Zachary Taylor Inaugurated as 12th President of the USA
Richard Cavendish remembers the events of March 5th, 1849
It was a grey, cloudy Monday in Washington, but no rain fell and the banners snapped briskly in the wind. Church bells rang and bands played as a hundred mounted marshals escorted the twelfth president of the United States in an open carriage drawn by four bay horses to the Capitol to be sworn in. A stocky, muscular, weatherbeaten man of sixty-four, dressed in his new black suit, he pulled his spectacles down onto his nose from their roost in his hair to read a short, non-committal speech. The oath was administered by Chief Justice Taney, the new president shook hands with his predecessor and artillery salvoes sounded as he was escorted to the White House. That night he visited all three inaugural balls, including one for 4,000 revellers at the City Hall, where the foreign diplomats shone in their orders and brilliant uniforms.