Landmarks

Defenders' Day

July 12, 1864

To mark the fiftieth anniversary in 1864, Baltimore mayor John Lee Chapman issued a proclamation requesting that citizens display the national colors in honor of the surviving Defenders. The day began with more guns banging away from Federal Hill. The Old Defenders assembled in front of City Hall, then boarded a railway car with other distinguished guests and traveled to Towsontown for an elegant dinner at the Smedley Hotel. Nearly fifty guests were present, including veterans and their families, and according to the Baltimore Clipper, all reportedly enjoyed the anniversary celebration. One of the toasts was given by North Point veteran, Ishmael Day, who had served as a private in Captain John Howard's 46th regiment, Maryland Volunteer Infantry. He fervently proclaimed: "To the President of the United States A true patriot and friend to all the human race, he has but one fault, he shows too much mercy to the Rebels."16 Lincoln's reaction, if he heard of the toast, is unrecorded. — Scott S. Sheads and Anna Von Lunz, Defenders' Day: A Brief History, Maryland Historical Magazine, Fall 1998, Vol. 93 No. 3, p. 306

16. Baltimore Daily Clipper, September 13, 1864. Two Old Defenders died on September 12, 1864: Private Nicholas Smith, age eighty-four, of Captain Phillip B. Sadtler's Union Yeagers, Fifth Regiment, Maryland Militia, and Private Nathaniel F. Williams, age eightythree, of Captain Joseph H. Nicholson's Baltimore Fencibles, U.S. Volunteers.

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