Monday, June 24, 2019

Diary of Corporal David L. Day: November 2, 1861


Arrived in Philadelphia at 1 a. m.; were met at the depot by a committee of the citizens, and escorted to the old cooper-shop saloon, where we took breakfast. Our reception here was in striking contrast with that in New York, yesterday. Instead of dark, gloomy, dirty barracks, with dirty, insolent attendants, we were taken to a large, clean, well-lighted hall, where we were met by a corps of neat, well-dressed and courteous attendants, both ladies and gentlemen, who seemed to vie with each other in their attentions to our wants. The tables were neatly spread, and contained even more than reasonably hungry men. could desire. We had boiled corned beef, tongue, ham, brown and white bread, butter, pies, cake, fruit, tea, coffee, milk, etc. Not satisfied with our eating all we wanted, they emptied our haversacks, and filled them with ham, tongue, bread, cake and apples, remarking at the same time, that soldiers couldn't carry salt mule and hardtack through Philadelphia.

Breakfast over, we then had music by our band, and some short remarks by gentlemen present, after which three cheers were proposed for the Philadelphians, which were given with a will. The regiment now re-formed for a march across the city, to take the cars for Baltimore. As our band struck up the music, waking the echoes of the early morning, the windows on either side flew up, and out peered hundreds of heads, in their scantily arranged toilets, and with wild hurrahs and waving handkerchiefs, cheered us on our way. At 4 a. m., we were aboard the cars and moving towards Baltimore.

I was informed that all troops passing through Philadelphia were received and fed in this same generous manner. It makes no difference when troops arrive, whether day or night, they are ready for them. They seem to find out, either by telegraph or some other way, just when a regiment will arrive. I must needs say that these Philadelphians area generous, whole souled people. They are worth fighting for, in fact they are the very ace of hearts; may prosperity attend them.

SOURCE: David L. Day, My Diary of Rambles with the 25th Mass. Volunteer Infantry, p. 9-10

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