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John T. Woolley & Gerhard Peters • Santa Barbara, California return to original document
• Franklin Pierce
Executive Order
April 20, 1853

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

The President has, with deep sorrow, received information that the Vice-President of the United States, William R. King, died on the 18th instant at his residence in Alabama.

In testimony of respect for eminent station, exalted character, and, higher and above all station, for a career of public service and devotion to this Union which for duration and usefulness is almost without a parallel in the history of the Republic, the labors of the various Departments will be suspended.

The Secretaries of War and Navy will issue orders that appropriate military and naval honors be rendered to the memory of one to whom such a tribute will not be formal, but heartfelt from a people the deceased has so faithfully served.

The public offices will be closed to-morrow and badges of mourning be placed on the Executive Mansion and all the Executive Departments at Washington.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

GENERAL ORDERS, INTO. II.

WAR DEPARTMENT,

ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE,

Washington, April 20, 1853.

I. The following order announces to the Army the death of William Rufus King, late Vice-President of the United States:

WAR DEPARTMENT,

Washington, April 20, 1853.

With deep sorrow the President announces to the Army the death of William Rufus King, Vice-President of the United States, who died on the evening of Monday, the 18th instant, at his residence in Dallas County, Ala.

Called into the service of his country at a period in life when but few are prepared to enter upon its realities, his long career of public usefulness at home and abroad has always been honored by the public confidence, and was closed in the second office within the gift of the people.

From sympathy with his relatives and the American people for their loss and from respect for his distinguished public services, the President directs that appropriate honors to his memory be paid by the Army.

JEFFERSON DAVIS,

Secretary of War .

II. On the day next succeeding the receipt of this order at each military post the troops will be paraded at 10 o'clock a. m. and this order read to them.

The national flag will be displayed at half-staff.

At dawn of day thirteen guns will be fired. Commencing at 12 o'clock m. seventeen minute guns will be fired and at the close of the day the national salute of thirty-one guns.

The usual badge of mourning will be worn by officers of the Army and the colors of the several regiments will be put in mourning for the period of three months.

By order:

S. COOPER,

Adjutant-General.

General Order.

NAVY DEPARTMENT,

April 20, 1853.

With deep sorrow the President announces to the officers of the Navy and Marine Corps the death of William Rufus King, Vice-President of the United States, who died on the evening of Monday, the 18th instant, at his residence in Alabama.

Called into the service of his country at a period of life when but few are prepared to enter upon its realities, his long career of public usefulness at home and abroad has always been honored by the public confidence, and was closed in the second office within the gift of the people.

From sympathy with his relatives and the American people for their loss and from respect for his distinguished public services, the President directs that appropriate honors be paid to his memory at each of the navy yards and naval stations and on board all the public vessels in commission on the day after this order is received by firing at dawn of day thirteen guns, at 12 o'clock m. seventeen minute guns, and at the close of the day the national salute, by carrying their flags at half-mast one day, and by the officers wearing crape on the left arm for three months.

J. C. DOBBIN,

Citation: Franklin Pierce: "Executive Order", April 20, 1853. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=67821.
 
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