“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Springfield in Sangamon County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Lincoln's Final Journey

Looking for Lincoln

— 1865 —

Lincoln's Final Journey Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, September 27, 2020
1. Lincoln's Final Journey Marker
Front side
Inscription.  The funeral train pulled into the Chicago & Alton Railroad station on Jefferson Street, at 8:40 A.M. on May 3, 1865. Vast crowds had already poured into Springfield over the night of May 2, 1865, and more people were still arriving. Now, for the final time, the Veteran Reserve Guard of Escort removed the president's body from the funeral train which had borne him for more than 1,600 miles. The long procession moved east down Jefferson through the throngs of mourners and packed city streets. Proceeding south on Fifth Street, the procession turned east on Monroe and then doubled back north on Sixth to the Statehouse, where Lincoln's remains would lay in repose. Officials originally planned for a three-day public viewing. However, after realizing the toll that the long journey had exacted on the remain's condition, they shortened the Springfield viewing and moved the burial to May 4, 1865. On that morning, the last leg of Lincoln's final journey began as the procession left the Statehouse, sliced through the teeming crowds, meandered to Third Street, and, finally, headed north to Oak Ridge Cemetery.

One of the many attractions
Paid Advertisement
Click on the ad for more information.
Please report objectionable advertising to the Editor.
Click or scan to see
this page online
during the Springfield funeral was the president's horse, "Old Bob." Lincoln's faithful companion during his circuit riding days and presidential campaign, the bay horse was caparisoned in black. He followed directly behind the hearse in the funeral procession to Oak Ridge Cemetery. The inclusion and symbolism of the riderless horse in Lincoln's procession, already a tradition in the military funeral, set a precedent for future presidential state funerals. The honor of leading "Old Bob" went to the Reverend Henry Brown, a friend and sometime employee of the Lincolns when they lived in Springfield. Meanwhile, Brown's fellow African-Americans were relegated to the rear of the lengthy procession behind ranks of friends, family, dignitaries, soldiers, officials, and other citizenry.

(photo caption:)

Lincoln's remains lay in repose as the Statehouse (now the historic Old State Capitol Building). To view the late president, a line of mourners, flanked by military guards, patiently stretched out of the Hall of Representatives, where the ornate coffin rested upon a specially constructed catafalque, descended a winding staircase, and exited the building, where is continued unbroken down the street. An estimated 75,000 people solemnly passed by in single file to pay their last respects during the twenty-four hour viewing. Throughout it all, the mournful occasion
Lincoln's Final Journey Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, September 27, 2020
2. Lincoln's Final Journey Marker
Reverse side
remained peaceful, serene, and orderly.


The funeral car carrying Lincoln's remains was the United States, built by the United States Military Railroads for the president's private use, although he never used it while he was alive. The military renovated the car and decorated it appropriately for mourning. An officer's car was also attached. The remainder of the train varied from seven to nine coaches, sleepers, or baggage cars, supplied by various railroad companies, over the extent of their rights-of-way. These companies provided the locomotives as well. A pilot engine preceded the train by ten minutes to announce its arrival.

The news of Lincoln's assassination plunged a victorious North into national mourning. Amidst the outpouring of grief, the government debated where the sixteenth president's remains would rest, while cities across the North vied for the honor of taking part in the funeral. When Mary Lincoln finally insisted upon Springfield as the burial site, the job of planning the funeral trip to Illinois fell to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton and selected subordinates. Sifting through the many official requests to host Lincoln's remains, planners eventually decided upon a train route roughly equivalent to the president's inaugural trip, this time including Chicago while bypassing Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Along
Lincoln's Final Journey Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, September 27, 2020
3. Lincoln's Final Journey Marker
Wide view of front side (outside Springfield Amtrak station)
the route, at twelve major cities, beginning with Washington, D.C., Lincoln's remains would be removed from the train, taken to a prominent location in the city by a grand procession through a thronging mass of mourners, and laid in repose for public viewing. It was America's largest and first great state funeral, setting many precedents.

Henry P. Cattell, of the firm Brown and Alexander, embalmed Lincoln's remains at the White House under the authority of Secretary Stanton. Embalming was a new procedure in the United States, introduced only twenty-five years earlier. It had become popular during the Civil War as a means of preserving the remains of Union soldiers so their bodies would survive the long train trip north for burial at home. Cattell's method included injecting the preservative zinc chloride through the femoral artery with some drainage of blood.

Lincoln himself was familiar with both the procedure and Henry Cattell, as he had prepared the remains of the Lincolns' son, Willie, in 1862. Lincoln's funeral thus inadvertently advanced the concept of embalming, introducing the procedure to untold thousands who viewed the president's prepared remains in different cities along the national route.
Erected 2008 by Looking for Lincoln Heritage Foundation, Museum of Funeral Customs.
Topics and series.
Lincoln's Final Journey Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, September 27, 2020
4. Lincoln's Final Journey Marker
Wide view of reverse side
This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Railroads & StreetcarsScience & Medicine. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #16 Abraham Lincoln, and the Looking for Lincoln series lists. A significant historical year for this entry is 1865.
Location. 39° 48.118′ N, 89° 39.101′ W. Marker is in Springfield, Illinois, in Sangamon County. Marker is on South 3rd Street south of East Jefferson Street (Illinois Route 97), on the left when traveling south. Marker is outside Springfield's Amtrak train station. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 100 North 3rd St, Springfield IL 62701, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Abraham Lincoln's Funeral Train (within shouting distance of this marker); Brunwick's Billiard Hall (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Globe Tavern (about 500 feet away); a different marker also named Globe Tavern (about 500 feet away); Joshua Speed's Store (about 500 feet away); First Sangamon County Courthouse (about 600 feet away); Stuart and Lincoln Law Office
Paid Advertisement
Click on the ad for more information.
Please report objectionable advertising to the Editor.
(about 600 feet away); The Wedding of the Rose and the Lotus (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Springfield.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 23, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 23, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 251 times since then and 67 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on November 23, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.

Share this page.  
Share on Tumblr

CeraNet Cloud Computing sponsors the Historical Marker Database.
Paid Advertisements

Sep. 27, 2023