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This article explores the long-forgotten Altoona Conference of 1862, when nearly a dozen Union governors met at the Civil War's darkest hour to discuss war strategy and, ultimately, reaffirm their support for the Union cause. This article examines and questions the conventional view of the conference as a challenge to President Lincoln's efficacy as the nation's leader. Rather, the article suggests that Lincoln may have actually welcomed the conference and had his own designs for how it might bolster his political objectives.