[This article was published in the February 1996 issue of the Bull Sheet]
A Tribute to President Lincoln
The B&O took part in this televised episode from Camden Station in 1956..
I was the bugle boy..
By Allen Brougham
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, a most revered man of his time, and one of only two American presidents whose birthday is generally remembered, has his day the 12th of every February. In 1956, when that day fell on a Sunday, I took part in an afternoon television documentary live and direct from B&O's Camden Station in Baltimore. I was 15 at the time.
Included in the documentary - shown nationwide - was B&O's No. 25, the William Mason, pulling a train of three cars in a sequence reenacting the 1865 funeral train as it arrived in Baltimore from Washington for one of many stops en route to Springfield, Illinois.
The sequence paced the train as it pulled into the station where it was met by an assemblage of Union soldiers and dignitaries. The presidential coffin was then taken off the train and carried reverently toward the station, and off the scene. This was one of a number of sequences from different places around the country in tribute to Mr. Lincoln as a part of the NBC program Wide Wide World hosted by Dave Garroway.
My role was that of a bugle boy. I couldn't play a bugle then, and still can't, but that did not matter. After the coffin was taken off the train, I merely followed behind it holding my bugle, walking next to a drumming drummer. I got the role through the influence of my father, then the executive officer at the Naval Reserve Training Center in Baltimore, who filled the roles of the other soldiers using men from his unit.
It was rather ironic that sailors were used for soldiers, but that is a story in itself.
The dignitaries were played by B&O employees, and the train and engine crews played themselves. The costumes and uniforms were supplied by NBC.
Rehearsals were conducted over a several-hour period on Saturday, then again for a couple or so hours on Sunday before going on the air. With each rehearsal, the train would position itself on the west end of No. 2 station track, just up from HB Tower, and then at the proper time it would move slowly toward the station and stop. The train moved back and forth perhaps a dozen times throughout the process of rehearsing. This and the procession that followed had to be letter-perfect since the program would be aired live. This was before the era of video tape.
A lot of practice, pride and effort were put forth that weekend... all for a live segment that lasted only about four minutes.
TV camera awaits Lincoln funeral train at Camden Station
Locomotive William Mason was borrowed for the event from the B&O Railroad Museum
Dignitaries were portrayed by B&O employees. Honor guard soldiers were portrayed by sailors from the Naval Reserve. I can be seen holding a bugle directly behind the coffin. I was not in the Navy at the time, but three years later I was. Following active duty, I was assigned to the same Naval Reserve center in Baltimore.