Edward Davis Townsend, then Assistant Adjutant General, was the commander of the funeral train that bore the coffin of Lincoln and that of his son Willie from Washington, D.C., to Springfield, Illinois, in the spring of 1865--a journey that began on April 21 and lasted until May 3.
Two years ago, Jamison Teale alerted Gossips to the description from Townsend's journal of what transpired in Hudson when the funeral train stopped here on April 25, 1865. The passage is quoted in James L. Swanson's book Bloody Crimes: The Funeral of Abraham Lincoln and the Chase for Jefferson Davis, which is where he had discovered it. The following is that account:
At Hudson . . . elaborate preparations had been made. Beneath an arch hung with black and white drapery and evergreen wreaths, was a tableau representing a coffin resting upon a dais; a female figure in white, mourning over the coffin; a soldier standing at one end and a sailor at the other. While a band of young women dressed in white sang a dirge, two others in black entered the funeral-car, placed a floral device on the President’s coffin, then knelt for a moment of silence, and quietly withdrew. This whole scene was one of the most weird ever witnessed, its solemnity being intensified by the somber light of the torches at that dead hour of night.On April 25, 1865, the train arrived in Hudson at 9:45 p.m. Daylight Saving Time wasn't introduced until 1918, so 9:45 p.m. in 1865 translates to 8:45 p.m. in 2015, and on April 25 this year, at 8:45 p.m., the scene that Townsend called "one of the most weird ever witnessed" by be re-created down by the train station.
And save the date! Plan to be down by the station on April 25 (it's a Saturday) to witness history re-created.
COPYRIGHT 2015 CAROLE OSTERINK