Monday, February 21, 2011

Plot to assassinate Lincoln in Baltimore

Lincoln arriving at the Continental Hotel (Thomas Nast)
  • Abraham Lincoln, on his grand tour on the way to his Inauguration, speaks to the New Jersey General Assembly in Trenton, “I shall do all that may be in my power to promote a peaceful settlement of our difficulties. The man does not live who is more devoted to peace than I am. None who would do more to preserve it. But it may be necessary to put the foot down firmly." He then arrives in Philadelphia about 4pm to a crowd of 100,000 well-wishers. 
Speaking from the balcony of Philadelphia's Continental Hotel after being welcomed by Mayor Alexander Henry, Lincoln says, “I have felt all the while justified in concluding that the crisis, the panic, the anxiety of the country at this time is artificial.” The Baltimore Sun writes, “"We are confident that not one person in the crowd below heard one word of Lincoln's speech." Later, Mrs. Lincoln objects to staying in private home in Philadelphia while waiting to occupy White House, so the Lincoln’s overnight arrangements are changed to a room at the Continental. 
Toward the end of an evening reception, N. B. Judd asks Lincoln to meet with him and Frederick W. Seward who has just arrived from Washington with a letter to Lincoln from his father, New York Senator William Seward and Secretary of State-designate. The letter, based upon information obtained by General Scott and Captain Charles P. Stone, describes a plot to assassinate Lincoln while he is in Baltimore. Detectives employed by the railroad also report a similar plot which involves either derailing his train from Harrisburg to Baltimore and killing all those on board, or attacking his carriage as it moves from one railroad station to the next in Baltimore.
The plot has been hatched by the National Volunteers, a secret group aligned with the anti-Lincoln Knights of the Golden Circle. In concert, they plan to prevent Lincoln from taking the oath on March 4th. Agents had infiltrated the group’s meeting at Baltimore’s City Hotel and learned of the planned attack on the President-elect. They have even identified two principals, Cipriano Ferrandini, a Corsican immigrant, and George Sanders. Lincoln thanks the younger Seward for bringing the letter and comments that he will consider the advice to change time and schedule, but he refuses to change plans until commitments in Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pa., are completed./1861
    • In Montgomery, the provisional Confederate Senate is at work ratifying President Davis’ Cabinet appointments. The Honorable Robert Toombs of Georgia is appointed Secretary of State. The Honorable Christopher Gustavus Memminger of Charleston, South Carolina, is appointed Secretary of the Treasury. The Honorable Judah Philip Benjamin, a Jewish statesman, is appointed Attorney General/1861 
    • William M. Martin is today one of the first to die for Southern Independence. He dies of exposure in South Carolina/1861 

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