April 17. Dull weather, but it has cleared up tonight. No material change in the complexion of affairs, except that a crisis is drawing very near in Virginia and Kentucky. I count on the loyalty of no Border State, except Maryland. We are on the eve of a civil war that will be bitter and bloody, and probably indecisive.
There was a slight outbreak here today. I was sitting in my office at three o’clock when I heard unwonted sounds in Wall Street, and looking out, saw a straggling column of men running toward the East River. My first notion was that they were chasing a runaway horse, but they soon became too numerous to be engaged in that. They halted in front of the Journal of Commerce office and filled the street densely for about a block. There were outcries, which I could not distinctly hear for a minute, and then the American flag was hung out from a window, and the crowd sent up a cheer that stirred one’s blood a little, and the surface of the black mass was suddenly all in motion with waving hats. Then a line of policemen cam down the street on a dog-trot, and the crowd thereupon moved promptly up Wall Street again, cheering lustily.
They were mostly decently-dressed people, but with a sprinkling of laboring men. I understand they paid a like domiciliary visit to the Express, the Day-Book, and the Daily News, requiring each to put up the flag. They intended to call on the New York Hotel, it is said, but Cranston was forewarned and the American flag was flying from its roof as I came uptown.