ABRAHAM LINCOLN - President of the United States


Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, was murdered on Good Friday, April 14th, 1865. Shot in the head by actor John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theatre, President Lincoln died at 7:22 AM, April 15th at the Petersen house. His wife Mary and son Robert were in attendance.

The nation plunged into mourning. During the next nineteen days, funerals were held in Washington D.C., Chicago, and other cities along the route of the funeral train. Tens of thousands saw Mr. Lincoln's body as it lay in state at each stop along the route, and many more stood by and watched as the trained passed.

On May 3rd the funeral train reached Springfield. On May 4th, the bodies of the martyred president and his son were placed in the public receiving vault at Oak Ridge. After resting in several other temporary locations over the following years, they were placed in the permanent tomb in 1871.

Yet this would not be permanent. After a plot by counterfeiters to steal the President's body was thwarted, his coffin was removed from the sarcophagus and placed under the floor. Years later, the tomb was found to be structurally unsound, and was dismantled and rebuilt, beginning in 1899. At that time, it was decided to verify that Mr. Lincoln's body was present.

On September 26th, 1901, the secret temporary grave was opened and the coffin removed from the ground. The workers cut a window in the lead coffin and peered inside. 23 people saw and recognized the face of Mr. Lincoln. The missing piece of the coffin was soldered back into place; the coffin was lowered into a pit ten feet deep, then covered with tons of concrete to prevent further theft.

The marble sarcophagus was erected over the location of President Lincoln's body. On the curving rear wall of the mausoleum are the words of Secretary of War Stanton: "NOW HE BELONGS TO THE AGES."

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