In early February 1861, President-elect Lincoln gave a short speech at the railroad station in Springfield, before leaving for Washington and an uncertain future. Lincoln's eloquence did not fail him.
My friends: One who has never been placed in a like position cannot undestand my feelings at this hour, nor the oppressive sadness I feel at this parting. For more than twenty-five years I have lived among you, and during all that time I have received nothing but kindness at your hands. Here the most cherished ties of earth were assumed. Here my children were born, and here one of them lies buried. To you, my friends, I owe all that I have, all that I am. All the strange checkered past seems to crowd upon my mind. To-day I leave you.
I go to assume a task more difficult than that which devolved upon General Washington. Unless the great God who assisted him shall be with and aid me I cannot prevail; but if the same almighty arm that directed and protected him shall guide and support me I shall not fail; I shall succeed. Let us pray that the God of our fathers may not forsake us now. To Him I commend you all. Permit me to ask that with equal sincerity and faith you will all invoke His wisdom and goodness for me.
With these words I must leave you; for how long I know not. Friends, one and all, I must now wish you an affectionate farewell.