April 16, 1861

In the morning on a drizzly April 16, a steady stream of Lowell residents visited the various armories where the militia companies of the Sixth Regiment had gathered the night before, bringing food, supplies, money and support. By 9 am, the remaining companies of the Sixth – Company B from Groton, Company E from Acton, and Companies F and I from Lawrence – had also arrived in Lowell. (There were four companies from Lowell and three other companies – from Stoneham, Boston and Worcester – were attached to the Regiment the next day for this deployment).

At 10 am, a civic send-off ceremony commenced at Huntington Hall, the 19th Century equivalent of today’s Lowell Memorial Auditorium which was located at the corner of Merrimack and Dutton Street. Speakers included Regimental Commander Colonel Jones, Mayor Sargent, Rev Amos Blanchard and several other dignitaries. By 11:45 am, the Regiment had boarded a special train bound for Boston (the train station was on the first floor of Huntington Hall) and soon departed.

In Boston, the Sixth marched through streets lined with cheering citizens, stopping for a while at Faneuil Hall and then continuing on to Boylston Hall on Washington Street, where they would spend the night.

That day’s Daily Courier reported on the confusion that ensued at the State House upon receipt of President Lincoln’s request for troops. That summons had called for several “fully uniformed and equipped regiments of ten companies each” but the Massachusetts militia had long been organized only as independent companies and only recently began to coalesce into larger, regimental sized units. None yet had ten companies (not to mention uniform uniforms). Governor Andrew and his advisors, after receiving “quite an amount of gratuitous advice . . . from warlike gentlemen who were about”, began mixing and matching companies and regiments. According to the Courier, “Col Jones’ regiment – the Sixth – appeared to be the favorite among all hands” with the “most popular plan” being to bulk up the Sixth and Eight Regiments with companies from the Ninth and Tenth until they reached full strength (hence the Stoneham, Worcester and Boston units that accompanied the Lowell-based regiment to Baltimore).

4 Responses to April 16, 1861

  1. Martha says:

    Civi War Related – Poem

    by Lucy Larcom

    All day she stands before her loom;
    The flying shuttles come and go;
    By grassy fields, and trees in bloom,
    She sees the winding river flow:
    And fancy’s shuttle flieth wide,
    And faster than the waters glide.

    Is she entangled in her dreams.
    Like that fair weaver of Shalott.
    Who left her mystic mirror’s gleams,
    To gaze on light Sir Lancelot?
    Her heart, a mirror sadly true,
    Brings gloomier visions into view.

    “I weave, and weave, the livelong day:
    The woof is strong, the warp is good:
    I weave, to be my mother’s stay;
    I weave, to win my daily food:
    But ever as I weave,” saith she,
    “The world of women haunteth me.

    “The river glides along, one thread
    In nature’s mesh, so beautiful!
    The stars are woven in; the red
    Of sunrise; and the rain-cloud dull.
    Each seems a separate wonder wrought;
    Each blends with some more wondrous thought.

  2. Martha says:

    Another Poem

    Lucy Larcom won a competition to write a poem encouraging New Englanders to settle and vote Kansas to enter the union as a Free State rather than a state allowing slavery. Kansas’ considered her their founding mother.

    A Call To Kansas!
    Sung to the tune ” Nelly Bly.”

    Yeomen strong, hither throng!
    Nature’s honest men;
    We will make the wilderness
    Bud and bloom again.

    Bring the sickle, speed the plow,
    Turn the ready soil!
    Freedom is the noblest pay
    For the true man’s toil.

    Ho, brothers! come, brothers!
    Hasten all with me;
    We’ll sing upon the Kansas plains
    A song of liberty.

    Father, haste! O’er the waste
    Lies a pleasant land.
    There your fireside’s altar-stones,
    Fixed in truth, shall stand.

    There your sons, brave and good,
    Shall to freemen groW,
    Clad in triple mail of right,
    Wrong to overthrow.

    Ho, brothers! come, brothers!
    Hasten all with me;
    We’ll sing upon the Kansas plains
    A song of liberty!

    Brother, come! Here’s a home
    In the waiting West;
    Bring the seeds of love and peace,
    You who sow them best.

  3. PaulM says:

    I didn’t know about this poem for Kansas, or if I did I had forgotten. Thanks, Martha.

  4. Martha says:

    Oops the rest of Larcom’s Poem


    “So, at the loom of life, we weave
    Our separate shreds, that varying fall,
    Some stained, some fair; and, passing, leave
    To God the gathering up of all,
    In that full pattern, wherein man
    Works blindly out the eternal plan.

    “In his vast work, for good or ill,
    The undone and the done he blends:
    With whatsoever woof we fill,
    To our weak hands His might He lends,
    And gives the threads beneath His eye
    The texture of eternity.

    “Wind on, by willow and by pine,
    Thou blue, untroubled Merrimack!
    Afar, by sunnier streams than thine,
    My sisters toil, with foreheads black;
    And water with their blood this root,
    Whereof we gather bounteous fruit.

    “I think of women sad and poor;
    Women who walk in garments soiled: Their shame, their sorrow, I endure;
    By their defect my hope is foiled:
    The blot they bear is on my name;
    Who sins, and I am not to blame?

    “And how much of your wrong is mine,
    Dark women slaving at the South?
    Of your stolen grapes I quaff the wine;
    The bread you starve for fills my mouth:
    The beam unwinds, but every thread
    With blood of strangled souls is red.

    “If this be so, we win and wear
    A Nessus-robe of poisoned cloth;
    Or weave them shrouds they may not wear,
    Fathers and brothers falling both