January 15, 1853
We find in the last Baltimore papers, the following records of the various incidents attending the excurtionists from Baltimore. Though somewhat the reverse of the natural order of chronicleing events, considering the long accounts we have published of the subsequent proceedings, we insert them, believing they will be read with interest by many of our readers:
HARPER'S FERRY, January 10th. - At 91/2 o'clock this morning, two special trains of cars left the Camden street Depot in Baltimore, conveying about 500 invited guests, en route for Wheeling, to participate in the celebration on Tuesday and Wednesday, of the completion and opening of the Bal and Ohio Railroad - that grand national highway which, uniting with iron bands, the South and West, is destined, to produce a new era in the future trade and travel of the country, whilst it may also be regarded as one of the main connections in the link of roads that will before many years enable the traveler to proceed with locomotive speed from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
The Virginia and Maryland Press, the practical and fast friends of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and all other works of Internal Improvement, are fully represented, and are, as they should be, among the most honored guests of the company.
Among the officers of the Road, the following were in the trains: John H B Latrobe, Counsellor of the Company; Wm Parker, General Superintendent; Lewis M Cole, Master of Transportation; Samuel J Hays, Master of Machinery; Wendall Bollman, Master of Road; Dr Thomas C Atkinson, Assistant Master of Road; Joseph Brown, Master of Trains, and J I Atkinson, Treasurer.
The presence of the universally esteemed and popular ex-Mayor of Baltimore, John H T Jerome, with his right hand man, Major Edward Spedden, City Commissioner, affords much satisfaction to their numerous friends. It is, however, a matter of regret that the pressure of official business has prevented the attendance of his Honor, Mayor Hollins.
The refreshment cars are each fitted up with tables running through the centre, with servants to supply the wants of the throng of visitors with the abundance of inner comforts provided by Messrs. Guy, of the United States Hotel, to whose special care the commissary department of the whole excursion has been entrusted - a sure guarantee that the company will be well and abundantly provided for. The cars, which are handsomely decorated with flags, are new, and of the most splendid and comfortable construction. The Independent Blues Band, under Professor Holland, occupy a prominent position, adding much to the pleasure of the company by their excellent music. On leaving the depot, they very appropriately struck up the "Railroad Quickstep."
The railroad extending from the depot as far down as the Locust Point Junction, was crowded by thousands of spectators who had assembled to witness the departure of the train, which drawn by two powerful locomotives, dashed along in fine style.
At the Mount Clare Depot, the workmen employed in the machine shops of the Railroad Company turned out a thousand strong and greeted the departing train with the waving of flags and enthusiastic cheers, which met a hearty response from the excursionists. We sped along rapidly, and in a short time passed the Relay House and the flourishing little towns of Avalon and Ilchester, at all of which places we found large numbers of persons congregated about the track who welcomed us with cheers. Winding along the Patapeco with its wild and romantic scenery, we soon reached Ellicott's Mills; but thundered through the town without stopping. Here, as at all the other stations on the road, large crowds of enthusiastic people were gathered, in response to whose cheers, the Blues' Band discoursed most excellent music. After leaving Ellicott's, we passed the Grey Stone Mills of Elysville, and the towns of Woodstock, Sykesville and Monravia and Ijamsville. At Monocacy, the next place of note, we passed the down train to Baltimore; and whilst waiting for the second excursion train, partook of a somptuous dinner. The inhabitants of Monocacy turned out in large numbers and displayed much enthusiasm. In a short time, the second train came up, and we again got under way and the trains being about a mile apart. The weather is extremely mild, and as we pass along, we see the farmers busily engaged in ploughing. The road is in most excellent order.
At the Pooint [sic] of Rocks we had the first view of the majestic Potomac, and of the towering cliffs which seems to ascend to the very clouds. Two of the eight sbares of the new bridge in the course of erection at this point have been completed. The Canal is in the navigable order and doing a good business. I learn that there are two distinguished artistes in the train, who intend to remain on the road and take drawing of its bridges, scenes, views, tunnels, architecture, &c., with descriptions of the mountains which they will publish in an illustrated form.
At the Fredrick Station we were joined by ex-Governor Frank Thomas, W. Pinkey Anderson, a member of the Legislature, Col. Anthony Kimmel and Mayor Bartgus, of Frederick.
I discover that there are no less than four ex-Mayors of Baltimore participants in the excursion, vis: Messrs. Jerome, Davies, Hunt and Hillen.
Rapidly passing Weverton which from a thriving town has degenerated into an almost deserted village, at a quarter to 2 o'clock we reached Harper's Ferry. The people were assembled here in great numbers, including the workmen of the Government Works, but we barely got a glimpse of them, as the train passed through without stopping, and I barely had time to drop you the above despatch. So far everything has passed of[f] delightfully and the Company are in the highest possible spirits.
CUMBERLAND, 10 P. M. - After leaving Harper's Ferry, we were greeted with much enthusiasm by large crowds assembled at all the intermediate stations between Martinsburg and the Harper's Ferry.
At 3 o'clock we reached the thriving town of Martinsburg, where we stopped a short time to take in wood and water. The whole population seemed to be assembled at the depot, who received us with every demonstration of joy. Here are located the extensive intermediate work shops of the Railroad Company, which have added greatly to the wealth and prosperity of the place. All who travel over the 90 odd miles of this great throughfare that passes through Virginia from Harper's Ferry to Patterson's Creek, must feel convinced from the geographical aspect of the country, that without it, this region would be almost a desert waste.
After leaving Martinsburg, we passed through a country for many miles almost a barren waste, the principal staple being staves and hoop poles, until we reached the Great Cacapon, with its rich grazing vallies. Just before reaching Hancock we had a fine view of old Fort Frederick, built in 1752, standing on an eminence, its battlements still wearing an impregnable aspect.
During the afternoon there was a constant succession of visits to the refreshment car – many sentiments were proposed, one of which is worthy of record - "Napoleon conquered the Alps and Swann the Alleghanies." This was drunk with gusto.
A despatch was received by Mr. Sollers from Gov. Lowe, at Harper's Ferry, stating that he had proceeded to the Pratt St. Depot and from thence to Mt. Clair, not knowing of the Camden Street Depot, and thus missed the cars. President Swann on learning the facts, sent back messengers to Martinsburg with a despatch to Gov. Lowe, requesting him to come on in the evening train and he would overtake us at Fetterman's or Fairmont.
We reached Doe Gully Tunnel at 40 minutes past 4 o'clock, and water station No. 12, 150 miles from Baltimore at 5 o'clock.
We arrived at Cumberland at 6 1/2 o'clock, and found an immense assemblage congregated at the Depot, who greeted us with enthusiastic plaudits to which we responded with equal warmth. We then proceeded to the Revere and Virginia Houses for our suppers, when we were soon joined by the passengers of the second train. Most excellent suppers for the entire company were served up by our worthy hosts, and from 8 till 10 o'clock the excursionists spent their time strolling through the town, and visiting their acquaintances. At 10 o'clock the whistle of the locomotive summoned all hands to the Depot, and we expect soon to enter the gorges of the Alleghy, speeding our way to the top of the mountain ranges as merry and joyous a party as ever followed in the wake of a locomotive.
The arrangements of the Company have been admirably carried out, and nothing has occurred to mar the enjoyment of the party which numbers fully 500, two-thirds of whom express their determination to continue on to Cincinnati and Louisville. Hopes are entertained that Gov. Lowe will join us to-morrow.
We will reach Fairmont at 6 o'clock in the morning, when Col. Guy is prepared to give us a hearty breakfast. We expect to arrive in Wheeling between 12 and 10 o'clock, in time for the dinner.
C. C. F.