Sunday, May 3, 2015

150 Years Ago: May 3

At 9 a.m., on May 3, 1865, after a journey of twelve days and 1,654 miles, Lincoln's funeral train arrived at its destination: Springfield, Illinois. The body was taken to the Capitol building where it would lie in state in the Hall of Representatives, the very chamber in which Lincoln had delivered his "House Divided" speech in June 1858.
When the remains finally reached Springfield, Lincoln's face had become even more discolored. The Abraham Lincoln Blog reports that it was completely black. Undertaker Thomas Lynch had to use rouge chalk and amber to restore it to "a near normal color." Lynch must have worked with great haste, because at 10 a.m., just an hour after the funeral train arrived in Springfield, the doors of the State House were opened to admit a long line of mourners waiting to pay their last respects.

Photo: Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
William Herndon, Lincoln's law partner, described the scene:
All day long and through the night a stream of people filed reverently by the catafalque. Some of them were his colleagues at the bar; some his old friends from New Salem; some crippled soldiers fresh from the battlefields of the war; and some were little children who, scarce realizing the impressiveness of the scene, were destined to live and tell their children yet to be born the sad story of Lincoln's death.
Hundreds more gathered at Lincoln's home in Springfield, which had been draped in mourning.

Lincoln's horse, Old Bob, who at that time was sixteen years old, was at the house. He would be walked riderless in the funeral procession the next day.

Also at the house to greet visitors was Lincoln's dog Fido. The Abraham Lincoln Blog explains that Fido had been left behind when the Lincolns went to Washington because the dog was easily frightened by loud noises, and Lincoln did not think Fido could tolerate a long trip on a noisy, lurching train. Fido stayed with a family in Springfield, "who had promised to let the dog have his favorite treats, not to be scolded too much, and be permitted to have his favorite sofa taken from the Lincoln home and left with his new owners." Fido's new family had taken him to Lincoln's house that day in the hope that his presence might cheer the mourners up.



  1. Is that really a photo of Fido ?
    Carole you are too much !
    I have enjoyed this sad journey very much.
    Thank you Gossips of Rivertown

    1. Yes, Windle, that really is a photo of Fido. According to my source, The Abraham Lincoln Blog, Fido was taken to a photographer that very day--May 3, 1865--and that picture was taken.