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June 22, 1861: San Francisco

June 24, 2011
Thomas Starr King

Statue of Thomas Starr King, Golden Gate Park; by ecastro, on Flickr

Thursday, Friday, and [today] I spent in running around, talking over plans, seeing men on business, working up geological notes, posting the Professor up on progress, etc. Every minute was occupied. How busy, bustling, hurrying, high-wrought, and excited this city seems, in contrast with the quiet life of camp….

There is a very strong Union sentiment prevailing here, although the governor is Secession, and there are thousands of desperadoes who would rejoice to do anything for a general row, out of which they could pocket spoils; yet the state is overwhelmingly Union. Flags stream from nearly every church steeple in the city—the streets, stores, and private houses are gay with them—but all are the Stars and Stripes—a Palmetto would not live an hour in the breeze.

Tweezer Tower Flags

Tweezer Tower Flags; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

[Tonight] at ten o’clock a flag was raised on T. Starr King’s church. He is very strong for the Union, and this was for a surprise for him on his return from up country. A crowd was in the streets as he returned from the steamer. He mounted the steps, made a most brilliant impromptu speech, and then ran up the flag with his own hand to a staff fifty feet above the building. It was a beautiful flag, and as it floated out on the breeze that wafted in from the Pacific, in the clear moonlight, the hurrahs rent the air—it was a beautiful and patriotic scene.

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