It has been 151 years since President Abraham Lincoln was laid to rest in Springfield, Illinois on May 4, 1865 at 7:56 p.m. in a temporary vault built into the hillside of Oak Ridge Cemetery. President Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865 but he was not laid to rest until three weeks later after traveling over 1500 miles from Washington DC to Springfield, Illinois, the place he called home.
On May 4, 2016 a reenactment of his funeral cortege pulled by four black stallions covered in black robes, proceeded from the Old State Capitol to his home on Eighth street, and then on to Oak Ridge Cemetery.
The hearse was festooned with black ostrich feathers and gold metal works.
The cortege was led by volunteers dressed as Union Army soldiers as they marched about 100 feet before the processional. Six of the soldiers were chosen to act as the President’s pallbearers as they removed the casket from the hearse, carrying it to the temporary vault. The gates were unlocked and the casket was set on the bier exactly at 7:56 p.m.
the very same time that President Lincoln was actually placed in the vault. The bell tower began to peal its solemn tones and one couldn’t help but count them as they sounded; six times did the bell ring out, interestingly, it rang the number of man. Speaking of the Bible, the number six is counted as the number of man, so it was obvious why the ringing of the funeral bell was chosen to ring six times. Speeches that were spoken at the actual funeral ceremony were read again and honor was given to President Lincoln for having written the Emancipation Proclamation as well as having already reunited the country once again and ending the Civil War.
The final tomb was partially constructed when they placed the bodies of Abraham Lincoln and his two sons, Edward and William, who had died prior to him, were laid to their final resting place together forever in the final tomb. It also marks the graves of Mary Todd Lincoln and one other son, Thomas who died in 1871. President Ulysses S. Grant dedicated the monument on October 15, 1874 and it was in the hands of the private monument association until 1895 when it was deeded over to the State of Illinois. Their son, Robert Todd Lincoln died in 1926 at the age of 82. The monument had already undergone major reconstruction and a new foundation had been erected from 1899-1901. In 1901 President Lincoln’s remains were placed beneath the floor of the burial chamber in a new vault.
Volunteers who came to act in the roles of Union Army soldiers, traveled from as far away as Kansas in order to participate in this event. Tourists had come as far as from California and New York to be present for this reenactment. However, the main, full reenactment was done last year in 2015 at the 150th anniversary, but the Historical Society has already planned on making this an annual event. So make your plans to come on or around May 4th of any year and you may witness this historic reenactment of the entombment of President Abraham Lincoln.