James K. Polk

Executive Order—Death of John Quincy Adams

February 24, 1848



Washington, February 24, 1848.

I. The following orders of the President of the United States and Secretary of War announce to the Army the death of the illustrious ex-President John Quincy Adams:


WASHINGTON, February 24, 1848 .

It has pleased Divine Providence to call hence a great and patriotic citizen. John Quincy Adams is no more. At the advanced age of more than fourscore years, he was suddenly stricken from his seat in the House of Representatives by the hand of disease on the 21st, and expired in the Capitol a few minutes after 7 o'clock on the evening of the 23d of February, 1848.

He had for more than half a century filled the most important public stations, and among them that of President of the United States. The two Houses of Congress, of one of which he was a venerable and most distinguished member, will doubtless prescribe appropriate ceremonies to be observed as a mark of respect for the memory of this eminent citizen.

The nation mourns his loss; and as a further testimony of respect for his memory I direct that all the executive offices at Washington be placed in mourning and that all business be suspended during this day and to-morrow.


WAR DEPARTMENT, February 24, 1848.

The President of the United States with deep regret announces to the Army the death of John Quincy Adams, our eminent and venerated fellow-citizen.

While occupying his seat as a member of the House of Representatives, on the 21st instant he was suddenly prostrated by disease, and on the 23d expired, without having been removed from the Capitol. He had filled many honorable and responsible stations in the service of his country, and among them that of President of the United States; and he closed his long and eventful life in the actual discharge of his duties as one of the Representatives of the people.

From sympathy with his relatives and the American people for his loss and from respect for his distinguished public services, the President orders that funeral honors shall be paid to his memory at each of the military stations.

The Adjutant-General will give the necessary instructions for carrying into effect the foregoing orders.


Secretary of War.

II. On the day succeeding the arrival of this general order at each military post the troops will be paraded at 10 o'clock a. m. and the order read to them, after which all labors for the day will cease.

The national flag will be displayed at half-staff.

At dawn of day thirteen guns will be fired, and afterwards, at intervals of thirty minutes between the rising and setting sun, a single gun, and at the close of the day a national salute of twenty-nine guns.

The officers of the Army will wear crape on the left arm and on their swords and the colors of the several regiments will be put in mourning for the period of six months.

By order:



James K. Polk, Executive Order—Death of John Quincy Adams Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/201421

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