The New Unionist Maryland

December 3, 1861 – The Maryland legislature assembled with most secessionists removed from office. This ensured that Washington would not be surrounded by Confederate states.

Maryland State Flag | Image Credit: All-Flags-World.com

Maryland State Flag | Image Credit: All-Flags-World.com

In his final message to the legislature, Maryland Governor Thomas H. Hicks noted that legislators in the previous session had considered seceding:

“This continued until the General Government had ample reason to believe it was about to go through the farce of enacting an ordinance of secession, when the treason was summarily stopped by the dispersion of the traitors…”

Hicks stated that in the elections of June 13 and November 6, the people “declared, in the most emphatic tones, what I have never doubted, that Maryland has no sympathy with the rebellion, and desires to do her full share of the duty in suppressing it.” Hicks’s Unionist stance marked a major turnaround considering he had been strongly pro-Confederate before Federal forces entered Maryland.

The Unionist legislators approved a resolution declaring themselves “devoted” to the Federal government and expressing “confidence” in the Lincoln administration. The members repealed prior resolutions absolving Baltimore authorities of blame for the April 19 riot and appropriated $7,000 to compensate the families of those in the 6th Massachusetts who had been killed. They approved a measure to raise troops for the Federal army, to be paid for by a direct tax on the people, and passed a resolution declaring that the war would not interfere with slavery.

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References

Davis, Jefferson, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government (Kindle Edition 2008, 1889), Loc 5899; White, Howard Ray, Bloodstains, An Epic History of the Politics that Produced and Sustained the American Civil War and the Political Reconstruction that Followed (Southernbooks, Kindle Edition, 2012), Q461

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