FEBRUARY 12, 1861

On the morning of February 12, Lincoln’s fifty-second birthday, Mrs. Lincoln and the couple’s three sons joined the president-elect on his journey to Washington. The train departed Indianapolis for Cincinnati, making brief stops along the way. Newspapers reported that hundreds of thousands of people lined the tracks to greet Lincoln, “shouting and waving flags and handkerchiefs as the train swept by.” In a speech given in Cincinnati, Lincoln sought to promote unity with Southern Democrats.