From the Richmond Whig, 2/24/1862, p. 3, c. 3
[beginning of article is missing] ...The occasion was
looked forward to with eager interest by the people of the Confederate State,
but especially so by those residing or sojourning in or near the seat of
government. - Thousands of persons from the interior of Virginia, and from other
States of the Confederacy, visited the city for the purpose of witnessing the
imposing events of the day.
Great was the disappointment of the multitude congregated
in this city, as they, severally, arose Saturday morning, and discovered that
the sky was o’ercast by dark, leaden clouds, from which the rain was dripping
copiously. The most weatherwise were unable to discern any prospect of a change
for the better during the forenoon, and hence every body determined to endure
the weather as it was, and promised to continue, with philosophic resignation.
The effect of the rain was, of course, the conversion of
the unpaved streets and avenues into mire beds. - The rain descended without
intermission, and the saturation of the surface of the ground was as thorough as
it ever was in the “wet season of May.”
THE CROWD AT THE
As early as 10 o’clock, A.M., people began to assemble at
the Capitol and in the Square. Undaunted by the “dreadful weather,” or
innumerable mud puddles and trickling streamlets “under foot,” crowds of ladies
repaired to the Capitol to gratify their natural curiosity. The consequences may
be “better imagined than described.” Never did the anserine term of
endearment appear more apposite than on this occasion. The stairways leading to
the galleries of the Hall of the House of Delegates were soon occupied by the
ladies, who patiently maintained their position until the gallery doors were
opened. This was done about 11 o’clock, and the rush which ensued was decidedly
ludicrous. Police were stationed at the doors to prevent the entrance of
gentlemen, whilst the ladies crowded into the galleries with an energy and
perseverance which must have proved damaging to crinoline and millinery. The
galleries were speedily filled, but hundreds of other ladies presented
themselves, only to be turned away with the announcement that there was “not an
inch of room.”
In the rotunda of the Capitol a large force of police was
stationed by the Mayor, who were occupied in the difficult task of preventing
persons from passing towards the Hall of the House of Delegates. People crowded
into the other side of the rotunda, passing through the building, with no
conceivable or definite object, other than to go where other people seemed to be
going. The programme held out no inducement to any one, to enter the Capitol,
and yet the crowd pressed in as if they were expecting to witness a grand
A large assemblage, however, had congregated outside, in
front of the platform which had been erected at the Washington Monument, between
the statues of Mason and Jefferson. The windows of the Capitol, overlooking this
scene, were occupied by ladies.
ARRIVAL OF THE
About 12 o’clock, M., the President and Vice-President were
escorted by a portion of the Joint Committee of Arrangements to the Hall of the
House of Delegates, and were received standing by the members of Congress and
others composing the assemblage, who had been previously admitted to the Hall.
The President and Vice-President were conducted to the seats assigned to them,
but in a few minutes were escorted from the Hall to their carriages, on the
eastern side of the Capitol, and from thence to the platform at the Monument,
followed in procession, by members of Congress, Governor and Staff, members of
State Legislature, Judge, etc. - “Members of the Press” did not bring up the
rear, as contemplated in the programme. Several thousand persons were assembled
in the Square, protected from the rain by umbrellas until the commencement of
the ceremonies, when the order was given to “lower umbrellas.” Those nearest the
Monument promptly heeded the request, and for nearly three-quarters of an hour
braved the watery element with patriotic devotion.
AT THE MONUMENT.
The procession having reached the platform, and the
President, Vice President, some members of the Cabinet and several members of
both Houses of Congress having taken their seats on the platform, an eloquent
and impressive prayer was offered up by Bishop Johns, of the Episcopal Church.
The President then came forward, and, after repeated and
enthusiastic cheers by the immense assemblage which thronged around the
platform, covering the whole intervening space between the Capitol and Monument,
delivered his inaugural address.
At the close of the address, (as well as several times
during its delivery,) the crowd cheered vociferously. The band then struck up
“Dixie,” which called forth another peal of cheers.
At twelve minutes to 1 o’clock the oath of office was
administered by Judge Halyburton, Confederate States District Judge; whereupon
Mr. HUNTER, as President of the Senate, announced that JEFFERSON DAVIS, having
been duly elected President, having accepted the same, and taken the required
oath of office, was President of the Confederate States of America for six years
from this day.
Mr. HUNTER then administered the oath to ALEXANDER HAMILTON
STEPHENS, the Vice President elect, and made a similar announcement in reference
The Band performed the “Marsellaise Hymn.”
The President and Vice President were then escorted to
their respective homes, and the assemblage dispersed. The members of Congress
repaired to the respective halls.