. . President Lincoln is Dead Returns to Springfield, Illinois
for Last Time
In this section of our journey of President Lincoln's
through history, we would like to add an unofficial link to the
Lincoln Heritage Trail. That would be the final journey of
Abraham's body from Washington D.C. to Springfield, Il.
President Lincoln was shot at the Ford's Theater, in
Washington, D.C., by actor John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865.
He died the next morning in a building directly across from the
Theater. The following information is provided by the Illinois
Historic Preservation Agency brochure available at the tomb:
News of his death came just six days after General Robert E. Lee
surrendered his Confederate army to Union General Ulysses S.
Grant. The celebratory atmosphere that had prevailed as the
Civil War drew to a close was replaced with one of shock and
grief. As the nation mourned its martyred president, the
National Lincoln Monument Association dedicated itself to the
task of erecting a fitting memorial in Springfield, where
Lincoln had lived from 1837 to 1861. Construction of the
monument, which holds the remains of the president, his wife and
three of their sons, began in 1869; it was dedicated five years
Details of the President's
death follow . . .
The Washington STAR posted this account of the
"Washington, Saturday, April 15 -- 11 o'clock A.M. The Star
extra says: "At 7:20 o'clock the President breathed his last,
closing his eyes as if falling to sleep, and his countenance
assuming an expression of perfect serenity. There were no
indications of pain and it was not known that he was dead until
the gradually decreasing respiration ceased altogether.
Rev. Dr. Gurley, of the New-York avenue Presbyterian
Church, immediately on it being ascertained that life was
extinct, knelt at the bedside and offered an impressive prayer,
which was responded to by all present.
Dr. Gurley then proceeded to the front parlor, where Mrs.
Lincoln, Capt. Robert Lincoln, Mrs. John Hay, the Private
Secretary, and others, were waiting, where he again offered a
prayer for the consolation of the family.
During the Civil War the practices of present day funerals
actually was initiated by the President himself. He probably
never had it in his mind that he would be perhaps the first to
have a "funeral procession."
Abraham Lincoln's body would be embalmed. This procedure
was invented to help in preserving the bodies of many of the
thousands of brave Civil War soldiers in the battlefields. Many
of these bodies would be returned to families for a proper
family burial. Some would be buried on the spot, a record
maintained to show where they were placed, and then after
families were notified of the dead soldier, the body could be
removed and shipped to the family. This all sounds gruesome,
but that's what goes on even now when deceased soldiers are
returned to our country for burial with family. This was a very
respectful thing for our government.
Washington, Saturday, April 15, Story Continued . . .
The President's body was removed from the private residence
opposite Ford's Theatre to the executive mansion this morning at
9:30 o'clock. in a hearse, and wrapped in the American flag. It
was escorted by a small guard of cavalry, Gen. Augur and other
military officers following on foot.
A dense crowd accompanied the remains to the White House,
where a military guard excluded the crowd, allowing none but
persons of the household and personal friends of the deceased to
enter the premises, Senator Yates and Representative
Farnsworth being among the number admitted.
The body is being embalmed, with a view to its removal to
Saturday, April 15 -- 12 A.M.
Andrew Johnson was sworn into office as President of the
United States by Chief-Justice Chase, to-day, at eleven o'clock.
Secretary McCullough and Attorney-General Speed, and others
He remarked: "The duties are mine. I will perform them,
trusting in God."
The President would make a long and slow journey by train
back to Springfield, Illinois. This trip would take some 21
days, with several memorial services in large cities, small
towns and crowds along the tracks throughout the nation.
The Special "Lincoln Train" Trip is described in detail at
the Norton "Lincoln Assassination site" Click Here .
CLICK HERE FOR A DETAILED LISTING OF ALL
FUNERAL TRAIN STOPS.
The train stopped during its
twelve-day journey for ten services in as many cities before
arriving on May 3rd in the Springfield depot. Thousands of
mourners paid their last respects as the president lay in state
throughout the day and night at the state capitol (now the Old
State Capitol State Historic Site). On the morning of the 4th,
the long funeral procession journeyed to Oak Ridge Cemetery,
where services for the president were conducted. Following the
final hymn, Lincoln's casket was placed in the cemetery's public
receiving vault next to Willie's.
Upon arrival to Springfield, as was the common practice
in the Oak Ridge Cemetery, the body of the President was
placed in the temporary holding tomb, located
immediately behind the present memorial tomb. It is dug
into the hill. The public receiving vault was one of
the resting places at Oak Ridge for the president's
remains. That vault, at the foot of the
hill north of the present tomb, still stands. The
following December, Lincoln's remains were moved to a
temporary tomb, which was dismantled after he was moved
to the partially completed permanent tomb in 1871 (see
below). The tomb has had two reconstructions, one in
1899 and another in 1930.
Also in the tomb are Mary Todd, wife, Eddie, Tad and Willie, the
sons of the Lincolns. Robert Todd is buried at Arlington
Abraham Lincoln Tomb in Springfield is a popular place to go to
see where this great one-time neighbor, lawyer and President now
rests for eternity. Most children and adults like to rub the
nose of the Lincoln head sculpture.
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