HISTORY BUFF ALERT:

City's Civil War Role Gets New Attention

by Staff

BALTIMORE was a bad word to many Northerners during the Civil War, and now there's a museum to tell us why.
The new Baltimore Civil War Museum will hold a week-long grand opening celebration from April 12 to 19. The museum is located at 601 President Street, just south of Little Italy-where the first bloodshed of the Civil War occurred when Union soldiers were attacked by Confederate sympathizers has they tried to make their way from the President Street railroad station to Camden Station on April 19, 1861. This event came to be called the "Pratt Street Riot." Federal occupation of the city ensued.
The museum will also highlight the city's role in the Underground Railroad.
During the Civil War, Baltimore was a telegraph center and a major transportation point for troops and supplies. It also became a hospital center, and was a detainment center for Confederate prisoners. By the end of 1864, the city was circled by 42 forts and camps.
The week of events will include ceremonies, lectures, special programs, and music of that era.
For information about the new museum, call 385-5188.

Civil War Encampment

The following week, Fort McHenry will be hosting its 5th annual Civil War weekend on April 26 and 27. Civil War re-enactment enthusiasts from all over the U.S. will be taking part in the event, authentically outfitted. Last year, over 9,000 visitors came to watch this living history program.
Scott Sheads, a Park Ranger and Civil War historian, observed, "Fort McHenry has been so wrapped in the mystical, almost folklore tradition of the 1814 battle and the song ["Star-Spangled Banner"], that we have forgotten Baltimore's role during the war. In fact, the fort's appearance is not that of 1814, but of the Civil War."
One of the re-enactment units expected this year will be the 54th Massachusetts, the famed regiment of African-Americans portrayed in the 1992 movie "Glory." This unit, along with Baltimore's own 4th U.S. Colored Troops, will tell visitors about their roles during the war.
A new attraction this year will be displays by the recently opened National Museum of Civil War Medicine, located in Frederick.
For more information about the encampment, call 625-2202


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This story was published on April 2, 1997.