Cold, unpleasant day, and in all probability tomorrow will be an unfavorable day for the great “firemen’s parade” which is to take place.
Did not go out this evening. Came to the city this morning.
The Firemen’s Parade was a triennial event and was therefore a big deal in Philadelphia. All the engine companies and hose companies participated, some two thousand men, resplendent in their uniforms, afoot and on horseback. The display of modern and antique fire equipment was also impressive. The procession was about twenty blocks long and took an hour to pass any given point. There was extensive coverage of the event in the Philadelphia papers, all of whom commented on the horrendous wintry weather. The inclement weather caused the firemen to mostly dispense with the banners they had made especially for the parade. Flowers were also a casualty of the weather, but music was not. Many companies had a band (often a “colored band”) and there was much music making as the brave firemen marched through the slush.
“We had the falling snow from above; and in our windows and streets, notwithstanding their condition, gratitude was eloquent in the smiling welcome and the hearty admiration which greeted the Firemen on every hand and from every quarter, from the aged and the youthful, the beautiful and the gay.” – “Firemen’s Triennial Parade,” Philadelphia Inquirer, March 28, 1849, page 1.