Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 1.djvu/411

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disastrous to the secession movement, if proof of it could have been produced confirms Mr. Lincoln s sensible opinion of the sensational story.

The President, undisguised, unless a mere cloak and hat be called a disguise, and accompanied by Mrs. Lin coln, made the night journey undisturbed, arriving in Washington unheralded. A sensational correspondent of the Northern press made up the story of the " Scotch cap and the long cloak, as the concealing garb worn to disguise the President-elect, which report was repeated until the equally false invention of the story of the cap ture of Mr. Davis in disguise was made as an offset.

On inauguration morning regular troops were stationed on Pennsylvania avenue, sharpshooters were posted on the roofs of houses, mounted men were distributed at all corners, policemen had special orders to make arrests, and detectives in ordinary clothes moved among the masses which thronged the avenue. President Buchanan and Mr. Lincoln rode in an open carriage together, pre ceded by mounted marshals, and escorted by regular cavalry; behind them armed infantry and marines marching by regiments, all of which gave to the scene, says Mr. Stephen Fiske in 1897, an appearance " more like escorting a prisoner to his doom than a President to his inauguration." For this unsightly employment of military force Mr. Lincoln was not responsible. It served to gratify General Scott s love of military display and was of practical political use in impressing the Northern peo ple. Secession was then called the * conspiracy of a cabal, " the plot of traitors," and it had been rumored that the assassination of Mr. Lincoln and the violent seizure of Washington would be the first mad act in the tragedy of the rebellion. It suited the managers of the coercion policy to have this scenic display.

" Little cheering and no enthusiasm greeted the pro cession," says an intelligent Northern spectator whose sympathies were with the new President. " As they

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