Torchlight Procession at Washington.The Illustrated London News, vol. 39, no. 1121, p. 612.
December 14, 1861
On page 611 we give an Illustration of a torchlight procession at Washington by Blenker's Brigade to celebrate M'Clellan's promotion to the command of the Federal Army. The central figure on horseback is General Blenker. The New York Tribune gives the following account of the Blenker procession:—"Three thousand Germans of General Blenker's division constituted a torchlight procession on Monday evening, November 11, and, with regimental bands and fireworks and coloured lights, marched to General M'Clellan's house to celebrate his promotion. Transparencies and pyrotechnic pieces of the most beautiful designs were added to the attraction. All Washington was out to see. The crowds soon demanded the American stimulus of a speech, and the calls for Secretaries Cameron and Seward brought them to the balcony. They briefly addressed the crowd. Calls were then made for General Blenker, who said :—'Citizens and Sojers,—I will say a few words, and it shall be few. If ever I find the enemy I will fight tousands, and tousands of us will fight better as I speak this noble English' (Immense cheering). Cries were made continually for General M'Clellan, but he merely appeared at different times upon the balcony, and bowed to the crowd of soldiers and civilians that filled the street from one side to the other. Within his house the General extemporised a generous collation, and gave a warm welcome to the officers who swarmed in to take him by the hand. The whole testimonial was a splendid success, and is due entirely to the spirit and liberality of General Blenker and his staff."
The special correspondent of the Times at Washington writes as follows respecting this demonstration:—"The prettiest sight I have seen since I crossed the Atlantic was the torchlight procession got up by General Blenker and his Germans in honour of Major-General M'Clellan on his promotion to the command of the Army. It was something like a Burschen procession, but it exceeded very much any displays of the kind in the number of torchbearers and the variety of colour and effect. The camp of the Blenker men—famous for lager beer and quaint pipes, also for perverted notions respecting the meum of Unionists and the tuum of Secessionists—lies some miles across the Potomac, in the valleys and dells of the 'old dominion,' which is nearly as old as Canada,and is meeting with very rude treatment in its primitive antiquity. From it they came in a grand procession, with bands playing and rough chorus-singing, and filed over the Long-bridge in a dancing stream of fire—blue, green, red, yellow, orange, and dazzling white. The air was still, the night fine, and nothing could have been more successful than the fireworks in their way, or the impression produced by the stream crested with fire, which first glowed like a torrent of lava, then gradually broke its particles into a broad ribbon of nebulous flames, which, coming nearer, was resolved into balls of diverse-coloured light, and, thus winding on, thinned away into a narrow stripe of orange-like molten iron running through the black courses of the mould. The 'Dutchmen' pursued their career by Pennsylvania-avenue, past the State Department, and, turning in at the gates of the White House, treated the President to a sight of the demonstration intended for his benefit."