My brother gave me this great book called “Lincoln in Annapolis”, by Rockford Toews and was published in conjunction with the Maryland State Archives. In this book, it details how Abraham Lincoln came to Annapolis, and he wasn’t really supposed to. (As a side note, the book is for sale in the lobby of the Maryland State Archives. You can find more information on that here). Or, according to the blog site, you can find it at Back Creek Books on Main Street.
So the story goes, it seems that Abraham Lincoln was trying to go to Fort Monroe in Virginia in February 1865. He usually would board a steamer and head down the Potomac, but the Potomac had frozen over at some portion of the trip. So he ended up taking the train from Washington DC into Annapolis, then boarded the Thomas Collyer steamship to make his way to Fort Monroe.
There’s a bunch of interesting facts in here, like how the Quartermaster had given Lincoln a walking tour of Annapolis because Lincoln had suffered from pretty bad bouts of seasickness and possibly wanted to get some fresh air. At the time, the streets of Annapolis were unpaved streets, and due to the weather was probably very muddy.
After his conference at Fort Monroe, he took the River Queen steamship back with his Secretary of State William Seward. Once in Annapolis, they boarded the train back to Washington DC.
Few copies of the newspaper from the time survived history, yet for one named “The Crutch” published by the Naval Academy Hospital at the time. It detailed his non-fanfared visit, saying he travelled unannounced and with one servant.
I just find this so interesting that he was here, walking our streets during such a tumultuous time in history. This trip happened in February and he was assassinated in April. Maybe he should have stayed in Annapolis longer!
The author of the book has a blog that shows current day pictures of where the railway used to be, as well as the plaque at Calvert and West commemorating his visit. As many times as I've been at Calvert and West, I have not taken notice of the plaque. Next time I'm that way, you can bet I will!
Do you have an interesting tidbit about Annapolis that you'd like to share? Send me an email and I'll feature it here on All About Annapolis!