Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Gettysburg, its battles and addresses

From July 1 to July 3, 1863, the "Battle of Gettysburg" was fought between Union and Confederate soldiers in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania -- with horrendous outcome, the loss of about 23,000 Union soldiers (wounded, captured or missing) and 23,000 to 28,000 Confederate casualties (wounded, captured or missing).

About four months later the dedication of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania was held November 19, 1863. The Cemetery was created for re-interments from the Gettysburg Battlefield of those soldiers who had been hastily buried there.

The main speaker at the memorial was Edward Everett (1794–1865), who reportedly delivered a two-hour speech. Everett was from Massachusetts, a renowned speaker, former pastor and politician (which included U. S. Representative, U. S. Senator and Governor of Massachusetts). President Lincoln's "Dedicatory Remarks" followed Everett's oration and a song, and preceded another song and the benediction by Henry L. Baugher, a Lutheran clergyman and president of Gettysburg College.

Everett's two-hour speech was not unusual for the time and was apparently well received. Over the years his oration has receded from view while Lincoln's "Dedicatory Remarks" have taken center stage.

Gettysburg links
* 151 years ago, Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address connected a nation to 1776 -- " both the sword that secured our national direction at a cost of 50,000 men in three days, and the address spoken by Abraham Lincoln on Nov. 19, 1863..."
* Did Abraham Lincoln omit God from the Gettysburg Address? -- "...there are at least nine versions of the Gettysburg Address from the time period, with some in Lincoln’s handwriting. All are slightly different..."
* Gettysburg 150 – A Southern Perspective -- "On July 3 [2013] a reading of the Roll of the Dead began at the National Cemetery and for the first time in history, the name of both Union and Confederate were read.  Prior to this, only Union names were read at such occasions.
* Gettysburg Oration by Edward Everett -- "But they, I am sure, will join us in saying, as we bid farewell to the dust of these martyr-heroes, that wheresoever throughout the civilized world the accounts of this great warfare are read, and down to the latest period of recorded time, in the glorious annals of our common country, there will be no brighter page than that which relates The Battles of Gettysburg."
* History & Culture Gettysburg National Military Park -- " The fate of the nation literally hung in the balance that summer of 1863 when General Robert E. Lee, commanding the "Army of Northern Virginia", led his army north into Maryland and Pennsylvania, bringing the war directly into northern territory.
* Myths and mysteries about the Gettysburg Address -- “Edward Everett was the featured speaker of the day...he told Lincoln, 'I should be glad, if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes.'”
* Read six different versions of the Gettysburg Address -- "There were five versions of the Gettysburg Address that were acknowledged by Abraham Lincoln in his lifetime."
* The Battle of Gettysburg, 1863 -- "Tillie Pierce was born in 1848 and when the battle began, had lived all her life in the village of Gettysburg...She was attending school on June 26 when the cry 'the Rebels are coming!' reverberated through the town's sleepy streets."
* The Battle of Gettysburg - Pickett's Charge - A Confederate Official Report -- "He stopped but for a moment to look on his dying son, gave him his canteen of water, and pressed on..."
* The Battle of Gettysburg Summary & Facts -- "As many as 51,000 soldiers from both armies were killed, wounded, captured or missing in the three-day battle."
* The Other Gettysburg Address -- “Mr. Everett was listened to with breathless silence by all that immense crowd, and he had his audience in tears many times during his masterly effort.”
* Today in Media History: Reporters describe Lincoln's 1863 Gettysburg Address -- "Depending on their political leanings, newspapers added their own comment to coverage of the speech...Newspapers critical of the President had snide things to say about the speech’s brevity and inappropriateness to the occasion. Lincoln supporters, on the other hand, published glowing reviews and noted the classical elegance and heartfelt emotion of the address."

The muffled drum's sad roll has beat
The soldier's last tattoo;
No more on life's parade shall meet
The brave and daring few.
On Fame's eternal camping-ground
Their silent tents are spread,
And Glory guards with solemn round
The bivouac of the dead.
[From Theodore O’Hara, The Bivouac of the Dead, 1847]

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