Southern History Series: Maryland, My Maryland

Is Maryland a Southern state?

The official state song which was penned at the beginning the war in 1861 and later adopted in 1939 describes Abraham Lincoln as “the tyrant,” “the despot” and “the Vandal.” It condemns the Union Army as “Northern scum” and prophetically invokes “Sic semper tyrannis.”

This is a reference to the invasion and occupation of Maryland at the outset of the war by the Union Army during which the mayor, police chief and city council of Baltimore were arrested, a third of the Maryland General Assembly was arrested, a U.S. congressman was arrested and even Frank Howard Key, the grandson of Francis Scott Key, was arrested and imprisoned as a political prisoner in Fort McHenry. He later wrote a book about his experience called Fourteen Months in American Bastiles.

“When I looked out in the morning, I could not help being struck by an odd and not pleasant coincidence. On that day forty-seven years before my grandfather, Mr. Francis Scott Key, then prisoner on a British ship, had witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry. When on the following morning the hostile fleet drew off, defeated, he wrote the song so long popular throughout the country, the Star Spangled Banner. As I stood upon the very scene of that conflict, I could not but contrast my position with his, forty-seven years before. The flag which he had then so proudly hailed, I saw waving at the same place over the victims of as vulgar and brutal a despotism as modern times have witnessed.”

Here is Maryland, My Maryland which was written by James Ryder Randall in response to the Baltimore Riot of 1861:

I

The despot’s heel is on thy shore,
Maryland!
His torch is at thy temple door,
Maryland!
Avenge the patriotic gore
That flecked the streets of Baltimore,
And be the battle queen of yore,
Maryland! My Maryland!

II
Hark to an exiled son’s appeal,
Maryland!
My mother State! to thee I kneel,
Maryland!
For life and death, for woe and weal,
Thy peerless chivalry reveal,
And gird thy beauteous limbs with steel,
Maryland! My Maryland!

III
Thou wilt not cower in the dust,
Maryland!
Thy beaming sword shall never rust,
Maryland!
Remember Carroll’s sacred trust,
Remember Howard’s warlike thrust,—
And all thy slumberers with the just,
Maryland! My Maryland!

IV
Come! ’tis the red dawn of the day,
Maryland!
Come with thy panoplied array,
Maryland!
With Ringgold’s spirit for the fray,
With Watson’s blood at Monterey,
With fearless Lowe and dashing May,
Maryland! My Maryland!

V
Come! for thy shield is bright and strong,
Maryland!
Come! for thy dalliance does thee wrong,
Maryland!
Come to thine own anointed throng,
Stalking with Liberty along,
And sing thy dauntless slogan song,
Maryland! My Maryland!

VI
Dear Mother! burst the tyrant’s chain,
Maryland!
Virginia should not call in vain,
Maryland!
She meets her sisters on the plain—
“Sic semper!” ’tis the proud refrain
That baffles minions back amain,
Maryland! My Maryland!

VII
I see the blush upon thy cheek,
Maryland!
For thou wast ever bravely meek,
Maryland!
But lo! there surges forth a shriek,
From hill to hill, from creek to creek—
Potomac calls to Chesapeake,
Maryland! My Maryland!

VIII
Thou wilt not yield the Vandal toll,
Maryland!
Thou wilt not crook to his control,
Maryland!
Better the fire upon thee roll,
Better the blade, the shot, the bowl,
Than crucifixion of the soul,
Maryland! My Maryland!

IX
I hear the distant thunder-hum,
Maryland!
The Old Line’s bugle, fife, and drum,
Maryland!
She is not dead, nor deaf, nor dumb—
Huzza! she spurns the Northern scum!
She breathes! she burns! she’ll come! she’ll come!
Maryland! My Maryland!

About Hunter Wallace 12386 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Occidental Dissent

2 Comments

  1. When you look at the way Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri, and later, “West” Virginia, were actually treated, especially by the “Union” soldiery, it becomes impossible to believe that they were “Union” states. Or to believe any Northern claims about their political status, or supposed”loyalty” to the Union.

    As an aside, when you consider that the bulk of the “Kentucky Union regiments” were actually from Indiana and Ohio, not Kentucky, and Kentucky was treated like a satellite or client state at best, or as conquered territory at worst, it becomes difficult to believe claims about Marylanders’ service in the Union Army. Or their legal and political status in the “Union,” either.

    In fact, the idea that very large numbers of Upper South men served in the Union Army, is highly suspect. It already has been held as such, by several historians.

    Given that a lot of the “Southern” Union regiments were actually redesignated Northern Regiments, or in the case of Missouri, actively recruited in Chicago, or other Northern cities, but as “Missouri” or “Kentucky” outfits, leads me to a singular conclusion.

    The North persued this practice for propaganda purposes. To maintain the illusion that this whole affair was merely a rebellion or insurrection against “America,” not a war for the peculiar interests of the Northern people themselves. Which they conflated, and still conflate, with America, and America’s collective national interests.

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