidavit. The intended statements will be published, in order to give a fuller view of these horrible scenes. While they hold up to merited detestation those who by their active co-operation, connivance or their dastardly and treacherous supineness contributed to produce the catastrophe. They will serve as a beacon to warn the civil and military authority of other places of the danger of temporising with the most ferocious, ruthless, and bloody of all monsters, a Mob; while they teach an instructive lesson to the honest but deluded citizen reduced by the siren charmgº of democracy.
p36 The persons named in the above affidavit have read with mingled regret and indignation, the partial, mutilated, and unjust report of the local authoriesºin Baltimore, while they have seen annexed to it with grief and amazement, the signatures of some worthy, and hitherto firm and independent citizens. Understanding that the justification made for the barbarous cruelties which treachery and black malignity procured to be inflicted upon them, is that an extensive conspiracy was formed to murder, or otherwise molest the citizens of Baltimore, the above named do, therefore, solemnly swear that no such conspiracy or association ever was even formed, but merely a determination entered into by less than a dozen gentlemen in the country to protect the person and property of Mr. Hanson, and defend the liberty of the press with their lives if necessary. The determination remains unaltered. The letters of Colonel Lynn, whose advice was volunteered, John H. Thomas and Mr. Taney have been disengenuouslyº perverted to an unjust and infamous purpose.
Rockville, Aug. 12, 1812.
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