Revolutionary War Historical Article

The Entombment of George Washington

Editor's Note: A Georgetown newspaper published this account of the burial of George Washington.

On Wednesday last the mortal part of George Washington the Great – the Father of his Country and the friend of man, was consigned to the tomb, with solemn honor and funeral pomp.

A multitude of persons assembled, from many miles round, at Mount Vernon, the choice abode and last residence of the illustrious Chief. There were the groves – spacious avenues, the beautiful and sublime scenes, the noble mansion – but alas! The august inhabitant was no more. That great soul was gone. His mortal part was there indeed; but ah! How affecting! How awful the spectacle of such worth and greatness, thus, to mortal eyes fallen! Yes! Fallen! Fallen!

In the long and lofty portico, where oft the hero walked in all his glory, now lay the shrouded corpse. The countenance still composed and serene, seemed to express the dignity of the spirit, which lately dwelt in that lifeless form. There those who paid the last sad honors to the benefactor of his Country, took an impressive view.

On the ornament, at the head of the coffin, was inscribed Surge Ad Judicium – about the middle of the coffin, Gloria Deo – and on the silver plate: General George Washington departed this life on the 14th December, 1799, Aet. 68

Between three and four o’clock the band of artillery from a vessel in the river firing minute-guns, awoke afresh our solemn sorrow – the corpse was moved – a band of music with mournful melody melted the soul into all the tenderness of woe.

When the procession had arrived at the bottom of the elevated lawn, on the banks of the Potomac, where the family vault is placed, the cavalry halted, the infantry marched towards the Mount and formed their lines – the Clergy, the Masonic Brothers and the Citizens, descended to the vault, and the funeral service of the Church was performed – the sounds echoed from the woods and hills around.

Three general discharges by the infantry, the cavalry, the 11 pieces of artillery, which lined the banks of the Potomac back of the Vault, paid the last tribute to the entombed Commander in Chief of the Armies of the United States and to the departed Hero.

The sun was now setting, Alas, The Son of Glory was set forever. NO – The name WASHINGTON – the American President and General – will triumph over death! The unclouded brightness of his Glory will illuminate the future ages!



December 20, 1779 A.D.

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