We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
- T.S. Eliot

Welcome to Ten Roads! This blog is intended to be a place for me to share my (generally Civil War-related) thoughts and experiences. I try to update once a week at the very least. All comments and readers are greatly appreciated!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

You'll have to go around, Mr. President.

A while back we (the volunteers at the train station) were told that we should no longer tell visitors that Lincoln entered our building, but simply that he arrived there on November 18, 1863 and departed from there as well. Previously, we had been pretty sure that the president would have gotten off the train onto the platform, gone into the headhouse through the back doors, and left out of the "men's" entrance to his left. But then someone involved with the station discovered one source stating that Lincoln did not enter the headhouse because there were empty coffins stacked inside.

When I give tours, I tell people that we do not know for sure if Lincoln entered because of that one source. But then I say that personally I believe he did enter and I explain to them why I believe this.

The town was expecting a great number of people for the dedication of the cemetery. Many of these people would be arriving by train and then leaving by train a couple days later. Why would they crowd up the space needed for people (some very important ones at that) with coffins when there was the Sheads and Buehler warehouse right next door where they could have easily stacked the coffins? Or if not in the warehouse, why wouldn't they have unloaded the coffins onto the platform or just somewhere else? I suppose they could have even taken them upstairs, though I would imagine carrying coffins up a narrow spiral staircase would be rather difficult.

Perhaps there was a reason the coffins could not be moved, though. Or maybe there was a great deal of illogical thought going on in the confusion of preparing for a tidal wave of visitors. I do not know. It's just one of history's mysteries, I suppose.

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