Sunday, April 17, 2011

Blog in Real Time - April 17, 1861 - Post #3

Wednesday, April 17, 1861

From the History of Westborough, Massachusetts, by H.P. DeForest and E.C. Bates:

     The attack on Sumter aroused the North as no event had done since the stirring days of 1775.  The cold and unemotional New Englander again glowed with patriotic ardor.  "The instant effect produced," says one historian, "was that of solemn silence, - that silence which in the resolute man is the precursor of irrevocable determination ; and then there arose all through the country, from the Canadian frontier to where the Ohio, rolling his waters westwardly for a thousand miles, separates the lands of freedom from those of slavery, not the yell of defiance, but the deep-toned cheer."

     The patriotism of the people of Westborough was stirred in unison with the general thrill.  Slavery and secession found little sympathy.  The sentiment of the town was shown in the election of 1860, when two votes were cast for Breckenridge, forty-four for Bell, ninety-seven for Douglas, and three hundred and one for Lincoln.  But he prompt and earnest action of the town in response to the President's appeal, and the spontaneous and vigorous protest of the people against any sign of sympathy with the seceding States, are perhaps better evidence of the loyal spirit which animated the community.  On Wednesday, April 17, - two days after the call for troops, - a warrant was issued by the selectmen, G. C. Sanborn, B.B. Nourse, and S.B. Howe, calling a town-meeting for April 25, "to see if the town will grant or appropriate any money toward raising a military company in the town, or act anything in relation to the same."  The excitement was intense, and warlike talk and preparations did not wait for the official sanction of the town.

     Stoneham Massachusetts would organize a company called the "Grey Eagles," Jacob Parker Gould, Captain.  The Grey Eagles would become the nucleus of Company G, 13th M.V.I.   But another militia company was already active in Stoneham when President Lincoln called for troops.   The Stoneham Light Infantry, commanded by Captain John H. Dyke.  On Tuesday April 16, Capt. Dyke went to Boston and offered his company's service to the President.  His men assembled that night in Stoneham and made preparations to set out at a moment's notice for Washington. 

From the History of Stoneham, Massachusetts by William Burnham Stevens & Francis Lester Whittier:

     Wednesday morning broke with a cold and hazy atmosphere, but the town was alive with excitement. Men were hurrying to and fro, and preparations being made for immediate departure. A messenger had been despatched from the Governor, who reached Captain Dike's at half-past two in the morning, notifying him to muster his men and report in Boston forthwith. These men were again summoned to meet in the armory at 6 A. M.   New names were added to the roll, and the members dismissed to make the last arrangements, and bid their final adieux.

We will hear more from Captain Dyke's company...

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