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This day in history: Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

November 19, 2011

  I had the great pleasure of visiting Gettysburg with my family earlier this year and what a feeling it was to stand on the ground where so many valiant soldiers (both on the North and the South) fought in what turned out to the turning point in the Civil. Looking over Cemetery Ridge, Seminary Hill, Little Round Top, the Peach Orchard, the Devils Den, the Slaughter Pit, Emmitsburg Road, and the copse of trees the feeling of history was immeasurable. Just standing on this ground was powerful and I look forward to someday visiting more Civil War battlefields; Chancellorsville (where General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was killed) and Antietam being the first two on my list.

  It was on this day in 1863 that President Lincoln coined what is now considered one of the best speeches in United States history, and so I am reposting what I wrote last year on this historic date, with the addition of the slide shows of my trip to Gettysburg:

  November 19th, 1863: a crowd gathers to witness the dedication of the nation’s first national cemetery. The site is Gettysburg Pennsylvania, where less than five moths earlier the Confederate army led by Robert E Lee made its last incursion into Northern territory before being driven south by the Union army which was commanded by General Meade.

  This Union victory is considered the turning point in the Civil War, for up until that point while the Union had managed a few victories they were turned back on many occasions and moral in the North was at an all time low before this battle. Ironically the victorious General Meade was relieved by President Lincoln shortly after this battle because he failed to pursue General Lee’s troops and demolish them while they were on the run.

  General Meade was replaced by Ulysses S Grant who led the Union into the battle of the Wilderness, and while that battle was considered a draw, it was what happened next that was of the most import. The Union soldiers expected to either fall back into defensive positions or remain where they were as General Lee escaped once again, but they cheered loudly when General Grant declared that they would pursue General Lee and would not stop until victory was achieved. Lincoln had finally found his general and the rest is history.

  Edward Everett–who was considered the “key note” speaker and was the great orator of the time–spoke for over two hours before giving way to President Lincoln, but nobody remembers what Edward Everett said that day because his speech was eclipsed in just over two minutes by the man who gave what is considered to be one of the greatest speeches of all time.

Edward Everett himself said this of the Gettysburg address in a letter he wrote to President Lincoln the following day: “I should be glad, if I could flatter myself that I came as near the central idea of the occasion in two hours, as you did in two minutes.”

 During the Gettysburg Address Abraham Lincoln stated, “the world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here.” Oh, how wrong he was about that, history has never forgotten what President Lincoln said on that day.

  Here is a video tribute to the Gettysburg Address:

 

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. November 20, 2011 2:59 am

    At the time it was but a small speech at the end of a much longer one before it. I wonder why it became so important while the windbag who spoke before Lincoln has been forgotten?

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    • November 20, 2011 9:40 am

      think part of it is because it is so short and sweet. It was direct and right to the point.

      Like

  2. Lou222 permalink
    November 20, 2011 7:30 am

    Thanks for sharing this with us. My father, before he passed away in 1999 with Parkinsons and dementia at the age of 79 recited this to me in the hospital. He had memorized it in highschool for a class. It was amazing to hear it from him. How could something stick in his memory for that many years? Apparently it was important enough to him to be locked away for safe keeping? Maybe we should take a chapter from my fathers life and find those things that are important to us about this great country and hold on to them, as well.

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    • November 20, 2011 9:42 am

      That is a great story Lou; even when he was suffering he still remembered this speech and there must be a reason. He must have felt is was importat and I think we could all learn something from this. We must never forget what this country is all about and we must keep it the greatest country in the world.

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      • Lou222 permalink
        November 20, 2011 10:11 am

        I guess there was a reason that he still had that in his memory. Pop was a WWII vet, he was a radio operator up in the Naga Hills in India, where the head hunters were. All of the vets know what it is to pay the price of friends, brothers and fathers to have sacrificed alot for this country to be free and now I think that people have lost sight of that or just have become complacent. I see so few flags flying and some that are, are not lit up at night, as they should be. We need to make sure that history is NOT rewritten in our school books or all the next generations will not know the truth of what it takes to KEEP a country free. Steve, I imagine you felt very humbled to be standing where you were.

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      • November 21, 2011 8:10 am

        Your Dad sounds like he was a great man and a true hero, you must be so proud!

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    • November 20, 2011 11:48 pm

      That’s cool Lou222. Very cool.

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      • Lou222 permalink
        November 21, 2011 12:37 pm

        Steve and KP, yes he was a special man as well as my father. We are losing that generation at an alarming rate, wish we could get them recorded, but my Pop was not one to talk much about the war. I think that is pretty normal, they did what they had to do and that was that.

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      • November 21, 2011 9:06 pm

        From what I have read there are many who were there who did not talk about what they did and I think that just shows us just how special that generation was. They did not seek glory, they just did what they knew was right.

        Like

  3. November 20, 2011 6:38 pm

    In a remotely related area of interest..

    Lincoln woke up the morning following the Emancimation Proclamation with the HANGOVER FROM HELL…

    He looked at his advisers and said, “I did WHAT??”

    Like

    • Lou222 permalink
      November 21, 2011 12:37 pm

      Very interesting, TFred! Very interesting, haha!

      Like

  4. November 21, 2011 4:55 pm

    Good one, sir

    Like

    • November 21, 2011 9:06 pm

      Thank you!

      Like

  5. John, seeker of Truth, not just what "they" want me to believe permalink
    November 21, 2011 8:15 pm

    No, No and No!

    Have you actually researched the full span of the North’s Invasion of the South? 137 words covers 600,000 American lives, including thousands of blacks, both free and slave, AND thousands of civilian women and children.

    Lincoln was NOT who we were taught he was. He was the best liar ever to hold the office of president. If you want to honor this evil man because he was smart enough to full all the people some of the time, feel free.

    I have been to Gettysburg. And I too respect and honor some of those who died. Some had no honor, however. Those who raped, tortured and killed civilians, and burned cities and homes on LINCOLN’S orders? no.

    Read 4 books:

    “Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed to Know About Dishonest Abe” by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

    “The South Was Right!” by Walter Kennedy and James Kennedy

    “Myths of American Slavery” by Walter Kennedy and Bob Harrison

    “The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War (The Politically Incorrect Guides)” by H. W. Crocker

    After you’ve read these, you may want to do further reading, but the evidence from these meticulously documented books should be enough to convince you that this war was financial and political, using the smoke screen of “morality” and propaganda that makes Hitler like an amateur. By the way, Lincoln treated the American Indians just as he did Blacks. He was a total racist.

    On the other hand, Jefferson Davis, legally adopted a black child who had been abused, educated his slaves so they would be able to survive in this foreign land, and in so doing would abolish “slavery” by giving them the skills to thrive on their own.

    And finally, what about those Northern slaves? You know, the ones who were denied entry into Kansas and those who ventured into Illinois would be jailed if the stayed longer than 2 days?

    I love your website and our devotion to America. But Lincoln was not a “patriot.” The Left has built a Myth around him in order to centralize power in D.C. Your website states, accurately, that the fed. gvt. is too big and too powerful. Correct, Sir!

    But Lincoln started it. That was the plan.

    Like

    • November 21, 2011 9:21 pm

      John, I hope that you come back to read this reply. First, thank you for the compliment. This post was not meant as a glorification of Lincoln, but rather a rememberance of an historical event. I have very mixed feelings about Lincoln, and I agree with some of what you wrote.
      Lincoln always claimed that he had no intention of starting a war against the south but I doubt that claim; he knew by supplying Fort Sumpter that the south would be forced to fire the first shot of the war and I believe that is what he intended. There is no doubt that while he preserved the union he did so by ignoring the constitution but he used what he felt were his war powers to do so, although for all intents and purposes he started the war.
      Republicans like to remind people that Lincoln was the first elected Republican to the presidency but they forget that he is the first one who consolidated power in the federal government while stomping on states rights and it has only increased since then, but he started it.
      I mentioned that I wanted to visit Chancellorsville and the reason is simple; Stonewall Jackson is one of my heroes and I want to visit the site where he died. While I was at Gettysburg they actually had the bloodstained stretcher that carried him off the battlefield and my family will tell you that that was one of the highlights in my mind of our trip there.
      I am one who believes that the south came closer to winning the battle at Gettysburg than history tells us. If Jackson had lived to see Gettysburg he would have taken the hill on the first day and history would be different. I also believe that Pickett’s charge was successful and if it weren’t for a chance meeting between Stuart and Custer Pickett would not have been repulsed.
      I think that the Civil War is the most interesting subject of history and I do read quite a bit about it.

      Like

  6. November 21, 2011 8:24 pm

    That was a great post Steve. It’s important to remember the history, because it certainly isn’t being honored.

    Like

    • November 21, 2011 9:21 pm

      Thank you Matt.

      Like

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