February 23, 2013
PRESIDENT-ELECT ARRIVED SAFELY IN CAPITAL 152 YEARS AGO
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) 152 years ago this afternoon, February 23, 1861, President-elect Abraham Lincoln arrived safely in the Nation's Capital after averting a potential assassination attempt on his life in Baltimore, Maryland.
Mr. Lincoln, having left Springfield, Illinois by train on February 11, passed through 70 towns & cities on the way to his inaugural as the 16th President of the United States scheduled for March 4.
During the trip, however, Lincoln's security team, led by Alan Pinkerton of the Pinkerton Detective Agency, uncovered a possible assassination plot in Baltimore.
Mr. Pinkerton advised Lincoln to avoid a public appearance in the city.
Accordingly, having departed on a "special train" from Harrisburg, Lincoln arrived in Baltimore at 3:30 a.m. & continued on to Washington where he arrived at 6 a.m.
On the afternoon of February 23, a large crowd awaiting Lincoln's arrival in Baltimore was disappointed to learn that the president-elect had already come & gone.
Crowd Awaiting Mr. Lincoln
February 23, 1861
Thomas Nast Illustration
New York Public Library Image
While Mr. Lincoln had avoided an assassination attempt, he could not avoid the attack on his personal courage by the national press.
He was depicted in editorial cartoons as having arrived in Washington "like a thief in the night."
March 9, 1861
The Maryland State Archives says...
"Most historians believe that Pinkerton's perception of an assassination plot was incorrect & Lincoln came to regret that he slipped through the city unannounced."
Not a single individual was indicted or put on trial for involvement in the alleged plot.
An excellent book on this topic is "The Baltimore Plot: The First Conspiracy to Assassinate Abraham Lincoln," by Michael J. Cline.