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Department 1

Civil War Institute


Though Baltimore and Maryland were preserved for the Union, it was a victory won at gunpoint. Historian Harry Ezratty describes one occasion when Governor Dix, Butler’s successor in the Middle Department, demonstrated “a genuine display of gentlemanly tactfulness” and Victorian cunning when he invited overly influential local ladies to discuss matters of the occupation. According to his memoirs, he then pointed to a gun stationed at Fort McHenry and diplomatically asked his guests where it was directed. They observed that it was pointed to Battle Monument Square: a site of local importance commemorating the War of 1812. He promised them that if they stopped sowing the seeds of insurrection, there would be no more trouble. Otherwise, “that gun is the first that I shall fire.” [excerpt]


This blog post originally appeared in The Gettysburg Compiler and was created by students at Gettysburg College.