We’ll have several posts tomorrow for the anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, but today is the anniversary of a presidential “travel day.” The November 21, 1863 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a lengthy article about Lincoln’s visit to Gettysburg and included this description of his brief stop in Hanover, Pennsylvania.
(The writing is original with one clarification note and two question marks added when the verbiage or printing was not quite clear.)
MR. LINCOLN MAKES A SPEECH
The train thus laden left Baltimore about two o’clock in the afternoon, and proceeded to Gettysburg, reaching the latter city about seven in the evening. The only interruption to the journey was at Hanover, where a train passing East compelled the Presidential train to halt until the track was clear. The people of the vicinity who lined the railroad immediately massed themselves around the car containing the President. He stepped upon the platform, and the whole body of people uncovered [took their hats off] in his presence.
When he appeared he was greeted which cheers, and delivered one of the brief, quaint speeches for which he is celebrated. Said he—”Well, you have seen me, and, according to general experience, you have seen less than you expected to see.” A genuine hearty round of merriment attended the remark, and the President commented—”You had the Rebels here last summer, hadn’t you?” A universal response of yes was given. “Well, did you fight them any?” jocosely asked Mr. Lincoln. This was a poser[?]. The people looked at each other which a half-amused, half-puzzled expression, while the long, tall form of the President leaned from the car as he waited for the reply.
The reply was not given, but the ladies came forward, bringing bouquets and presented them to the President, while a beautiful flag, the work of the fair[?] women of the neighborhood, was planted in the rear of the car. The flag deserved and received the salutations of all present. The whistle screamed, the brakes loosened, the assemblage gave one long, hearty cheer, and the car rattled up the Gettysburg Road.