The next installment of the Thurber House “Evenings with Authors” series presents James L. Swanson, author of Bloody Crimes, The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln’s Corpse. The book recounts the procession of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln’s body by train from Washington, D.C. to Springfield, Illinois in April 1865 and the flight of Confederate President Jefferson Davis from Richmond, Virginia. The state of Ohio, which supplied political and military leadership during the Civil War and over 300,000 soldiers for the Union Army, was a significant leg of Lincoln’s final journey.
Lincoln’s body began the trip from Washington D. C. back to his hometown of Springfield, Illinois on April 21, 1865. The funeral train generally followed the route that Lincoln took when he traveled to Washington as President elect in 1861. On Saturday, April 29, 1865 the train arrived in Columbus at 7:30 A.M. Lincoln’s casket was taken to the Ohio Statehouse where he laid in state in the rotunda. The Statehouse was draped in black crepe for the occasion. Thousands of visitors came throughout the day to honor the fallen President.
Photographs of President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral procession in Columbus are part of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Collection, call number AV 83, in the photographic archives of the Ohio Historical Society. The complete collection, like most photograph collections held by OHS, is available to researchers during open hours in the Archives/Library reading room.