Pittsburgh: The Story of a City

By Leland D. Baldwin | Go to book overview

XXIII The Sinews of War

THURSDAY, December twenty-seventh, 1860, two o'clock in the afternoon of a crisp day: the great portico and steps of the courthouse, the grounds about the building, and Grant, Diamond and Fifth Streets were jammed with thousands of Pittsburghers-- not a good-natured throng, but sullen and even angry. Presently a large, bewhiskered man, who looked very much the born leader, shouldered his way through the courthouse door and down the steps to the balustrade of a platform overlooking Grant Street. At his appearance there was a murmur from the crowd that soon swelled into an articulate shout of "Moorhead! Moorhead! Speech! Speech!"

The big man raised his hands and the cries died away. "Fellow citizens," he began, "your moderation and liberality of feeling in the past has given me reason to be proud that I am a Pittsburgher; the alacrity with which you have turned out as one man when your country is in danger, does you the utmost credit. We have met here today to consult upon the best method of meeting the latest movement of the government--that of moving the cannon from Allegheny Arsenal to the South. May I as one who desires moderation, counsel that we meet this crisis peaceably. Whatever South Carolina may have done, let nothing be

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