Locomotives that pulled Abraham Lincoln through York County; Lincoln Funeral Train
After posting Why is the Steam Into History locomotive named York #17 ? three months ago, I’ve had a few queries from readers with questions like: Is this really the type of locomotive that pulled Lincoln’s train to Gettysburg? Is this really the type of locomotive that pulled Lincoln’s Funeral Train? This post is the result of researching those questions.
The above photo, taken by Harrisburg photographer D. C. Burnite, the morning of April 22, 1865, zooms in on Lincoln’s Funeral Train locomotive next to the Harrisburg Railroad Depot. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is where Lincoln’s body lay in state in the state capitol, the night of April 21st and into the morning of the 22nd. The locomotive shown is Pennsylvania Railroad Engine No. 331; a 4-4-0 Steam Locomotive.
Other relevant posts include:
- Why is the Steam Into History locomotive named York #17 ?
- Engines such as York #17 pulled York Built Railcars
- Steam Into History’s York #17 and two other Rogers 4-4-0 Steam Locomotives
- York County’s Liberty Limited Dinner Train of the 1990s
- York #17 and Leviathan #63 Steam Locomotives; Reenactment of Transcontinental Railroad Golden Spike Ceremony, right here in York County
D. C. Burnite operated a photographic studio in Harrisburg, PA at 110 Market Street. On the morning of April 22, 1865 he took the photo of the Lincoln Funeral Train next to the Harrisburg Railroad Depot.
This is the whole photo, from which I zoomed in on the locomotive for the initial photo in this post. These are the Lincoln Funeral Train railcars that traveled through York County. However the Pennsylvania Railroad Engine No. 331 was likely not the locomotive pulling the railcars through York County. Engine No. 331 pulled the railcars from Harrisburg to Philadelphia where Lincoln’s body laid in state in Independence Hall from April 22nd to 24th.
The Lincoln Funeral Train used as many as 42 different locomotives to make the, over 1600 mile round-about route, funeral train journey from Washington, D.C. to President Lincoln’s burial site in Springfield, Illinois. That makes sense, considering each individual railroad along the route wanted to use there own locomotive.
This is a photo of the Cleveland, Columbus & Cincinnati Railroad Engine “Nashville” used to pull the Lincoln Funeral Train from Cleveland to Columbus, Ohio. One can find references in books and on the Internet telling how “Nashville” was the engine that pulled the Lincoln Funeral Train; either directly or by implication leading the reader to incorrectly conclude it was the one and only engine that pulled the Lincoln Funeral Train from Washington, D.C. to Springfield, Illinois.
The better wording might have been the “Nashville” was an engine that pulled the Lincoln Funeral Train from Washington, D.C. to Springfield, Illinois. The “Nashville” is again a 4-4-0 Steam Locomotive.
This is a photo of Chicago & Alton Railroad Engine No. 58 used to pull the Lincoln Funeral Train the final leg of the journey from Chicago, Illinois to Springfield, Illinois. This engine is also a 4-4-0 Steam Locomotive.
By the time of the Civil War, the 4-4-0 Steam Locomotive was, by a wide margin, the most common engine used on railroads throughout the United States. This design remained popular for the remainder of the 19th Century. A combined total of more than 25,000 locomotives of the 4-4-0 type were produced by many engine builders in the United States.
Nearly all passenger trains of the Civil War era used 4-4-0 Steam Locomotives; they had low center of gravity and good tracking ability. It is a pretty easy assumption that this type of locomotive pulled Lincoln’s shorter train to Gettysburg. This type of engine may have pulled the longer Lincoln Funeral Train on the Northern Central Railroad leg of the journey through York County. However I have not found any reference that definitively gives details concerning these Northern Central locomotives that pulled Lincoln through York County.
Scott D. Trostel, in his book “The Lincoln Funeral Train, The Final Journey and National Funeral for Abraham Lincoln” does make an observation concerning the Baltimore to Harrisburg leg’s Northern Central locomotive that pulled the funeral train. Quoting from a paragraph on pages 52-53 concerning the exchange of Lincoln Funeral Train railcars from the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to the Northern Central Railroad while Lincoln’s body was at a public viewing and memorial at the Exchange Place in Baltimore, Maryland:
While the procession and public viewing was being held, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad had to take the cars north over street railway tracks in the middle of Howard Street, for interchange with the Northern Central Railway at Bolton Station. History indicates the movement of interchange cars was conducted between Camden Station and Bolton Station employing teams of horses to tow the cars. Once the two dedicated cars [the United States, which carried Lincoln, and the Officers car] were delivered to the Northern Central, they had to be backed down to the Calvert Station, the site of departure north of the Exchange. Seven cars from the Northern Central Railway were added for the next leg of the journey to Harrisburg. At this date the Northern Central was a very busy line hauling troops, goods and materials of the armies. The road had enhanced its fleet of locomotives, using the heavier 4-6-0 wheel arrangement locomotives. These are the likely locomotives used for the trip to Harrisburg.
The 4-6-0 designation is a classification notation for steam locomotives. 4-6-0 represents the arrangement of 4-leading wheels, 6-powered and coupled driving wheels, and no trailing wheels. The following is a builders photograph of a 4-6-0 Steam Locomotive. Rogers Locomotive and Machine Works built this locomotive during February of 1862.
Parts of my historical novel “Railcar Gold” appear every Thursday in YorksPast. The RAILCAR GOLD Chapter 9 . . Lincoln . . Part 6 installment deals with the Lincoln Funeral Train’s stop in York, Pennsylvania.
Related Gettysburg & Lincoln posts include:
- Witness to Gettysburg Address
- President Lincoln was Interrupted Five times with Applause during his Gettysburg Address
- Find Lincoln on the Gettysburg Speakers Platform
- 1925 Article sheds light on President Lincoln photograph at Hanover Junction
- Read The Actual Article: Next-day Newspaper Coverage of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address
- Dallastown Soldier buried in Gettysburg National Cemetery
- Letters to LINCOLN during the Invasion; “Burning bridges on the Northern Central”
- Looking Back on the 100th Anniversary Commemoration of The Battle of Gettysburg; Part 1
- Subsequent to the Gettysburg Address; Civil War Election of 1864
- In The Sights of Civil War Purists and Going Down
- A Retrospective of the Confederate Invasion of 1863