FEBRUARY 22, 1861

On February 22, George Washington’s Birthday, Lincoln hoisted the flag over Independence Hall, the place where he acknowledged that the nation’s founders assembled to write the Declaration of Independence. In a moving speech, he spoke of the sentiment of the Declaration, “that all should have an equal chance,” and vowed that he would rather be assassinated than surrender that principle. The president-elect and his party departed for Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s capital, at 9:30 a.m. In Harrisburg, Lincoln was greeted by large crowds, was transported to the capitol in a carriage drawn by six white horses, and was treated to the last thirty-four gun salute of the journey before addressing the legislature. After the enthusiastic reception at the state capitol, he returned to his hotel where it was reported “The remainder of the afternoon and evening was passed quietly.”