The ringing of the telephone bells at 4 o’clock this morning awakened the sleeping citizens of Cape Girardeau to the fact that the presidential fleet would soon arrive, and the answering flashes of light from the windows of the residences all over the city gave evidence that the signals had been received.
It appeared as though a magician had swept his wand over the sleeping city, for where all was dark one minute, thousands if lights were flashed through the darkness the next, soon the slumbering population had been transformed into a living, moving enthusiastic people, with one idea in common – to see the chief executive of the nation.
A little after 5 o’clock a long whistle, preceded by three short blasts, gave toke that the flag ship Oleander, bearing the President, was passing old Fort A, and the presidential salute of twenty-one guns, fired by a detail from the battalion of the sixth regiment gave official notice that the President of the United States was a guest of Southeast Missouri.
Early as it was, crowds of people lined the heights overlooking the city to the north and the crowds were continually increased by belated citizens hurrying to the places of vantage for several minutes after the pageant had passed.
Through the dim light of the early morn the vessels sailed proudly by, their forms indistinctly seen, but the shining of the many electric bulbs showed where each boat was.