In addition to being the location where the largest battle ever fought on American soil was, it was also here that in November of that same year, president Abraham Lincoln read the Gettysburg Address to those who were in attendance. Below is that most famous of speeches:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Don't be surprised if you go in a place to eat dinner and you're seated next to a Confederate Soldier dining with a Union General. Or if you're walking down the street and have a question, just ask the guy in grey. OR if you're on the battlefield and people are camped our in civil war era tents. This is very common in Gettysburg as the re-enactors come every weekend when it's nice out. It used to be once in awhile, now it seems to happen all the time. During the big reenactments, Gettysburg gets so crowded, it's hard to find a hotel room for miles. If you're in town during one of them, check it out. If not, hang out with these guys...there are tents set up for general elections in the 1860s, church services with civil war music and themes, and people playing music everywhere. Just no gunfire on the streets, thankfully:) They used to frighten me. They were hairy.
FRANCE & CIVIL WAR
Few people know that France, even it was neutral and a not 'Slavery State' (since 1848 only), was rather pro South.
Why : we had more commercial links with South than North because of the cotton. But the main reason was : we were in Mexico attempting to maintain at the head of the country Maximilian, the Austria Emperor's brother, and we knew we had to leave if the North wan. According to the Monroe's principle, an European state might not have a base in America.
A unique way to see the Battlefield
You can do a horseback tour of the Battlefield. There are horse trails throughout the Battlefield and some local outfitters offer guided tours.
We did a tour through Artillery Ridge Campground and Riding Stables that was quite good. They provide a personal CD player and headset to give you the history of the battle as they take you on the Battlefield. The trail riding is easy for beginners and the CD program is quite informative.
Reservations are recommended.
The National Cemetery
The National Cemetery. It was dedicated by Lincoln in November 19 1863. His address was famous because it was brief (272 words)and lasted two minutes. The prior orator ( Edward Everett) had spoken two hours. The president transformed the battle into a symbol.