Lincoln Delivers Famed Gettysburg Address
Lincoln Delivers Famed Gettysburg Address
On November 19, 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered his eloquent Gettysburg Address.
In early July 1863, General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate forces plowed northward, aiming to force Union politicians to end the war. Upon reaching Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, they met the Union Army of over 93,000 soldiers against their almost 72,000. A bloody three-day fight ensued, resulting in the largest number of casualties in single battle throughout the entire war (about 23,000 killed, wounded, captured, or missing on both sides).
Soon after the battle, the people of Gettysburg sought a dignified and orderly way to bury the more than 7,500 soldiers’ bodies remaining on the battlefield. David Wills, a wealthy attorney, purchased the land needed for the cemetery that would be further funded by the states.
On November 19, 1863, the Soldiers’ National Cemetery (later named the Gettysburg National Cemetery) held its dedication ceremony. The main speaker was Edward Everett, who held the crowd’s attention throughout his two-hour oration. Then Abraham Lincoln stood up to say “a few appropriate remarks,” as requested by the cemetery committee.
Soldier and lawyer E.W. Andrews was present that day, and remembered, “On this occasion [Lincoln] came out before the vast assembly, and stepped slowly to the front of the platform, with his hands clasped before him, his natural sadness of expression deepened, his head bent forward, and his eyes cast to the ground.
“In this attitude he stood for a few seconds, silent, as if communing with his own thoughts; and when he began to speak, and throughout his entire address, his manner indicated no consciousness of the presence of tens of thousands hanging on his lips, but rather of one who, like the prophet of old, was overmastered by some unseen spirit of the scene, and passively gave utterance to the memories, the feelings, the counsels and the prophecies with which he was inspired.
“…There was such evidence of wisdom and purity and benevolence and moral grandeur, higher and beyond the reach of ordinary men, that the great assembly listened almost awe-struck as to a voice from the divine oracle.”
At the time, the President’s main concern was maintaining the support of the Union in the war effort. His two-minute speech captivated the crowd of about 15,000.
Lincoln reminded listeners of the nation’s past, acknowledged the present struggle to preserve the Union, and gave hope for the future. His opening, “Four score and seven years ago,” referred to the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which stated the equality of all men, and their inalienable rights. Lincoln honored the soldiers who “here gave their lives that the nation might live,” and encouraged those who remained to be “dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.” He looked to the future when the nation would have “a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
The speech was met with silence, which Lincoln interpreted as failure. To the contrary, the audience was in awe at the words he had spoken. President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address has since become one the most famous speeches in America’s history.
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13 responses to "Lincoln Delivers Famed Gettysburg Address"
13 thoughts on “Lincoln Delivers Famed Gettysburg Address”
Many believe that Lincoln’s reference to a “new birth of freedom,” referred to the end of slavery, a process that the President had started earlier with the Emancipation Proclamation.
4.9 is not high enough! It should be at least a 10!
When Lincoln spoke, he didn’t overstate the point he was making. He was a man of few clear words and direct. It would have been informative if the 2014 21Â¢ Lincoln stamp had been included today. U.S. #4861 – February 12, 2014, Lincolnâ€™s birthday 2014 21Â¢ Abraham Lincoln Coil Stamp
I had a great uncle who died on this battle field
We , the people. , need another Lincoln . Thank You .
President Lincoln is, in my opinion, a great American. He sought equal rights and equal justice for all. And, he worked diligently to preserve the union i.e., a united country stands tall and strong. To think that we would have to fight one another to achieve these noble ambitions is hard to fathom. Yet we did. There are many lessons to be learned from our experiences in the Civil War. Acrimony and disrespect lead to turmoil. Let us hope that this Mystic Stamp Company Day in History reminder helps us seek and find the common good for the benefit of “all” Americans as we move to the future.
I remember taking a bus tour with my family through Gettysburg 40 years ago and having the bus stop exactly where Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address. It’s something I’ll never forget. A very powerful moment in history.
I have visited Gettysburg more than a few times, each time I go there I find it a deeply saddening experience, but at the same time one of wonder and a teachable day for each of our children.
The fact that Lincoln was able to give a speech in that graveyard to 15,000, the man must have had a great set of pipes!
Graduating from Gettysburg college in 1972, I was privileged to spend many hours on the famed
battlefield and, many times, heard the words of President Lincoln echoing through the trees and
from the ground. It is especially noticed on the field of Pickett’s charge which effectively ended the South’s foray into the North. So many dead from that one battle that it crippled the South’s effort for the remainder of the war. This occasion is celebrated every year in Gettysburg by the student body of the college, so that we will never forget those that fought for what they believed in, to honor them for their supreme sacrifice, and to reinforce our efforts to remain “one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Thanks to Mystic for the article on Gettysburg. I have read this history a number of times and it never fails to encourage me to believe our nations will always be free.
More effort must be made by both of our leaders to ensure our children learn our background of resolution to protect both the United States and Canada from inappropriate foreign influence, especially now with terrorism rearing its ugly head.
And, thanks to Glenn for is info on the new (2014) Lincoln stamps.
Hello again from a Canadian stamp collector.
As a long time collector, I enjo read about history of our fine nation,, Lincoln was a head the best speaker to deliver an address to a wounded nation
Not only was Lincoln a great speaker, but he wrote his own speeches! He had no teams of speech writers working behind the scenes to make him look intelligent, as do today’s politicians.