Arlington's prominence in the public mind was heightened by one of the most impressive funerals ever held in Washington, that of General Philip Sheridan on August 11, 1888. After a service at St. Matthew's Church, the body of the Civil War hero was carried, on a horse-drawn caisson, through the streets of Washington and across the Potomac River to Arlington.
General Sheridan, the son of Irish immigrants, had become famous as a brash cavalry officer during the Civil War. As commanding general of the U.S. Army at the time of his death, he was buried in a very prominent spot in the cemetery, atop the hill which affords a spectacular view of the city of Washington.
The nation's newspapers gave General Sheridan's funeral front-page coverage, and this week in Newspaper Sunday we look at what the curious public read at the time.
Note: The links below lead to excerpts of newspaper articles. To view the complete page of the paper at the Chronicling America site of the Library of Congress, click the "persistent link" on the excerpt page.
- New York Tribune, August 11, 1888: A report described the scene at St. Matthew's Church, said the general would be "back among his troops," and quoted from the poem "Bivouac of the Dead" by Theodore O'Hara.
- The Washington Critic, August 11, 1888: A description of the scene outside the church mentioned two legendary participants in the funeral: General William Tecumseh Sherman, an honorary pallbearer, and John Phillip Sousa, who was conducting the Marine Band.
- New York Tribune, August 12, 1888: With most of the front page devoted to coverage of the funeral, the opening paragraph described in poetic terms the spectacular view from the site of the grave.
- Los Angeles Daily Herald, August 12, 1888: The enormity of the funeral was indicated by the ceremonial volleys being described as "the flash and roar of 500 muskets." And then, the playing of "Taps."
- St. Paul Daily Globe, August 12, 1888: "He sleeps as in life he stood at the head of an army."
Illustration: General Philip Sheridan/Library of Congress
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