Alan Pinkerton: He Saved Abe from the Line of Fire

Born  on this day was  Alan Pinkerton,

The prototype of the Private Eye.

Guarded in Baltimore by him and his men,

Lincoln was spared the assassin's try.*

It happened on February 23, 1861: "Allen Pinkerton, head of a private detective agency, had uncovered a plot to assassinate Lincoln when he passed through Baltimore on his way to the capital. Lincoln and his advisors disagreed about how to respond to the threat. Some, including Pinkerton, wanted Lincoln to slip secretly into Washington, which would mean skipping an address to the Pennsylvania legislature in Harrisburg. Lincoln did not want to appear cowardly, but felt the threats were serious.

Lincoln agreed to the covert arrival. With Pinkerton and Ward Hill Lamon, his former law partner, Lincoln slipped out of the hotel in Harrisburg on the evening of February 22. He wore a soft felt hat instead of his customary stovepipe hat, and draped an overcoat over his shoulders and hunched slightly to disguise his height. The group boarded a sleeper car and arrived in Baltimore in the middle of the night. They slipped undetected from the Calvert Street station to Camden station across town. There, they boarded another train and arrived without incident in Washington at 6 a.m." []


Filed under: Crime, history

Tags: 1819-1884, The Baltimore Plot


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  • Apparently, though, not at the night at Ford's Theater.

    The Pinkerton Guards were better known for breaking up the Pullman strike. I remember (probably late 50s) cars with a sticker saying "Chicago Motor Club. Protected by Pinkerton." I figured that that should have scared the s--- out of car thieves. Now they don't respect gps and OnStar.

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