Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865)
President Abraham Lincoln signed the first Act of Congress to recognize the Marine Band by law on July 25, 1861. Throughout his presidency, Lincoln enjoyed listening to the band perform. F. B. Carpenter, in his book, The Inner Life of Abraham Lincoln: Six Months at the White House, wrote, “One Saturday afternoon when the lawn in front of the White House was crowded with people listening to the weekly concert of the Marine Band, the president appeared upon the portico. Instantly there was a clapping of hands and clamor for a speech. Bowing his thanks, and excusing himself he stepped back into the retirement of the circular parlor, remarking to me, with a disappointed air, as he reclined upon the sofa, ‘I wish they would let me sit out there quietly, and enjoy the music.’ ”
The Marine Band accompanied President Lincoln when he traveled to Gettysburg, Pa., for the dedication of the National Cemetery on Nov. 19, 1863. The band also continued its essential role of rendering musical honors during Lincoln’s funeral after his assassination on April 14, 1865.
The Marine Band at Gettysburg standing outside the main gate of the National Cemetery, 1863, From the Historic Uniform Prints of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band collection by Colonel Donna Neary, USMCR (Ret..
President Lincoln visits with Prince Napoleon and other guests during a Marine Band concert on the White House grounds, 1861, Courtesy of the White House Historical Association.
Funeral March dedicated to the memory of Abraham Lincoln by Bvt. Major General J. C. Barnard and played by the Marine Band at President Lincoln’s funeral, 1865, Courtesy of the American Memory Collection, Library of Congress.