Lincoln’s Funeral Train

Being there . . . . for author Robert M. Reed’s account of the killing of US President Abraham
Lincoln on the evening April 14, 1865, then bundle up and hop aboard the heavily decorated
and guarded funeral car of the short train to bear the body 1,700 miles through some 440
cities, towns, villages, and byways over 13 days to Springfield for the president’s burial.
Unequivocally, it was the biggest and saddest event, i.e., the assassination and journey home,
to happen in the lives of the American people that century. Or, if more convenient, join the
7,000,000 others to actual witness some part of the epic one-way trip by observing from the
streets, beside the train depots, and along the railroad tracks in the vast open spaces of the
countryside. Stand, if necessary, in the cold April rain in the middle of the night among, as one
eyewitness declared, “Not just in the middle of thousands, but there in the acres of them”. The
course of the “Great Funeral Cortege” from the nation’s capital stretched over a nearly whale-
shaped course through Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Indiana, and
finally Illinois. Every day for two weeks, ceremonies greeted the train with hundreds of
thousands of people in cities like Baltimore, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, New York, Albany, Buffalo
Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis, and Chicago. And, yes, the trip included stopovers for small
trackside prayers which usually included only a half dozen farmers and their families.
Reviewed and Recommended by Don DeNevi
“LINCOLN’S FUNERAL TRAIN – – The Epic Journey from Washington to Springfield”, by Robert M.
Reed. SCHIFFER PUBLISHING, LTD.: 2014, 160 pages, 7 ½” x 10 ½”, hardcover; $39.99. Visit,
From the diary of 2 nd Lt. William Bogardus, 24 th U.S. Colored Infantry Regiment, “. . . judging
by the looks of the houses, everybody in the city (Philadelphia) has lost a friend. All houses,
stores, public buildings, and hotels are draped in mourning. We go to escort the body from the
depot . . . where it rests in state until Monday. As we passed the coffin, I gave the salute to him,
the last I ever shall . . . . The procession was five miles long. The hearse was drawn by six black
horses. Some people remained in line 24 hours.”
How fortunate Lincoln buffs had top Schiffer Publishing author Robert M. Reed tackle this
somber, tear-rendering account. Not only is it meticulously researched, and lovingly narrated,
but, as friend, Dr. Elma Moore, Dean Emeritus, Wittenberg University, recommended when the
book was first published in 2014, “Bob provides us a perspective about the Lincoln funeral train
which is more than just a description of a physical voyage, but rather one about the people who
came to view the cortege. His book captures its images of transit, as well as the moods and
feelings of the populace along the journey”. If the reader loves Lincoln as deeply as this
reviewer, dear Abe will be the first he or she will call upon when entering Heaven, of course,
after a few minutes with family and ancient ancestors.

In short, if one is building an intellect-endearing Civil War library, “Lincoln’s Funeral Train –
The Epic Journey from Washington to Springfield” is a must-have hardbound copy available at
arm’s level on his or her shelf for continuous, life-long pursual, not only for the mind and heart
of the self, and those of family, but also those of vitally interested close friends.
Although on April 28, 1865, The New York Times beautifully editorialized, “Everywhere deep
sorrow has been manifested, and the feeling seems, if possible, to deepen, as we move
westward with the remains to their final resting place”, there can be no better words to sum it
all up then those of Bob Reed’s dedication of his work to family and friends, including you and
“This dedication is a salute to both the past and present. First, it is dedicated to the
uncounted millions who braved the weather to pay their last respects as the train slowly
passed. In addition, it is dedicated to the groups, large and small, around the nation that
continue to preserve and promote our precious American history from the community to the
classroom. In that spirit, allow me to single out my own hometown’s Historic Knightstown
Incorporated group. Those leaders who continue to rescue and maintain local history include
Kathie Rummel, Bill Sitler, Joann Smith, David Steele, Barbara Carter, Robert Brown, Carol
Renfro, and Peg Mayhill, as well as Associate Leaders, Bob Myers and Reid Brennan. For your
services, I thank you. It has been a privilege”.

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