In our Civil War: Part I: A Newspaper Perspective collection subscribers can find news coverage of the events leading up to the war as well as reports on battles, recruitment, troop morale, and logistics. When the newly elected Abraham Lincoln and his family’s travel towards Washington, the New York Herald ran several days of human interest stories describing the events and festivities surrounding the new First Family as they passed through New York and saw some of the sights.
The Lincoln Family at Barnum’s
On Tuesday afternoon, soon after Lincoln arrival in the city, Mr. Barnum, the ‘Prince of Showmen,’ waited upon him at the Astor House, and invited him to visit the Museum. Mr. Lincoln said that he would certainly attend some time during yesterday. ‘Don’t forget,’ said Barnum. ‘You ‘Honest Old Abe;’ I shall rely upon you, and I advertise you.’The advertisement appeared, but Mr. Lincoln didn’t. A great many people took this opportunity of seeing the President elect, together with the other curiosities, but they were unfortunately disappointed. They saw the great Lincoln turkey, however, and looked as though they enjoyed it. They didn’t, though, for how can one enjoy the sight of a fine fowl fattened for another person to eat?
During the morning Bob Lincoln, the rail prince, dropped into the Museum and looked through its spacious halls. The ‘What Is It’ enjoyed his distinguished consideration; the Aztec children looked wilder than ever as he faced them, descendants of a long and thin line of kings as they are; the lightning calculator dropped his chalk, and for the first time made only a small mistake in his addition. The young Prince wanted to consult Madame Delmonte, the fortune teller, upon the future of the country, but having connection with extremely Southern latitudes, she rather favored secession. If Mr. Barnum had only left young Lincoln to himself, no one could have recognized him as the son of the President.
Mrs. Lincoln, a handsome matronly lady, paid the Museum a visit, also, and sent her children, with their nurse, to see the ‘Woman in White’ and sit with Mr. Barnum in his private box. Such of the party as could write inscribed their names upon the visitors’ book, under the signatures of Tommy and the Prince of Wales. There was no extraordinary crowd, and very little attention paid to the distinguished visitors. The manner in which the brass band executed the national airs was the most remarkable event of the day at the Museum.
Source: The New York Herald , February 21,1861
Top Image: Sleighing in New York by T. Benecke 1855.