The Illustrated London News

Home | About | Introduction | Bibliography | Articles | Illustrations | Search | Links

The Second Inauguration of President Lincoln

The Illustrated London News, vol. 46, no. 1309, p. 334.

April 8, 1865


We present two illustrations of the proceedings at Washington upon the recent occasion when Mr. Lincoln inaugurated his second term of office as President of the United States. Our first Engraving shows the scene in front of the Capitol, on Saturday, March 4--the reading of the President's address to the people assembled in the open street beneath the portico of that stately palace of the Federal Legislature. Mr. Lincoln himself will be at once distinguished. He is standing with a paper in his hand behind the small table on which a glass of water is placed; and the two gentlemen seated in front, a little to the left hand of the view, are the ex Vice-President, Mr. Hamlin; and the new Vice-President, Mr. Andrew Johnson, who had made rather an unfortunate exhibition of himself in the Senate House a few minutes before. The Secretary of State, Mr. Seward, with Mr. Stanton, the Secretary for War, and Mr. Welles, the Secretary for the Navy, are standing together near the lamp-post, in the right-hand portion of the View. The row of seven or eight gentlemen seated in front, between the President and the Cabinet Ministers, are Chief Justice Chase and the Judges of the Supreme Court. The members of the Senate, those belonging to the foreign Legations, and a miscellaneous crowd of gentlemen and ladies behind, occupy the remainder of the elevated space. The weather had been stormy and showery till within an hour of noon; but at the time of this ceremony there was an interval of bright sunshine. The reading of the address did not occupy ten minutes. It was received with loud acclamations; a salute of 100 guns was then fired, and President Lincoln, entering his carriage, went home to his official residence, called the White House.

Our second Illustration is an interior view of the great north hall of the Patent Office at Washington, in which a grand ball took place on the Monday evening, March 6, in honour of the President, as is customary at the beginning of each President's term of office. This vast apartment was chosen for the dancing, because it is nearly 100 ft. in width; but its aspect is not so magnificent as that of the south or central hall, or that of the east hall in the same building, which were used for the promenade. The north hall, which was occupied as a Government hospital in 1861 and 1862, has lately been put in order for the exhibition therein of a collection of patented articles. The floor is laid with a blue and white marble pavement; the walls had been freshly painted, and were hung with a series of banners, displaying those national emblems, the stars and stripes, in alternate festoons, midway between the ceiling and the floor. Between the windows were ranged the guidons, or small hand-flags, of the various army corps, brigades, and regiments of the United States service, while miniature American flags were crossed and placed at intervals on the walls. On a balcony over the main entrance was stationed a fine military band; and midway in the hall, on another balcony, tastefully decorated with bunting, was placed the orchestra. On a raised dais immediately opposite the latter balcony, and on the northern side of the hall, were handsome sofas of blue and gold, which were intended as seats of honour for the President and his suite. The gaslights were arranged on seven pipes extending across the hall, a few feet from the ceiling. Dressing-rooms for the ladies were prepared along the sides of the promenade-halls. The President and distinguished guests, according to the arrangements of the committee, entered the building from Seventh, the remainder from F street. At nine o'clock the crowd began to assemble in the ball-room and to take their seats on the single line of benches which went all round the room.

The ladies' dresses are said to have displayed a great variety of invention; some ladies wore their hair powdered with gold-dust. The dancing began at a quarter to ten. The President and Mrs. Lincoln, with the Speaker of the House of Representatives and Mr. Charles Sumner, arrived at a quarter past ten. The President wore a full suit of black, with white kid gloves; Mrs. Lincoln wore a white lace dress over a white silk skirt and bodice, a berthe of point lace, and necklace of pearls, with a wreath of white jessamine, purple violets, and trailing vines upon her head. At eleven o'clock Mr. Seward, the Secretary of State; Mr. Welles, the Secretary for the Navy; the Attorney-General, and other members of the Cabinet, with some of the foreign Ministers and their ladies, entered the hall; but fresh arrivals continued till midnight. The supper-tables, loaded with a profusion of artistic confectionery, were laid out in the hall in the west wing of the building. The most conspicuous forms of architectural pastry were a model of the Capitol for the centrepiece, with emblematic sculptures on the four sides of the pedestal; and two monumental structures, which were dedicated respectively to the honour of the United States army and of the United States navy, displaying various scenes and implements of warfare, with portraits of several distinguished commanders by land and sea. The central hall and the east hall were gorgeously decorated--the ceilings and cornices being painted most elaborately with combinations of red and yellow, blue and green, while the immense pillars were coloured ultramarine. These halls were, of course, brilliantly lighted, and, when thronged with gaily-dressed people, had a very splendid effect. The profits derived from the sale of tickets went towards the relief of the sick and wounded of the Federal army.

Previous: The MagazinesArticleVolume 46, no. 1296, p. 2 (1 paragraph)
Next: Foreign and Colonial IntelligenceArticlevol. 46, no. 1310, p. 343 (8 paragraphs)
Article List for: Illustrated London News: Volume 46

Download Article as Plain Text

Search Entire Text

Article Date

University Libraries | Beck Center | | Emory University
A Joint Project by Sandra J. Still, Emily E. Katt, Collection Management, and the Beck Center.

Powered by TEI