Downtown 1861 — Start of the Civil War
The Mansion House hotel was the first local business to display a United States flag when word reached Glens Falls the evening of Aug. 14, 1861, about 60 hours after the Confederete Army attacked Fort Sumpter, starting the Civil War.
“When hoisted the flag was greeted with cheers from the ground,” The Glen’s Falls Republican reported on Aug. 23, 1861, in an article preserved in Box 4, Book 12 of the Austin W. Holden papers at TheFolklife Center at Crandall Public Library.
The Glens Falls Brass band played “The Star Spangled Banner,” and H.R. Wing gave an impromptu speech.
On the next afternoon. Thursday, canons were fired ceremoniously in downtown Glens Falls, and flags were hoisted at many downtown businesses.
Throughout Friday, Saturday and Sunday, patriotic residents marched in the streets, frenquently shouting, “huzass for the Union,” and the Glens Falls Light Guards drilled at their quarters.
On Saturday, it was reported that Austin W. Holden had been appointed recuriting officer, and a public meeting was being organized.
“Our village is for the Union — emphatically for the Union, now and for evermore, one and inseparable! The excitement here is intense — overwhelming — nothing is talked of or thought of but the star spangled banner — the American eagle — maintaining our government and avenging our wrongs.”
The news of the past week dominated the attention of most everyone.
“The news room and post office have been beseiged by anxious of crowds; crowds and knots of men could be seen from morning till evening, and until late at night, giving the latest news, discussing and predecating upon the various rumors,” the Republican reported. “Even the quiet families — each paternal roof — has caught the infection, and ‘secession,’ ‘war,’ and the ‘rebels,’ are chief topics at the tea table.”
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