Photo via the New York State Military Museum
SARATOGA – A replica of President Abraham Lincoln’s ornate casket is on display at the New York State Military Museum from Friday, Sept. 23 through Saturday Oct. 8.
The casket, made by Batesville Casket Company in 2015 for the 150th anniversary commemoration of the 16th president’s death, will be part of an education display. The casket is 6-foot, six-inches of solid walnut and is provided thanks to the efforts of the Burke Funeral Home at 628 North Broadway in Saratoga Springs.
The Batesville Casket Company has four traveling displays that are loaned to funeral homes across the U.S.
The Military Museum already displays a piece of cloth used to stem the flow of blood from Lincoln’s fatal wound and a blood stained fragment of the dress worn by Ford’s Theater actress Laura Keene, who cradled Lincoln’s head in her lap after he was shot. The artifacts are in the Civil War exhibit highlighting New York’s role in the war between the states.
Many already know the story of Abraham Lincoln’s infamous assassination at Ford’s Theatre in 1865, but few know about the long journey of his body after his death.
Lincoln’s funeral train was dubbed “The Lincoln Special,” with the former president’s portrait affixed to the front of the engine. Also on the train was a coffin containing the body of Lincoln’s son Willie, who had died in 1862 at the age of 11 of typhoid fever during Lincoln’s second year in office, disinterred from a D.C. plot to be buried alongside his father.
Traveling some 1,654 miles by train through 180 cities and seven states, including New York City, Albany and Buffalo between April 25-28, 1865, Americans mourned their fallen president all along the route back to Springfield, Illinois.
At each stop, Lincoln’s casket was taken off the train for public viewing.
After stopping in New York City the train carrying Lincoln’s remains arrived in Rensselaer at 10:55 P.M. on April 25. From there the casket was ferried across the Hudson River to Albany. People watched as the coffin was moved to the State House – a building since replaced by the current Capitol – for public viewing.
On April 26, it was paraded through the city at noon, resting in a specially built catafalque – a structure built to hold a casket – draw behind six white horses.
Lincoln’s remains left the Albany train station at 4 p.m. and headed west through Schenectady, Canajoharie, St. Johnsville, Little Falls, Herkimer, Utica, Rome, Oneida, Syracuse, and Rochester until the train arrived in Buffalo at 7 a.m.
“It was late in the evening when we started, and the train was running all night through central and western New York,” New York Secretary of State Chauncey M. Depew later wrote.
Lincoln’s remains arrived in Springfield on May 2, 1865.
The Lincoln casket was made of solid walnut, covered in expensive black cloth, and decorated with silver handles. The lead-lined casket will be open during the display.
The replica casket itself is authentic down to the smallest details (except for being lined with lead and a silver plate inscribed with Lincoln’s date of birth and death.) The Batesville replica is made of solid walnut and completely covered in black broadcloth with a white satin interior. The outside is adorned with silver colored handles and tacks or pearls extending the entire length of the side.