Baltimore Riot of 1812
Transcribed by Nancy Piper
The Centinel, Gettysburg, Pa , July 1 1812
The editor of this Gazette has received a letter from a gentleman in Baltimore, dated yesterday, stating that a
mob headed by foreigners, assembled about 9 o'clock on the preceding evening and proceeded to demolish the office
and printing materials of the Federal Republican. The house was completely razed to the ground. One of the rioters
lost his life in the affray by the falling of a piece of timber. An attempt was made to get into the office of
discount and deposit of the late bank of the United States; but the view of a few pistols deterred them. After
this work was done, the mob proceeded to the office of the Fed. Gazette and there took a formal vote on the question
of demolishing it, which was decided in the negative by a majority scarcely larger than that by which the declaration
of war was carried in the Senate. To the disgrace of the civil authority they attempted no interference. The
mayor of the city and the judge of the criminal court were witnesses of this flagrant outrage, without attempting
to restrain it. - U.S.Gaz.
The State of the City
The Centinel, Gettysburg, Pa , July 8, 1812
Baltimore, June 25, 1812
Under an impression that the citizens who assembled yesterday at the Mayor's office would have made a statement
somewhat like official of the transactions of Monday evening, we postponed giving an account of that very extraordinary
and alarming proceeding.
It is our painful duty to record, that on Monday last, between 8 and 9 o'clock in the evening, a number of persons,
citizens of Baltimore, armed with axes, hooks and other instruments of destruction, assembled at the office of
the Federal Republican, in Gay street, a wooden building, belonging to Mr. Robert Oliver of this city, broke into
the house, threw the types, printing presses, paper &c., into the street and destroyed them and leveled the
house to its foundation. One of the persons thus engaged, while in the act of knocking out a window, fell with
it into the street and was killed on the spot.
The Mayor of the city, the Judge of Baltimore County Court, the Judge of the Court of Oyer and Terminer and several
magistrates and military officers were present and witnessed this dreadful outrage, which their peaceful efforts
were insufficient to prevent, although it was generally known during the preceding day that the attack was meditated.
Such are the simple facts, upon which any comment we are capable of making, must be weak and inadequate. In a
land alleged to be the only one where true liberty exists, whose citizens boast that they are the "freest
and most enlightened in the world," in the very centre of the city famed for its police, and emphatically
styled "the most republican" in the United States in the presence of its judges, its magistrates and
military officers, in open defiance of the dictates of reason and all laws divine and human, the property of a
man the most respectable, the most benevolent which the city can boast, has been wantonly destroyed.
The Chief Justice of the Court of Oyer and Terminer, the Mayor of the city of Baltimore, and subscribers, Justices
of the Peace for Baltimore county, hereby recommend to all citizens who are disposed to preserve the order and
peace of the community, to unite in discountenancing all irregular and tumultuous meetings of the people for the
purpose of committing outrages on the persons or property of any of the citizens, and also in giving their aid
and assistance in the civil officers who may be employed in suppressing such disorders.
John Scott, Edward Johnson, Geo. G. Presbury, Owen Dorley, D. Fulton, R'r. R. Richardson, john Daughterty, Edward
Aisquith, Thos. W. Griffith, Ferd. Gourdon, John Bankson, John Aisquith, John F. Harris, James Wilson, Edward Woodyear,
Baltzer Schaeffer, Adam Fonerdoen, Samuel Vincent, Samuel Young, Jno. S. Abell, Thos. C. Jenkins.
Report of the Committee appointed to inquire into the Causes and Extent
of the late Commotions in Baltimore.
The Centinel, Gettysburg, Pa , August 12, 1812
[In the first branch of the City Council, Aug. 6, 1812 the following report was presented, read, concurred in and
ordered to be printed in all the newspapers of the city. By order.
S. H. Moore, clerk.
In the second branch, August 6, 1812, the following report was presented, read, concurred in and ordered to be
printed in all the newspapers of the city. By order.
Thos. Rogers, clerk
To Edward Johnson, Esq.
Mayor of the City of Baltimore
The joint committee of the two branches of the city council, appointed to enquire into the causes and extent of
the late commotions in the city, having, as enjoined upon them, requested the aid of thirteen other of their fellow
citizens; then of whom attended to the discharge of the duties assigned them, in pursuance thereof.
That on Saturday the 20th of June, a publication appeared in the newspaper entitled the "Federal Republican",
printed in this place which excited great irritation in the city - that on the Monday following, the printing office
occupied by the editors of that paper was pulled down and their press destroyed. This commotion had subsided and
the transaction was under legal investigation by the criminal court until Saturday the 26th of July. In the evening
of which day, Alexander C. Hanson, one of the editors with several of his friends from other counties and one from
another state came into town unknown to the inhabitants (or known only to a very few of them) and took possession
of a brick house in Charles street that had been the late dwelling of Mr. Wagner, his partner.
The committee further report that from written documents since found and communicated to them by the mayor which
are subjoined to this report, it appears that the plan of renewing the paper and of arming for the defense of the
house from which it was intended to be issued had been deliberately formed and organized some time previous in
the country without the knowledge of the citizens of Baltimore, and all the details settled and adjusted by persons
who must have been acquainted with military service. That having so taken possession of the house, they fortified
ti strongly and prepared arms and ammunition to defend it. That on the next morning the editor issued from that
house his paper containing severe animadversions upon the mayor, people and police of Baltimore which the editor
caused to be circulated through the city.
In the course of the same day it was known to many persons that Mr. Hanson, one of the editors was in the house
and from the preparations for defense that were observed to making therein, it was conjectured that he expected
to be attacked. During the day many other persons of the city went to the house and some remained there associated
with those within. Towards evening many boys had collected in the street opposite the house and their noise exciting
some apprehension, a neighboring magistrate endeavored to disperse them and had nearly succeeded when about 8 o'clock
a carriage stopped at the door of the house and a number of muskets and other articles were seen to be taken out
of it and conveyed through an armed guard into the house. The boys then returned, recommenced their noise, accompanied
with abusive language to the persons in the house and began throwing stones at the windows.
At this time and for an hour or more thereafter, there did not appear more than five or six men who could be supposed
to have any connection with or control over the boys; about this period a person on the footway endeavoring to
persuade the boys from their mischief was severely wounded in the foot by something weighty thrown from the house.
The boys were repeatedly told from the persons within to go away and not molest them - that they were armed and
would defend themselves. The boys still continuing to throw stones, two guns were fired from the upper part of
the house charged as it is supposed with blank cartridges as no injury was done by them. The assemblage of people
in the street at this time greatly increased and the threats and throwing of stones at the house became more general
and violent. The sashes of the lower windows were broken and attempts made to force the door by running against
it. Ten or twelve guns were then fired from the house in quick succession, by which several persons in the street
were wounded, some dangerously*.
About this period application was made for military aid to prevent further mischief.
*Among these was Mr. John
Williams, a spectator only, since dead. - American
Whilst the military were assembling in pursuance of an order from the General issued in compliance with a requisition
from the legal authority, frequent firing took place from the house and three guns were fired at it. Some short
time afterwards a gun was fired from the house which killed a Doctor Gale in the street about twelve feet from
the house. This circumstance greatly increased the irritation of those in the street who soon after brought a
field piece in front of the house but by the interposition of several citizens were restrained from firing upon
the house under an assurance that the persons in it would surrender themselves to the civil authority.
The military soon after appeared and placing themselves in front of the house on further injury occurred; a negotiation
took place with those within the house and upon being assured that a military guard would be furnished and every
effort used by the mayor and the general to ensure their safety from violence, they surrendered themselves to
the civil authority about seven o'clock on the morning of Tuesday and were conducted to jail and committed for
further examination. They were Alexander C. Hanson, Gen. Henry Lee, Jas. M. Lingan, William Schoeder, John Thompson,
Wm. B. Bend, Otho Sprigg, Henry Kennedy, Robert Kilgour, Henry Nelson, John E. Hall, George Winchester, Peregride
Warfield, George Richards, Edward Gwynn, David Hoffman, Horatio Bigelow, Ephraim Gaither, William Gaither, Jacob
Schley, Mark U. Pringle, Daniel Morray and Richard S. Crabb. After the removal of the persons the interior of
the house was greatly injured and the furniture in it destroyed and dispersed.
The committee further report that during the course of the day the mayor applied to the sheriff to use particular
precaution in securing the doors of the jail which he promised to do and about one o'clock application was made
by the mayor and other justices to the brigadier general to call out the military to preserve the peace and quiet
of the state. Orders were issued calling out a regiment of infantry, two troops of cavalry and two companies of
artillery, to parade at an appointed time or place. The mayor, the general and many citizens repaired to the jail
early in the afternoon at which a number of persons had assembled the much great part of whom were peaceable and
orderly citizens. Those of a different temper of mind upon being remonstrated with appeared to yield to the admonitions
of others and to be appeased with the assurances given that the party in jail should not be bailed or suffered
to escape during the night. It became the prevailing opinion about the prison that no mischief would be attempted
that night. In consequence of the force assembled, the military by the order of the general, with the approbation
of the mayor were dismissed and many persons left the prison and went to their homes.
Shortly about dark, the number of the disorderly increased and an intention was manifested of breaking into the
jail. The mayor with the aid of a few persons succeeded for some time in preventing the prison door from being
forced open. They being overpowered by the increased numbers and violence of the assailants, the mayor was forced
away and the door having been previously battered and again threatened was opened by the turnkey. Upon the entry
of the assailants they forced the inner doors and pressed into the room in which the persons above mentioned were
confined. Here a scene of horror ensued which the committee cannot well describe. The result was that one of
the persons (Gen. Lingan) was killed, eleven others dreadfully beaten, eight of whom were thrown together in front
of the jail, supposed to be dead.
The committee being (by the authority under which they act) directed to the collection and report of facts have
carefully avoided the expression of an opinion on any of the causes or extent of the unhappy commotions herein
reported. Other facts (but we know of none material) may have attended the about transactions which the limited
powers of the city council do not enable them to impart to the committee the full authority to develop.
Adam Fonerden, James Carey, Wm. Stewart, Thomas Kell - committee of the first branch city council.
James Calhoun, John C. White, Wm. McDonald, Henry Payson - committee of the 2nd branch city council.
The undersigned being requested thereto jointed the above committee in the discharge of their duty and unite with
them in the foregoing report.
James A. Buchanan, Wm. Wilson, Peter Little, W. Cooke, Wm. Gwynn, Thorndick Chase, Lemuel Taylor, Robt. Gilmor,
S. Stereit, John Montgomery.
An Exact and Authentic Narrative
The Centinel, Gettysburg, Pa , September 2, 1812
Of the events which took place in Baltimore on the 27th and 28th of July last. Carefully collected from some of
the sufferers and from eye witnesses
State of Maryland, ss.
Rockville, August 12, 1812
Personally appeared on this 12th day of August 1812 before John Fleming, Justice of the Peace from Montgomery County,
the following persons: Peregrine Warfield, Richard I. Craab, Charles J. Kilgour, Henry Nelson, Ephraim Gaither,
Robert Kilgour, John H. 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 gaol 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. Those 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.
State of Maryland
Montgomery County, ss
I hereby certify that John Fleming,genr., before whom the aforegoing affidavit appears to have been made and whose
name is thereto subscribed was at the time a Justice of the Peace in and for the county aforesaid, duly commissioned
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.
Clerk of Montgomery Court.
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 Richard I. Crabb, to make arrangements for reestablishing
the paper. Finding it impossible to render any service the laws being effectively silenced and his friends unanimously
urging his departure, he left 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 passive dispatch.
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 right and resist oppression. He was aware that the execution of his plan would
be accompanied with much difficulty and anger, 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 right
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,
Ortho Sprigg, 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 country who were not fully apprised
by Mr. Hanson of his determination but received their information in confidence from others.
Major Musgrove, Henry C. 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 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 at attempt his re-establishment 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
They thought it 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 nothing left but to resist the mob in the house, and while
this resistance was made with a mildness and forbearance scarcely ever equaled and which excited the wonder of
the spectators, several messages were sent to brigadier general Stricker to disperse the mob and prevent the exusian
of blood which would otherwise be unavoidable.
If it be objected that the scheme was rash or impudent, 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 effect 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
whom were soon broken and not only the glass but the sashes and shutters were demolished and an attempt was made
to break down the street door, which was a 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 defense.
Those 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 front room on the lower 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, 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 harangued them in the street at their head, made an attempt to enter
the passage and advance towards the stairs.
Orders were not 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 flint are to be seen and a pistol aimed at the breast of General Lee slashed 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 while
standing at his post upon duty.
This was the time for the gentlemen in the 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 in assert them, and resolved still to defend the house,
indulging in 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 to beat up recruits and continued to throw stones in front and back of the house.
Between two and 3 o'clock the military having been ordered out, Major Barney appeared in the street at the head
of a small party of calvalry.
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 round the corner
into an alley 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 believed 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 of the circumstance 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 fulfillment of this,
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 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 favored by what he was
heard to say on his first approach - that "he was take 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
upon 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 thing continued till about six o'clock A.M. when Mr. Johnson, the mayor, arrived from the country
whither messengers had been dispatched for him by those out of the house and Brigadier General Stricker who commands
the militia of the town appeared before the door and commenced a parley with the party 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 defense 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 in 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 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 against a mob who assailed
both for three hours without being fired upon when we could have killed numbers of them. It is your duty to disperse
them, 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 that if 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 massacred, 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 asseveration
and appeals to God. Mr. Hanson having said something to his friend in regard to the house and furniture, a pledge
was instantly given by the mayor to leave a guard to defend both. General 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 part,
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 apposed 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 anyone. General Lee, who had been chosen to command the party, was then sought for
in the front room upstairs. He was of opinion that the proposition of the Mayor and General Stricker ought to
be accepted and endeavored 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 the gaol. General Lee, probably saw
that the defense 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 thirst 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 defense
necessarily and rapidly becoming weaker while there was a 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 favor of surrender.
Several other, 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 un-redressed 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 they were invited to rely, strongly and pertinaciously opposed this sentiment to the fast,
contending that if the defense was really impracticable, which he by no means believed, it was better to die there
with arms in their hand than to surrender for the purpose of being led through the streets like malefactors, and
in the end massacred by the mob, against which he insisted that 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 8 and
9 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 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 Mr. Hanson. This important
fact was related on the same day to a gentleman by a chief of mob, who very coolly added - "It is only a
short delay, for we shall take them out of the jail tonight 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 the city; and preparations for carrying it into effect were openly
made. A particular incident will show how well it was known or how confidently expected.
A youth by the name of McCubbin, a clerk in the counting house of Hollins and McBlair 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
neighborhood 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 McBlari finding his situation,
knowing what would probably 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 it known to prevent the catastrophe. Some of their friends
however, and particularly Colonel James A. Buchanan, exerted themselves to the utmost as it is said and believed
but to no purpose.
General Stricker and Mr. Johnson being informed of the intended massacre, an order was obtained in the legal form
to call out the military for the protection of the jail. This order was given to General Stricker by Mr. Johnson
on the certificate and requisition of two magistrates. Gen. Stricker accordingly ordered out the fifth regiment
(commanded by Col. Joseph Sterrett, a brave man and to be relied on in all situations) but directed expressive,
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 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 on of cavalry absolutely refused to turn out. Many
it may be supposed were prevented by their fears. Yet, notwithstanding all these unfavorable circumstances, a
number did appear which is stated by some to have been sixty and by others, not more than thirty.
Colonel Sterrett was at the head of this fragment of his regiment. Captain Samuel Sterret, who commands one of
the companies was also at his post. So was Major Richard K. Heath. The other officers who appeared are not recollected.
The Brigadier General himself after his solemn pledge of his word and honro as an officer and man, in the presence
of God, did not appear. He was not seen with the troops and is seen in the streets at all, it was in his common
dress with a rattan in his hand. He nowhere shewed himself as the commander of the militia, made no call in person
on the troops or the 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 worse by combining it with an order to come without 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. (Continued next issue)
The Centinel, Gettysburg, Pa , September 9, 1812:
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 (..?..) and engineer with Gen. Stricker, Judge John Smith, Mr.
Wilson, magistrate, M. 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 and told the party to rest satisfied as the military would
be out in a very short time when there would be no danger of an attack on the jail. A butcher by the name of Mumma
and two others, understood to be prominent in the mob, entered the room in company with the mayor and remained
after him. While the interview between the mayor, general, &c and the gentlemen continued, his butcher was
employed in observing and most attentively remarking their countenances and their dress. As many of them were
stranger in Baltimore, his object, no doubt, was to enable him to identify them and point them out to his associates
when the massacre should commence. This very butcher did stand at the first iron grate and knock down the gentlemen
as they were brought out. It was by him, so stationed, that Mr. Hanson was first recognized
(.........?..........) MISSING THIS SECTION - CUT OUT.
Or thick strong 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 defense. That they might make the most
of this feeble resource, in the apprehended absence of all others, 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 till the slaughter commenced.
The militia having assembled in front of their colonel's quarters, in Gay street; and hearing that the mob had
assembled in great numbers at the jail, h 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 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 everything was settled
and all danger at an end. On this ground, General Stricker dismissed a body of militia under Major Heath, which
he met on his way from the jail, notwithstanding the advise 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 Col. Sterrett, who obeyed with a heavy heart. Gen. Strickre 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 everything
was settled, all danger was over and no further need of a protecting force. By the means he dispersed a number
of citizens who had assembled, with a view of getting 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 make known to the mob at the jail by their associate 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 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 if he could, it would be unavailing; for he had already done all he could or would.
The gentleman then went in quest of the mayor who hearing, or being informed of what had happened, had gone to
the jail with two or three other 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
has 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 attack upon the outward door to the cast,
increased, a voice from within was heard saying "Come round to the other door" - which they were seen
to do by some gentlemen in prison.
There can be no doubt that it was in the power of General 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 jail with all the force he could thus
collect; had he, as his duty and plighted honor required, taken post at, or in the jail, even with the small body
of militia which had assembled, the mob would unquestionably have been deterred o repulsed. But he was 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 Gen. Stricker the joyful tidings and added "The physicians
will go out to reserve 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 that it was an improbable tale that any of the prisoners were
alive. The gentleman urged and remonstrated, offering to bring a horse immediately, but the general flatly declined
and returned to his bed to find repose.
The mob gained possession of the principal entrance into the prison but there were still two very strong doors
to be forced before they 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. Bently, the jailor, 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 sufficient protection.
When the victims saw the danger approach nearer and nearer they calmly prepared for their fate but resolved to
make every possible effort for affecting 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 would 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, 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. Thompson presented their pistols, the former saying very familiarly "my
lads you had better retreat, 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. Thompson 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 promoted 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 lobby as it is called or hall of the jail. He was then dreadfully beaten, trampled on and pitched for
dead down the high flight of stairs in front of the jail. The purpose for which Mumma came into the prison in
the evening now appeared.
He was posted at the door to mark the victims as they came out and designate them for slaughter by giving each
a blow or tow, which was the signal for his associates who proceeded to finish what he had begun. The fate of
Mr. Hanson befell General Lee, General Lingan, Mr. Hall, Mr. Nelson, Mr. Kilgour, Major Musgrave, Dr. P. Warfield
and Mr. William gaither, all of whom were thrown down the steps of the jail 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. Thompson and Mr. Winchester were carried in a different direction and not thrown
into the heap of the supposed slain.
Maj. 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 further injury. The brave Gen.
Lingan lost his life by his endeavors to save it. He so much mistook the character of the monsters as to suppose
them capable of some feelings of humanity. He reminded 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 their attention to him and to inform them that he was still alive. Every supplication was
answered by fresh sinful hard blows. At length while he was still endeavoring 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
damn'd 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 Gen. Lee, who had again raised himself up. The knife glanced on the cheek bone
and the Gen. 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. P. 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 murmur, all the tortures 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 promised to throw them all into the sink of the jail. Others thought it best to dig a hole and bury them altogether
immediately. Some advised that they should be thrown into Jone's 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 jabbing 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 someone 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 man and brighten his course through life.
He with the aid of others not now known, induced the mob to place the supposed dead bodies under his car 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 title of "Boston Beauty" and was extremely active in assisting 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 fatigues, retired to rest and refresh themselves. A large part followed Mr. Thompson, who had been
carried off in the manner stated in his narrative. Some perhaps felt sated 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 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 fall, 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 where the wounds of both of them were dressed and they were taken to
Anne Arundle 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 neighboring 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.
Gen. Lee was taken to the hospital where his wounds were dressed by the physicians and 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 mill 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. Witham Gaither all of them much mangled were conveyed without
molestation in a hack brought by the physicians about 4 o'clock in the morning in 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 not to relate the last act of this horrible and bloody tragedy, which included the fate of Mr.
Thompson, 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, leaves 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.
It is proposed as soon as practicable to obtain from each of the gentlemen a separate statement on oath of what
he suffered 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 cooperation, connivance or their dastardly and treacherous supineness contributed to
product the catastrophe. They will serve as a beacon to warn the civil and military authority of other places
of the danger of temporizing 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 charms of democracy.
The persons named in the above affidavit have read with mingled regret and indignation the partial, mutilated and
unjust report of the local authorities in 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 moles the citizens of Baltimore, the above named do,
therefore, solemnly swear that no such conspiracy or association ever was ever formed, but merely a determination
entered into by less than a dozen gentlemen in the country to protect the person and property of Mr. Hansen 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 disingenuously perverted
to an unjust and infamous purpose.
Rockville, Aug. 12, 1812
Some of the victims
Alexander Contee Hanson
(February 27, 1786 - April 23, 1819) - was an American lawyer, publisher, and statesman. He represented the third
district of Maryland in the U.S. House, and the state of Maryland in the U.S. Senate. Hanson established and edited
the Federal Republican, an extreme Federalist newspaper, in Baltimore. On June 22, 1812, four days after the beginning
of the War of 1812, a mob that was irritated by his articles denouncing the administration destroyed his office.
Only July 28, he reissued the paper from another building, where he was joined by a group of armed allies. When
that building was besieged by a mob, Hanson and his group fired, killing two. On the morning of July 29, Hanson
and his group surrendered to the militia and were escorted to jail. That evening, the mob stormed the jail, and
Hanson was beaten and left for dead. Hanson moved the paper to Georgetown, Washington, D.C., where he published
it unmolested. --WIKIPEDIA
Henry Lee III (January 29, 1756 - March
25, 1818) was an early American patriot who served as the Governor of Virginia and as the Virginia Representative
to the United States Congress. On 27 July 1812, Lee received grave injuries while helping to resist an attack on
his friend, Alexander Contee Hanson, editor of the Baltimore newspaper, The Federal Republican. Hanson was attacked
by Democratic-Republican mob because his paper opposed the War of 1812. Lee and Hanson and two dozen other Federalists
had taken refuge in the offices of the paper. The group surrendered to Baltimore city officials the next day. Laborer
George Woolslager led a mob that forced its way into the jail and removed and beat the jailed Federalists and Lee
over the next three hours. One Federalist, James M. Lingan, died. Lee suffered extensive internal injuries as well
as head and face wounds, and even his speech was affected. Lee later sailed to the West Indies in an effort to
recuperate from his injuries. He died on 25 March 1818, at Dungeness, on Cumberland Island, Georgia. Lee was buried
with full military honors provided by an American fleet stationed near St. Marys. In 1913 his remains were removed
to the Lee family crypt at Lee Chapel, on the campus of Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.
General James Macubbin Lingan
The Centinel, Gettysburg, Pa , August 26 1812
Was a native of Maryland, descended from a respectable family and was brought up to a store in Georgetown. At
the commencement of the American Revolution he obtained a commission in the army - was at the battle of Long Island
where the Maryland line suffered so severely and was one of those spared to aid in the defense of York Island.
He escaped the balls of the Hessians who drove in the advanced posts of Fort Washington and became a prisoner
when the fortress surrendered and partook of the suffering which followed as was evinced by the rheumatism with
which he was severely afflicted when he returned to Georgetown after the close of the war.
When the new constitution went into operation he was appointed collector of the port of Georgetown by Washington,
the friend of the patriot and soldier. He was well known to many of those who served in congress from 1800 to 1804.
Who often partook of his hospitable board.
This is a brief account of the man who was recently and barbarously murdered by the infuriated Mob of Baltimore.
General Lingan was one of the most upright of men and it may justly be said he knew no guilt. He was emphatically
the poor man's friend and was ever ready to aid the industrious mechanic. I do not think he would have been guilty
of a deliberate falsehood to amass a fortune or use deception to carry a favorite political point.
He was above the middle size as to height and a stout, well proportioned man - in respect to personal courage he
appeared to know no fear. That was evinced in the hour of his death - after having received the fatal blow - he
reached out his hand to one of his companions, saying "farewell, I am a dying man, make your escape - return
home and take care there."
For several years past he lived retired in the country, useful to a numerous family circle (much dependent on his
council and management) beloved by his neighbors and respected by all who knew him. Few men enjoyed a larger part
of domestic comfort - His wife, amicable and accomplished and devoted to the education of their children. Her
loss is great indeed and so is that of their fatherless children.
Note -General Lingan's affairs were considerably embarrassed and I trust, the attention of the legislature of Maryland
will be called to the situation of his family and such aid afforded as the nature of the case shall justly require.
James McCubbin Lingan - was an officer
of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War and subsequently a senior officer in the Maryland
State Militia. He was taken prisoner at Fort Washington early in the war and spent several years aboard a prison
hulk. After independence, Lingan served as a government official in Georgetown. At the outbreak of the War of 1812,
Lingan was an outspoken advocate of freedom of the press and was murdered by a mob while defending the offices
of an anti-war newspaper in Baltimore. Throughout his life, Lingan was a strong advocate of the freedom of the
press, and at the outbreak of the War of 1812 spoke out in opposition to those who favoured censorship. When the
offices of the Baltimore Federal Republican were besieged and burnt by a mob angry at anti-war editorials run by
the newspaper, Lingan protested at the act and sheltered the newspaper editor, Alexander Contee Hanson in Georgetown.
On July 17 1812, Harrison resumed printing the newspaper at new offices in Baltimore and another mob formed within
hours, again storming the building and destroying the presses. Hanson, with Lingan, Henry Lee III and others who
had hastened from Washington to try to calm the crowd, were arrested by local militia and taken to Baltimore jail
in an attempt to calm the situation, but the crowd followed them to the prison and stormed the building. Lingan
attempted to stop the mob by displaying a bayonet wound he had received in the Revolutionary War, but this only
inflamed the crowd and Hanson, Lingan and Lee were severely beaten and left for dead. Although Hanson and Lee survived,
the latter never recovered from his injuries and was partially blinded after hot wax was poured into his eyes.
Lingan however died from his serious injuries.
Lingan was buried at St. John's Church in Georgetown, at a funeral attended by thousands of mourners. George Washington
Custis read the eulogy, praising Lingan's defence of free press and crying "Oh Maryland! Would that the waters
of the Chesapeake could wash this foul stain from thy character!". 96 years later, Lingan's remains were removed
from the burial ground in Georgetown and transferred to Arlington National Cemetery.
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