Although Barack Obama will take a Whistle Stop Tour from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. on January 17th, retracing the same route to his inauguration as his political idol, Abraham Lincoln, a pointed 19th century political cartoon showcases how the trips will hopefully differ.
Adalbert J. Volck, a political cartoonist who was a Confederate sympathizer and onetime courier for President Jefferson Davis, captured reaction to Lincoln’s journey in a famous drawing that showed Lincoln, in a nightshirt, sneaking a peek out of a freight car.
In February 1861, Lincoln’s security chief, Allan Pinkerton, was convinced that someone would attempt to assassinate the president-elect in Baltimore and arranged to smuggle him under cover of darkness from one train station to another.
According to Courtney B. Wilson, executive director of the B&O Railroad Museum, passengers heading south were forced to change trains in Baltimore because service south of the city was provided by a different railroad company. Rail cars were pulled by horses less than a mile from President Street Station to Camden Station – next to the present-day baseball park – and then attached to locomotives to continue their journey.
Lincoln hid at President Street Station before “his car was pulled through Baltimore under the darkness of night,” Wilson told the AP.
The maneuver was denounced in contemporary newspaper accounts as cowardly.