President Abraham Lincoln’s Honor Guard – A Cleveland Police Connection

President Lincoln’s Hearse in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

After Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865, a funeral train transported Lincoln’s remains over 1600 miles, through seven states, to Springfield, Illinois. The funeral train arrived in Cleveland on April 28th. Lincoln’s remains rested in a pagoda-style catafalque, which allowed local mourners to pay their respects in 2 moving lines. By 6pm, over 90,000 people has walked past the catafalque. At 10:30pm, the President’s remains were escorted back to the train station by Cleveland Police, the 29th Ohio National Guard, and the “Civic Guard”.

This catafalque was constructed in 1865 to support the casket of President Abraham Lincoln while the president’s body laid in state at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, prior to being transported to Indiana.

The Honor Guard was made up of men from the Veteran Reserve Corps, a military organization made up of men partially disabled during the war or men who had served their full enlistment and wished to continue serving. The Honor Guard consisted of 29 members of the Volunteer Reserve Corp, commanded by Captain James McCamly and three Lieutenants. All of the other members of the Honor Guard were First Sergeants. These men were the only ones allowed to move the presidents casket to and from the funeral train, as well as moving the casket to and from the places where the president lay in state. The members of President Lincoln’s Honor Guard were presented with the Congressional Medal of Honor after completing their service, but these were revoked in 1900 due to a more stringent criteria for earning a Medal of Honor.

Crowd gathers at the catafalque on Public Square to view the body of President Lincoln. WRHS Photo

Future Cleveland police officer George Goodrich served in the Honor Guard for President Lincoln’s funeral train. George Elliott Goodrich was born on July 7, 1835, to Sylvester and Elize Goodrich.  He married Rebecca Colyer in 1859 and the couple eventually had six children.  He enlisted on August 6th, 1862, in Company A, 124th Ohio, eventually rising to First Sergeant. After honorably serving throughout the Civil War, he transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps on November 21, 1864.

The Guard of Honor consisted of:

  • Capt. James M. McCamly, Co. A, 9th VRC, (formerly 70th N.Y. Vol. Inf.).
  • First Lieut. Joseph H. Durkee, Co. E, 7th VRC, (formerly 146th N.Y. Vol. Inf.)
  • Second Lieut. Edward Murphy, Co. B, 10th VRC, (formerly 148th Penn. Vol.)
  • Second Lieut. Edward Hoppy, Co. C, 12th VRC, (formerly 44th & 9th U.S. Inf.; 2nd U.S. Art.)

First Sergeants

  • John P. Barry, Co. A, 24th VRC (formerly 118th Penn. Vol. Inf.)
  • Luther E. Bulock, Co. E 9th VRC (formerly 97th N.Y. Vol. Inf.)
  • Patrick Callaghan, Co. H 9th VRC (formerly 69th N.Y. Vol. Inf.)
  • Frank Carey, Co. E, 12th VRC (formerly 51st Ohio Inf.)
  • Samuel Carpenter, Co. K, 7th VRC (formerly 35th Mo. Inf.)
  • Augustus E. Carr, Co. D, 12th VRC (formerly 140th N.Y. Vol. Inf.)
  • James Collins, Co. D, 12th VRC (formerly 12th Mass. Vol. Inf.)
  • Addison Cornwell, Co. I, 7th VRC (formerly 134th N.Y. Vol. Inf.)
  • William F. Daly, Co. A, 10th VRC
  • William W. Durgin, Co. F, 10th VRC (formerly 1st & 9th Maine Vol. Inf.)
  • John R. Edwards, Co. E, 7th VRC (formerly 21st Wisc. Vol. Inf.)
  • Lloyd D. Forehand, Co. I, 18th VRC (formerly 5th N.H. Vol. Inf.)
  • George E. Goodrich, Co. A, 12th VRC (formerly 124th Ohio Vol. Inf.)
  • John Hanna, Co. B, 14th VRC (formerly 40th N.Y. Vol. Inf.; 2nd U.S. Cavalry)
  • John Karr, Co. D., 14th VRC (formerly 1st Mich. Vol. Inf.)
  • Rufus W. Lewis, Co. E, 18th VRC (formerly 15th Conn. Vol. Inf.)
  • A. Judson Marshall, Co. K, 9th VRC (formerly 94th N.Y. Vol. Inf.)
  • Jacob F. Nelson, Co. A, 9th VRC (formerly 150th Penn. Vol. Inf.)
  • William H. Noble, Co. G, 12th VRC (formerly 21st Wisc. Vol. Inf.)
  • James M. Pardun, Co. K, 24th VRC (formerly 93rd Ind. Vol. Inf.)
  • Irvin M. Sedgwick, Co. H., 18th VRC (formerly 8th Mass. & 93rd N.Y. Vol. Inf.)
  • Frank T. Smith, Co. C, 10th VRC (formerly 5th Wisc. Vol. Inf.)
  • John P. Smith, Co. I, 14th VRC (formerly 119th Ill. Vol. Inf.)
  • Chester Swinehart, Co. D, 7th VRC, 1st Sgt. (formerly 14th Ohio Vol. Inf.)
  • William H. Wiseman, Co. E, 24th VRC (formerly 139th Penn. Vol. Inf.)

President Lincoln’s Casket in Public Square with Honor Guards. Courtesy of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument

Each member of the Honor Guard was presented with a Congressional Medal of Honor commemorating their service guarding the President.  The members all agreed that they would wear this medal on the anniversary of President Lincoln’s death as long as they lived.  According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Sergeant Goodrich fulfilled this promise and had remarked on several occasions that the medal was one of his most valued treasures.

President Lincoln Funeral Escort Commemorative Badge (front)
President Lincoln Funeral Escort Commemorative Badge (back)

On September 13, 1865, George E. Goodrich was appointed a member of the Cleveland Police Force.  With the reorganization of the Force on May 1, 1866, he was reappointed and immediately made a Sergeant.  He was appointed a Detective on April 12, 1876.  According to a Cleveland Plain Dealer article on July2, 1883, “During nearly eighteen years of service, Goodrich never lost a day of duty, and his record as an officer is second to none.”

Sergeant Goodrich was severely injured in August of 1870 when he was struck several times with a hatchet, one blow being to the side of his head.  He returned to duty but did have some health issues after this incident.  He resigned on July 2nd, 1883 and was appointed an agent for the Humane Society in Cleveland.  In 1888 the first compulsory school law was enacted, and Sergeant Goodrich was appointed as the first truant officer in Cleveland.

Sergeant Goodrich Oath of Office, May 1,1866
Detective Goodrich Oath of Office, April 12, 1876

George E. Goodrich died from a self-inflected gunshot wound on May 9th, 1899.  It was believed that he never fully recovered from the effects of the hatchet attack in 1870, and this may have played a part in his suicide.  The funeral took place at the home of his son-in-law on Bayne Street.  One of the floral arrangements sent by the Detective Department, was in the shape of a police badge, made up of roses and lilies, with the words OUR COMRADE in the center.  He was interred at Riverside Cemetery, next to his wife Rebecca Collyer Goodrich who had passed away in 1885.

Information for this article was provided by the Cuyahoga County Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, Cleveland Public Library Cleveland Memory Project, Western Reserve Historical Society, The Cleveland Plain Dealer , Cleveland Daily Herald, and Hermann Historica GmbH.

Cleveland Plain Dealer, May13, 1889
Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 12, 1870

Written by Cleveland Police Historical Society and Museum volunteer Commander Robert Cermak, retired.

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