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The Last Race of the Rail-Splitter

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  • The Last Race of the Rail-Splitter
Verses highly critical of Abraham Lincoln appeared on a broadside printed late in 1861.
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The Last Race of the Rail-Splitter

"The Last Race of the Rail-Splitter," Broadside, ca. 1861, Broadside, 186- .L34 BOX, Special Collections, Library of Virginia.

This undated broadside, highly critical of Abraham Lincoln, was probably published sometime late in 1861. The footnote refers to his secret passage through Baltimore late in February 1861 on his way to Washington to be inaugurated as president on March 4, 1861, but the second stanza also mentions Confederate General P. G. T. Beauregard, who commanded Southern troops at the First Battle of Manassas on July 21, 1861. Following that defeat of Union forces, civilians and soldiers fled back toward Washington. The verses also contain two references to United States Secretary of State William H. Seward.

The image at the top closely resembles woodcuts that appeared in advertisements that slaveowners placed in Southern newspapers seeking the return of runaway slaves, probably to reinforce Southern beliefs that Lincoln's administration was a threat to slavery.