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It was the work of a mo
hastened to find the cause. ment to read, in substance:
“President Lincoln shot by an assassin, in Ford's Theatre, last night! Secretary Seward, at the same time, stabbed, as he lay in bed, from the effect of wounds received by being thrown from his carriage a few days before!! Both thought to be in a dying condition!!! Vice President Johnson, Secretary Stanton and Lieut. General Grant were to have been assassinated also, but some of the conspirators failed to perform the parts assigned them!!!! General Grant saved by unexpectedly leaving the Capital!!!!!
By a common impulse, the people assembled about the State House square to talk of the awful tidings. The telegraph office was besieged for more news. It was ascertained at an early hour that the President was DEAD, and later in the day, that Secretary Seward would probably recover.
After the first shock, all felt a desire to give some public expression to their feelings. Very soon the sad insignia of sorrow were displayed in profusion from the houses of the wealthy, and by all in proportion to their ability. The very poor in the outskirts of the city were equally anxious with their more favored fellow citizens, to testify their sorrow for the untimely death of him whom all loved. From the doors of many such were displayed a piece of any black goods they could obtain, if it was but a narrow strip and a few inches in length. These demonstrations were made, with very few exceptions, without any distinction, whatever, as to political preferences.
The crime was so diabolical, and so firmly had Abraham Lincoln entrenched himself in the hearts of the people, that many, for the time being were involuntarily disposed to question the wisdom and goodness of God in permitting the awful deed to be consummated. This was doubtless felt in many instances where it failed to find utterance in words; but, in some cases, it was outspoken. A clergyman of Springfield had a niece residing in his family, who, as soon as she heard the news, ran to him, and, with tears streaming down her face, said, “O, uncle, it does seem to me that I can never love God any more.” With the more thoughtful, however, it created a feeling of inquiry as to why it was permitted, and with all such as expressed by the mayor of Springfield to the City Council that morning, the inquiry was, “ Lord, what wilt Thou have us to do."
A call was early issued by the Mayor, J. S. Vredenburg, for a meeting of the City Council at ten o'clock. A notice was also circulated, that a meeting of the citizens would be held in the State House yard at twelve o'clock, noon. When the City Council assembled, it passed resolutions to unite with the citizens in their public demonstration, and after appointing a committee to draft resolutions expressive of their feelings, adjourned until four o'clock p. m.
The meeting at the State House was called to order at noon, and after organizing, several of those who had long been intimately acquainted with the fallen chieftain made interesting remarks, calling up many reminiscences of his past life. Hon. John T. Stuart, as chairman of a committee appointed for that purpose, reported a series of resolutions, which were adopted as expressive of the feelings of the meeting. I find space for a single one of those resolutions :
Resolved, That inasmuch as this city has, for a long time, been the home of the President, in which he has graced with his kindness of heart and honesty of purpose, all the relations of life, it is appropriate that its “City of the Dead” should be the final resting place of all of him that is mortal, and to this end we respectfully request the appointment of a committee on the part of the City Council, to act in conjunction with the Governor of the State, with a view of bringing hither his remains for interment.
The City Council assembled, pursuant to adjournment, and adopted the resolution passed by the public assembly relative to the removal of the remains, and appointed the following committee, to proceed to Washington City, for the purpose of co-operating with Governor Oglesby — who was there at the time of the assassination in bringing the remains of President Lincoln to Springfield: Hon. Jesse K. Dubois, Hon. Lyman Trumbull, Hon. John T. Stuart, Hon. Shelby M. Cullom, Ex-Governor Richard Yates, Gen. I. N. Haynie, Gen. John A. McClernand, Ex-Mayor J. S. Vredenburg and Mayor elect Thomas J. Dennis. Governor Oglesby was informed by telegraph of the action of the City Council. A series of resolutions, reported by Alderman Wohlgemuth, as chairman of the committee appointed for that purpose, were adopted as expressing the feelings of the members of the council. Within a week after the assassination, almost every society in Springfield, religious, political, benevolent and social, passed resolutions expressive of their sorrow for the death of Abraham Lincoln, and horror at the crime of his assassination.
On Sunday, the sixteenth, the people flocked to the churches, as though they were fleeing from some great calamity. Men who had not been seen in the house of God for months, were, on that day, among the earliest, and seemingly the most attentive and devotional worshippers. In some of the churches, the pulpits were draped in mourning, and the services partook of solemnities appropriate to a funeral occasion.
We will once more look upon the scenes being enacted at the capital of the nation. President Lincoln breathed his last at twenty-two minutes past seven o'clock, on the morning of April 15. At half past nine o'clock, the body was removed to the Executive Mansion, and on the afternoon of that day it was embalmed and otherwise prepared for sepulture, by being placed in a wooden coffin, upon which was a plate bearing the inscription :
BORN FEBRUARY 12, 1809.
DIED APRIL 15, 1865.
The coffin was then placed on adais within a grand catafalque, in the East Room, surrounded by the sad emblems of woe and covered with the most rare and costly floral tributes of affection.
On the same day, at eleven o'clock, Chief Justice Chase administered to the Vice President, Andrew Johnson, the oath of office as President of the United States. By this prompt action, the interregnum in the office of President was but a little more than three hours in duration. President Johnson immediately called a meeting of the Cabinet. At this meeting William Hunter was appointed Acting Secretary of State, to serve during the disability of Secretary Seward. On Monday morning the following proclamation was issued and telegraphed to all parts of the nation :
“The undersigned is directed to announce that the funeral ceremonies of the lamented Chief Magistrate will take place at the Executive Mansion, in this city, at 12 o'clock noon, Wednesday, the nineteenth inst. The various religious denominations throughout the country are invited to meet in their respective places of worship at the time, for the purpose of solemnizing the occasion by appropriate ceremonies.
Acting Secretary of State. Washington, April 17, 1865."
On the same day, the following order was issued, preparatory to observing funeral rites suitable to the occasion, at Washington :
WAR DEPARTMENT, ADJUTANT GENERAL'S OFFICE,
WASHINGTON, April 17, 1865.
ORDER OF PROCESSION.
One Regiment of Cavalry.
Battalion of Marines.
Commander of Escort and Staff. Dismounted Officers of Marine Corps, Navy and Army, in the order named; Mounted Officers of Marine Corps, Navy and Army, in the order named; all Military Officers to be in Uniform, with Side-arms.
The Surgeon General of the United States Army, and Physicians
to the Deceased.
Clergy in Attendance.
On the part of the House. Mr. Foster, of Connecticut. Mr. Dawes, of Massachusetts. Mr. Morgan, of New York. Mr. Coffroth, of Pennsylvania. Mr. Johnson, of Maryland. Mr. Smith, of Kentueky. Mr. Yates, of Illinois.
Mr. Colfax, of Indiana. Mr. Wade, of Ohio.
Mr. Worthington, of Nevada. Mr. Conness, of California. Mr. Washburn, of Illinois.
Navy. Lieut. Gen. U. S. Grant.
Vice Admiral D. G. Farragut, Major General H. W. Halleck. Rear Admiral W. B. Shubrick. Brev. Brig. Gen. W. A. Nichols. Col. Jacob Zeilen, Marine Corps.
Civilians. 0. H. Browning.
The Chief Justice,