The Civil War Connections Blog

“the belief was general…”

Thinking that the secession of Maryland from the Union was imminent, Captain Franklin Buchanan – the first Superintendant of the United States Naval Academy, Mexican war hero and current Commandant of the Washington Navy Yard – resigned his commission in the US Navy on April 22, 1861 and waited for Maryland to become Confederate.

Turns out he was wrong in his assumption – though it made a lot of sense to think that at the time. There had even been bloodshed on Pratt Street in Baltimore as citizens sympathetic to the Confederate cause attacked a Massachusetts regiment. The regiment responded with gunfire – killing twelve. The press was having a field day, and all signs pointed towards a Confederate Maryland. Buchanan, reflecting on it later, even said that at the time, “the belief was general throughout the state that she was virtually OUT of the Union.”

But she wasn’t.

And he was.

Captain Franklin Buchanan