Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Monday 20th. CFA Monday 20th. CFA
Monday 20th.

Mild. Ride to Springfield and thence to Hartford.

Before day break I arose and prepared myself for my Journey. Took breakfast and rode to the depot of the Worcester Railroad, from thence at 7 o’clock I started in one of the cars. The day was cloudy but mild and it cleared before night.

There was nobody there whom I knew excepting Mr. Lemist a person who formerly kept a shop in Washington Street, and who is going to New York to find some traces of the body of his brother, who was one of the sufferers in the Lexington. We arrived at Worcester at about ten and went immediately forward to Springfield. The interior is heavily covered with snow and presents a very wintry appearance. But this is an easy way of travelling such a long distance.

We arrived at Springfield a little after one o’clock and having taken 361a very hasty dinner at a poor house we took stages or rather sleighs to go to Hartford. The road is through a series of pretty turns along the bank of the river and even at this season of the year is a pleasant ride. There were in the sleigh, Mr. N. Thayer, Broker of Boston, brother of J. E. Thayer and the Revd. L. Everett a Universalist minister formerly settled in Charlestown but now in Middletown, Connecticut. They made the ride amusing. We reached Hartford after dark and found very comfortable accommodations at the City Hotel.

Tuesday. 21st. CFA Tuesday. 21st. CFA
Tuesday. 21st.
New York

Cold and clear. Ride to New Haven and thence to New York.

We were roused at four o’clock which to me was no inconvenience as for some reason or other I had heard the clock strike two, three and four without getting to sleep. After dressing we were carried down to the Depot or rather to the terminus of the Railroad to New Haven and got into the cars as they stood in the open air. There was no fire in them and it was in all respects cheerless and uncomfortable enough. We however had the consolation of finding what used to be a tedious journey quite a short process and of arriving at New Haven to breakfast.

But here our troubles began, for we found that the Steamboat did not go nor was it likely to go so we had to make up our minds to go overland. This road is one which for many years I have not passed over, but when I did, it left indelible traces in my memory of discomfort so that I was prepared to expect the same today. I was not disappointed. The sleighs were poor, the delays vexatious and the stops uncomfortable so that it was two o’clock in the morning when we were turned into the street at No. 21 Bowery with not a single soul to look to nor any accommodation to get to a hotel.

After some delay we picked up a black fellow who was straggling about and followed him and our trunks to the Astor House which we reached at ten minutes before two o’clock. In passing along I could not help being struck with the lonely character of the streets. I did not imagine that New York ever was so quiet. And the only sign of life was at Tammany Hall where there was a brilliant illumination and ball. The contrast was striking enough.1


The Astor House, five stories of Quincy granite, occupied the block fronting Broadway from Barclay to Vesey street. Begun in 1834, the hotel was opened in 1836 and continued in operation at that site until 1913 (Stokes, Ico-362nography of Manhattan Island , 5:1727, 1741). Tammany Hall had been built during 1811–1812 on the southeast corner of Nassau and Frankfort streets and would remain as the “Great Wigwam” until 1867 (same, p. 1533–1534, 1543).