View Full Version : President Lincoln's Coffin Rides Again

04-09-2007, 02:53 PM
President Abraham Lincolnís Horse-Drawn Funeral to be
Authentically Commemorated in Allentown, Pennsylvania
On 142nd Anniversary of his Death

Allentown, PA Ė The American public is invited to experience the thrill of history in Allentown, Pennsylvania with an authentic commemoration of President Abraham Lincolnís historic funeral, which will occur at 1:00 p.m. on April 15th, the 142nd anniversary of Lincolnís death in 1865. The announcement was made by Joseph Garrera, Executive Director of the Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum, the organization sponsoring the event.

The historical commemoration includes a horse-drawn vintage funeral hearse. The hearse will be pulled by a team of jet black horses. An authentic replica of President Lincolnís funeral coffin is being provided by the Batesville Casket Company of Batesville, Indiana, the company that constructed the original Lincoln burial coffin in 1865.

President Lincolnís official state funeral did not pass through Allentown, but it did play a major role in Pennsylvania history. ďThe funeral train that escorted the martyred president back to Illinois for burial made two historic stops for state funeral ceremonies in Pennsylvania,Ē said Garrera.

The first Pennsylvania funeral occurred at the State Capitol in Harrisburg on April 21, 1865, where Lincolnís body was viewed by tens of thousands of mourners as he lay in State at the House of Representatives. Departing Harrisburg, the Lincoln funeral train headed for Philadelphia. Near Lancaster crowds along the tracks were reported to exceed twenty thousand. As the train neared Philadelphia, tens of thousands of mourners lined the tracks for several miles. It was an event unequaled in American history.

On April 22, 1865 Lincolnís body arrived in Philadelphia, then the second largest city in America. Newspapers reported crowds as large as half a million turned out to see the funeral cortege. Lincolnís body was laid out next to the Liberty Bell where four years and two months earlier he had stated he would rather be assassinated on the spot than surrender the principles embodied in the Declaration of Independence. It is estimated that one million people viewed President Lincolnís body from the time of his death on April 15, 1865 until his burial twenty days later on May 4.

The Allentown Historical Commemoration Ceremony is the first of its kind ever to occur in the Eastern United States. This major commemoration includes a life-size replica of the coffin in which President Abraham Lincoln is buried. President Lincolnís coffin was the most elaborate of that time. It was constructed of solid walnut. Measuring 6 feet, 6 inches long, the coffin was decorated with sterling silver handles.

Beginning at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 15, the cortege will depart the J.S. Burkholder Funeral Home at 16th and Hamilton Streets. The procession will transport the Lincoln coffin down Hamilton Street in a vintage horse-drawn hearse provided by Joe and Barbara Tetz of New Tripoli, Pennsylvania. The hearse will be escorted by official pall-bearers traveling in a period coach accompanied by a Civil War Honor Guard on foot. At 1:15 p.m., halfway to the Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum, all the church bells in Allentown will begin ringing as a show of respect and remembrance for President Lincolnís place in history and his unwavering reliance on God to guide him through the death and destruction of the Civil War.

The ceremony is a major historical commemoration that, according to Museum Director Joseph Garrera, is a ďonce in a lifetime event.Ē Upon arrival at the Museum at 1:30 p.m., an official dedication ceremony will occur, where the Lincoln funeral coffin will lie in state on public exhibit for twenty days in a setting similar to that of 1865.

On February 19, the Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum opened a national exhibit dedicated to Abraham Lincolnís life. The exhibit will run until September 30 and has attracted widespread interest. Since its opening, more than 5,000 visitors have seen the exhibit, which is titled Abraham Lincoln and the Promise of America.

The Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum is located at 432 W. Walnut Street in Allentown. For more information, contact Joseph Garrera at 610-435-1074, Ext. 19.

04-09-2007, 02:56 PM
And just in case I did not make it clear, they are seeking reenactors, and especially drummers. Here is a bit of additional information, courtesy of Jeff Chandler, Co. E, 15th New Jersey, via Doug Dobbs:

"If you can drum or know of some one who can, please contact the Museum's Executive Joseph Garrera at j_garrera@lchs.museum or contact me at ejeffc@hotmail.com They ask that all reenactors who are going to participate be at the museum by 11:30 am so they can drive us the the funeral home where the march will begin at 1:00 p.m."

B.C. Milligan
Company K, First Penna. Reserves

04-12-2007, 07:37 PM
Rain or shine.

I got word today that they are going to hold this event rain or shine. Considering the weather that's forcast, that's a pretty amazing move, but they will have places for folks to get out of the weather before the parade they say, and change into dry clothes after. I will not be able to attend for unrelated health reasons, but wish Godspeed to all who do!