Spoken during the dedication in November 1863 of a new cemetery for all veterans of the Civil War that was fought here and for all future veterans.
”New Birth of Freedom”
November 19, 1863
"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 battlefield 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 cannot dedicate -- we cannot consecrate -- we cannot 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. ~President Abraham Lincoln of United States of America"
During this 3-day battle, 51,000 Union and Confederate Troops lay dead, wounded, or missing. The town of Gettysburg was left to pick up the pieces with so many still wounded and dying solders spread out through the whole community with barns and homes becoming makeshift hospitals. Graves are dug hastily and so badly and with thousands of carcasses of dead horses are so piled up; the stench makes the town’s folk sick. It was during this time the Governor Andrew Curtin of Pennsylvania, has a local attorney David Wills to purchase 17 acres of land to rebury the dead, which becomes Gettysburg National Cemetery. It was during the cemetery’s dedication in November of 1863 President Lincoln visited and gave one of his famous speeches.
If you ever visit any Veterans Cemeteries there is always a plaque located among the honored with the speech of the “Gettysburg Address”
Favorite thing: Howdy Folks! I will be editing these tips soon, adding much more info. It's a daunting task, as I don't know much about the Battle, and I have to get my facts correct, for fear of upsetting some people!! Take a look at the pictures if you wish, and come back in a week or so, and I should have filled in the missing text. Thanks. Nov 25th, 2003.
Favorite thing: I had forgotten that we had in fact visited the Pennsylvania Memorial, on Cemetery Ridge, until a VT member asked me if we had pictures of it. It was only when I looked it up on some other pages that I realised that of course we had been there! I remember walking up the steps, and reading some of the names displayed on the bronze wall plaques. So, I will find some more detail, and hopefully a half decent photo shortly.
Favorite thing: The Visitor Center and Museum of the Civil War is the place to start and figure out what you want to do while on your visit to Gettysburg. There are different guided tours of the museum itself, or of the Cyclorama which is nearby. The center provides excellent maps, including one for a self-guided auto tour around the battlefield that takes two or three hours to complete. I simply walked along Cemetery Hill and the so-called "High Water Mark Trail." The large,ugly Observation Tower in the photo is not part of the National Park Service property at Gettysburg. As I understand it, it's been dismantled since I visited in 2000.
Favorite thing: Though dozens of hot spots of conflict raged throughout the battle (everywhere identified on the battlefield), the turning point at Gettysburg occurred on Little Round Top, part of a cluster of hillocks overlooking the general field. If you know little about the Civil War, you need look no further than a history of what happened here.
Favorite thing: The equestrian statue of Union General George Meade is perhaps the most prominent of individual statuary in the park, followed by the standing statue on Little Round Top of Gouverneur K. Warren, the Union engineer and one-time explorer/surveyor for the U.S. Government.
Favorite thing: Boasting as many if not more cannons, relics, markers and memorials as any other battlefield or military park, Gettysburg has its rows of cannon and its markers telling how the battle developed and what regiments were engaged. As usual in the Civil War parks, the Union markers are by far the most numerous.
Favorite thing: Kent explaining to Mary how the firing mechanism works on his 'Cannon'!! Self-loading, rapid fire, built in range-finder? Things have progressed a long way since 1863!
Favorite thing: View to the Wheatfield, below, and Seminary Ridge in the distance. Plum Run (road) in the middle distance.
Favorite thing: View across the open ground from Seminary Ridge towards Cemetery Ridge. The 'Wheatfield' is to the right.
Favorite thing: The Virginia memorial on Seminary Ridge. General Robert E. Lee and 'Traveller, surmount the monument.
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