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President Lincoln’s Funeral Procession in Chicago on 1 May 1865
Harper’s Weekly Magazine
May 27, 1865
Chicago Tribune May 2, 1865
In all the continued and uninterrupted pageant which has accompanied the progress of the late President’s remains from Washington thus far, on their way to their final resting place, no community has done itself such peculiar honor as Chicago did yesterday by the vast magnitude, the perfect order and solemn beauty of the funeral procession. The most careful estimates by time and actual count show that thirty-six thousand people participated in the procession as members of organized military, civic, municipal, educational, religions, or other associations, apart from the immense numbers amounting to at least one hundred thousand citizens, who thronged the line of the procession from curb-stone to house top. New York, Brooklyn, and adjacent cities, numbering an aggregate population of one and a half million, or about eight times that of Chicago, although the procession exceeded as a pageant everything in their history, yet only turned out in proportion to their numbers, one-fourth as many as Chicago. The New York Herald, which seldom underestimates the magnificent pageants, of which that city has been the frequent scene, refers to the funeral procession there as larger than the Croton Water celebration, the Erie Canal celebration, the Harrison funeral, the Taylor funeral, the cable celebration, the Japanese reception, the Prince of Wales parade, and the war demonstrations of 1861 and March, 1865—all memorable in our municipal history and unsurpassed by any other city on the continent. Yet its estimate of the number participating in the procession is seventy-five thousand or but about twice as large as that in Chicago. Our line, nowhere less than four thousand four abreast, and moving in admirable order, and without any considerable pauses or delays, occupied over four hours in passing a given point. Indeed, we are assured by those who accompanied the mournful cortege, that in many respects not even the New York demonstration exceeded that of Chicago yesterday.
Photograph of Chicago’s City Hall taken in 1865 when the body of Abraham Lincoln was lying in state.
Chicago Daily News.
We present these facts in no spirit of boasting, which the solemnity of the occasion itself forbids, but simply to show that in behalf of Illinois’ noblest son, her metropolis has, as might have been expected, surpassed all others in the proofs of her devotion in death as in life. It is proper to state, also, that owing to the state of the weather during the day and night preceding, but four or five thousand, it is estimated, arrived by the trains, but a few of whom participated in the procession. Doubtless a large number will arrive to-day from other cities to view the remains of the lamented dead; but yesterday the display, both of the procession and spectators, consisted wholly of the population of Chicago, four-fifths of whom, of all ages, and of both sexes, undoubtedly participated in it.
The significance of this demonstration, as of those which have preceded it in other cities, lies not in the pump and and pageantry of processions, but in the all-pervading sorrow of the masses. Thank God that He has endowed America with hearts alive to the emotion of a universal grief for such a man as Abraham Lincoln! The most touching evidences of public feeling are those which come from the children of toil and penury, the lowly and neglected ones of earth, whose tears flow with a holy and spontaneous affliction for the loss of a noble man, whom, perhaps, they had never seen. Behold how they loved him! If Mr. Lincoln ever had thoughts of public honor to surround his name after he should have passed from earth, he never could have dreamed of such precious memorials as these. The very solemnity of sorrow has attended his funeral rites, for the few, the rich and the poor, the learned and the unlearned, native and foreign born, white and black, old and young, male and female, have wept at his tomb. Where id the conqueror who gathered so majestic a host around his bier? Abraham Lincoln conquered the hearts of his countrymen, and the priceless possession in all coming ages is assured to him by the loving testimonials which attend his funeral.
Lincoln’s Funeral Parade
The procession is seen here proceeding east on Lake Street from the corner of Clark Street.
Lincoln’s funeral procession making it’s way toward the courthouse, 1865
President Lincoln’s Funeral
The Catafalque at the City Hall, Chicago.
Sketched by W. Waud.
May 20, 1865
Lincoln Funeral Arch
Twenty-four feet wide by thirty feet high.
Lincoln Funeral Procession
Guarding Lincoln’s Funeral Car on the Illinois Central tracks by Lake Michigan. The car was auctioned off to a private party, but was destroyed by a fire in 1911.
The Lincoln Special train left Washington on 21 April 1865 and by the time the train reached Chicago, the body was beginning to deterioate to the point where viewers were visibly distressed at its appearance. This train also introduced the Pullman luxury car.