After sunrise on April 15, 1861, Major Anderson and his men were shuttled from Fort Sumter to the ships of the US Fleet patrolling outside Charleston Harbor. Once aboard, the flotilla set sail for New York City.
In Washington, President Lincoln issued a proclamation that contained these lines: “. . . now, therefore that I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, in virtue of the power vested in me by the constitution and the laws, have thought fit to call forth, and hereby do call forth, the militia of the several states of the Union to the aggregate number of seventy-five thousand, in order to suppress said combination, and to cause the laws to be duly executed.”
In Lowell, the Daily Courier reported “The proclamation of the President is received with favor by everybody, ad all with whom we have conversed, say that the Government must be sustained, and the traitors punished for their treason. The various military companies have meetings this evening, and we trust a spirit will be evinced of readiness to aid in upholding the President, by volunteering their services if necessary.”
Later that day, the commander of the Sixth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment received the following order from the state’s Adjutant General: “Col. Jones: Sir, I am directed by His Excellency, the Commander-in-Chief, to order you to muster your regiment on Boston Common, forthwith, in compliance with a requisition made by the President of the United States. The troops are to go to Washington.”
That night, the soldiers assembled at their armory and were busy all night preparing for their departure.