New York and the Lincoln Specials

The President's Pre-Inaugural and Funeral Trains Cross the Empire State

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About the Book

Abraham Lincoln’s presidency was bookended by a pair of dramatic railroad trips through the state of New York. His first term began with a pre-inaugural railway tour—his second ended with a funeral train. Each was a five-day crossing of the Empire State.
These two journeys allowed thousands of ordinary Americans first to celebrate, and later to mourn, the great president, and became indelibly etched in the memories of those who had the opportunity to stand along parade route.
Drawing on newspaper accounts, memoirs and diaries, this book brings to life the two epic and unique moments in both New York’s and the nation’s history.

About the Author(s)

After nearly 50 years in public education as a teacher and administrator, Joseph D. Collea, Jr., is now retired and lives in Scotia, New York.

Bibliographic Details

Joseph D. Collea, Jr.
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 295
Bibliographic Info: 51 photos, 16 maps, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7075-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3324-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

List of Maps ix
Preface and Acknowledgments 1
Introduction 5
1. Welcome to the Empire State: The Journey Begins 9
2. An Overwhelming Reception: Western New York Is Lincoln Country 19
3. The Longest Day Begins: From Buffalo to Utica 29
4. Next Stop, Utica: Gateway to the Mohawk Valley 42
5. East Through the Valley: The Historic Route to the West in Reverse 53
6. Arrival in Albany: Political Considerations Rule the Day 66
7. The Last Leg Begins: Via an Improvised Route 83
8. Troy Rejoices: An Unexpected Visitor Is Readily Embraced 98
9. Down the Hudson Valley: The Run to New York City 107
10. New York City: The Last Stop in the Empire State 122
11. Final Hours in the Empire State: A Successful Stay Draws to an End 136
12. The Washington Years: When All the Joy Turned to Sorrow 150
13. Bringing the President Home: Funeral Arrangements Are Made 160
14. Return to New York: A City Pays Homage 166
15. Leaving the City: A Grand Procession to the Depot 181
16. Heading North: A Mournful Passage Up the Hudson Valley 192
17. Second Arrival in Albany: The State Capital Offers Its Last Respects 202
18. Into the Heartland: The Mohawk Valley Bids a Sad Farewell 220
19. From Utica to Syracuse: Places Large and Small Pay Homage 232
20. On Toward Buffalo: Western New York Offers Parting Tributes 242
21. Leaving the Empire State: The Long Goodbye Is Over 254
Appendix A: Presidents and Trains 265
Appendix B: Special Orders Governing the Safety of the Funeral Train 267
Chapter Notes 269
Bibliography 277
Index 281

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Impressively informative, exceptionally well researched…recommended”—Midwest Book Review
  • “Collea’s work is unique…railroad enthusiasts will enjoy the detailed narratives about railroad operations, logistics and security issues…Collea’s extensive research makes this work compelling”—Civil War News
  • “An engaging narrative…energetic, insightful, and often clever writing”—H-Net Reviews.