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Lincoln's Long Funeral Procession

Lincoln.jpgPres. Abraham Lincoln died on April 15, 1865, but his body didn’t rest until May 4, when he was buried in his hometown of Springfield, IL. In between was an epic 1,662-mile, 14-day funeral procession by railroad that passed through 442 communities in nine states. The winding route actually retraced, in reverse, Lincoln’s “whistle stop” tour to Washington D.C. before his inauguration in 1861.

That gave mourners (and opportunists) plenty of time to make mourning badges, ribbons, cards, poems, and other mementos. The Smithsonian has some examples in their Life and Death in the White House online exhibit. It seems that many state and local historical societies have their own collections.

I was surprised by how many people wrote funeral marches. The Library of Congress has digitized the sheet music of several compositions.


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