Sosa – Close Reading: A Nation Mourns

Teacher: Sosa (


In this excerpt from The Civil War, author Geoffrey C. Ward describes the path of the funeral train and how people across the United States paid their funeral respects to their fallen president.

Part I. Academic Vocabulary

Look up the following bolded words in an online or paper dictionary. Then fill in the blanks for the definition and contextualization.

Declare – to _______________ how you feel in a ______________ way.
Example: What information have you heard your teacher declare recently?
I heard my teacher _____________ that __________________________________.

Principle – a belief about what is ______________ that influences _______________.
Example: What is one principle that is important to you?
One ____________ that is important to me is ______________ because I believe ____________________________.

Part II: Close Reading

Read carefully the following text, then answer the questions that follow.

Abraham Lincoln died at 7:22 a.m.

The telegraph carried the news across the country in minutes. No president had ever before been murdered. people would remember for the rest of their lives where they were and what they felt and what the weather was like when they heard it.

Gideon Welles walked the wet streets of Washington:

“On the avenue in front of the White House were several hundred [African American] people, mostly women and children, weeping and wailing their loss. This crowd did not diminish through the whole of that cold, wet day.”

Lincoln’s casket lay in state, first in the East Room of the White House, then in the rotunda of the Capitol. He was to be buried in Springfield, his adopted home.

The funeral train tool fourteen days and traveled 1,662 miles through the soft spring landscape, retracing the route Lincoln had taken to Washington five years earlier.

In Philadelphia, Lincoln’s coffin lay in Independence Hall, where he had declared he would “rather be assassinated” than surrender the principles embodied in the Declaration of Independence. The double line of mourners stretched three miles.

In Manhattan, scalpers sold choice window positions along the route for four dollars and up. The procession lasted four hours. Blacks had been barred from the New York ceremonies, but a last-minute change of heart by the mayor permitted them to take part -provided that they marched at the rear.

At Cleveland, no public building was thought big enough to hold the expected crowds and an outdoor pavilion was set up through which ten thousand mourners passed every hour, all day, despite a driving rain. There was a run on black drapery material in the city and many households had dyed their own. The rain caused scores of draped buildings to run with black.

It finally ended in Springfield on May 4. Among the thousands of people who shuffled past his bier were many thousands of people who had known him in the old days -farmers from New Salem, law clients and rival attorneys, neighbors who had nodded to him each morning on his way to work.

General Joseph Hooker, in charge of the final leg of the long journey, led the slow march through a gentle rain to Oak Ridge Cemetery.

1-) Identify the main idea: How did Americans pay their final respects to President Lincoln? List two (2) ways.

  1. ______________________________________________________
  2. ______________________________________________________

2-) Identify two sentences in the text that prove your answer to question 1.

  1. ______________________________________________________
  2. ______________________________________________________

3-) Write using the format to properly quote that we studied in class, how those quotes create the main idea of the text.

In paragraph _____, the text says that _____________________________________
________________________________________, which proves that ___________
_____________________________________. Likewise, in paragraph ____, the text says that _________________________________________________________,
which proves that ___________________________________________________.


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