Union Soldiers Guarded Body After Lincoln Assassination

Last of the Union soldiers who were President Abraham Lincoln's last bodyguard toured White House and Lincoln Memorial during observance of Lincoln's birthday.

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From a newspaper article:

"A 93-year-old Pennsylvanian, only survivor of President Abraham Lincoln's last bodyguard, was received at the White House by President (Theodore) Roosevelt Tuesday, as part of the chief executive's observance of the Emancipator's birthday.

"The veteran was William Henry Gilbert of Craley, Pennsylvania, one of six Union soldiers who guarded Lincoln's bier at Philadelphia where the body lay in state before being taken to Illinois for burial.

"Wearing the uniform of the 'boys in blue,' Gilbert was introduced to President Roosevelt by Representative Haines, Democrat, Pennsylvania. During the interview, Gilbert sat in one of Lincoln's cabinet chairs and viewed the famous Lincoln bed.

"Leaving the White House, Gilbert went to the Lincoln Memorial and joined in memorial exercises there. As he climbed slowly the long flight of steps to the statue of his former commander, the Marine Band played DeKoven's 'Recessional'.”

The age of William Henry Gilbert and that of my father, James Henry Gilbert, and the fact that Henry is used in the family name over and over, suggests that the Civil War vet could be my grandfather.

Russell H. Gilbert
Hopkins, Minnesota


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then CAPPER’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from CAPPER’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.