Sesquicentennial News Briefs
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May 2015

Conspiracy Trial

WASHINGTON — The Confederation of Union Generals living history group and the National Defense University will present a two-hour play based on the trial of the Lincoln conspirators on June 20 in the original courtroom at Fort McNair.

Mark Grim and Pat Fairbairn are writing the script adapted from the original trial transcript as a sesquicentennial commemoration of the historic trial.

The performance will feature 42 cast members, including 21 testifying witnesses. The original trial lasted seven weeks and called 371 witnesses.

The production will focus on testimony relating to the night of the assassination and the damaging testimony that resulted in the conviction of the eight defendants.

Performance seating will be limited. The play will be recorded and made available to the public on DVD media. Information is at


Funeral Train

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Lincoln Funeral Train project that had planned to recreate the Lincoln funeral train trip from Washington to Springfield, now plans to display a replica locomotive and funeral car during the Springfield May 2-3 Lincoln Funeral weekend (see separate story).

The Chicago Tribune reported that the nonprofit Historic Railroad Equipment Association, which was formed four years ago to carry out the venture, is short of funds. Also, planners realized that such a train could not travel on modern track that carries passenger and freight trains.

Newly built replicas of the steam locomotive, the Leviathan, and a funeral car will be ready for Springfield. An officers’ car such as the one that carried the soldiers escorting the coffin, is being made.

Instead of recreating the original train trip, the project will use flatbed trailers to truck the train to towns for display and possible short runs over the next year. More than 100 towns have expressed interested in having the train visit.

Information about scheduling, making donations and other details about the Lincoln Funeral Train can be found at and Facebook


Bentonville Tour

FOUR OAKS, N.C. — Three new Battle of Bentonville tour stops were unveiled during the 150th commemorative weekend at Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site.

The stops are at the areas of the headquarters of Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston and of Union Gen. William T. Sherman, and where the Federal wings connected on March 20, 1865.

Two new wayside markers at each stop give information about the battle at that location. They explain the less-noticed fighting that took place March 20 and the March 21 struggle for Sam Howell Branch.

Bentonville’s driving tour previously focused on the fighting of March 19. Recent property acquisitions allowed the more balanced narrative of the three-day battle.

The Bentonville Battlefield Historical Association and the North Carolina Department of Transportation funded the tour stops. Additional support was provided by the Civil War Trust and the North Carolina Natural Heritage Trust Fund for land purchases.


Lincoln’s Address

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. — Andrew Johnson National Historic Site recreated President Lincoln’s 1865 Second Inaugural Address, with Andrew Johnson also sharing words as he became the new vice president.

Nearly 200 people came to the lawn of the Andrew Johnson Homestead to participate in commemoration sponsored by the park, the United States Postal Service, the Lincoln Project and the Andrew Johnson Heritage Association.

The post office issued a special pictorial postmark to mark the 150th anniversary. Representatives of the USPS postmarked mail and collectible materials and sold stamps and a special commemorative cachet.


Second Inauguration

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Park Service reported that despite sub-freezing temperatures more than 350 people attended the National Mall commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s second inauguration.

Jointly sponsored by National Mall and Memorial Parks and the Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia, the ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial featured remarks by dignitaries and political scientists, a recreation of the second inaugural address and swearing-in, and music.

Chuck Todd, moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press” and former chief White House correspondent for NBC News, delivered the keynote address. Lincoln portrayer Michael Krebs was administered the oath of office by Chief Justice of the United States Salmon P. Chase, portrayed by John O’Brien. Civil War music historian Bobby Horton performed “Lincoln and Liberty and Dixie.”