Secession Flag Raised in Baltimore

Monday, November 26, 1860

The Liberty Fire Company unfurled the Palmetto Flag of secession atop its steeple at the corner of Fayette and Liberty streets. A group calling itself The Southern Volunteers ran up the banner at 10am and offered South Carolina all the support for her cause that they could muster.1

The crowd that gathered “groaned and hissed” upon seeing it hoisted over the city. Captain Henry Naill, a Provost Marshall in Baltimore related the incident:

“The Palmetto flag was run up at the Liberty Engine House on Tuesday [actually Monday] but the Citizens would not stand so extreme a move, and the friends of the “Lone Star” determined to haul in the secession emblem. Baltimore is Union to the core.”2



  1. From History of Baltimore City and Countyby John Thomas Scharf, L.H. Everts, 1881. []
  2. Letter from Henry Naill to his father David W. Naill, November 30, 1860. []
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2 thoughts on “Secession Flag Raised in Baltimore

  1. Can you tell me more about the actual flag in you picture? Is this one in a museum in Baltimore or somewhere, especially assuming if this was indeed the actual Palmetto flag flown by the Fire Company. This makes me wonder how many of these flags were made in the 1850s/60s or before and where else have they crept up. It’s interesting to me to see a story about this flag being displayed by people in Baltimore. Did other southern/border states display the Palmetto in some way during this time to show support for South Carolina?

    1. This wasn’t the flag from Baltimore. It’s in the Fort Sumter museum. It would probably be impossible to figure out what happened to that particular flag.

      The flags seemed to be all over the place. A few posts back, I wrote about militia units from other states writing to South Carolina asking for secession flags. The Palmetto was a South Carolina symbol. Not that other states didn’t use it (as per this post), but it seems to me like other organizations used other flags. The “Don’t Tread On Me” flag was quite popular that year.

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