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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 13, page 228, September 12, 1860

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Identifier: DX02808261

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 13, page 228, September 12, 1860

Description: Includes newspaper clipping written by Gunn for the New York World, describing a barbecue for Stephen Douglas.



Mort Thomson, Will Waud & C. Eytinge.

[newspaper clipping continued]

[incredu]lous. There were even whispers, asserting the fraudulent performance of that culinary operation elsewhere, but these—probably the suggestion of some [John C.] Breckinridge and [Joseph] Lane democrat—did not obtain general credence. A hog, a heifer, a sheep, 2,000 loaves of bread, and ten barrels full of biscuit, these, with the ox, formed the staple of the entertainment, Mr. Palmo superintending the cuisine. Up to 1 1/4 o’clock, carving was the order of the day within the enclosure, expectation without. Then the feeding commenced. Two or three boys laden with trays full of bread, at first attempted a circuit of the crowd, from within the ring. Very soon their trays were empty. Just five minutes more, the hungry or vivacious applicants had leapt over the frail barrier into the enclosure, and were, democratically, helping themselves. Of the twenty-five policemen solicited for the purpose of maintaining order, not more than three were present, and those helpless. So the mob had it all their own way, and, of course, instituted a lively time of it.

It was a general, promiscuous, scramble, in which the food disappeared in a twinkling, not altogether down the throats of the hungry. The good white leaves were thrown into the air, and men pelted each other with biscuit, until the ground was white with the fragments, or pursued each other, contesting the possession of beef bones. Here might have been observed a boy securing, with difficulty, half a dozen leaves; there a couple of Irishmen, their teeth diligently employed on an anomalous-looking fragment of roast heifer; elsewhere a little party surrounding the dismembered hog. Suppose an occasional shower of salt, a few barrels sportively distributed on the heads of the multitude, spasmodic cheers, the band playing patriotic tunes, the wind blowing, the dust flying, the mob increasing, and you have the culmination of the scene. In the midst of it, when all the tables were upset, their contents scattered, and nothing but hilarity and confusion rampant, Mr. [Stephen] Douglas arrived, in honor of whom the band played “Hail to the chief”–with more of drum to it than was absolutely necessary—and the crowd flocked to the grand stand. He arrived with commendable punctuality at two o’clock, when there might have been fifteen thousand persons present.

[Gunn’s diary continued]

In the midst of the culinary area, I found Mort Thomson and bore him company throughout the entire proceedings. After the scramble was over, Will Waud appeared (on duty for Frank Leslie) and [Joseph] Woodward, once of the Picayune, looking coarse and roughly dressed, contrary to his former style. Many other men were there whom I knew, more to whom I was introduced, to the accompaniments of brandy drinking. Mort and I had eaten a preliminary sandwich or two at a stall. Clarence Eytinge turned up at 2, when we were departing — he on duty for the Ill. News — so the four of us returned together, Mort getting out near his residence. I kept on, parted with Waud and Eytinge,

coverage:New York, New York, Church Street

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1860-09-12

Type(s): Diary

Maker/Creator: Gunn, Thomas Butler, 1826-1903

Subjects: Barbecuing


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