William Tecumseh Sherman’s Funeral is Held: February 21, 1891

William T. Sherman Funeral Procession in St. Louis
Missouri History Museum/Public Domain

General William Tecumseh Sherman’s funeral mass and burial were held in St. Louis on this date in 1891. Sherman, one of the most famous generals of the American Civil War, passed away on February 14, 1891 and an initial funeral mass was held for him in New York where he was when he passed away. His second funeral mass and burial in St. Louis were events of significant national importance, reflecting the respect and admiration he had earned throughout his military career.

Sherman’s body was transported from New York to St. Louis after the initial ceremony, which was held on February 19. The general had spent many years of his life in St. Louis and his family still resided there. The funeral procession was a grand affair, drawing large crowds who lined the streets to pay their respects to the fallen general. Military units, veterans, and civic organizations participated in the procession, which was marked by a solemn dignity befitting the occasion.

The funeral service itself was held at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, a prominent Catholic church in St. Louis. Sherman, who had been raised as a Catholic, had a complex relationship with his faith, but his family chose to honor his heritage with a service in the church. The ceremony was attended by a host of dignitaries, including president Rutheford B. Hayes, several high-ranking military officers, government officials, and representatives from various states.

Following the service, the cortege proceeded to Calvary Cemetery, where William Tecumseh Sherman was laid to rest. The burial site was chosen for its significance to the Sherman family, as it was the final resting place of his wife, Ellen, and several of their children. The interment was accompanied by military honors, including a gun salute and the playing of taps, a fitting tribute to a man who had played such a pivotal role in the nation’s history.

Sherman’s funeral and burial in St. Louis were not just a personal family event but a national moment of reflection on the legacy of a man who had been both a controversial figure and a respected military leader. The ceremonies captured the respect and solemnity appropriate for a figure of Sherman’s stature, marking the end of an era in American military history.