FEBRUARY 23, 1861

On February 23, 1861, newspapers across the United States reported the “astounding intelligence” that Lincoln had abruptly ended his public journey to Washington. Having received intelligence about a plot against his life, Lincoln was persuaded to change his travel plans. He departed Harrisburg for Washington without his accompanying party in the middle of the night. Newspaper reports and political cartoons widely denounced Lincoln’s secret early departure, often depicting him incognito in ludicrous attire. Some accounts laid the blame for the unfortunate end to Lincoln’s thirteen-day journey on his advisors.