This is the story of two cities, Baltimore and Washington, at the outset of the Civil War. Before Lincoln could make his way to Washington for his inauguration, Southern states began seceding; the rebellion was underway. On April 12, 1861, the South fired on Fort Sumter. On April 15, President Lincoln ordered 75,000 troops from the Northern states to assemble in Washington - but on their way to defend the capital, thousands of Baltimore rough-necks attacked a Massachusetts regiment. Commanding the only rail and telegraph links, this feisty port city with a reputation for mob rule held Washington incommunicado. Now, five men battled for control of Baltimore and for the state of Maryland. For six long days these men - Confederates and Union sympathizers, and somewhere in between - acted (and failed to act), strategized and maneuvered. In their hands lay the fate of the Union: Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States; Thomas Hicks, Governor of Maryland; George Brown, Mayor of Baltimore; George Kane, Baltimore Chief of Police; and Benjamin Butler, General of the military force dispatched to rescue Washington. This historical account is rich in personal memoirs from eye-witnesses to the events including Clara Barton, who became famous as a Civil War nurse, and conveys a pungent sense of life in the days when highways were dirt tracks and the elegance of Washington was still mostly a vision for the future. The drama of these six days encapsulates the complexity of motives and of logistics, and the mixed and sometimes shifting loyalties, that characterized much of the Civil War.
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