The Turner Rifles, a company of the Eighth Battalion, District of Columbia Militia, played a small, but significant, role in the nation’s capital in the early months of 1861 as the nation divided politically and plunged into civil war. Located in the midst of slaveholding states and potentially vulnerable to attacks by southern sympathizers, Washington’s defense amounted to only 400 soldiers, so the local Turnverein organized a militia unit. When rumors spread of a plot to kill or kidnap Abraham Lincoln, the Turner Rifles were assigned to protect the new president at his first inauguration. Tradition states that this drum was used that day. It will soon be on display at New Ulm Turner Hall. National Historian Daniel Hoisington wrote the story of the Turner Drum.