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Virtual Lecture – The Despot’s Heel

Date: Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Location: Zoom Virtual Lecture

Time: 7:30 pm (EDT)

“The Despot’s Heel” tells the story of the secession crisis in Maryland in the early days of the American Civil War. Both the state, as well as the city of Baltimore, experienced tensions caused by the divided loyalties of its citizens. These differences erupted into a riot in the streets when a pro-secession mob attacked U.S. troops passing through Baltimore on their way to Washington, and the subsequent military occupation of the city by federal forces. News of the riot inspired James Ryder Randall, a Marylander living in New Orleans, to compose the song “Maryland, My Maryland,” as an appeal for his native state to join the Confederacy – the opening line “The despot’s heel is on thy shore” refers to the U.S. military presence in the state. Maryland, however, remained loyal to the Union throughout the war. This presentation will examine the political, economic and military significance of the state in the spring of 1861 and afterward, as well as the course it took in the conflict.    

Registration required.

Cost: $15 per household for General Admission; $10 per household for HA Members, Military, and HA Docents

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Can’t watch the lecture live? We invite you to register; all registrants will receive a link to the recording of the lecture to watch at their convenience. The lecture recording will be available for two weeks. Live closed captioning is available for all lectures.

This lecture will be offered virtually by Zoom. Upon registration, you will be sent the link for the video conference to join on the evening of the lecture. If you do not receive your confirmation email after you register, please check your Spam folder, or email Cara Garside at To learn more about Zoom and to download the app to your computer, visit the Zoom website.


Glenn WilliamsAbout Our Presenter: Dr. Glenn F. Williams is a retired Army officer who entered public history as a second career. He is currently a Senior Historian at the U.S. Army Center of Military History, Fort McNair, DC, where his previous positions included Historian of the National Museum of the U.S. Army Project and Historian of the Army Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commemoration. He has also served as Historian of the American Battlefield Protection Program of the National Park Service, Curator/ Historian of the USS Constellation Museum, and Assistant Curator of the Baltimore Civil War Museum – President Street Station. He is the author of several books, including Year of the Hangman: George Washington’s Campaign Against the Iroquois (Westholme), recipient of the Thomas J. Fleming Award for the Outstanding Revolutionary War Book of 2005, and named one of “The 100 Best American Revolution Books of All Time” by the Journal of the American Revolution in the spring 2017 issue. His newest book, Dunmore’s War: The Last Conflict of America’s Colonial Era, was released in May 2017. In 2018 he was recognized for contributions to the study of 18th Century American military history with the Shelby Cullom Davis Award of the Society of Colonial Wars and the Judge Robert K. Woltz Award of the French and Indian War Foundation. He holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Maryland, College Park.


The information contained in the HA Virtual Lecture series represents the historical research, views and opinions of the lecture presenter and may not represent the views or opinions of Historic Annapolis, Inc.

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