Archaeology Magazine

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Lincoln’s Final Journey

Friday, May 10, 2013

(Public Domain)TUCSON, ARIZONA—Chemist Wayne Wesolowski of the University of Arizona has analyzed paint chips from a surviving piece of window frame from the railcar that carried Abraham Lincoln’s body from New York to Illinois after his death in 1865. The rest of the car was destroyed in a fire in 1911. Millions had gathered to witness Lincoln’s funeral procession, but different witnesses reported different colors for the railcar. By comparing the chips with national color standards, Wesolowski has determined that the car was a brownish-red color, or “dark maroon.” “It was such a huge, important event, and we knew a lot of the technical details about the railcar, but the color had been a mystery,” he said. A replica train will be built to retrace the path of the procession for the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s death in 2015.