« PreviousContinue »
his own people, and to be buried among the scenes of his early life. He had told the people of Springfield, Illinois, when he parted with them, more than four years before, that he owed to them all that he was. It was but right that thev should have his dust.
On the twenty-first, the funeral train left Washington, amid the silent grief of thousands who had gathered to witness its departure. With the coffin which contained the remains of the President, went back to the western home the coffin which contained the dust of his beloved Willie, whose death has already been mentioned; and father and son, in the touching companionship of death, traveled together the long journey. At ten o'clock, the train reached Baltimore. The immense crowd that had assembled here to pay their last tribute of respect to the departed President, was full of its suggestions of the change which four years had wrought upon the city. It seemed incredible that this was the city through which the living President had so lately passed, in fear of the fate which had at last overtaken him. Nothing that the ingenuity of grief could devise was left undone to make the return passage an imposing testimonial to his memory. The display of military was large; and all the ceremonies of the occasion were such as did honor, alike to the people of the city, and to the man they mourned. In the afternoon, the train moved for Harrisburg, but not until a multitude had improved the opportunity to obtain a view of the pale, dead face of their friend. On the way, new mourners were taken on; and at every considerable station people had gathered to see the solemn pageant sweep by. At York, six ladies came into the car, and deposited upon the coffin an exquisite wreath of flowers, while all who witnessed the affectionate tribute were moved to tears. Bells were tolled, and bands breathed forth their plaintive music, at every village. The funeral obsequies at Harrisburg were observed in the evening. Until midnight the people crowded into the State Capitol, to obtain a view of the remains; and, from seven to nine on the following morning, the catafalque was surrounded by the anxious throngs that had come in from all the country round, for the purpose.
At this place, as at all the places on the route, there were new pall-bearers, new processions, and new expressions of the popular grief. A very large procession accompanied the remains to the cars; and from Harrisburg to Philadelphia the funeral train moved through crowds of people, assembled at every convenient point. For several miles before the train reached Philadelphia, both sides of the railway were occupied by almost continuous lines of men, women, and children, who stood with uncovered heads as the train passed them.
Philadelphia was draped with mourning, to give a fitting reception to the honored dead. The streets were filled with people, long before the funeral train arrived; and cannon thundered forth the announcement of its coming. All that ingenuity, aided by abundant means, could do, to make the fresh pageant a worthy one, was done. A new hearse had been built, and this was drawn by eight splendid black horses, in silver-mounted harnesses. The procession itself was composed of eleven divisions, and was one of the most remarkable, in every respect, with which the remains of the President were honored during their long passage to their resting-place. What place more fit for the brief sojourn of these remains than Independence Hall, intimately associated, as it was, with the principles which the sleeping patriot had faithfully defended, and still echoing to the ear of sorrowing affection with the sound of his living voice? To this hall he was borne, amid the tears of a vast multitude. The hall was literally filled with the most exquisite flowers. From ten o'clock until midnight, the people had the opportunity to view the remains of their beloved chief magistrate. Then the doors were closed; but hundreds remained around the building all night, that they might be first in the morning. The following day was Sunday, and from six o'clock in the morning until one o'clock on Monday morning, during which the remains were exposed to view, a dense, unbroken stream of men, women, and children, pressed into and out of the building. The Philadelphia Inquirer, in its report of the occasion, said: “Never
before in the history of our city was such a dense mass of humanity huddled together. Hundreds of persons were seriously injured, from being pressed in the mob; and many fainting females were extricated by the police and military, and conveyed to places of security.” After a person was once in the line, it took from four to five hours to reach the hall. At one o'clock, on Monday morning, the procession recommenced its march, bearing the body to Kensington Station, which was left at four, for the passage to New York. Bells were tolled, mottoes were displayed, minute-guns were fired, and the people were gathered at the various stations along the entire passage through New Jersey. It seemed as if the whole state had come to the railroad line, simply to witness the passage of the funeral train.
It is bewildering to read the accounts of the ceremonies at New York, and impracticable to reproduce them. The passage of the beloved remains into and through the great city, and the interval of their brief rest while they lay in state in the City Hall, were marked at every stage by some new and impressive expression of the public grief. Minute-guns, tolling bells, requiems by choirs of singers, dirges by bands of musicians, military and civic displays, suspended business, draped flags, and shrouded private and public buildings, all mingled their testimony to the universal sorrow, and the common wish to do justice and honor to a hallowed memory. Every street and avenue around the City Hall was filled with people. The first line formed for viewing the remains was three quarters of a mile long, and reached far up the Bowery. From the moment when the coffin-lid was removed, until nearly noon on the following day, through all the long night, the people pressed into the hall, caught a hasty glimpse of the beloved features, and then retired ; until it was estimated that one hundred and fifty thousand persons had gained their object, while it was evident that twice that number had failed to win the patiently awaited vision. The military procession which accompanied the remains to the depat of the Hudson River Railroad was the most remarkable ever witnessed in the city, numbering fully fifteen thousand troops. The carriages in the procession were filled with federal and state dignitaries, and representatives of foreign governments in full court costume; and the line of the procession was thronged from the beginning to the end by crowding multitudes of spectators. The New York Herald's report says: “The people, with tearful eyes, under the shadow of the great affliction, watched patiently and unmurmuringly the moving of the honored dead and the mournful procession, and silently breathed over them the most heartfelt and fervent prayers. * * * Such an occasion, such a crowd, and such a day, New York may never see again.”
At a quarter past four, on the afternoon of the twenty-fifth, the train which bore the funeral party from New York left the station, drawn by the “Union," the same locomotive that brought Mr. Lincoln to New York, on his passage to Washington, more than four years previously. The train passed to Albany without stopping, except at Poughkeepsie, wherë a delegation from the city government of Albany was taken on board; but the people were gathered at every point to witness the passage. Mottoes were displayed, draped flags floated everywhere, and all along the route stood the silent crowds, with heads uncovered, as the train which bore the martyred President swept by. It was nearly midnight when Albany was reached; and it was not until one o'clock, on the morning of the twenty-sixth, that the removal of the coffin-lid exposed, in the State Capitol, the white face that so many were anxious to see.
From that time until two o'clock in the afternoon, there was a constant throng, the line reaching four deep from the State House to the foot of State street. It was estimated that there were sixty thousand people in the streets of Albany. Here was another great procession;, and, at four o'clock in the afternoon, the train started for Buffalo. Throughout the entire range of large and beautiful towns which the Central Railroad threads in its passage from Albany to Buffalo, the same demonstrations of grief and respect were witnessed which had thus far distinguished the homeward journey of
the dead President. The reporter of the New York Tribune wrote that “a funeral in each house in Central New York would hardly have added solemnity to the day.”
At seven o'clock on the morning of the twenty-seventh, the funeral train reached Buffalo; and the sacred remains were taken to St. James' Hall, where, from half-past nine until eight o'clock in the evening of the next day, they were visited by an immense throng of persons. Buffalo had already paid its tribute to Mr. Lincoln's memory by a large procession on the day of the funeral ceremonies at Washington, and omitted the usual pageant on this occasion; but a fine military escort, accompanied by a crowd of citizens, conducted the remains to the depot in the evening, which was left by the funeral train at ten o'clock, for the pursuit of the journey to Cleveland. The demonstrations of the popular grief which had been witnessed throughout the journey, were repeated at every station along the route. Not only men, but women and children were up
and wakeful all night, to catch a glimpse of the car which bore the precious dust of the beloved ruler; and, whenever the train stopped, flowers were brought in and deposited upon the coffin. At Cleveland, great preparations were made to receive the President's remains and the funeral party, with befitting honors. A building for the deposit of the coffin was erected in the park, that the people might have easy access to it. The city was crowded at an early hour, on Friday morning; and on every hand were displayed the symbols of mourning. At seven o'clock, the train arrived at the Union depot, amid a salute of artillery; and from this point it was taken back to the Euclid Street station of the Cleveland and Pittsburg Railroad, whence the procession .moved—the most imposing pageant that this beautiful city on the lake had ever created or witnessed. Bishop McIlvaine, of the diocese of Ohio, read the Episcopal burial service on the opening of the coffin, and offered prayer; after which the long procession filed through the pavilion, and caught a last glimpse of the honored dead. All day long, through falling rain, the crowd, unabated in numbers, pressed through the little building. At ten o'clock.