Night Scenes in Press Tent
Newspaper Men Are Working Overtime in Watching
the Milburn Home
for News of His Condition.
Their Tent Is Supplied with Telegraph and Telephone Communication—
Many Hours Without Sleep.
In a small, yellowish
white tent at the junction of Del[a]ware Avenue and Ferry Street
is centered the hopes and fears of a nation and the anxiety of a
civilized world. The tent shelters the newspaper men and from there
are sent the bulletins which inform the world of the condition of
Throughout the world there is untold
anxiety and a nameless dread. In the press tent is a nervous tension
that is making itself apparent in the countenances of the tireless
watchers. Every fractional change in the pulse or temperature of
the President is given to the world from the tent. The nation is
waiting for every reported condition with an anxiety that amounts
almost to impatience. There is but one topic of conversation in
America and the speculations and the truths of that topic come from
the men gathered in the tent.
In the tent are men who have not been
out of their clothes since the day of the shooting of the President,
nor have they had even an hour’s sleep. They must watch the Milburn
residence with a vigilance that can permit of the escape of no important
change in the President’s condition. The world is informed of the
President through them.
KEROSENE FURNISHES LIGHT.
The tent is furnished
for the rapid transmission of news, and comfort was not a consideration
in its appointments. A long table extends from end to end of the
tent. Here sits a force of telegraph operators flashing bulletins
and details of the hour to every center of trade. The tables are
piled high with telegraph blanks and paper for the use of the correspondents.
There are several benches in the tent and two chairs. The light
is furnished by three small kerosene lanterns and a street car headlight.
At one end of the tent a telephone connects with an office in Ellicott
Square in order to relieve the congestion of the wires. That is
all the tent contains except the men themselves.
The first night only Buffalo newspaper
men were on watch, and they were stationed at the McKinley [sic]
house. A few outside papers had representatives in Buffalo when
the shooting occurred, but for the most part, the world had to depend
on the energies of the men employed in Buffalo for the news. Early
Saturday morning the influx of out-of-town newspaper correspondents
set in. Immediately upon receipt of the first bulletin announcing
the shooting of the President, the papers in the large cities hurried
men of their staff to Buffalo. The most brilliant and capable men
were sent, accompanied by photographers and artists. Buffalo is
the news center of the world today and the men are not needed at
Yesterday morning’s vigil in the press
tent was a trying one for the reporters assigned there. Not a man
of them had received anything like refreshing sleep and few had
slept at all. It was deathly quiet outside the tent and inside was
comparative silence. The man who attempted to keep awake by relating
stories was illy repaid for his pains. There was not a laugh in
that exhausted group of correspondents.
COLD WINDS BLEW.
At 3 o’clock yesterday
morning a chilling wind blew up that crept in, under and through
the flaps of the tent and made the lot of the correspondents a hard
one. There were no blankets or coverings of any sort for the reporters.
They were mostly without vests, and dressed for hot weather. They
shivered and shook with the cold, and kept one eye on timepieces
and another on the Milburn house. Circulation of the blood was necessary
for warmth and some of the men joined the ceaseless patrol of the
guards. They smoked furiously, both to keep awake and in the remote
hope that the tobacco was warming.
Every person entering the Milburn
residence is noted for identification and in most instances stopped
for a word by the reporters. A bulletin stirs the camp into life,
there is a skurry [sic] for telephones, most of the papers having
hired instruments outright for their exclusive use.
THE COURIER’S FACILITIES.
The Courier has a telephone
directly opposite the Milburn residence. Many of the men have to
go three blocks to secure a ’phone. In critical times and with important
news to communicate, The Courier has an advantage of ten minutes
over the men who have any distance to go and therefore run the risk
of a congested wire.
Among the pr[e]ss representatives
are men whose names are well known in newspaper circle[s]. Meetings
occur now and then between men who possibly worked side by side
in China, Cuba, the Philippines or other out-of-the-way places.
But there is an indifferent interest in the conversation even among
old friends met for the first time in years born of the nervous
strain and tension of the hour.