01-03 - The battle of Gettysburg, the bloodiest battle of the civil war, over 51,000 wounded, missing or killed
After the battle Pennsylvania governor Andrew Curtin had gave David Wills, a successful local citizen and judge, the task of cleaning up the horrible aftermath of the battle. Wounded and dying were crowded into nearly every availible building. Most of the casualties lay in hasty and inadequate graves and thousands of swollen dead lay among hundreds of bloated, dead horses.
With the approval of the governor and the eighteen states whose sons were among the dead Wills acquires seventeen acres for the cemetery and had the Germantown landscape architect, William Saunders, draw up a plan for the national cememtary.
23 - Wills invites Edward Everett, the nation's foremost rhetorician, to speak at the dedication ceremony planned for October 23. Everett needs more time to prepare and persuades Wills to postpone the ceremony to November 19.
00 - Reinterment begins
02 - David Wills invites President Lincoln to make a "few appropriate remarks" at the consecration of a cemetery for the Union war dead at Gettysburg and invites the President to stay at his home, along with Governor Curtin and Edward Everett.
18 - Lincoln writes the first draft in Washington just before the 18th and revises it at the home of David Wills in Gettysburg.
19 - Less than half the Union dead have been removed from their field graves.
19 - Edward Everett speaks for two hours, as was common for the day.
19 - Lincoln Makes his speech. The audience is stunned by its shortness, returning to his seat Lincln remarks,"That speech won't scour. It is a flat failure."
20 - Everett writes 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."
Within a few years the bodies of more than 3,500 Union soldiers killed in the battle are reinterred in the cemetery. Following the Civil War, the remains of 3,320 Confederate soldiers were removed from the battlefield to cemeteries in the South.
The cemetery is now the final resting place of over 6,000 honorably discharged servicemen and their dependents from the Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War.
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon 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 this 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 this government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from this earth.
The Gettysburg Address at The LOC - Information on the drafts and translations into other languages
Gettysburg.com - Address Information
The Official Visitors Guide to Gettysburg
President Lincoln Delivered the Gettysburg Address
Gettysburg National Military Park - National Park Service
Abraham Lincoln Research Site - This website includes a biography, photographs, and lots of information about Abraham Lincoln including my e-mail address to answer questions about his life.
nov 1863 Timeline.