Civil War group to recall Lincoln's 1864 speech in city

President spoke 3 years after riot on Pratt Street

April 14, 2004|By Lynn Anderson | Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF

Friends of the President Street Station -- a group of Civil War enthusiasts -- will celebrate the 140th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's Civil War address in Baltimore with a parade, memorial service and walking tours Saturday.

Lincoln addressed a crowd of Baltimoreans on April 18, 1864, three years after Southern sympathizers clashed with Union troops near the President Street Station.

The incident -- known as the Pratt Street riot -- came less than a week after South Carolina forces attacked Fort Sumter. The soldiers were on their way to Washington.

While there was no loss of life from hostile fire at Fort Sumter, Baltimore's riot left at least 14 dead, including five of the soldiers.

Lincoln, delivering his speech at the Maryland State Fair for Soldiers' and Sailors' Relief, said Baltimore had changed alliances in the three years since.

"Looking upon these many people, assembled here, to serve, as they best may, the soldiers of the Union, it occurs at once that three years ago, the same soldiers could not so much as pass through Baltimore," Lincoln said.

The celebration begins at 9:30 a.m. at the foot of Broadway with a parade of Civil War re-enactors, said Duane Tressler, secretary of the President Street Station group.

A ceremony, including a memorial service for the five soldiers killed, is planned for 10 a.m. at the museum in the old station. It also will feature the speech, delivered by Lincoln impersonator James Getty.

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