“The Despot’s Heel” tells the story of the secession crisis in Maryland in the early days of the American Civil War. Both the state, as well as the city of Baltimore, experienced tensions caused by the divided loyalties of its citizens. These differences erupted into a riot in the streets when a pro-secession mob attacked U.S. troops passing through Baltimore on their way to Washington, and the subsequent military occupation of the city by federal forces. News of the riot inspired James Ryder Randall, a Marylander living in New Orleans, to compose the song “Maryland, My Maryland,” as an appeal for his native state to join the Confederacy – the opening line “The despot’s heel is on thy shore” refers to the U.S. military presence in the state. Maryland, however, remained loyal to the Union throughout the war. This presentation will examine the political, economic and military significance of the state in the spring of 1861 and afterward, as well as the course it took in the conflict.
Registration required. Registration closes one half hour prior to lecture.
Cost: $15 per household for General Admission; $10 per household for HA Members, Military, and HA Docents