Wednesday, May 18, 2005

State Funeral Processions

State Funeral Processions. Information on some past state funerals given for American Presidents provided the National Parks Service.

From the site:

In addition to the joy of Inaugural Parades, the Avenue has also seen the sorrow of seven Presidential funeral processions, including processions for the four who died by assassination. William Henry Harrison, who had caught a chill during his two hour long inaugural address, died from pneumonia on April 4, 1841, one month after taking office. The first president to die in office, Harrison's body was escorted up the Avenue by twenty-six pallbearers, one for each state. The new president, John Tyler, as well as the Cabinet, the Diplomatic Corps, and fourteen militia companies made up the procession. President Zachary Taylor was the next president to die in office, and his, July 13, 1850, funeral procession stretched for over two miles behind the hearse.

The death of President Abraham Lincoln, on April 15, 1865, shortly after beginning his second term, and just days after Robert E. Lee's surrender to Ulysses S. Grant, resulted in an unprecedented outpouring of grief nationwide. The first president to die by assassination, Lincoln's body was escorted from the White House to the Capitol on April 19 by a cortege numbering 30,000. Arriving late and unable to take its assigned position, the 22nd Colored Infantry fell in at the head of the procession, while African-American lodge groups brought up its rear. James Garfield, who was shot at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad station just off the Avenue on July 2, 1881, died of his wounds ten weeks later while attempting to recover at the New Jersey shore. Returned to Washington by train to that same station, Garfield's body was escorted up the Avenue to the Capitol by a procession that included the new president, Chester Arthur, and former president Grant.

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