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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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      An Excursion aboard the  Great Eastern. 
Frank Leslie s paper which by this date (August
6) should be in print, yet as I, at this present
time of writing am at least 150 miles from New
York and a day or two from the receipt of F.L s
paper   I shall use the report of the N.Y. World
adding personal experience in condensed form sub-

[newspaper clipping: first column]
  From early dawn to nine o clock in the morning
the public the interested public were flocking
down upon the wharf, the wharf where they had been
accustomed to see the big ship.  At the last named
time there were at least 10,000 people, congregated.
The two steamers which were to carry the passengers,
or rather excursionists, on board, made their appear-
ance and were greeted with loud cheers; and had it
not been for the very efficient police force on hand
the boats would soon have been crowded, but it was
otherwise, and the most of the passengers were the
officers of the ship and the waiters, who formed a
goodly number.  A few minutes past nine the boat
started for the ship, and thus was inaugurated the
  The boats left so that about every twenty minutes
one had taken its load on board and the other was
waiting at the dock for another.  The early passen-
gers were those who are never late, or those who al-
alway intend, if possible, to get their money s worth.
Most of them had little if any baggage.  As the mid-
day hour drew nigh, came, and was passed, so
the numbers increased; and, as if baggage was a 
sign of greatness, they had not forgotten to
bring with them huge trunks, such as are seen on a 
transatlantic trip, or a season at Saratoga.  Any
amount of blanket shawls, umbrellas, and a host of
little comforts which were deemed necessary for the
trip, and as it turned out they were not all unneces-
sary.  The excursionists formed a motley group.
City and county were each largely represented, and
nearly every state in the Union bore its share in the
gathering.  The old and young, priest and people,
and in fact every profession, rank and grade, were
present.  The embarkation on board the ship was
performed in excellent order, and without accident,
and as each person entered the deck-gangway his
ticket was taken, the detective police gave him a
scrutinizing look, as the happy man was on the

[newspaper clipping: second column]
deck of the Great Eastern on her first departure from
the Bay of New-York.  At 3 o clock the steam which
had been rushing from the escape pipes for the last
two hours was louder in its tones than before, and
dense clouds of black smoke were pouring out of the
five funnels, and the scene on board was one of pleasant
excitement.  On looking shoreward one was wonder-
struck to see so many human beings upon the docks,
and the shipping lying at them; the day of her arri-
val was meager in comparison with this one; thou-
sands, yes tens of thousands were scattered for miles
upon the New-York side, while hundreds were upon the
Jersey side, all anxiously awaiting the sailing of the
ship.  The river was crowded with boats of all sizes,
filled with those who were to accompany her down to
Sandy Hook.  Owing to the lightness of the wind
and the absence of the yacht fleet from our
waters, there was not quite such a spread of can-
vas as there was on the day of her arrival, but the
numbers on board of the steamers were far greater.
Thousands of cheers were given, and tens of thou-
sands of handkerchiefs were waved.  At three o clock
the sailors were heard singing at the forward capstan,
and thither the excursionists thronged.  The men
were singing, in true sailor style, a song very popular
among them, a verse of which runs:
	 Don t you see the bulljine coming 
		Ah, ah, ah!   A-ah!
	And don t you hear the bell a-ringing?
		Run with the bulljine-run!
  To this song, with its never ending impromptu
verses, the chain, which was forty-five fathoms out,
was rapidly coming in, and being stowed away in the
cable locker, in the lower deck of the ship; in a few
minutes the lower deck officer, Mr. Davis, ordered
them to  vast heaving  as the cable was  short. 
At fifty minutes part three o clock the capstan as
again manned, and the auxiliary engine assisted in
lifting the anchor from its muddy bed.  Owing to the
size of the cable chain, the 15 fathom shackle slipped
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Thirteen: page one hundred and twenty-two
Description:Includes a newspaper clipping describing an excursion aboard the Great Eastern.
Subject:David (sailor); Great Eastern (Ship); Gunn, Thomas Butler; New York world.; Ocean travel; Songs; Travel
Coverage (City/State):New York, [New York]
Scan Date:2011-01-29


Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Thirteen
Description:Includes descriptions of boarding house living, his freelance writing and drawing work, antics of New York literary Bohemians, Frank Cahill fleeing for England after spending money that was meant for ''The New York Picayune,'' visits to the Edwards family, the state of Charles Damoreau's marriage, a sailing excursion to Nyack with the Edwards family and other friends on the Fourth of July, a fight between Fitz James O'Brien and House at Pfaff's, witnessing a fire at Washington Market, the execution of pirate Albert Hicks on Bedloe's Island, an excursion aboard the ship Great Eastern, a vacation at Grafton with the Edwards family, his growing friendship with Sally Edwards, Lotty Granville's behavior with Brentnall and Hill at his boarding house, Frank Bellew's return to England, and visits to dance houses in the Fourth Ward with friends for an article.
Subject:Boardinghouses; Bohemians; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Journalism; Marriage; Publishers and publishing; Women
Coverage (City/State):New York, New York; Grafton, New York
Note:Thomas Butler Gunn was born February 15, 1826, in Banbury, England, and came to New York in 1849. During the Civil War he worked as a correspondent for the New York Tribune and the New York Evening Post. He returned to England in 1863, and died in Birmingham in April 1903. The collection includes twenty-one volumes of his diaries, including newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, sketches, and various other items inserted by Gunn. Diary entries date from July 7, 1849, to April 7, 1863, and include his experiences with the New York publishing and literary world, his descriptions of boarding houses, his travels throughout the United States, and his experiences traveling with the Federal army as a Civil War correspondent.
Publisher:Missouri History Museum
Rights:Copyright 2011 Missouri History Museum.
Source:Page images, transcriptions, and metadata of the Thomas Butler Gunn diaries have been provided by the Missouri History Museum.