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A Pass to Travel Around Baltimore for a Relief Worker as Lee Invaded Pennsylvania
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[CIVIL WAR]. Partially Printed Document Signed, July 1, 1863. Pass for Elizabeth M. Streeter, from Major General Scheck’s command. 7¼ x 3¼ in. On 8th Army letterhead, with patriotic engraving of “Columbia.”

Inventory #21264.04       Price: $200

Complete Transcript

No.                              Headquarters, Middle Department, 8th Army Corps,

                                                                        Office Provost Marshal,

                                                                        Baltimore, July 1 1863.

            Permission is hereby given to Mrs Streeter to proceed to any part Balt City or County until further orders.

                                                                        By Command of Major General Schenck,

                                                                        Wm S. Fish Lt Conl Provost Marshal.

Historical Background

As of August 19, 1861, the Union required a pass signed by an appropriate official to travel into the South. Initially the responsibility of the State Department, the War Department took over such passes in March 1862. Although travel passes could be issued by high-ranking army officers (generals, as in this case, through their staff), by state governors, or even by President Abraham Lincoln himself, most were issued by a provost-marshal.

The travel-pass system was first imposed in Washington, Georgetown, and Alexandria. By September 1862, all military personnel had to have a pass approved by a division commander. The military governor was responsible for regulating civilian passes in areas under martial law. The Union army considered travel a privilege rather than a right, and only loyal and well-behaved citizens were entitled to them. Applications for travel required the traveler to specify the reason for the trip, the destination, and the length of stay.

On June 30, 1863, because of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia’s invasion of Maryland and Pennsylvania, Major General Robert C. Schenck issued orders suspending the civil government in the City and County of Baltimore and the counties of the Western Shore of Maryland and placing these areas under martial law. To enable her to continue her charitable efforts among the sick and wounded soldiers, Lieutenant Colonel William S. Fish issued to Elizabeth M. Streeter this pass.

Elizabeth M. Jackson Streeter (1813-1888) was born in Plymouth, Massachusetts, but she lived in Baltimore for thirty years prior to the Civil War. In 1833, she married Sebastian F. Streeter (1810-1864), who was a member of the Baltimore city government during the war. In October 1861, Mrs. Streeter organized the Ladies’ Union Relief Association of Baltimore. She resigned from this organization at the end of 1862, but she continued to visit local hospitals to attend to the wounded and ill. It was likely in this role that she acquired this pass. In November 1863, she organized a Ladies’ Aid Society, for the Relief of Soldiers’ Families to aid female refugees. After her husband succumbed to typhoid fever in August 1864, she returned to Massachusetts.

Robert C. Schenck (1809-1890) was born in Ohio and graduated from Miami University in 1827. He studied law, was admitted to the bar, and opened a practice in Dayton. He served in the United States House of Representatives from 1843 to 1851. After serving as minister of Brazil, he returned to his law practice. Commissioned as brigadier general in 1861, he fought in several battles in 1861 and 1862 before being wounded at the Second Battle of Bull Run. Unfit for field duty, he commanded the Eighth Corps in Maryland. In December 1863, he resigned his commission to take a seat in Congress, where he served until 1871.

William S. Fish (1833-1879) was born in Connecticut and was lumber merchant in Canada. He enlisted as captain of Company C of the 1st Connecticut Cavalry and served on General Schenck’s staff in the Shenandoah valley campaign of 1862. He was later promoted to lieutenant colonel. In January 1863, General Schenck appointed Fish as provost marshal for the Middle Department of the Eighth Army Corps. In 1864, he was arrested and tried by court martial for theft, receiving bribes, keeping a prostitute as a mistress, embezzlement, and complicity with treason. Among the charges were that he permitted different persons to cross Union lines to the South at their request and in exchange for bribes. Found guilty in April 1864, he was dishonorably discharged from the service, ordered to pay a fine of $5,000, and committed to prison in Albany, New York, for one year. On December 19, 1864, President Lincoln pardoned him for the remainder of his sentence. Fish died in Glasgow, Scotland.

Condition

Some dampstaining; verso adhered with paper from a scrapbook.


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