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Author Topic: Lincoln's East Room Funeral  (Read 653 times)
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« on: May 25, 2012, 05:27:08 PM »

Dear Colleagues: I'm interested in what was going on in the White House in the days following Lincoln's murder and before his body was moved to the Capitol Rotunda. I've looked at Elizabeth Keckley's recollections and the contemporary newspaper accounts, "Lincoln Day by Day" and a number of familiar sources such as George Templeton Strong's diary. But I'm looking for detail? I'm especially interested in any activity which took place on Tuesday, April 17, the day before the East Room service. Any suggestions? Your thoughts will be appreciated. Jim Huffstodt of Tallahassee.
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« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2012, 05:43:28 PM »

Jim, I'll send an email to Richard Sloan, he knows something about this.

"It was a walking graveyard"
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« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2012, 07:43:32 PM »

Sorry, I don't have any info about what went on just  prior to the East Rom services.  Perh. it's in the book by Wm. Coggeshall. My knowledge of Lincoln's funeral is fairly good when it comes to NYC; that's about it.  Hey, I just got an idea! Someone is recreating -- for 2015 -- the funeral train (perh. two diff't groups and 2 diff't rtrainsa?). We New Yorkers ought to get someone interested in recreating his  big NYC hearse, and getting the Bates casket co. to put one of their 5 or 6 replica caskets on its platform and carry it up Bway and Fifth Ave. from City Hall to the site of the railroad depot (now a p.o. annex.  It will pass sites connected with Lincoln, Mrs. Lincoln, and even JWB!    Three or four  bands should be hired to play Handle's "Death March" and Lincoln funeral selections.  NY Lincoln men should take turns walking in the procession, as well as govt reps and heads of civic groups, with banners -- esp. if those groups are still in existence.      It's a long trip, so no one should have to walk more than 8-10 blocks.   Everyone will be in black.  I can see reps. of the LGNY taking pat, as well as the Cuomos, reps from the NY Hiistoical Society, myself, Harold Holzer, NY historians, etc; etc; etc; Of course, it should be videotaped and made into a little featurette. Maybe the History Channel could do it.  I think there already is a group organizing the SPringfield funeral.    There should also be something in D.C..   
Roger Norton
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2012, 03:35:19 AM »

I have a book titled Memorial Record of the Nation's Tribute to Abraham Lincoln by Benjamin Franklin Morris. I bought it years ago, but I now see it can be read for free online. Here's a portion of what is said about the East Room:


The East Room, the same in which Harrison and Taylor lay
in state, was far more artistically prepared for the coming
ceremonies. The plates of its four large mirrors were covered
with white crape, while their frames were hidden by the falling
folds of a black drapery, similar to that which covered the
blood-red damascene and white lace curtains of the windows.
The Venetian shutters being partly closed, the rich red of the
walls stained the partially admitted light, already toned down
by the heavy masses of black, and through the dark shadows
of the catafalque the light seemed to struggle in dim religious
rays, that stole rather than leaped back from the silver orna-
ments of the coffin and the shrouded surfaces of the polished

What added greatly to the awing effect of the room, was a
series of seats or steps which were covered with black, and
partitioned off, as it were, with thin white lines, descending from
the northern, eastern, and southern sides of the room, to about
five feet of the base of the black temple of death placed in the
centre of the room. Along the western side of these were
placed fifteen chairs, covered with black, and ranged along the
wall for the use of the members of the Press.

The series of seats or steps partitioned off by lines of white
were reserved for the various groups expected, by a card being
laid on each, with writing, stating the use for which it was in-

The northwestern corner was reserved for the pall bearers;
next, to the eastward, was the partition ticketed for the New
York delegation; next came that of the Army and Navy, then
that of the Judiciary, and behind these, officers of the Sanitary
and Christian Commissions; next were stationed Goyernors
of various States and Territories, Heads of Bureaus, Assistant
Secretaries, then the Diplomatic Corps, beside which were the
President and Cabinet, and alongside of these stood the Sena-
tors, beyond which were members of the House of Representa-
tives, clergymen from all parts of the United States, and the
city authorities.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2012, 04:50:05 AM by Roger Norton » Logged
Roger Norton
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2012, 01:59:27 PM »

I can see reps. of the LGNY taking pat, as well as the Cuomos, reps from the NY Hiistoical Society, myself, Harold Holzer, NY historians, etc; etc; etc;

Will you get a couple of young boys to play Teddy and Elliott?
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« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2012, 02:04:25 PM »

CUte idea, but that bldg. is long gone. Roger -- might the DC papers have anything re: the days before the official East Rm. event?
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