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The City of Baltimore vs. the United States: A Court Case Reveals Baltimore’s Loyalty During the Civil War

Lafayette Square
Read this fascinating article from the Baltimore Sun printed on February 27th, 1908 detailing a court case involving the City of Baltimore and the United States. Learn more about Baltimore's loyalty to the Union during the Civil War.
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Now this is a fascinating find from the Baltimore Sun, printed on February 27th, 1908. Most of the Civil War buffs out there know that Baltimore had questionable to nonexistent loyalty to the Union during the Civil War. Pro-Southern sympathies were high in the city, as they were in Washington.

Baltimore Sun headline 1908
Baltimore Sun headline 1908

Lincoln, knowing that the Union would, for lack of better word, be totally screwed if both Virginia and Maryland were Confederate, placed a large military force in the city to maintain Union control. And, as you can imagine, the troops didn’t exactly take great care of their encampments on public lands.

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Below is the article from the Baltimore Sun outlining the court case.

Washington, Feb. 26.–In its findings in the case of the City of Baltimore vs. the United States the Court of CLaims failed to find that the city of Baltimore was loyal to the Federal Government or to make any allowance for rent. The case, which involved a claim for the use of and damage to Lafayette Square by Federal troops during the Civil War has been watched with considerable interest by the people of Maryland.

Arguments which lasted more than two days were presented by the attorneys, and because of certain rulings of the court last Friday it was thought by counsel that the court was satisfied as to the loyalty of Baltimore. The findings, therefore, come as a surprise.

The damages to the fencing around the square are estimated by the court at $2,500.

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It was contended by counsel for the city that the damage to the Lafayette Square during the period from 1861 to 1865, when the Federal troops were encamped there, was approximately $6,000. Judge Lamar, representing the government, acknowledged, it is understood, the damage to the square in the amount claimed, but stated that payment should be denied on two grounds: that the city was disloyal to the Federal Government and that it was a seat of war.

During this argument by Judge Lamar last Friday, he was interrupted by the Court, which held that the evidence b the Court, which held that the evidence introduced had not shown any state of war to have existed within the city of Baltimore. It was because of this interruption that counsel concluded that the city would be found to have been loyal.

The city was represented in the court by Mr. A. Parlett Lloyd, of Baltimore, and Messrs. Coldron and Fenning, of this city, while the United States was represented by Mr. W. H. Lamar, of the Department of Justice.

The attorneys for Batlimore [sic] have filed a motion with the court requesting an amendment of the findings, in which they again allege the loyalty of Baltimore and renew their claim for rent and damages as originally stated in the petition.

Lafayette Square
Lafayette Square

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