Lincoln sneaks through Baltimore - again
President-elect Abraham Lincoln (actor Fritz Klein) meets with the media Wednesday in Baltimore.
February 23rd, 2011
10:41 AM ET

Lincoln sneaks through Baltimore - again

Folks in Baltimore, Maryland, could be forgiven for doing a few double-takes at the tall stranger who rode into town Wednesday morning.

A man who looked an awful lot like the guy on the $5 bill arrived by carriage at Camden Station in a re-enactment of a secret transit by President-elect Abraham Lincoln exactly 150 years earlier.

Following his election in November 1860, Lincoln was making his way to Washington for his March 1861 inauguration when he learned of a possible assassination plot.

Lincoln canceled a midday public arrival in the divided city of Baltimore on February 23, 1861, instead passing through in the wee hours of the morning, according to Sara Hisamoto, director of public relations for Visit Baltimore, the city's tourism bureau.

Actor Fritz Klein, as Lincoln, explained to media members why he had to change his plans.

"My life is truly at risk here this day," Klein said in a non-historical script. "For the sake of holding our great country together for the challenges ahead, I must offend the vast population of Baltimore today that have no knowledge of this plot, in order to return again another day."

Baltimore claims to have seen the first bloodshed in the run-up to the Civil War in the Pratt Street Riot, just a month after Lincoln's inauguration. In that riot, secessionists threw rocks and other objects at Union soldiers who were on their way to put down the rebellion at Fort Sumter, South Carolina. Troops opened fire on the crowd, killing 12.

Maryland would become a North-South battleground state in the war. With an estimated 23,000 casualties, the Battle of Antietam (also called the Battle of Sharpsburg) in September 1862 was the bloodiest battle of the four-year war.

Visit Baltimore has planned a series of events to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the war and the city's pivotal role in it.

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Filed under: Civil War • History • Maryland • Politics
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. David Snell

    Why??? in the wide world of sports... are we still arguing over the Civil War when we've got so much to argue over in the present day??? For example... many people still believe the myth that we are a democracy... when in reality (and by definition) any thinking man will realize we are a plutocracy.

    February 23, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |

    i've heard this story before.. this is where they got lincoln logs from..

    lincon was walking in the sewer and said look at that floating in the water.. it's a log!! then the other guys were no sir tis not a log it tis ahh ahhh well sir it's a peice of poopie... well that's wheere it started.. after that the secret service agents would say i gotta make a ""lincoln log"" can you cover me?

    February 23, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. outawork

    Mr. Lincoln we sure could use you in 2012.

    February 23, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. OK

    had to hit the refresh button after that

    February 23, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. 4th down


    February 23, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. smitty

    Lincoln was one of America's top Presidents. For all of the Reb defenders. The War is over for God's sake. This is THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!~!!!

    February 23, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. The_Mick

    Antietam wasn't the bloodiest battle (Gettysburg was but took 3 days) but it was the bloodiest day in American history, with each side suffering about 12,000 casualties, three times as many as at D-Day in Normandy during WW2. Baltimore was divided but the vast majority of Marylanders supported the union and the State remained loyal. When Lee marched through Maryland in 1862, leading up to Antietam, he had his band play the song "Maryland, My Maryland" but afterward instructed that it never be played again. At Frederick, Stonewall Jackson ordered his men to shoot down a U.S. flag. Reaching out a window to grab it as it fell was old and frail Barbara Fritchie. "Shoot if you must this old, gray head, but spare your country's flag," she said. Jackson ordered his troops to march by. "Maryland, My Maryland" became the State's Anthem.

    February 23, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. kim

    Education works Ive seen alot of misinformation and other having to correct them.

    February 23, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tim

    I think this fellow snuck away from Bill and Ted.

    February 23, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |

      Evil bill s preston esquire.. ?

      February 23, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Trevor

    Hey Southern states: got Civil War bragging rights? owned!

    February 24, 2011 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
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