Best Lincoln Stories Tersely Told
by J. E. Gallaher
Pub. in 1898

 

LINCOLN’S INAUGURATION.
 

In the March "Ladies Home, Journal" Stephen Fiske graphically recalls the excitement and apprehension and the condition of the country "When Lincoln Was First Inaugurated." He tells the incidents of the memorable journey to the capitol, of Mr. Lincoln’s reception, and gives a rather grewsome picture of the inaugural ceremonies. "As I walked up to the capitol the wide, dusty streets were already crowded," he writes; "regular troops were posted at intervals along Pennsylvania avenue. Sharpshooters were climbing over the roofs of the houses. A mounted officer at every corner was ready to report to General Scott the passage of the procession. Detectives in plain clothes squirmed through the masses of people. The policemen had been instructed to arrest for ‘disorderly conduct’ any person who called Mr. Lincoln an opprobrious name or uttered a disloyal sentiment. There was much suppressed excitement, and the prophetic word ‘assassination’ was in every mind.

"President Buchanan, whose term expired at noon, was engaged until half an hour later in signing the bills that had been hurriedly passed, but the congressional clock had been put back to legalized the transaction. At last he drove down to Willard’s, and the procession was formed. The President and President-elect rode in an open barouche; but this confidence in the people was more apparent than real. On the front seat were Senators Baker and Pearce; a guard of honor of the regular cavalry surrounded the carriage; beyond were mounted marshals four deep. From the sidewalks no one could accurately distinguish Mr. Lincoln. Close behind marched regiments of regulars and marines, fully armed. It seemed more like escorting a prisoner to his doom than a President to his inauguration. Little cheering and no enthusiasm greeted the procession. Every now and then an arrest for ‘disorderly conduct’ was quickly and quietly made in the crowd. The sunshine was bright, but the whole affair was as gloomy as if Mr. Lincoln were riding through an enemy’s country—as, indeed, he was."

 

Page 79-80

 

 



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