One witness to the actions taken yesterday in St. Louis was William T. Sherman. Today he writes in great detail to his brother John, a Senator in Washington. By 3pm the whole city was in chaos and initially Sherman had no interest in witnessing what he thought was a battle. But friends he dined with had other ideas, so Sherman went back to his house for his son Willy and walked toward the action so they could view the Union soldiers marching back from what they heard was a victory. Soldiers marched down the streets around 5:30pm with men, women and children watching them.
Suddenly Sherman heard a few shots, then saw the militia firing into the crowd. “Hearing balls cutting the leaves of trees over my head, I fell down on the grass and crept up to where Charley Ewing had my boy Willy. I also covered his person. Probably a hundred shots passed over the ground, but none near us. As soon as the fire slackened, I picked Willy up, and ran with him till behind the rising ground, and continued at my leisure until out of harm’s way, and went home.”
He states that some dozen men were killed, along with a woman and little girl. Sherman guesses there had been provocation, though he did not recall witnessing any; he had only heard some cheering for the Union troops and some “hallos” for Jefferson Davis. Sherman closes with a statement about country vs. state, which one could say summarizes the a key issue in why the U.S. is currently divided: “And this brings up the old question of State and United States authority. We cannot have two kings: one is enough; and of the two the United States must prevail. But in the South, and even here, there are plenty who think the State is their king.“
In Louisiana, Edwin F. Jemison (shown here, Source: Library of Congress) is mustered into Company I, 2nd Louisiana Infantry, for a one year term. Both of Jemison’s parents are educated and considered to be a part of the Southern aristocracy. He is only 16, with his 17th birthday still seven months away. Though his story is unknown to many, his face is often recognizable today as a representation of so many young boys on both sides who entered the conflict.
Benjamin McCulloch, a man who had moved to Texas at the age of 24 with a group that included Davy Crockett, receives a commission as Brigadier General in the Confederate army. It is well deserved, as he had recently led a group of men in San Antonio to successfully force the surrender of Union troops stationed there. McCulloch is placed in charge of troops in Arkansas.
Carl Schurz, U.S. Minister to Spain, visits U.S. President Abraham Lincoln at White House while the Marine Band performs on the fresh lawn with newly leafed trees surrounding the premises. Prior to the concert a few soldiers go up to the President to shake his hand. A little girl who followed them walks up to Lincoln, holds up her head and “puts up her lips.” The President salutes her with a fatherly dignity. Observing this, other girls – mostly young, along with some older ones – rush towards the President so that they may also receive the same attention and affection. It’s said that “For fifteen minutes the President had as much on his hands as one man might desire.” At one point Lincoln’s secretary, John Hay, offers an attempt to get the President away from the role of “handshaking” but surprisingly learns that Lincoln enjoys it. After the concert Lincoln and Schurz have tea to discuss the potential for Schurz to obtain a military leadership role, which he so eagerly desires.
The city of Philadelphia gives a grand celebration at Independence Hall, where the guest of honor is Major Robert Anderson. Afterwards Anderson, Mary Lincoln, her cousin Elizabeth and government worker William Wood travel on to New York City. Around 6:30pm Mary checks into a suite at the Metropolitan Hotel and, according to workers, “appears to be in the best of spirits.” Major Anderson chooses to stay at the the historic and famous Brevoort Hotel on Fifth Avenue.
“I must confess I was both hurt and mortified that a daughter of mine, at a time when her Father’s life is in peril, her home in danger of being trampled over by a lawless foe, if not leveled to the ground, should allow a disappointment about a bonnet to be so deep in her mind.”
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