April 18, 1861 was a Thursday. The train bearing the Sixth Regiment rolled into New York City early in the morning after the all-night journey from Boston. The troops marched through the city past great crowds that cheered their passage. At noon, the regiment boarded a ferry that transported the troops across the Hudson and into New Jersey, where they boarded a southbound train.
The Sixth arrived in Philadelphia at 8 pm and were met by dense crowds of cheering citizens. The officers went to a reception at the Continental Hotel while the soldiers bunked at a place called Girard House. While the troops slept, Colonel Jones met with local officials and railroad executives regarding the remainder of the journey. People in Philadelphia had started to hear of civil unrest in Baltimore, brought on by pro-Southern sentiments. Jones decided that rather than wait until morning to depart Philadelphia, he would leave immediately which would get the regiment to and then through Baltimore early in the day, before any opposition had the opportunity to organize.