The Lincoln Assassination: Crime and Punishment, Myth and Memory

By Harold Holzer; Craig L. Symonds et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2

Abraham Lincoln's
New York City Funeral

Richard E. Sloan

IN HIS INTRODUCTORY REMARKS AT COOPER UNION IN 1860, Abraham Lincoln said, “The facts with which I shall deal … are mainly old and familiar; nor is there anything new in the general use I shall make of them. If there shall be any novelty, it will be in the mode of presenting the facts.”1 Similarly, the facts relating to Lincoln's New York City funeral may, in the main, also be “old and familiar,” but in the present account, the “mode of presenting” them will use the words of eyewitnesses—mostly reporters—as though they were describing them today on radio or television. In effect, the reader will step back in time, to “witness” the flavor and the emotions of this great and sad event, and to look at the scenes along the route as they appeared then, and as they appear now. This will require some imagination, because some of the buildings along the route no longer stand.

As befitting the great city, Manhattan actually staged two funeral processions for the martyred president. The first one was a short but nevertheless emotional one on Monday, April 24. It began at a ferry dock on the Hudson River, traveled east along Canal Street,

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