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December 13, 2016

The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table is pleased to announce that its next meeting will take place on Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 7:00pm at the College of Southern Maryland’s Center for Business and Industry, Chaney Enterprises Conference Center, Room BI-113, at 8730 Mitchell Road in La Plata, MD.

Guest Speaker:  Paul O’Neil

The Pratt Street Massacre, also known as the Baltimore Massacre or the ...

The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table is pleased to welcome Paul O’Neil, who will discuss with us the Pratt Street Riots in Baltimore, MD.  Mr. O’Neil will begin his talk with on overview of life and the political and war climate in Baltimore, MD in 1860.  The ascendancy of Abraham Lincoln to President of the United States quickens the pace at which war may come, causing him to issue a call for volunteers, in order to preserve and protect the capitol city.   These volunteer troops must travel through Baltimore to reach Washington, D.C. and on April 18th, unruly mobs launch an attack on these troops as they pass through Baltimore.  Mr. O’Neil will analyze these events for us and the subsequent arrival of the 6th Massachusetts on April 19th and the riot that this precipitates.  He will also provide insight on the arrival of and attack on the Washington Brigade of Pennsylvania volunteers as they arrive at the Pratt Street Station.  To conclude, Mr. O’Neill will share with us the aftermath of these events and there affect on the war effort.

Paul O’Neil became interested in the Civil War in 1961, when he was 8 years old.  He did a scrapbook collection of photos for Cub Scouts, and poured over the hand drawn illustrated maps of battles found in the “American Heritage” history of the war, published at that time.  His father helped his interest by driving him and younger brothers numerous times to Gettysburg, making sure to tell the boys about two different bank robberies that happened in Union Mills, MD.  Paul still has photos of him at 9 or 10 wearing a Union campaign hat and carrying his toy musket.  During his high school years, Paul worked on board the U.S.S. Constellation which, though wrongly called at that time, the frigate, is the only ship to actively serve in the war still afloat.

It was as an unemployed social worker that Mr. O’Neil’s life once again was caught up in the war when, in July 2000, a friend let him know there was a job opening at the Baltimore Civil War Museum, which he quickly took.  Paul was the museum manager as an employee of the Maryland Historical Society, until being laid off in 2006.  The previously mentioned friend then let him know there was an opening on board the Constellation, to which he again returned to until this past October.

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