The band of the Sixth Regiment that left Boston in April, 1861, consisted of twenty-four persons, who, together with their musical instruments, occupied a car by themselves from Philadelphia to Baltimore. By some accident, the musicians’ car got switched off at the Canton Depot, so that, instead of being the first, it was left in the rear of all the others, and after the attack had been made by the mob upon the soldiers, they come upon the car in which the band was still sitting, wholly unarmed, and incapable of making any defence. Theinfuriated demons approached them howling and yelling, and poured in upon them a shower of stones, broken iron, and other missiles, wounding some severely, and demolishing their instruments. Some of the miscreants jumped upon the roof of the car, and with a bar of iron beat a hole through it, while others were calling for powder to blow them all up in a heap. Finding that it would be sure destruction to remain longer in the car, the poor fellows jumped out to meet their fiendish assailants hand to hand. They were saluted with a shower of stones, but took to their heels, fighting their way through the crowd, and running at random, without knowing in what direction to go for assistance or shelter. As they were hurrying along, a rough-looking man suddenly jumped in front of their leader, and exclaimed. “This way, boys! this way!” It was the first friendly voice they had heard since entering Baltimore, and they stopped to ask no questions, but followed their guide, who took them up a narrow court, where they found an open door, into which they rushed, being met inside by a powerful-looking woman, who grasped each one by the hand, and directed them upstairs. The last of their band was knocked senseless just as he was entering the door, by a stone, which struck him on the head; but the woman who had welcomed them immediately caught up their fallen comrade, and carried him in her arms up the stairs.
“You are perfectly safe here, boys,” said the Amazon, who directly proceeded to wash and bind up their wounds.
After having done this, she procured them food, and then told them to strip off their uniforms, and put on the clothes she had brought them, a motley assortment of baize jackets, ragged coats, and old trousers. Thus equipped, they were enabled to go out in search of their companions, without danger of attack from the Plug Uglies and Blood Tubs, who had given them so rough a reception.
They then learned the particulars of the attack upon the soldiers, and of their escape, and saw lying at the station the two men who had been killed, and the others who had been wounded. One of their own band was missing, and he has not yet been found, and it is uncertain whether he was killed or not. On going back to the house where they were so humanely treated, they found that their clothes had been carefully tied up, and with their battered instruments, had been sent to the depot of the Philadelphia Railroad, where they were advised to go themselves. They did not long hesitate, but started in the next train, and arrived at Philadelphia just in time to meet the Eighth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers, under the command of Gen. Butler, who told them to hurry back to the Old Bay State to show their battered faces and broken limbs, and that they should yet come back, and play Hail Columbia in the streets of Baltimore, where they had been so inhumanly assaulted.
The noble-hearted woman who rescued these men is a well-known character in Baltimore, and according to all the usages of Christian society, is an outcast and a polluted being; but she is a true heroine, nevertheless, and entitled to the grateful consideration of the country. When Gov. Hicks had put himself at the head of the rubble rout of miscreants, and Winter Davis had fled in dismay, and the men of wealth and official dignity had hid themselves in their terror, and the police were powerless to protect the handful of unarmed strangers who were struggling with the infuriated mob, this degraded woman took them under her protection, dressed their wounds, fed them at her own cost, and sent them back in safety to their homes. As she is too notorious in Baltimore not to be perfectly well known by what we have already told of her, it will not be exposing her to any persecution to mention her name. Ann Manley is the name by which she is known in the city of Blood Tubs, and the loyal men of the North, when they march again through its streets, should remember her for her humanity to their countrymen.
Originally posted 2008-03-13 14:23:58.