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Civil War Trust

Abraham Lincoln's Body Begins its Journey to Springfield

April 21, 1865

Washington, DC

Lincoln's funeral train. (Library of Congress)

Six days after the passing of Abraham Lincoln, the largest and most elaborate funeral in American history began in Washington, D.C. Following the funeral and procession streaming from the Capitol Rotunda, the body of Lincoln and his beloved son Willie were loaded onto a solemnly decorated locomotive which transported the departed to their final resting places in Springfield, Illinois. Traveling with Lincoln’s casket were dignitaries, personal overseers of his body, members of the honor guard, his eldest son Robert Todd, and 300 other VIP’s. Along the route, Lincoln’s body was ceremoniously removed from the train, loaded onto an lavish hearse, and would then be taken to statehouses, city halls, and etc., where it would lay in state for mourners to pay their respects. At twelve different locations along Lincoln’s gloomy 1,654 mile journey home to Springfield, Illinois – the same journey the president-elect had taken to Washington in 1861 – mourners waited five hours or more to catch just a glimpse of their fallen president. It is estimated that by the time Lincoln’s body was finally laid to rest on May 4th in Springfield, more than a million men, women, and children had paid homage to the passing of Lincoln.


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