Friday, February 11, 2011

February 11, 1861: Lincoln Leaves Springfield

On Monday, February 11, 1861, President-elect Abraham Lincoln boarded a train in Springfield, Illinois, bound for Washington. The train left Springfield at 8 a.m.. Before departing, Lincoln addressed his hometown crowd for the final time:
My friends, no one not in my situation can appreciate my feeling of sadness at this parting. To this place and the kindness of these people I owe everything. Here I have lived for a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young man to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of that Divine Being who ever attended him, I cannot succeed. With that assistance I cannot fail. Trusting in Him who can go with me and remain with you and be everywhere for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.
In Montgomery, Alabama, Alexander Stephens was sworn in as the vice president of the Confederate States of America.
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