restricted access 12. One Mass of People, Cheering
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Chapter 12 Y One Mass of People, Cheering Monday, July 24, 1848. This morning we were all up by 1 o’clock and took our breakfast , after which we got on board the cars, early as it was. The citizens came around the cars and in the cars to bid us goodbye. At half past 2 o’clock the whistle of the locomotive blew, and off we started for Philadelphia in the midst of cheers and applause from the citizens. At every station along the road the citizens gathered to welcome the soldiers home. Salutes were fired and cheering all along the road, and when we arrived at the head of the planes, in sight of Philadelphia, we could see the thousands of people and hear the roaring of artillery, which was the signal of our arrival at the head of the planes. At the foot of the inclined plane we were met by one mass of people, cheering, and all seemed full of enthusiasm . The tops of the cars, and platforms, and all along the railroad was crowded with people, and we soon arrived at the corner of Coates street and Columbia railroad—now called Pennsylvania avenue. Here we got off the cars and went into a large lot (N. E. corner) right opposite the railroad and Coates street; remained here until the military, which was forming on Coates street, now Fairmount avenue, was ready to receive us. About 10 o’clock, a.m., we formed into line and marched through the whole volunteer division. The streets and sidewalks were so densely crowded that it was almost impossible to get along. In fact, guards were stationed on our route of marching to keep the people from crowding in on us, so anxious were they to see the soldiers of the Mexican War. When we arrived at Front and Brown streets, there was great cheering and applause for William Donegan of our company (C) with the flash word, “A bully snapper.” We looked at one another with astonishment, to think of the idea that this man, Bill Donegan, a chronic grumbler, a man who has seldom ever done any duty or even fired off his gun in the whole Mexican campaign, should be received at different points with such honors, and patriots go unnoticed. The business was generally suspended, and all the houses along the route were crowded with spectators, and beautifully decorated with flowers and flags. The display or procession is considered greater than ever before witnessed in this city, and I heard several old gentlemen say that it beat the grand procession of Gen. Lafayette. After marching through several of the principal streets, we marched into the Chinese Museum, Ninth below Chestnut street, and sat down to one of the grandest dinners that ever was provided for distinguished guests. The best of edibles and the choicest of all the best wines. Speeches were made and 344 One Mass of People, Cheering songs sung by the citizens, but very little attention did we (the soldiers) pay to it, as it was all about the war of Mexico, which we all fully know by heart. After dinner was over, we were taken to the Third street Hall, below Willow street, kept by Gen. J. Hall, and were comfortably provided with rooms and good beds. In the evening we went into the city to see the fireworks, which were really magnificent and indescribable. The streets were so blockaded and crowded that it was almost impossible to walk with any comfort; and, being much fatigued by our march today, we soon returned to our quarters; and got ready for a good night’s rest and sociable sleep. The following is the song which was sung at the Chinese Museum dinner. Its title is “Welcome”: “Ye braves, whose hands on Mexico’s plain Hath struck the blow for country’s right, We bid ye welcome home again From the dark turmoil of the fight. Peace spreads once more her glowing wing Above our fair and happy land, And while we all her glories sing, We’ll not forget her conquering band Chorus. A nation’s hand, ye gallant band, Is stretching forth to meet you, To heaven’s dome, a welcome home, Ascends from those that greet you. “Brave men your deeds will be retold When hands and hearts have passed away, And come, like pure and molten gold, The brighter from the last assay. Your names a grateful country writes Upon her...


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