The Western Reserve (WR) strain of mature vaccinia virus contains an A26 envelope protein that mediates virus binding to cell surface laminin and subsequent endocytic entry into HeLa cells. Removal of the A26 protein from the WR strain mature virus generates a mutant, WRΔA26, that enters HeLa cells through plasma membrane fusion. Here, we infected murine bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDM) with wild-type strain WR and the WRΔA26 mutant and analyzed viral gene expression and cellular innate immune signaling. In contrast to previous studies, in which both HeLa cells infected with WR and HeLa cells infected with WRΔA26 expressed abundant viral late proteins, we found that WR expressed much less viral late protein than WRΔA26 in BMDM. Microarray analysis of the cellular transcripts in BMDM induced by virus infection revealed that WR preferentially activated type 1 interferon receptor (IFNAR)-dependent signaling but WRΔA26 did not. We consistently detected a higher level of soluble beta interferon secretion and phosphorylation of the STAT1 protein in BMDM infected with WR than in BMDM infected with WRΔA26. When IFNAR-knockout BMDM were infected with WR, late viral protein expression increased, confirming that IFNAR-dependent signaling was differentially induced by WR and, in turn, restricted viral late gene expression. Finally, wild-type C57BL/6 mice were more susceptible to mortality from WRΔA26 infection than to that from WR infection, whereas IFNAR-knockout mice were equally susceptible to WR and WRΔA26 infection, demonstrating that the ability of WRΔA26 to evade IFNAR signaling has an important influence on viral pathogenesis in vivo.