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Patterson Park as Host to Civil War Troops:
During the Civil War, many of Baltimore's parks were sites of Union encampments. The military presence was established not from fear that the Confederacy would advance on Baltimore from the South, but to prevent Baltimore and Maryland from seceding from the Union. This would have left President Lincoln and the Union government caught between Confederate Virginia and secessionist Baltimore. So, martial law was enacted and Baltimore's large parks and estates were inhabited by soldiers.
Patterson Park was one such park that played host to an encampment. A large Union camp of tents stretched throughout the park. There was also a large 1,000-bed surgical hospital called Camp Washburn, where many soldiers from the Battle of Gettysburg convalesced. The encampment was dissolved and the hospital torn down after the war, 1864.
Butchers Hill, the neighborhood to the immediate west of Patterson Park, prospered greatly during the Civil War. This enclave of well-to-do merchants and butchers sold canned meat to the troops massed throughout the city. Their newfound wartime fortune translated into the building of some of the superb homes that remain here today. One such example is the lavish home known at Gunther Mansion, but by the butcher, Jacob J. Bankard, at the corner of Chester and Baltimore Streets in 1864.
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