Civil War 150: A Lowell Connection “The Slain at Baltimore”
This Civil War ballad – ‘The Slain at Baltimore” – was sent to us By Martha Mayo – Director of the UML/Center for Lowell History and longtime member of the Lowell Historical Society.
The ballad was made available to the public as a Civil War penny-song sheet or as a broadside. Published by Auner’s Printing Office, Philadelphia, PA.. This small broadside or handbill contains the lyrics of a Union patriotic song.
The ballad concerns the Baltimore Riots that took place on April 19, 1861. Soldiers from Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, who had been called into service by President Lincoln, were attacked by an angry secessionist mob while they travelled through Baltimore enroute to Washington, D.C. Four militiamen and 12 civilians were killed. The number of wounded and injured is unknown.
The Lowell connection – of course – is that the obelisk-shaped monument in front the Lowell City Hall is dedicated to Luther Ladd, Addison Whitney and Charles Taylor – members of the Massachusetts 6th Regiment and among the first four casualties of the Civil War. They were killed on April 19th, 1861 during a riot in Baltimore, Maryland while responding to President Lincoln’s plea for assistance.
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Luther C. Ladd was 17 years old when he was killed in Baltimore. Seventeen years old. He was an artisan in a Lowell mill, where “art is the handmaid of human good.” Luther was 17 years old when he joined his fellow soldiers and tried to get to Washington, DC, to protect the capital and Capitol.
The Ladd and Whitney Monument is not only a memorial to their lives but is also their gravestone! Both Ladd’s and Whitney’s families allowed their sons to be buried there after an editorial in the Lowell Courier newspaper suggested it. Originally the dedication of the monument was to be on April 19, 1865 but because of Lincoln’s assassination just a few days before it was postponed to June when a massive parade and speeches by the Governor and others were made.
Charles Taylor was an unknown when he was killed in Baltimore. He joined the 6th Massachusetts just prior to the troops leaving on the train for Washington. He had no friends in the 6th and did not have time to make any during the trip. When he was killed in Baltimore it was initially thought he was a civilian casualty until his uniform coat was brought to Colonel Jones after he had already been buried there. Martha told me while I was researching a paper on the riots that Taylor was “probably” disinterred in Baltimore and moved to the crypt under the monument sometime in 1902 or ’03.
From the Lowell Sun, Monday June 20, 1910 p.3 6:00 edition
“BODY IS LOCATED
Remains of Chas. A. Taylor Will be Brought to Lowell
After a search covering many years, the resting place of the bones of Charles A. Taylor, a soldier of the Sixth Massachusetts regiment, said to have been the first man killed in the civil war, has been found, according to a dispatch sent from Baltimore, Md., and tomorrow that remains will be sent to Binghamton and later will be brought to this city and buried beneath the Ladd & Whitney monument in this city.
Ladd, Whitney and Taylor fell during the riot which marked the passage of the Sixth regiment along Pratt street in that city on April 19, 1861.
After the riot Taylor’s body was completely lost track of by his friends. The bodies of Ladd and Whitney were returned to this city and now lie beneath the Ladd and Whitney monument in Monument square.
The body of Taylor had not been found, though an unremitting search had been carried on for years. General Edwin F. Jones, commander of the Sixth regiment, when it marched through Baltimore, has for years been personally interested in the search.
It was Gen. Jones, indeed, who was responsible for the beautiful tablet placed upon the Ladd and Whitney monument a year ago last Memorial day in memory of the missing comrade. The memorial was obtained through public subscription, though the movement was started by Gen. Jones.
The Inscription on the tablet is an follows:
CHARLES A. TAYLOR
Co. D, 6th M. V. M.
The First to Fall in Defense of the Union
April 19, 1861.
“Nothing is here for tears, nothing to wail,
Or knock the breast, no weakness, no contempt.
Dispraise or blame, nothing but well and fair,
And what may quiet us in a death, so noble.”
Some time ago, as a last resort; advertisements were inserted in Baltimore papers, one of which was seen by Samuel F. Glenn of that city, who pointed out Taylor’s grave in the Methodist cemetery at LaFayette street and Loney’a lane, Baltimore. A board at the head of the grave bears the time dimmed inscription, “A soldier – of the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment, killed in riot.”
This inscription is considered ample identification, for the bodies of all three of the others killed at the same time have long since been identified.”
All Folks interested in the Civil War stay tuned. This year’s Lowell Film Festival at the end of April feature Civil War films and discussions and among other things explore Lowell’s dramatic and tangled history with slavery and the Civil War.
A little follow up.
Col Jones did travel to Baltimore to recover the remains of Charles A Taylor in 1910.
The newspaper of the day is very sad.
Jones was well into his 90’s by 1910. He was nearly blind and quite feeble.
He was accompanied by his granddaughter to what was believed to be Taylor’s grave in the Methodist Cemetery in Baltimore. The day was quite warm according to newspaper accounts but the elderly Col Jones stayed seated in his chair through out the day waiting hopefully for the return of his lost soldier. All day the grave diggers searched with little luck.
As the sun was setting all hope was lost to finding Taylor’s remains. With tears in his eyes Jones was led from the Cemetery by his granddaughter . Taylor was never recovered and where his remains are is still a mystery after 153 years.
Check the newspapers beyond the date of the last post. You’ll find that Taylor never left Baltimore after April 19 1861.
Fascinating story about the whereabouts of Taylor’s body. I had never read the account before that his grave was in the Methodist cemetery at LaFayette street and Loney’a lane. I remember reading that after the riot he was interred in Greenmount Cemetery, at least temporarily. If I am ever able to find that account, I will be happy to post it here.