The Lincoln funeral train arrived in a rainy Indianapolis at 7 A.M. on Sunday, April 30, 1865. The coffin was transferred to a hearse drawn by four white horses, and a procession led by Governor Oliver P. Morton and Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker formed to accompany the remains to the State House. A long procession through the city was canceled due to the weather.

A large, two-story building with a smaller building in front of it. Both have columns wrapped in black, and there are dark swags draped below the rooflines. A low fence at the front is also draped with swags.
Indiana Statehouse Draped for Lincoln’s Funeral, 1865 Credit: Bass Photo Co Collection, Indiana Historical Society View Source

Soldiers from Indianapolis camps lined both sides of the procession’s route. Upon arrival at the Capitol, the coffin was placed on an elaborate dais in the rotunda and the upper third of the lid was opened so that mourners might see the face of the president.

The public viewing began at 8 A.M. and continued until 10 that night. There is no accurate figure for the number of people paying their respects in the rotunda, but both the Indianapolis Sentinel and Indianapolis Journal estimated the crowd at “not less than 50,000″—slightly more than the entire city population five years later.

Between 10 and 11 P.M. the guard of honor returned the coffin to the hearse, and a procession accompanied the coffin to the waiting train. The Sentinel reported: “This was the most solemn and imposing of all the pageantry that has attended the remains in this city. The wailing sadness of the music, the fitful glare of the lamps, the deep silence unbroken except by the heavy tramp of the soldiers and muffled rumbling of carriage wheels, made it the most impressive scene of all, in the mournful occasion.”

Revised February 2021

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