Abraham Lincoln went “down the rabbit hole” in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on February 22, 1861. A “mad hatter” had assisted his disguise with a Kossuth hat. A “Scotch cap and cloak” (Allan Pinkerton, image shown, and his detectives) also was involved. (Background: “Abey Goes ‘Down the Rabbit Hole'”, Ersjdamoo’s Blog entry of June 23, 2014.)
Disguised by a Kossuth hat, a bobtail overcoat, and a shawl, Lincoln emerged from the Jones House hotel in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania at dusk, and quickly climbed into a closed carriage pulled by four plumed horses.
Elsewhere, a train waited. Daniel E. Garman was the fireman. He shoveled the coal. Edward Black was the engineer for the Pennsylvania Railroad’s engine number 161. A closed carriage pulled by four plumed horses arrived. Garman and Black saw emerging therefrom “a tall solitary figure.”
In Philadelphia, at the St. Louis Hotel, Allan Pinkerton met with Kate Warne, alias “Mrs. Barley”, alias “Mrs. Cherry.” Her orders were to proceed to the Philadelphia, Wilmington, & Baltimore (PW&B) train depot at 9:20 pm. Four double sleeping berths were to be obtained, in the rear of the car.
At 10 pm, in Philadelphia, Allan Pinkerton waited in a hired carriage at the Pennsylvania station. The special train from Harrisburg had pushed its limit and arrived in plenty of time. At 10:03 pm, the disguised Lincoln was spotted by Pinkerton. Old Abe entered the waiting carriage. A messenger walked up to fireman Garman and engineer Black and gave each of them a ten-dollar gold coin, “with the President’s compliments.” Garman and Black had indeed done their job well — too well. Because their train had arrived as soon as it had, there was now unexpected spare time before the official departure time of the 10:50 pm train to Baltimore. (The train had been further instructed not to depart until it had received an “urgent package” to be carried to Washington.)
With time on his hands, the anxious Allan Pinkerton ordered the carriage driver to just ride around for awhile. Inside the carriage, to pass the time, the disguised Abraham Lincoln told some funny little stories. But Allan Pinkerton must have been a tough audience to play to, at that nerve-wracking moment!
Meanwhile, at the separate Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore (PW&B) train station, Kate Warne had arranged for the train tickets. She was assisted by Pinkerton detective George R. Dunn. Dunn persuaded the railroad Keeper of the Keys to lend him the key for the rear door of the sleeping car. Dunn explained to the man, Knox, that an invalid passenger would be arriving and it would be difficult for him to be carried through the narrow passage of the railroad car.
A little before 11 pm, the hired carriage with Lincoln and Pinkerton inside pulled up to the PW&B depot. Even before it had stopped, “Package Man” jumped off from on top. He carried the “urgent package” to be hand-delivered to one of the conductors. But it was just a decoy. The real “urgent package” to be delivered to Washington was President-elect Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln leaned on the arm of Allan Pinkerton and stooped to conceal his height. Entering the depot, they headed towards the train. Passing by one of the train’s conductors, who did not suspect who the elderly invalid really was, an ironic comment was made: Said the conductor, “Well, old fellow, it is lucky for you the train is running late, or you’d have missed it!”
George Dunn spotted Lincoln as he headed toward the train. He quickly unlocked the rear door of the sleeping car and Pinkerton, Ward Lamon, and the president-elect, disguised by “an ordinary sack overcoat, a Kossuth hat, and a muffler around his throat,” entered. The door was immediately locked behind them.
Kate Warne met the incognito group and showed them to their berths. Warne recalled later that Mr. Lincoln was “right friendly” but a homely man. Concurrently, “Package Man” (H.F. Kenney) delivered the faux package to conductor John Litzenberg. “All aboard!” cried Litzenberg, and the train pulled out at 10:55 pm.
(The above first appeared at my Melchizedek Communique web site on May 24, 2011.)
(Source: Kline, Michael J. The Baltimore Plot. Yardley, PA: Westholme Publishing, LLC, 2008)