April 17, 1861
On the morning of April 17 (a Wednesday), the companies of the Sixth Regiment marched to the Massachusetts State House where the old muskets carried by the troops were replaced with new rifled muskets and each man was issued “an overcoat, flannel shirt, drawers, and a pair of stockings.” Governor Andrew then presented the regiment with its official flag and made a speech. At 7 pm, the regiment marched to “the Worcester depot” with large crowds lining the route. Thousands of people gathered in Worcester to watch the train carrying the regiment pass through on its overnight trip towards New York City.
The Daily Courier on April 17 reported on the regiment’s activities in Boston and contained this observation:
“THE FEELING IN LOWELL – Never has there been a time in the history of this city when there has been such a unity of feeling among all classes as exists at the present. All party distinctions seem to be buried, and all are united in a determination to do their part in sustaining the Union, the Constitution and the Laws. Now and then an isolated individual will attempt to speak against the universal sentiment, but the words of indignation, the frown and the hint soon silence all such. Lowell has a great interest at stake in maintaining the Government, and has with unprecedented alacrity, already sent forth two hundred of her young men – a portion of her bone and sinew – to protect it, and holds in reserve many times that number, should future exigencies arise to demand their service”.