Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant Sunday, April 9, 1865.

Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant Sunday, April 9, 1865.

Word of the surrender reached Columbus the same evening and most of the people in the capital city began to celebrate. Church bells rang, artillery salutes were fired and train whistles sounded.

The festivities went on for most of the following week culminating on Good Friday, April 14, 1865.

The activities on Good Friday include a torchlight parade, speeches on the Statehouse steps and an elaborate fireworks presentation. A later account noted that "at the close of the meeting the people sang the doxology, and dispersed, we are told, 'full of joyous emotions.' "

The following morning the people of Columbus awoke to learn that while they had been rejoicing in the victory of the Union, President Abraham Lincoln had been shot by an assassin.

When news of the president's death was announced, virtually all business activity in the city stopped and the flags of Columbus were lowered to half-staff. One local history later reported that "a somber spirit pervaded the entire city, as though death's shadow had fallen upon every spirit."

What then followed was one of the more impressive series of events in American history. Over the next several weeks, Lincoln's funeral train would slowly travel home to Springfield, Ill., passing through seven states and more than 400 communities.

One of them was Columbus.

The Lincoln funeral train arrived in Columbus at 7 a.m. April 29, 1865. The funeral procession would travel south, moving in an elaborate circle of streets to arrive facing north on High Street at the west front of the capital building.

Local journalist William Coggeshall described the procession. "The hearse was the great center of attention. All along the line of march it was preceded by hundreds of all ages, sexes and conditions striving to keep as near as possible to the somber structure. It was 17 feet long, 8??? feet wide and 17??? feet from the ground to the apex of the canopy. The main platform was four feet from the ground. ... The canopy resembled in shape a Chinese pagoda. ... On each side of the dais was the word 'Lincoln' in silver letters. The hearse was drawn by six white horses, covered with black cloth, which was edged with silver fringe. The heads of the horses were surmounted with large black plumes and each was led by a groom dressed in black, with white gloves and white band round his hat.

"Every window, housetop, balcony and every inch of the sidewalk on either side of High Street was densely crowded with a mournful throng assembled to pay homage to departed worth. In all the enormous crowd profound silence reigned. Conversation was carried on in whispers. ... The display made by the various orders and associations in the procession elicited universal commendation. The Fire Department was the subject of especial notice and praise. The neat, clean uniforms of the men, the splendid condition of the steamers and hose carts, and the decorated car filled with forty-two young ladies habited in deep mourning were among the notable incidents of the day.

"Along the line of march, dwelling houses, shops stores and other places of business, as well as all public buildings, were tastefully and solemnly decorated. ... The west gateway of the Capitol Square was arched and bore the simple inscription Ohio Mourns. The columns at the west front of the capitol were tastefully draped in spiral turns of mourning cloth from top to bottom.

"About nine o'clock the head of the procession arrived at the west entrance of Capitol Square. The Eighty-Eighth Ohio Infantry, acting as a special escort, passed in immediately forming two ranks on each side of the pass way from the gates to the steps of the Capitol."

After it was placed in the center of the rotunda on a flower-covered platform, the coffin was opened.

Coggeshall later described the scene. "The officers forming the guards were assigned their positions and without delay the people commenced moving into the rotunda. First came the various military organizations of the procession, the men formed in four ranks marching without noise on a carpet to the catafalque, passing by twos on each side of the coffin -- the face and upper part of the body being brought in full view of each individual -- and then those on the right passing out at the south and those on the left turning to the north.

"By actual count it was found that over eight thousand passed in and out every hour from half after nine until four o'clock, and making due allowance, it is thought that over fifty thousand people viewed the remains in that time."

The Lincoln funeral procession left Columbus by train at 8 p.m. The catafalque in the rotunda would remain in place until May 4, 1865 -- the day of Lincoln's funeral in his hometown of Springfield, Ill. And with that, the third and final visit of Abraham Lincoln to Columbus came to an end.

Local historian and author Ed Lentz writes the As it were column for ThisWeek News.