February 11, 1861: Abraham Lincoln bids Farewell to Springfield, Illinois

When Abraham Lincoln left Illinois, to start his inaugural journey for Washington, D.C., he boarded a special presidential train at the Great Western Railroad station in Springfield.Lincoln Farewell

A huge crowd gathered. These were his people – he knew nearly every face in the crowd – and everyone in the assembled throng recognized the immense challenges he would soon face. These were his farewell words:

“My friends, no one, not in my situation, can appreciate my feeling of sadness at this parting. To this place, and the kindness of these people, I owe everything. Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of the Divine Being who ever attended him, I cannot succeed. With that assistance I cannot fail. Trusting in Him who can go with me, and remain with you, and be everywhere for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.”

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