Thursday, February 23, 2017

1861: President elect Lincoln took the train to Washington DC


We remember a couple of important dates in the life and times of President Lincoln, our 16th president.

He was born on February 12, 1809; and,

He left Springfield, Illinois, on February 11, 1861 to travel to Washington DC:

"On a cold, rainy morning, Lincoln boarded a two-car private train loaded with his family's belongings, which he himself had packed and bound. Hia wife, Mary Lincoln, was in St. Louis on a shopping trip, and joined him later in Indiana. It was a somber occasion. Lincoln was leaving his home and heading into the maw of national crisis. Since he had been elected, seven Southern states had seceded from the Union. Lincoln knew that his actions upon entering office would likely lead to civil war. 

He spoke to a crowd before departing: 

"Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young man to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of that Divine Being... I cannot succeed. With that assistance, I cannot fail... To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.""

Lincoln did not return during his presidency.  His casket returned in April 1865 and is buried in Springfield.



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