War emptied church in hurry

April 10, 2004|By JACQUES KELLY

SEVERAL READERS pointed out an error in last week's report on Francis X. Bushman's modeling jobs in Baltimore. The monument in Wyman Park, at 29th and Charles streets, commemorates Union soldiers and sailors, not those of the Confederacy. I should have known better.

My mother took me, as a 9-year-old, to watch it be located here from the Mount Royal entrance to Druid Hill Park, which, in 1959, was being torn apart for the Jones Falls Expressway.

The separate monuments to those who fought for the North and the South in Baltimore are evidence of how divided the sympathies were nearly 150 years ago. I like to point out how the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad painted its beautiful passenger cars and locomotives in blue and gray livery. Loyola College's colors are green and gray.

In this regard, I'll reprint a story of Baltimore on April 21, 1861. It happened just next door to Loyola, then located at Calvert and Madison streets in Mount Vernon.

The actual spot was St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church and this account is taken from The Chronicle and Sketch of the Church of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, written by a Jesuit priest, John J. Ryan, in April 1907.

The date was the feast of the patronage of St. Joseph, with Father Charles King as celebrant of the solemn High Mass.

It was the Sunday immediately after the opening bloodshed of the Civil War here, the Pratt Street Riot, when Massachusetts troops on their way to Washington were attacked near where the National Aquarium now stands.

"In a town meeting on the Saturday following bloody Friday, citizens were encouraged to enlist with the militia in order to repel any invasion of troops from the North," Ryan wrote. "Proclamation was also made that in case any invasion was threatened, the alarm bells of the city would be wrong.

"On the Sunday in question, just as the celebrant had intoned the Gloria in Excelsis of his Solemn Mass and his deacon and sub-deacon taken [their seats] on the bench while the choir continued the canticle, the city bells rang out their alarm. Instantly confusion reigned in the house of God. Men sprang to their feet, in several instances taking from under the pews the muskets they had placed there but a short time before, and thus armed, left the church ready to do or die.

" ... In the intense excitement then prevailing, the organist and his choir came to the conclusion that their presence in the gallery was superfluous - a conclusion reached a moment or two later by the deacon and sub-deacon in the sanctuary, who abandoned their posts and left the dignified celebrant to finish the holy function as a Low Mass in the presence of an empty church."

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