President Lincoln’s funeral (1865)

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The funeral procession

The procession was immense and grand. Any description we could write of it would entirely fail to give any adequate idea of its magnitude and grandeur. It was promptly and quietly formed, and moved down Michigan Avenue. Upon each side was formed the various public organizations, schools, etc., etc., and as the head of the procession passed through, they fell into the rear. To give a partial idea of its extent, over four hours elapsed after the head of the procession moved, before the whole had fallen into line. The head of the procession reached the court house, where the sacred remains were deposited, at about one o’clock; at four o’clock, when we left the city, the rear had not arrived at that point, nor had all the organized societies.

All the residences along the route of the procession were beautifully decorated with various emblems of mourning. The whole scene was sadly grand. The mottos upon the different residences and business buildings, were numerous, and many of them exceedingly beautiful and appropriate. We give a few as specimens: “Mournfully, tenderly, bear on the dead.” “Our Country’s Martyr.” “We mourn our beloved President.” “In sorrowing grief the Nation’s tears are spent.” “Humanity has lost a friend, and we a President.” “We loved him much, but now we love him more.” “Ours the Cross — thine the Crown.” “Freedom’s noblest sacrifice.” “A Nation mourns.” etc., etc.

>> Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (1863)

abraham-lincoln-april-10-1865Over the door of the court house was the following motto: “Illinois clasps to her bosom her slain but now Glorified Son.”

The city was literally full of people, all intent upon obtaining a view, at least, of the coffin that contains the much beloved remains. Every window along the entire route of the procession was filled with ladies, taking a deep interest in the sublime spectacle. The number present was estimated at not less than two hundred and fifty thousands. But we cannot further particularize. The demonstration was worthy the great city of Chicago, and worthy of the solemn occasion that called it forth.

It was fitting that Chicago should show proper respect to the great and noble dead on the arrival of the remains in that city. It was there he was nominated to be a President and a martyr. It was there he was well known in life, and most highly respected. It was there he expected to make his future residence, when his term as President should expire. It was the first reception in Illinois, the home of the late President. Taking into view all these considerations, much was expected of Chicago. Most nobly did she meet, and doubly meet, the most extravagant expectation, of an appreciating people. In thus honoring the memory of the illustrious departed, she has done honor, not only to herself, but to the whole nation.

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Top photo: President Abraham Lincoln’s catafalque, New York City, N.Y., April 24 or 25, 1865. Photo by George Stacy, courtesy LOC. Second: Lincoln funeral car on the old tracks of the Illinois Central railroad by Lake Michigan in Chicago. Third: Women dressed in white accompanying President Lincoln’s hearse as it passes beneath ornamental arch at 12th Street in Chicago, Illinois. Fourth: Engraving of the funeral service of President Lincoln at Chicago, Illinois, May 1 – Removing the coffin from the funeral train to the catafalque. Fifth: The last portrait taken of Abraham Lincoln, on April 10, 1865.

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