February 19, 1861; The New York Herald

Jefferson Davis, the President of the Southern confederacy, was duly inaugurated at Montgomery, Alabama, yesterday. The spectacle is described as the grandest ever witnessed at the South. Mr. Davis delivered his inaugural address at one o. We print the document complete in our columns this morning. It is, perhaps, the most important paper presented to the American people since the publishment of the Declaration of Independence. It is a clear and candid exposition of the cause of the secessionists, both as regards the causes of secession and their relations in the future towards the States remaining in the Union. A return to the Union is regarded as not practicable nor desirable.

The Peace Convention at Washington had a long session yesterday. Several amendments to the Guthrie proposition, and a substitute therefore, were offered, but they were all rejected. This action is regarded as indicating that the Convention will sustain the Guthrie plan of adjustment as reported by the committee. The debate yesterday was mainly upon the Territorial question. Gov. Boutwell, of Massachusetts, made a strong anti-compromise speech. It is thought that the Convention may come to a vote tomorrow.

Mr. Lincoln, the President elect, and party, left Buffalo yesterday morning. Along the route from Buffalo to Albany he was greeted by the usual ovations. At Albany the reception was carried out according to the programme agreed upon. We publish in our columns this morning graphic description of the ceremonies, together with reports of the addresses delivered on the occasion. Mr. Lincoln will arrive in this city this afternoon, and will stop at the Astor House.

Mr. Hamlin, the Vice President elect, left his home in Maine, en route for Washington, yesterday. He will arrive in this city tomorrow.

In Congress yesterday a large number of petitions respecting the crisis were presented and referred. The Senate, at the expiration of the morning hour, took up the Tariff bill. An amendment to reduce the duty on books was rejected. An amendment levying a duty of four cents per pound on tea and half a cent on coffee, and reducing the duty on sugar, was [click to continue…]


February 19, 1861; Richmond Enquirer

The Peace Congress, a body composed of most respectable gentlemen from, we believe, twenty one States, is now assembled in Washington, and they are looked to by the people of the United States for propositions of amendment, which shall restore peace to the country, and bring back the seceded States. While the object of the Congress is most laudable and praiseworthy, the prospect of success is by no means bright and cheering. Not the first intimation, that we have seen, has been given from any source, worthy or unworthy of consideration, within any one of the seceded States, that these States will, under any compromise, concession or amendment, hasten to return to a Union with the Free States. The formation of a Provisional Government, the election and inauguration of executive officers, the preparation for a permanent Government, all plainly forbid any expectation of any facile abandonment of their present position to again reunite themselves with all the States of the Federal Union. Hopeful, indeed, and credulous beyond wisdom, must be the men who look for a reunion of the Gulf States with the Free States under the terms of any patchwork compromise. The character of Jefferson Davis and A.H. Stephens forbids the supposition of the child’s play that is implied in the expectation that they will abandon permanent peace in a confederacy homogeneous in institutions and interests, to again seek security in a Union, the dominant section of which has just driven their States beyond its pale, and whose present and prospective authorities are threatening and preparing for forcible conquest and subjugation.

The prompt manner and unparalleled unanimity with which the people of the Seceded States have braved war, incurred the loss of commerce, the prostration of business, all combine to demonstrate that no idle threat, no mere bluster, is intended, but that a permanent and final separation has been determined upon by the people of those States.

In vain will intimations of a back down be looked for in any State from South Carolina to Texas. Everywhere throughout these States the settled purpose of final separation, with war and invasion, if forced upon them manifests itself to the most careless and inattentive observer. The Seceded States are not the parties which instituted the Peace Congress, [click to continue…]



The forepart of the day was bright but the air cold and chilly, the latter part cloudy, windy and cold, freezing a little. Gov Polk of Missouri was in our room this morning. He is M.C. now. I was introduced to him. Mrs & Miss Butterfield were also at the pat off this morning. Mr B. left them with me and I attended them round the building. Put stove up in our third story after dinner, have had some stove pipe stolen from the celler the past week. Went down to the “National” and “Willards,” bothe Houses seem quite full. Conversation much less excited than a month since.


The three diary manuscript volumes, Washington during the Civil War: The Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft, 1861-1865, are available online at The Library of  Congress.


February 18th, 1866.—Home again and I have talked myself hoarse telling the events of the three weeks I have been away. I am glad to get back. All say they have missed me, which is pleasant to hear. Eddie does not like to hear of the Union officers, he resents every mention of them. I told him of the Confederate uniform I made for Arvah; the brass buttons, the gold lace, for it was a captain’s uniform.

Arvah was so proud of it until the Yankees, who came to the house, made fun of him, calling him “Johnnie Reb.” He cried then and said, “Me don’t want to be a Donnie Web.”

Mrs. Reed told him to ask his mother for a piece of blue broadcloth and she would Make him a Yankee uniform. She is a neat hand at work and by night the little suit was finished and Arvah was the centre of an admiring group. I took no notice of him but the little fellow is very fond of me and when he felt tired he tried to crawl up in my lap. I did not encourage this and he said, “Me wants to love ‘ou.”

“No,” I said. “I can’t love a Yankee.”

He burst into tears and could not be quieted.

“Take off dis ‘Ankee.” he cried, “I’se doin’ to be a Donnie Web.”

After that Mrs. Reed and I were rivals where Arvah was concerned. I took to slipping a piece of money in his hand when it was time to dress for the evening and then, in spite of Mrs. Reed’s pleading, he would wear the suit of gray; but just let me forget to have the bit of silver on time and Arvah appears in the parlor, a tiny figure in blue, where he is surrounded by his brother officers and, listens with willing ears to the many complimentary speeches made for his benefit.

Eddie thinks this is terrible. “I wouldn’t be a turncoat,” says this staunch young Southerner.


[FEBRUARY 18(?), 1861.]

Governor PICKENS, Charleston, S.C.:

Kingman, known as “Ion,” who corresponds with the Baltimore Sun, and is considered reliable in his letter of yesterday, says he has seen and read a letter from a former member of Congress from South Carolina, which assures him that Fort Sumter will be taken on or before the 4th of March, “without reference to what the Montgomery government may advise or order on the subject.”

This startles the President. Will you quiet him by your reply?

The State commissioners will adjourn during the week. No result yet.



February 18, 1861; The New York Herald

The news from the South this morning is of a very important character. The Southern Congress was proceeding with great vigor in the organization of their new government. President Davis arrived at Montgomery on Saturday last, and was received by the people with the wildest enthusiasm. In a speech delivered on the occasion, he declared that the time for all compromises had passed, that Southern independence must be maintained, even if war should follow, and that no propositions for a reconstruction of the Union could ever be entertained. During the course of his journey he made twenty-five speeches in the same tone, which were everywhere received with enthusiastic applause. President Davis was busily engaged in the construction of his Cabinet, which, it was reported, would consist of the following persons:

Secretary of State….. Herschel V. Johnson, Georgia.

Secretary of War……. P. O. Hider, Louisiana.

Secretary of Navy…… S. R. Mallory, Florida.

Secretary of Interior… W. Porcher Miles, S. Carolina.

Post Office Department.. J. H. Hemphill, Texas.

Attorney General…….. John A. Elmore, Alabama.

Messrs. Slidell and Toombs will probably be sent as Ambassadors to France and England respectively.

Mr. Lincoln yesterday remained in Buffalo where he attended divine service at the Unitarian church, in company with ex-President Fillmore. Today he will leave Buffalo at six A.M., and arrive at Albany about three P.M., where due honors will be paid him by the State authorities. Tomorrow he will leave Albany at ten o’clock by the Hudson River Railroad and arrive in this city at three. We learn that while Mr. Lincoln is in this city he will stop at the Astor House. [click to continue…]


February 18, 1861; The Charleston Mercury

There was quite a throng of visitors at our press room last night, to witness the working of the new and splendid press just erected, and with which our paper is printed for the first time today. All hands united in giving praise to the able, ingenious and indefatigable chief of the press department, Capt. J. W. McMILLAN, to whose energy and industry THE MERCURY’S readers are mainly indebted for the celerity with which this complicated machine has been put in operation, and by which their papers will be furnished earlier and more certainly.


February 18, 1861; The Charleston Mercury

WASHINGTON, February 14, 1861.

It is quite evident that the Peace Congress does not glide along as smoothly as the compromisers would desire. Evidently trouble and disagreement exist in their camp, and from my observation I do not think it would be predicting too much, to say that its deliberations will result in as great diversity of opinion as characterized the conclusions of the illustrious Committee of Thirty three. The elements composing this body are eminently hostile, and can never agree upon a middle ground, involving the territorial rights of the Cotton States. The position of Virginia and the Southern Border States is a false one: if it involved no greater mistake in policy than that of sueing for peace at the hands of her enemies and our enemies, rather than demanding her rights in conjunction with her friends. But she commits two other capital errors. First – In supposing that the separation of the Cotton States from the Union is not a deliberate act, based upon the determination that it shall be permanent and that a reconstruction is impossible. Second – That by remaining in the Union she can secure the return of the Cotton States. Now the sooner she and her Border sisters can be satisfied that they are laboring under great errors, and that they will certainly be misled by them, so much the earlier will they understand the responsibilities they have assumed. It is a well settled proposition, nowhere appreciated more clearly than in Virginia, that she is no longer the leader among the Southern States. Her greatest and best influences belonged to her whilst she stood in the van, defending Southern rights under the Constitution, enjoying the confidence of her natural allies, and striving with them to hold the Northern wolf at bay. But all of this is changed now. She is bending, and may fall before the storm.

The majority of the members of the Convention declare they are not Unionists per se – that, while loving the Union, they are determined to leave it if the Peace Conference does not propose a plan of settlement acceptable even to South Carolina. This is the idea upon which the immediate secessionists were defeated by them before the people. But when [click to continue…]


February 18, 1861; The New York Herald

WASHINGTON, Feb. 17, 1861.

The facts stated in my despatch in the HERALD of the 14th inst., that nearly thirty war vessels of the United States are dismantled and unfit for service, has created an intense feeling in Congressional circles. In view of this fact the following analysis of the actual condition of the vessels named, derived from an authoritative source, becomes important. It developes the fact that many more of these vessels are worthless than was supposed.


The steam screw frigate Franklin, fifty guns, twenty three feet draught when fully equipped, was reconstructed at Kittery, with all the modern improvements, in 1855. She is still on the stocks, and could not be ready for sea in less than one year. She has neither her machinery nor boilers on board, and Congress does not seem disposed to make the necessary appropriations to complete her. According to the judgment of the best naval architects, she is the finest modelled vessel in the world. This is the ship that Omar Pasha, Rear Admiral of the Turkish navy, and suite, travelled all the way from Washington to Kittery in 1858, to examine upon the invitation of the Maine and New Hampshire Senators. The constructing engineer attended to the admiral’s suite, as well as the admiral himself, pronounced her the best modelled and most beautiful specimen of naval architecture they ever saw. Such a vessel should not be permitted to remain on the stocks and perish, especially when she is needed on the seas to protect our commerce and the honor of the flag. The cost of putting the machinery, boilers, stores and armament in the vessel and putting her thoroughly in commission would amount to about $400,000. This sum seems large, but when it is remembered that the crack steamer Niagara, which carries only twelve guns and five hundred and twenty five men, and which buried the Atlantic cable so deep that plummet will never find it, and conveyed the Japanese Commissioners home, draws the same amount of water that the Franklin will, with fifty guns and six hundred and twenty men. There is probably no vessel in the American navy that would be better suited as a floating battery or custom house for the collection of the revenue than the [click to continue…]


February 18, 1861; The Charleston Mercury

This newly organized corps, brought into existence by the secession of the State, made their debut on Saturday in fine style, under the command of Capt. JOHN E. CAREW. They assembled at the rendezvous in John street at 8 o’clock, a.m., marched down Meeting and through Broad street and East Bay to the Northeastern Railroad Depot, where they embarked on board the cars, and repaired to Captain CAREW’S place, on Goose Creek, for the purpose of drill and target shooting. On their route they stopped in front of our office, and after saluting THE MERCURY, gave three hearty cheers for their absent comrade, First Lieut. EDMUND RHETT, jr.

The shooting was well contested, and the first prize – a handsome gutta percha cane, commemorative of the BROOKS and SUMNER affair – was awarded to Private WILLIAM BURNS, his shot taking effect within 3/8 of an inch from the centre. This prize was presented by Col. YOUNG, of the 16th Regiment, an invited guest, in a spirited and patriotic address, delivered in his usual style of earnest and animated eloquence.

The second prize – a five barrelled revolver – was won by Second Lieutenant LAMOTTE, his being the best of the average shots, and 5 3/8 inches from the centre. Lieut. Col. DAVIS, of the 16th Regiment, presented this prize. His remarks were well adapted to the occasion, expressed in glowing language, and were well received.

The company then partook of a handsome collation provided for the occasion, and, after sundry patriotic toasts and songs, returned to the city highly pleased with the day and its incidents.

The Guards paraded seventy three members, with the three commissioned officers – seventy six rank and file – an unusually large number for so young a company.


February 18, 1861; The Charleston Mercury

We are glad to be able to announce that the increase in circulation of THE CHARLESTON MERCURY has been fully commensurate with the progress of the great cause of Southern Rights, with which this journal, since its first issue, nearly forty years ago, has always been identified. Within the last few months we have been utterly unable, with the mechanical facilities at our command, to supply in full the demand for our daily and tri weekly issues. In fact the MERCURY is now regarded and patronized as the best and most reliable medium of political, commercial and general news in the South. It has also attained an extensive circulation in many localities of the North, the West, and the Southwest, where a year ago it was comparatively but little known. As an instance of this, we may mention that we mail to a single town of Southern Illinois no less than fifty copies daily.

To meet this heavy and constantly growing increase of circulation, we have been obliged to order from the establishment of R. HOE & CO., of New York, a fast Double Cylinder Press, of the latest and most improved model. Upon this press this morning’s paper is printed. By its aid, we hope, for a time at least, to fill, satisfactorily, the orders of newsmen and subscribers. Our new machine – the most rapid in use, we believe, between Richmond and New Orleans, throwing off upwards of FOUR THOUSAND SHEETS PER HOUR – or about 85 a minute – will enable us to give the readers of our tri-weekly edition the very latest news by telegraph. Hitherto, we have often found it impossible to do this, owing to the early hour of the night at which we have had to put our country paper to press, in order to get off our large edition in time for the morning’s mail.

The readers of our daily paper in the city will also feel the benefit of our new arrangements; for, although we print more dailies than any newspaper in this part of the South, we shall now be able to have them delivered in the morning to subscribers at an earlier and more uniform hour than heretofore.

While in the matter of circulation, we have had every reason to be satisfied, the advertising patronage in Charleston, as elsewhere, has greatly fallen off during the prevailing dull times. When matters get more brisk, however, advertisers will do well to remember the advantages of THE MERCURY as a medium of giving publicity to their business and wants.

Gratified as we are at the wide and general appreciation of whatever enterprise and industry may have marked the conduct of THE MERCURY, we take the occasion to assure our readers that neither pains nor expense will be spared to make it, in all its departments, still more worthy of their favor.


February 18, 1861; The New York Herald

BUFFALO, Feb. 17, 1861.

Late last evening Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln held separate levees in the parlors of the American House. The general crowd gathered in the vestibule of the hotel were refused admittance, and only a limited number of ladies and gentlemen were presented. Governor Morgan’s staff was also introduced.

At half past nine the President and lady retired to their apartments.

The cold, damp weather today being unfavorable to outdoor movements, the Presidential party spent most of their time about the hotel.

Mr. Fillmore called at ten A.M., with a carriage, for Mr. Lincoln, and both attended divine service at the Unitarian church. Dr. Hosmer, the pastor, invoked the blessings of heaven upon the incoming administration in a most impressive manner in his opening prayer. Many of the congregation were moved to tears. At the close of the service Mr. Lincoln was introduced to the minister and a number of prominent members of the church.

From the church the ex-President and President elect rode back to the hotel, and where joined by Mrs. Lincoln, when the party were driven to Mr. Fillmore’s private residence to partake of a lunch.

Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln returned to the hotel at two o’clock p.m., and spent the remainder of the day in their rooms. They were called upon by a number of distinguished ladies and gentlemen in the course of the afternoon — among the latter the most conspicuous were Hon. G. W. Clinton, A. M. Clapp, F. P. Stevens, A. S. Bemis, Jas. Putnam, D. S. Hunt, F. J. Fithian, J. A. Verplanck, N. K. Hall, R. P. Larvin, N. D. Davis, M. Grover, B. Van Horn, M. C., and P. Dorsheimer.

The marked courtesy of Mr. Fillmore to the President elect was the subject of general praise today. [click to continue…]


February 18, 1861; The New York Herald


One of our reporters, by special invitation, on Saturday last made a visit of inspection to the magnificent car which has been fitted up by the Hudson River Railroad Company for the conveyance of Mr. Lincoln, the President elect, and his suite, tomorrow, from Albany to this city. The car has just been built, and fitted up expressly for the occasion, at the car shop of the company, Thirty first street, under the supervision of Mr. Town, superintendent of that establishment, who has displayed great taste in the internal arrangements, which combine comfort, elegance and appropriateness in the design of the decorations. The car itself is built in the most substantial manner, and provided with Creamer’s patent brakes, for stopping the train instantly in case of apparent danger. The exterior of the car is finished with narrow perpendicular panels, extending from the windows to the bottom, and painted a deep orange color, relieved by ornamental flourishes in black or dark brown on the bands. The body of the car is very highly varnished, giving it a fine effect. Nearly the entire length of the car is surmounted by a elevated roof – a sort of nave – which is amply provided on the sides with Cook’s patent ventilators. The height of the car, beneath the nave of raised roof, is about ten feet. The car is warmed by two of Spear’s patent railroad heaters and ventilators. For night travel, in case of necessity, it is furnished with four new and elegant wax candle burners, with cut glass globes. The floor of the car is covered with very handsome tapestry carpet, with a light ground, forming a striking and pleasing contrast with the dark furniture.

The sides of the car below the base of the windows are covered with dark crimson plush. The panels between the windows are covered with heavy blue silk, each studded with thirty four silver stars, representing the States of the Union, including the new State of Kansas, the question of secession being entirely ignored. Some narrow panels at the ends of the car are finished in the same style, except that they are studded with only thirteen silver stars, emblematical of the original thirteen States. The sides of the car over the windows are divided off into small panels of curled maple, [click to continue…]


February 18, 1861; The New York Herald

MONTGOMERY, Feb. 17, 1861.

The trip of Mr. Davis from Mississippi to Montgomery, was one continuous ovation. He made twenty-five speeches on the route, returning thanks and complimentary greetings to crowds of ladies, and gentlemen, and military, at the various depots.

A Committee of Congress, and the Montgomery authorities, met Mr. Davis about eighty miles off and formally received him. Two fine military companies from Columbus, Ga., joined the escort at Opelika, and all reached Montgomery last night at ten o’clock.

He was received with great enthusiasm, a large crowd assembled at the depot, which Mr. Davis addressed as follows:

He said he felt proud to receive the congratulations and hospitality of the people of Alabama. He briefly reviewed the present position of the South. He said the time for compromises is past, and we are now determined to maintain our position and make all who oppose us smell Southern powder, feel Southern steel. If coercion was persisted in, he had no doubts as to the result. We will maintain our rights of government at all hazards. We ask nothing and want nothing. Will have no complications. If other States join our confederation they can freely come on our terms. Our separation from the old Union is complete. No compromise, no reconstruction can now be entertained.

A large crowd waited on Mr. Davis on his arrival at the Exchange Hotel. The ladies were equally enthusiastic with the gentlemen. A quarter before eleven, at enthusiastic calls, Mr. Davis [click to continue…]



A very pleasant morning. M. 40. Colder the middle of the day and quite a snow storm in the afternoon. Went to Church in the morning with wife & Boys, heard Doct Smith preach. Sunday School performance in the afternoon. Wife & Boys went. Myself and Willie staid at home. Took a walk with the Boys in evening. Tea at 7 o’clock. Spent the evening at home reading and explaining portions of Revolutionary History of U.S. Wife has played on the piano some and the Boys have read aloud & written some.


The three diary manuscript volumes, Washington during the Civil War: The Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft, 1861-1865, are available online at The Library of  Congress.


FORT SUMTER, S.C., February 17, 1861.

General Jos. G. TOTTEN,
Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D.C.:

GENERAL: Everything is quiet, and there are no evidences of the presence of many troops around us, nor of military preparation. The assumption of all questions relating to forts, arsenals, &c., by the Congress of the Southern Confederacy appears to have placed a sudden check upon the military enterprise of the South Carolinians. The only operation performed yesterday was the firing of three shots from the iron bomb-proof battery on Cummings Point, apparently for the purpose of trying the embrasure shutters. These shutters appear to be of iron, and are arranged like a trap-door, with a hinge at the upper edge, so that two men can open it—having, probably, a counterpoise in the interior.

I think these batteries can be destroyed by our fire by concentrating it upon one embrasure at a time, and aiming at the embrasure itself.

I cannot yet determine what is being done at Fort Moultrie. In addition to the sand bags, which raises the sole of the exterior about two feet, the whole embrasure is filled with a large bag of wool or cotton.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Captain of Engineers.


1861. February 17.—Mr. Reuter sends me a telegram from Queenstown of the American news. 1. The conference invited by Virginia met on the 4th, and re-assembled with closed doors on the 5th at Washington. 2. Slidell and Benjamin have withdrawn. 3. A truce between Lieutenant Slemmer and State forces at Pensacola Navy-Yard, followed by surrender to latter. 4. North Carolina resolves unanimously to go with the other slave States if adjustment fail. 5. United States revenue cutter Lewis Cass treacherously surrendered to Alabama. 6. Fifty thousand people starving in Kansas. 7. Secession of Texas definitive. 8. The President has refused to surrender Fort Sumter on Colonel Hayne’s demand; an attack expected. 9. Attempt on Fort Pickens abandoned. No blood yet spilt.


February 17th, 1866.—The house party is a thing of the past and will be long remembered. The Sprague girls, Maggie and Mary, (Tudie seems to be her name to her intimates), are such nice, pleasant young ladies. When I had known them a few days I said I would not have imagined they were from the North. They laughed and said they had been almost raised in the South. I like them very much.

Mrs. Reed, to quote from my black mammy, “Ain’t my sort,” and I have never been thrown with one of her kind before. Mrs. Miller is a sweet old lady, a South Carolinian by birth, who married a Northern man. Her invalid son, Lieutenant Charles Miller, excited my pity to such an extent that I have tried to forget his blue uniform and remember only that he suffers. I think the almost constant contact with the sick and wounded soldiers in our own army has automatically made me tender of those who are ill. His mother watches over him day and night. Aunt Sue is just as good to them both as if they were kinsfolk and, though Uncle Arvah is such a busy man, he does all he can to lighten her burden. She was very glad to have a little help in filling in his lonely hours.

I look at it in this way; I am trying to be of some assistance to dear aunt Sue and if she wants me to read to and talk to, this poor, sick boy, it is my duty to do it. So, for a while, each morning, after his breakfast tray has been brought down stairs, I relieve his mother and, while I read some entertaining book, or glean the freshest news from the papers, she walks out among the flowers, or chats with the other guests.

Our own boys tease me about my “sick Yankee,” but I think it is right or I would not do it. He, poor fellow, is grateful; I told him doctors did not know everything, even the wisest of them. I told him I was supposed to have consumption, of which Drs. Clark and Geddings were quite positive, but I would not listen to them. My doctor Brother did not agree with them and he says, “help yourself to get well; do not think of the disease but fill your mind with bright thoughts and, if possible find something for your hands to do; live in the open and hope, Hope, HOPE.”

He was much interested in this and, the next day, instead of lying on the couch in his mother’s room, as he had done, he came down stairs, with Frank and Jack assisting him, and sat in the large cushioned rocker in the hall.

The young people in the house came about his chair and Aunt Sue said he was holding a reception. He enjoyed it until he got tired, and his mother was delighted that he had made the effort. Poor boy! He has hemorrhages but I used to have them, too, and I have quite made up my mind to live to be a hundred; if I can. [click to continue…]


February 17, 1861; The New York Herald

BUFFALO, Feb. 16, 1861.

On arrival at Buffalo Mr. Lincoln was met at the door of the car by a deputation of citizens headed by Milliard Fillmore, between whom and himself a hearty greeting passed.

The crowd in and surrounding the depot was dense and numbered not less than ten thousand people. But one company of soldiers and a file of police were detailed to act as escort to the party, and it was with the greatest difficulty that they could protect them from being crushed by the crowd. While passing from the train to the carriages, in the jam, Major Hunter, of the United States Army, one of Mr. Lincoln’s suite, had his shoulder dislocated. The passage of the procession up Exchange and Main streets to the American Hotel, was a perfect ovation. Most of the buildings on those streets were gaily draped with flags.

The reception in this place was the most ill conducted affair witnessed since the departure from Springfield. A thick crowd had been allowed to await the arrival of the train in the depot, so that but a narrow passage could be kept open by the few soldiers and policemen detailed to protect the President. He had hardly left his car and, after heartily shaking hands with Mr. Fillmore, made a few steps towards the door, when the crowd made a rush, and overpowering the guard, pressed upon him and party with a perfect furor. A scene of the wildest confusion ensued. To and from the ruffians swayed, and soon cries of distress were heard on all sides. The pressure was so great that it is really a wonder that many were not crushed and trampled to death. As it was, Major Hunter, of the President escort, alone suffered a bodily injury by having his arm dislocated. The President elect was safely got out of the depot only by the desperate efforts of those immediately around him. His party had to struggle with might and main for their lives, and after fighting their way to the open air found some of the carriages already occupied, so that not a few had to make for the hotel afoot as best they could.

The hotel doors were likewise blockaded by immovable thousands, and they had to undergo another tremendous squeeze to get inside. The indignation of the Presidential cortege at their rough treatment is great, and they insist that Mr. Lincoln should decline all further public receptions, in case no better protection could be guaranteed.

Although somewhat exhausted, Mr. Lincoln is in good spirits. This evening he is holding a levee at the American Hotel.

Mrs. Lincoln and the family continue in good health.


February 17, 1861; The New York Herald

BUFFALO, Feb. 16, 1861.

The Presidential party left Cleveland at nine A.M. today. The train was composed of a baggage car and three passenger coaches. The coach especially set apart for the President elect was one of exceeding beauty, from the manufactory of Messrs. Kasson & Son, of Buffalo.

The President elect and party were accompanied from Cleveland to this place by a large number of prominent politicians of Northern Ohio. The President elect still labored under the effect of the fatigues of the previous day, and was rather reserved. His hoarseness induced him to speak less today than during any of the preceding stages of the journey.

The train stopped at Willoughby, Painesville, Geneva, Ashtabula, Conneaut, Erie, Westfield, Dunkirk and Silver Creek, at all of which places large crowds were assembled, and Mr. Lincoln was received with great and constantly increasing enthusiasm.

The largest and most demonstrative crowd was assembled at Ashtabula, the home of Old Giddings.

At Geneva, Ohio, he was addressed briefly by one of the crowd, who exhorted him to stand by the constitution and the cause of liberty.

At Girard station several baskets of splendid fruit and flowers were presented to the Presidential family. No little sensation was produced at this point by the unexpected apparition on the train of Horace Greeley, equipped with a valise and his well known red and blue blankets. He was at once conducted into the car of the President, who came forward to greet him. He got off again at Erie, after travelling about twenty miles with the company. [click to continue…]


February 17, 1861; The New York Herald

The Peace Convention at Washington yesterday commenced debate on the plan of adjustment adopted by the committee. Mr. Baldwin, of Connecticut, moved to substitute his proposition for a National Convention in lieu of the committee’s plan. Mr. Guthrie opposed the motion, and urged the Convention to take immediate action. There was considerable difference of opinion respecting the meaning of the plan of adjustment as regards the Territorial question, whether it applied to existing territory only, or also to that to be hereafter acquired. Mr. Reverdy Johnson, of Maryland, said he should move an amendment so as to exclude future acquisitions of territory from the operations of the compromise. The debate did not terminate till three o’, when the Convention adjourned till Monday.

In Congress yesterday the Senate took up the Tariff bill, and Mr. Seward’s amendment, extending the time when duties shall be paid to three years, instead of ninety days, was agreed to by a vote of twenty five to eighteen. This leaves the warehousing system without alteration. The Conference Committee on the Deficiency bill made a report stating that an agreement had been come to respecting the amendments. The conference agreed to strike out the Chiriqui amendment. Final action was not taken on either the Tariff or Deficiency bills; but the greatest obstacles to their passage have now been overcome, and they will probably pass through the final stages on Monday.



A delightful and bright warm day, but muddy in the streets. Worked pretty busily in the office today. Prof Rogers was in with a working model of his Steam and air Engine operating upon the principle of the “Jefford Injector” for Steam Boilers. In Rogers Engine the Steam took in a current of air into the Steam chest. He claims a gain of nearly 100 pr cent over the Comn [common?] S Engine. A boy brought a Box of excellent Cigars, present from W A Lighthall. Was in at Willards this evening. Saw W VanMaster from Lyons there, bot “Times.”


The three diary manuscript volumes, Washington during the Civil War: The Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft, 1861-1865, are available online at The Library of  Congress.

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