Friday, November 29, 2013

Relics of Baltimore

Photo taken by Walter's Dad
Where’s Walter?  Since his becoming a man of leisure, one might assume Walter has been sitting on some recliner watching reruns of Hogan’s Heroes.  Not so.  Walter has collected a lifetime of stories and leads.  Instead of resting on his laurels, he has been out and about following up on tips that only someone of his caliber could follow.  After years working in Special Collection at the Pollard Library and even more years at the National Archives, Walter is one of the most well versed Lowell historians around today.

His most recent finds have to do with the Baltimore Riot of 1861.  We all know of Ladd & Whitney, but what of the others in the 6th Mass.?  Earlier blog entries have mentioned Timothy Crowley, the Lowell native who carried the colors that day in April.  It was noted because he led troops through the city never dropping the flag, that many were saved.  (Hey, this is LowellIrish, I had to include an Irishman somewhere!). 

Here’s the latest from Walter-

The Drum
On a recent visit to the Massachusetts State Archives, while researching the Baltimore riot of 19 April 1861, an archivist mentioned that the Archives had the drum of the 6th Regiment.  When I expressed interest, she kindly provided me a photocopy of the artifact Description.

The drum was presented to Governor Andrew on 17 November 1882 by Henry J. White who was the drummer of Co. “I”, Lawrence Light Artillery, 6th Regiment. The Boston Journal of 17 November reported that the drum White carried was the only State drum in the regiment, all other drums being the personal property of the individual drummers.  When it came into his possession the heads were broken in, but General Schouler supplied new ones.  On arrival at Baltimore the members of the regiment were assaulted by the mob and White was knocked down with blows from two brickbats.  He was picked up and sent back with other members of the band to Boston, the drum being subsequently restored to him.  The Governor stated that the drum would be placed on the wall of the Executive Chamber over the flag of the Old Sixth.

The Musket
Moments later the archivist informed me that the musket of Charles Taylor was also held by the Archives and asked if I would like to see the donation record sheet.  Of course I said yes!

Four members of the 6th were killed at Baltimore, and a fifth died several months later from wounds received that day.  The four were Luther Ladd, Addison O. Whitney, and Charles A. Taylor, all of Lowell companies, and Sumner H. Needham of Lawrence.  Sergeant John E. Ames would also succumb to his wounds in 1862.  It was the death of Sgt. Ames which sparked my interest in this event.  Being a Lowellian I was of course familiar with the story of Ladd, Whitney and Taylor, but was not familiar with Corporal Needham.  Also unknown to me was the story of Sgt. Ames and the other forty-four men wounded at Baltimore and the actions of both the Massachusetts and Maryland legislatures.

Charles Taylor was and remains a mystery.  He joined the regiment in Boston as it was about to entrain for Washington.  His residence and birthplace are unknown, as is his place of burial in Baltimore.

The musket, manufactured by Eli Whitney,  was picked up after the riot in a house adjacent to the riot (presumably the house wherein Taylor died) and later held by  Wilson Post No. 1 GAR in Baltimore.  On 19 April 1881, the Post presented the musket to the Sixth Regiment Association, which in turn presented it to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to be hung in the State House. In 1994  the musket was examined by a Military Appraiser and doubts were raised as to whether it was actually Taylor's.  The Sixth Regiment was equipped with muskets manufactured at the Springfield and Harper's ferry armories – not those manufactured by Whitney.

 The Mystery......
The Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Edson Cemetery was dedicated September 1905 in memory of the veterans of the Civil and Spanish Wars.  Today, only the base stands.  What happened to the Soldier?  He has been 'missing' for at least the past thirty years.  WHERE IS HE??

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