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Build up to Gettysburg: 13 June 1863

Build up to Gettysburg: 13 June 1863


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Map showing the position of the main Union and Confederate armies on 13 June 1863

Map taken from Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: III: Retreat from Gettysburg, p.262

Gettysburg: The Last Invasion, Allen C. Guelzo .An excellent account of the Gettysburg campaign, illustrated by a splendid selection of eyewitness accounts. Focuses on the actions of individual commanders, from Meade and Lee down to regimental commanders, with a focus on the corps commanders and their activities and attitudes. Supported by plenty of accounts from further down the command chain and from civilians caught up in the fighting. [read full review]

Stars in Their Courses: Gettysburg Campaign, Shelby Foote, 304 pages. Well researched and written by one of the best known historians of the Civil War, this work is taken from his longer three volume work on the war, but does not suffer from that.


Man captures Gettysburg ‘ghosts’ in spine-tingling video during tour of Civil War site

A man says he captured video footage of "ghosts" during a late-night tour of the infamous਌ivil Warꂺttle site in Gettysburg, Pa.

Greg Yuelling, 46, said he and his family had driven to the site as tourists "to learn more about the history of the Civil War and see the old battleground where the Gettysburg Address was given."

"We were driving along one night and we started hearing noises, I heard things to the left and my uncle heard things to the right, and there was a fog, but the fog was weird, it was only in one patch not dispersed," Yuelling told The Sun.

He said he saw shapes "the size of humans" moving in the darkness.

(Photo by Tony Savino/Corbis via Getty Images)

"It was scary, it was crazy. My uncle got so scared he rolled up the window," Yuelling told the outlet.

Later, Yuelling said, they watched the videos "over and over again," blowing it up on the big screen to get a closer look.

"It was really exciting, but I also got this strange, ominous feeling, like something was telling me to go back there," Yuelling said. "I couldn&apost go to sleep but I was creeped out, so I didn’t go."

The brutal three-day battle of Gettysburg fought between Union and Confederate soldiers in June 1863 marked a major turning point in the Civil War. In just three days, more than 51,000 Americans were killed, wounded, or missing. Of that toll, more than 28,000 were in Gen. Robert E. Lee’s army.

"I always questioned the validity of those ghost videos you see on TV, I was always pretty disbelieving," Yuelling said, adding: "I believe everything now."

Multiple people have expressed skepticism of the video after Yuelling uploaded it YouTube.

One viewer commented that the supposed "ghosts" were "nothing more than a reflection from the headlights of his car reflecting back off the cannons onto the water streak on his window."


The Civil War in America December 1862&ndashOctober 1863

On January 1, 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued the final Emancipation Proclamation, which declared that all slaves within the rebellious states &ldquoare, and henceforward shall be free.&rdquo Bitterly denounced in the South&mdashand by many in the North&mdashthe Proclamation reduced the likelihood that the anti-slavery European powers would recognize the Confederacy as an independent nation and opened the way for large numbers of African Americans to join the U.S. armed forces. At the same time, tensions created by losses on the battlefield and sacrifices on both sides of the home front were reflected in public meetings and demonstrations. Though peace movements were increasing in strength in both the South and North, a majority on both sides remained bitterly determined to pursue the war to victory.

Only two months after the North’s major defeat at Chancellorsville, Virginia, in May 1863, the Union victory at Gettysburg (July 1&ndash3, 1863), dramatically raised Northern morale. The fall of Vicksburg, Mississippi, on July 4 militarily split the Confederacy in two&mdashand set Ulysses S. Grant on the path to becoming the Union’s final and most aggressive general-in-chief. In the Confederate states, food shortages and exorbitant prices caused riots in several cities. Rampant guerrilla warfare in Kansas and Missouri created a war within the war.

The Sacking of Fredericksburg

On November 5, 1862, Lincoln replaced McClellan with Ambrose E. Burnside as the commanding general of the Army of the Potomac. Burnside moved quickly and arrived at Fredericksburg, Virginia, on November 17. Essential supplies moved more slowly. But by December 11 and 12, Union troops were preparing for the ill-fated attack that began on December 13. In this unpublished drawing, sketch artist Arthur Lumley described the deplorable behavior of Federal soldiers on the eve of battle: &ldquoFriday Night in Fredericksburg. This night the city was in the wildest confusion sacked by the union troops = houses burned down furniture scattered in the streets = men pillaging in all directions a fit scene for the French revolution and a discrace [sic] to the Union Arms. this is my view of what I saw. Lumley.&rdquo

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From Parlor Table to Operating Table

As Union troops advanced throughout the South, civilians in the path of the armies had to decide whether to stay in their homes and hope for the best, or take what belongings they could and &ldquorefugee&rdquo elsewhere. Betty Maury’s family fled to Richmond before the Battle of Fredericksburg, but received reports from friends that her home in the city had been used as a Federal hospital. Surgeons performed amputations on her parlor table, and at least one soldier was buried in her yard.

Betty Herndon Maury (1835&ndash1903). Diary entry, December 28, 1862. Betty Herndon Maury Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (082.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0082p1]

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Clara Barton

Twenty years before founding the American Red Cross, Clara Barton came to the aid of soldiers fighting in the Civil War. At the war’s outbreak, Barton worked as a U.S. Patent Office clerk and collected provisions and medical supplies for the Union army. Restless with her limited role and undeterred by War Department regulations and prevailing stereotypes, Barton became known as the &ldquoAngel of the Battlefield&rdquo as she distributed supplies and tended to the wounded and dying. During the course of the war, Barton kept notes that documented the appalling carnage and medical conditions of the wounded transported to Fredericksburg.

Unattributed. Clara Barton, ca. 1862. Albumen silver print in carte-de-visite album. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (083.00.00) [Digital ID# cph-3g06307]

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Keeping Track of Soldiers

Clara Barton came to Fredericksburg on the eve of a major battle in December 1862 to provide supplies and nursing skills to Union medical staff. She tended to wounded soldiers in the temporary hospital established at the Lacy plantation house, and noted in her pocket diary information about the soldiers she encountered, should loved ones want to find the soldiers after the battle. Recording the identities of soldiers in her diaries was a practice she continued throughout the war.

Clara Barton (1821&ndash1912). Diary, January&ndashFebruary 1863. Page 2. Clara Barton Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (084.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0084, cw0084p1]

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Hooker Appointed Commander

By January 1863, Lincoln recognized that General Burnside had lost the confidence of the Federal army. Summoning Joseph Hooker to the White House, Lincoln named him the new head of the Army of the Potomac. President Lincoln used the opportunity to warn Hooker that his earlier criticism of General Burnside, and the withholding of his support, had undermined the morale of the troops he now commanded. Aware of Hooker’s weaknesses as well as his demonstrated fighting ability, in crafting this letter Lincoln attempted to counsel his new commander.

Abraham Lincoln to General Joseph Hooker, January 26, 1863. Alfred Whital Stern Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (094.00.00) [Digital ID# al0166]

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Draft of the Emancipation Proclamation

On July 13, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln consulted Secretary of State William H. Seward and Gideon Welles, the secretary of the navy, on the particulars of the Emancipation Proclamation. Seward anticipated anarchy in the South and perhaps foreign intervention in the war. Lincoln let the matter rest, but on July 22 he presented this draft proclamation to the full cabinet, to mixed reactions. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton and Attorney General Edward Bates advocated the document’s immediate release. Salmon P. Chase, treasury secretary, was cool to the idea, fearing it would result in chaos. Postmaster General Montgomery Blair was in opposition and believed that it would lead to Republican defeat in the coming fall congressional elections. Seward favored waiting to release it until the Union achieved a battlefield victory. Lincoln again dropped the issue, but it was clear to his advisors that he was set on issuing an emancipation proclamation by year’s end.

Abraham Lincoln. Initial draft of the Emancipation Proclamation, July 22, 1862. Page 2. Abraham Lincoln Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (153.00.00) [Digital ID# al0153p1, al0153p2]

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Field Hospital at Work

Jefferson Davis first became impressed with the abilities of United States Army surgeon Samuel Preston Moore (1813&ndash1889) during the Mexican War. A graduate of the Medical College of South Carolina, Moore was persuaded by Davis in 1861 to serve as the Surgeon General of the Confederate army, a position he would retain throughout the war. Despite severe shortages of doctors and medical supplies, Moore was conscientious in his responsibilities, establishing examining boards to remove unfit surgeons and organizing the Confederate medical services along the same lines as those provided by the United States Army. Aware of the critical need to improve surgical operations in the field, Moore directed the publication of this manual and had it distributed to all medical officers.

A Manual of Military Surgery Prepared for the Use of the C. S. A. Army. Richmond, Virginia: Ayreson & Wade, 1863. Page 2. Confederate States of America Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (085.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0085, cw0085p1]

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Presidential Fundraiser

The Emancipation Proclamation expanded the scope of Union war aims but was controversial in the North, where opinions remained mixed on the question of abolition. Nevertheless, white Unionists generally accepted the proclamation as a necessary war measure, and it was a great boost to the morale of African Americans and their allies. This broadside edition, one of only forty-eight copies printed, was signed by President Abraham Lincoln, Secretary of State William H. Seward, and presidential secretary John G. Nicolay. The edition was specifically created to raise funds for the Sanitary Commission at the Great Central Sanitary Fair held in Philadelphia in June 1864. Signed copies could be purchased for ten dollars. The event attracted more than one hundred thousand visitors and raised more than one million dollars, but not all of the signed copies were sold.

By the President. . . . Emancipation Proclamation. Philadelphia: Leypoldt, 1864. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (087.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0087]

H. H. Brownell. All Slaves Were Made Freemen by Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, January 1, 1863. Recruitment and "John Brown Song" broadside. Page 2. Alfred Whital Stern Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (089.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0089, cw0089p1]

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A Satanic Emancipator

The Southern Illustrated News published in Richmond was an attempt to offer a Confederate version of popular Northern illustrated periodicals such as Harper’s Weekly and Leslie’s Illustrated. This wood engraving from the issue of November 2, 1862, vividly pictures Southern hostility towards Abraham Lincoln following the announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation. The human mask of Lincoln in the figure’s left hand is removed to reveal Satan. The chain in the right hand represents efforts to subdue the Confederacy. Additional touches include a noose awaiting Lincoln on top of the then unfinished Washington Monument, and a scrolled copy of the Emancipation Proclamation on the ground.

Southern Illustrated News, November 2, 1862. Confederate States of America Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (088.00.00) Digital ID# cw0088]

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&ldquoI always carry a haversack&rdquo

Walt Whitman believed in the power of kind attention and &ldquopersonal magnetism&rdquo to help wounded and ill soldiers heal. He visited the hospitals of Washington almost daily, using this leather haversack as a cornucopia of food and small gifts to lift the spirits or improve the health and comfort of the patients in the wards. &ldquoIt is a comfort & delight to me to minister to them&rdquo he told William Davis, who sent a donation in response to Whitman’s fundraising appeals on behalf of the wounded. Whitman sat by the bedsides of the sick, wrote letters home for the wounded, and held the hands of the dying.

Walt Whitman to William S. Davis, October 1, 1863. Feinberg-Whitman Collection, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (149.01.00) [Digital ID# cw0149_01]

Walt Whitman’s Civil War haversack. Feinberg-Whitman Collection, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (214.01.00) [Digital ID# cw0214_01]

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Passing the Time in Prison

While incarcerated at the Old Capitol Prison complex in Washington, D.C., Antonia Ford of Fairfax Court House, Virginia, made this lace collar for her mother. Ford was thought to have provided intelligence to Confederate partisan John S. Mosby prior to his raid on Fairfax in March 1863, and her case was not helped by the honorary commission as an aide-de-camp to General J.E.B. Stuart that was found at her home. Although an ardent Confederate, during her imprisonment Antonia fell in love with Union Major Joseph C. Willard, co-owner of the famous Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C. After she took an oath of allegiance to the United States and he resigned from the Union army, Ford and Willard married in March 1864.

O.H. Willard, photographer. Antonia Ford Willard. Albumen print. Willard Family Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (094.01.00) [Digital ID# cw0094_01]

Antonia Ford Willard. Crocheted lace collar, 1863. Willard Family Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (098.01.00) [Digital ID# cw0098_01]

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The Loss of Jackson

The tremendous success of General Robert E. Lee’s daring maneuvers at Chancellorsville was tempered by the death of one of his most valuable subordinates, General Thomas J. &ldquoStonewall&rdquo Jackson. While on a nighttime reconnaissance ride, Jackson was mistakenly fired upon by his own troops. His arm was successfully amputated, but pneumonia proved fatal. Before Jackson’s death Lee purportedly lamented, &ldquoHe has lost his left arm but I my right arm.&rdquo With Jackson gone, Lee struggled to find another corps commander he trusted so completely. The loss of Jackson was felt deeply by his men and mourned by Confederates throughout the South.

Jedediah Hotchkiss (1828&ndash1899) to Sara Hotchkiss, May 10, 1863. Page 2. Jedediah Hotchkiss Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (097.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0097, cw0097p1]

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Fields of Chancellorsville

English-born special artist Alfred R. Waud covered the action of the Army of the Potomac from 1861 to 1865 for the New York Illustrated News and Harper’s Weekly, shaping the image of war for the home front in the North. Waud portrayed the Eleventh Corps on the night of May 1, 1863, as they, in the words of Major General Daniel Sickles, &ldquoswept frantically over the cleared fields&rdquo away from the Confederate line at Chancellorsville. Stonewall Jackson attacked the flank, forcing other Union troops to double their efforts to keep his forces at bay.

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Battlefield of Chancellorsville

In late April and early May, 1863, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia engaged Union troops near Chancellorsville, south of Fredericksburg, Virginia. A Confederate force of more than 60,000 soldiers launched an attack against Union troops. The battle resulted in a Confederate victory but at a tremendous cost. Confederate General &ldquoStonewall&rdquo Jackson, the hero of First Manassas (First Bull Run), died as a result of wounds suffered during the battle. This map illustrates actions in the early summer of 1863. Other military engagements in the region included the Battle of Fredericksburg of 1862 and the Wilderness Campaign of 1864.

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&ldquoDisloyal Sentiments&rdquo

Under orders from Major General Burnside, Representative Clement L. Vallandigham (D-Ohio), was arrested for violating Burnside’s General Order No. 38 by uttering &ldquodisloyal sentiments&rdquo and hindering the government’s prosecution of the war after giving an anti-war speech at Mount Vernon, Ohio, on May 1, 1863. Convicted by a military tribunal, Vallandigham was sentenced to prison for the duration of the war. Although President Lincoln commuted the congressman’s sentence to banishment behind Confederate lines, Vallandigham petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court, unsuccessfully, to have his conviction overturned on appeal. In 1866, the use of military tribunals to try civilians in the United States would be limited by a Supreme Court decision in Ex parte Milligan.

Petition of Former Representative Clement L. Vallandigham (1820&ndash1871), to the Supreme Court of the United States, October term, 1863. Transcript of testimony before the Military Commission held at Cincinnati on May 6 and 7, 1863. Page 2 - Page 3. Law Library, Library of Congress (098.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0098, cw0098p1, cw0098p2]

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Suspension of Habeas Corpus

Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis both confronted the challenge of balancing an effective prosecution of the war with respect for the civil liberties of each region’s citizens, especially with regard to suspending the writ of habeas corpus, which requires that a person taken into custody appear in court to be charged. In 1863 Congress gave Lincoln wide latitude in suspending the writ, whereas Jefferson Davis received only temporary suspension powers from the Confederate Congress in 1862 and 1864.

Jefferson Davis (1808&ndash1889). &ldquoTo the Senate and House of Representatives of the Confederate States of America,&rdquo February 3, 1864. Burton Norvell Harrison Family Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (099.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0099]

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Battleground of Gettysburg

One of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War was fought in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 1&ndash3, 1863. General Robert E. Lee came face to face with a Union army led by General George G. Meade. The map shows Union positions in black and Confederate positions is red. Himself a combatant at Gettysburg, The map’s creator, Charles Wellington Reed of the 9th Massachusetts Battery, was awarded the Medal of Honor for the conspicuous bravery he exhibited in saving the life of Captain John Bigelow during the second day of that battle.

Charles Wellington Reed (1841&ndash1926). Plan of Gettysburg Battle Ground, 1863. Chas. W. Reed, 9th Mass. Battery, deposited for copyright 1864. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (105.00.00) [Digital ID# g3824g-cw0347000]

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The Devil's Den

The photographer Alexander Gardner literally composed this iconic image of a dead Confederate soldier at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The young soldier had fallen in battle on the southern slope of Devil’s Den. Four photographs were made of the soldier in that spot before Gardner moved the body about seventy-two yards away, placing him next to the picturesque stone wall. The soldier’s head rests on a knapsack. A rifle, propped up against the wall, completes the tableau.

Alexander Gardner (1821&ndash1882). Home of a Rebel Sharpshooter, 1863. Albumen silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (102.00.00) [Digital ID# LC-DIG-ppmsca-33066]

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&ldquoMake Our Effort Pretty Certain&rdquo

After two days of inconclusive fighting against the Union flanks at Gettysburg, General Lee ordered an attack against the center on July 3, known to history as &ldquoPickett’s Charge.&rdquo C.S.A. colonel Edward P. Alexander’s artillery barrage tried to weaken the Union defenses, after which the infantry, under command of Lieutenant General James Longstreet, charged the Union center. Longstreet asked Alexander to advise Pickett whether or not to make the charge based on his artillery’s effectiveness against the enemy, and Alexander’s postwar scrapbook included Longstreet’s original battlefield notes and his own replies. Pickett’s Charge was a disaster for the Confederates.

James Longstreet (1821&ndash1904) to Edward Porter Alexander (1835&ndash1910), July 3, 1863, with annotation of Alexander’s reply. Page 2. Edward Porter Alexander Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (104.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0104, cw0104p1]

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Following the News

Telegraph lines sped up the dissemination of news in the mid-nineteenth century, but it could still take days to receive the latest telegraphic dispatches from the war, particularly in the South. In Richmond, Virginia, Anna J. Sanders recorded in her diary on July 5, 1863, that a battle in Gettysburg had begun well for the Confederates, whereas the battle had already ended with a Northern victory on July 3. By July 8 Sanders knew Vicksburg had fallen, and, on July 9, it was clear that both Vicksburg and Gettysburg had been lost by the Confederates.

Anna Johnson Sanders (ca. 1815&ndash1890). Diary entries for July 1863. George Nicholas Sanders Family Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (106.00.00) Digital ID# cw0106]

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View of Vicksburg

On July 4, 1863, Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton and his Confederate garrison marched out of Vicksburg and surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant and the Federal army that had been targeting the city for nearly a year. The almost simultaneous Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg were the beginning of the end for the Confederacy. After Gettysburg, Lee’s forces never regained enough strength to seriously threaten the North. The fall of Vicksburg, and the last Confederate Mississippi River bastion, Port Hudson, a few days later, re-opened the Midwest to trade with the outside world and allowed the Union forces of Grant to operate with greater flexibility in the Deep South.

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Memoir of a Siege

Mary Ann Loughborough, wife of a Confederate officer, authored this vivid account of the hardships she and other citizens of Vicksburg experienced during the spring and summer 1863 when they took to living in caves they dug in hillsides within the beleaguered city. &ldquoI shall never forget my extreme fear during the night, and my utter hopelessness of ever seeing the morning light. Terror stricken, we remained crouched in the cave, while shell after shell followed each other in quick succession. I endeavored by constant prayer to prepare myself for the sudden death I was almost certain awaited me. My heart stood still as we would hear the reports from the guns, and the rushing and fearful sound of the shell as it came toward us.&rdquo

Mary Ann Webster Loughborough (1836&ndash1887). My Cave Life in Vicksburg. With Letters of Trial and Travel. By a Lady. New York: D. Appleton, 1864. Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (110.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0110p4, cw0110, cw0110p1, cw0110p2]

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Civilian Privations

Adalbert Volck was a Baltimore dentist whose additional talents as an artist were channeled in producing a number of political prints reflecting his pronounced Southern sympathies. This copper engraving of a young woman in prayer is a case in point. Only on closer inspection does the viewer become aware that the woman is praying not in the comfort of her home but in a cave during the bombardment of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Volck was clearly communicating the idea that the Northern siege of the city was a barbaric act against innocent civilians.

Adalbert J. Volck (1828&ndash1912). &ldquoCave Life in Vicksburg&rdquo in V. Blada’s War Sketches. London [Baltimore]: 1864. Lithograph. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (109.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0109]

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Vicksburg Daily Citizen

Vicksburg, Mississippi, like many Southern cities, suffered acutely from the ravages of the Civil War. However, this final edition of the Vicksburg Daily Citizen attests to the determination of the city’s defenders. This issue of the Confederate newspaper is printed on the back of wallpaper because supplies of every kind had been exhausted during the long and difficult siege. The defiant spirit is still in evidence on July 2 as the paper reads: &ldquoThe Yankee Generalissimo surnamed Grant has expressed his intention of dining in Vicksburg on the Fourth of July. . . . Ulysses must get into the city before he dines in it.&rdquo Vicksburg surrendered two days later. On July 4, 1863, Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton and his Confederate garrison marched out of Vicksburg and surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant. On July 2, Vicksburg surrendered, the publisher fled, and the Union forces found the type of the Citizen still standing. They printed a new edition (characterized by the misspelled &ldquoCTIIZEN&rdquo) using material already in type and added the note quoted below:

Vicksburg Daily Citizen, July 2, 1863. Vicksburg, Mississippi. Newspaper printed on wallpaper. Reverse. Newspaper Section, Serial and Government Publications Division, Library of Congress (108.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0108, cw0108p1]

Vicksburg Daily Citizen [second edition], July 2, 1863. Vicksburg, Mississippi. Newspaper printed on wallpaper. Newspaper Section, Serial and Government Publications Division, Library of Congress (108.01.00) [Digital ID# cw0108_02, cw0108_02p1]

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Pickett's Charge

The Battle of Gettysburg reached its apex on the afternoon of July 3. Federal troops on Cemetery Ridge saw, less than a mile away, Confederate forces massing for a great frontal assault. Led by men under the command of C.S.A. general George E. Pickett, 15,000 Confederates tried to break the center of the Union lines. The objective, &ldquoa little clump of trees,&rdquo was reached, but Federal reinforcements arrived, the line held, and the Confederates withdrew under heavy fire, having lost nearly 6,000 men. New York artist Edwin Forbes covered the campaigns of the Army of the Potomac for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. His studio oil painting depicts the ill-fated &ldquoPickett’s Charge&rdquo and is based on the artist’s eyewitness account.

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Assault on Fort Wagner

Having struggled for the right to fight, African Americans played an important role in the Union Army, ultimately comprising ten percent of the troops. This Kurz and Allison print captures the moment when Sergeant William Harvey Carney (1840&ndash1908), who thirty-seven years later was awarded the Medal of Honor for his valor in this battle, carried the United States flag to the walls of Fort Wagner on Morris Island in South Carolina. The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, composed of free African Americans, took heavy losses, including the death of its commander, Colonel Robert Gould Shaw (1837&ndash1863), in its failed bid to wrest the fort from Confederate forces.

Storming Fort Wagner. Chromolithograph. Chicago: Kurz & Allison Art Publishers, 1890. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (116.00.00) [Digital ID# LC-DIG-pga-01949]

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A Member of the 54th Massachusetts

Two days after the unsuccessful Union assault on Fort Wagner on Morris Island in Charleston Harbor, Lewis Douglass, son of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, wrote to his fiancée Amelia Loguen to assure her of his safety. Lewis’s thoughts focused on what his comrades in 54th Massachusetts Infantry had achieved at Fort Wagner in earning a reputation for courage and demonstrating their willingness to die for a worthy cause.

Lewis Henry Douglass (1840&ndash1908) to Helen Amelia Loguen, July 20, 1863. Page 2. Carter G. Woodson Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (117.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0117, cw0117p1]

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Recruitment for the Cavalry

Cavalry recruits of 1861 who expected to be engaged in offensive operations may have been disappointed to discover that most of their energies were aimed at reconnaissance screening, and the pursuit of retreating enemy forces. It was generally conceded that the Confederate cavalry had superior horseman during the first half of the war, as well as more daring leadership under figures such as General J. E. B. Stuart. Beginning with the Battle of Brandy Station in June 1863, the Union cavalry came into its own for the remainder of the conflict. Key reasons for the turnaround were vastly improved cavalry organization and the more than 600,000 horses procured for the Union cavalry by the U.S. Army, giving them a two-to-one advantage over the enemy.

Light Cavalry. Philadelphia: King & Baird, 1861. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (101.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0101]

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Identity Regained

When this ambrotype was acquired by a private collector, the identity of this tough-looking C.S.A. cavalry trooper had been lost over time, as is the case with thousands of keepsake photographic images of common soldiers on both sides of the conflict. In March 2012, the portrait appeared in a special Civil War supplement in the Washington Post. Karen Thatcher, from West Virginia, opened the paper and immediately identified &ldquoUncle Dave.&rdquo Family photographs of Private Thatcher were used to confirm his identity.

Unattributed. [Private David M. Thatcher of Company B, Berkeley Troop, 1st Virginia Cavalry Regiment], between 1861 and 1865. Sixth-plate, hand-colored ambrotype. Promised gift of the Liljenquist family, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (100.00.00) [Digital ID# LC-DIG-ppmsca-32680]

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Avoiding the Draft

After the initial rush to enlist at the start of the war had passed, both the Confederacy (in 1862) and the Union (in 1863) passed conscription laws encouraging enlistment and providing for drafting recruits when necessary. Age limits exempted youth or older men from service, and men in certain occupations that contributed to the war effort were also exempted. On both sides men could hire substitutes to serve in their place, which newspaper reporter Sylvanus Cadwallader did in 1864. This sheet music cover graphically conveys the inequities of the draft enacted under the Enrollment Act of 1863.

&ldquoCertificate of Exemption on Account of Having Furnished a Substitute,&rdquo issued to Sylvanus Cadwallader (1825&ndash1908), September 30, 1864. Sylvanus Cadwallader Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (112.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0112]

Frank Wilder, composer. &ldquoWanted a Substitute.&rdquo Boston: Oliver Ditson & Co., deposited for copyright 1863. Music Division, Library of Congress (111.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0111]

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The Draft Riots

On July 11, 1863, draft officers began drawing names in heavily Democratic New York City, where sentiment against abolition and conscription ran high and racial tensions had reached a boiling point. From July 13 to 17, 1863, New York erupted into four of the bloodiest days of mob violence in United States history. The uprising began with thousands of people foregoing work to demonstrate outside the draft office on Third Avenue. A stone hurled through an office window and the discharge of a pistol turned the demonstration into a riot. Surging into the draft office, the rioters smashed everything, then proceeded to the headquarters of the New York Times and the New York Tribune, and moved on to loot and burn the four-story Colored Orphan Asylum. Hundreds were injured and 105 killed.

Unattributed. [Civil War induction officer with lottery box], ca. 1863. Sixth-plate tintype. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (113.00.00) [Digital ID# ds-00292]

&ldquoThe Mob in New York. Resistance to the Draft&mdashRioting and Bloodshed,&rdquo New York Times, July 14, 1863. Newspaper Section, Serial and Government Publications Division, Library of Congress (114.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0114]

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Union and Emancipation for a Common Cause

Emancipation as a war aim was never universally popular in the North. In a letter that would be read aloud to a Union mass meeting in Springfield, Illinois, on September 3, 1863, Lincoln explained that if white Americans did not want to fight for black Americans then they should fight to save the Union. Only force could quell the rebellion, and emancipation had weakened the enemy and provided soldiers for the North. But having made a pledge of freedom to black soldiers and their families, Lincoln was determined to keep the promise once the Union was saved.

Abraham Lincoln to James C. Conkling (1816&ndash1899). Draft letter, August 26, 1863. Abraham Lincoln Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (115.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0115]

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Making Do With Less

The blockade of Southern seaports and the prohibition of trade with the North quickly depleted food supplies throughout the Confederacy. The deprivations forced Southern cooks to invent substitutes for the most basic foods and beverages. The only cookbook printed in the South during the war, the Confederate Receipt Book, contains recipes for apple pie without apples, artificial oysters, and substitutes for coffee and cream. In an effort to fend off insect infestation in cured meats, there was even a suggestion to &ldquoprevent skippers,&rdquo the nickname of that time for skipping insects such as locusts and grasshoppers.

Confederate Receipt Book. Richmond, Virginia: West & Johnston, 1863. Page 2. Confederate States of America Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (091.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0091, cw0091p1]

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Inflation in the Confederacy

This postwar table of the relative prices of gold and United States &ldquogreenback&rdquo currency relative to Confederate money shows at a glance one of the primary challenges faced by Confederate civilians. Their currency had lost more of its value with each year of the war. At the same time, wartime production disruptions and the Union naval blockade made basic commodities harder to come by, and they were sold at drastically inflated prices when they could be found.

Lancaster & Co. &ldquoTable of Prices in Confederate Currency of Gold and Greenbacks,&rdquo February 19, 1866. Manuscript document. Burton Norvell Harrison Family Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (093.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0093]

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A Civil War within the Civil War

Pro- and anti-slavery factions on the Kansas-Missouri border had a history of violence in the 1850s, and irregular guerrilla forces operated in the Trans-Mississippi Theater during the war. Confederate &ldquobushwacker&rdquo William Quantrill’s guerrillas burned the town of Lawrence, Kansas, and killed almost 200 men in August 1863. The Quantrill raid prompted Union general Thomas Ewing to issue General Orders No. 11, banishing all non-loyal inhabitants from several counties in western Missouri. Yet this war within a war continued.

John M. Schofield (1831&ndash1906). &ldquoEvents in Missouri, 1863&rdquo journal, August 26, 1863, entry. Page 2. John McAllister Schofield Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (119.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0119, cw0119p1]

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Johnny Clem

Philadelphia artist James Fuller Queen created a variety of images during the American Civil War that include sentimental lithographs with scenes from the front, portraits of famous generals, fund-raising images featuring local institutions for soldiers, and images of wounded soldiers recovering in local hospitals. His lithograph of folk-hero John Clem was reproduced widely. John Clem was nine years old when he was allowed to tag along with the 22nd Michigan regiment in 1861. The boy was first identified in news accounts as &ldquoJohnny Shiloh&rdquo after that 1862 battle before his fame grew as &ldquothe drummer boy of Chickamauga&rdquo in 1863. Clem became a career army man and retired as a general in 1915.

James Fuller Queen (ca. 1820&ndash1886), artist. John Clem: A Drummer Boy of 12 Years of Age Who Shot a Rebel Colonel upon the Battle Field of Chickamauga, Ga. September 20, 1863, between 1863 and 1869. Lithograph. Philadelphia: P. S. Duval & Son, ca. 1865. Marian S. Carson Collection, Prints and Photographs Division (121.00.00) [Digital ID# LC-DIG-ds-00297]

Alfred R. Waud. Chickamauga, [September 18󈞀, 1863]. Chinese white and black ink wash on paper. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (120.00.00) [Digital ID# LC-DIG-ppmsca-21066]

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Reality Becomes Legend

War has a way of embellishing the accomplishments of real people, including the nine- year-old boy who attached himself to the 22nd Michigan Infantry and was popularized as &ldquoJohnny Clem, The Drummer Boy of Chickamauga.&rdquo While historical sources dispute when Clem enlisted, where he actually served, and his real exploits during the war, U.S. brigadier general Richard W. Johnson cited Clem’s sterling example in a letter to his young son Harry as a lesson in what happens to good boys who follow orders and do their duty.

Richard W. Johnson (1827&ndash1897) to Harry Johnson, January 27, 1864. Richard W. Johnson Correspondence, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (122.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0122]

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Lookout Mountain, Tennessee

Lookout Mountain rises nearly 2,000 feet above the Tennessee River at Chattanooga. This rocky outcropping was a popular spot for soldiers to pose for a portrait. One of the men gathered here with his telescope has been identified as Union officer, Major Charles S. Cotter, chief of artillery in the 1st Ohio Light Artillery Regiment. His regiment fought in the Battles of Stones River, Chickamauga, and Chattanooga.

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Ticket to Ride

Railroads served a vital transportation role for both the Union and Confederacy in terms of moving troops and supplies quickly. The North had more trains and miles of track than did the South, but the Confederates had the advantage of using their railroads as interior lines, whereas the Yankees often had to build their own infrastructure in enemy territory. Unlike the Union, however, the Confederacy lacked the power to effectively organize private railroads for military use or the industrial capacity to repair damaged lines.

Quartermaster’s Department, Confederate States of America. Train ticket from Macon, Georgia, to Richmond, Virginia, December 27, 1862. Confederate States of America Records, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (124.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0124]

Quartermaster’s Department, Confederate States of America. Train ticket from Macon, Georgia, to Richmond, Virginia, December 27, 1862. Confederate States of America Records, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (124.00.01) [Digital ID# cw0124p1]

Isaac H. Bonsall. [Railroad Yard, Chattanoogna, Tenneessee], 1863 or 1864. Albumen silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (125.00.00) [Digital ID# LC-DIG-ppmsca-32286]

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Battle of Chattanooga

The Confederates were determined to starve the Federal troops out of Chattanooga, which could be used as a Union gateway for movement into Georgia. The Federals were just as determined to stay in possession and break the siege. President Lincoln recognized Chattanooga&rsquos importance as a railroad center when he wrote: &ldquoIf we can hold Chattanooga, and East Tennessee, I think the rebellion must dwindle and die.&rdquo As Secretary of War Stanton dispatched 20,000 reinforcements by rail from the east, Major General Grant, recently named commander of the Union&rsquos newly created Military Division of the Mississippi, arrived in Chattanooga on October 23, 1863. By mid-November Major General William T. Sherman arrived with an additional 17,000 men, which gave the Federals sufficient strength to strike in late November in a series of battles that broke the siege. Chattanooga remained in Union hands for the rest of the war.


Battle of Gettysburg

The Battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863) was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. It took place around Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and is often considered the turning point of the war.

Following a series of military successes in Virginia, Confederate general Robert E. Lee took his troops up into south-central Pennsylvania in June 1863 in an invasion of the North. On July 1, elements of Lee’s army came up against Union cavalry by chance outside the town of Gettysburg, and fighting broke out. The Confederates were eventually able to push back the Federals to south of Gettysburg. During the evening and the following morning, both sides gathered the remainder of their armies, for a total of 83,000 Union troops and 75,000 Confederate.

July 2 saw bloody fighting on the Union left and center. Locations included Little Round Top, the Wheatfield, Devil’s Den, and the Peach Orchard. But despite high casualties, the Union Army—under General George Meade—was generally able to repulse the Confederates.

On July 3, the Confederates launched an attack on the Union right, which was ultimately unsuccessful. Then, following a massive artillery bombardment, Lee attempted to attack the Union center in the ill-fated Pickett’s Charge.

On the 4th, Lee’s army withdrew back over the Potomac, leaving the Union Army as the victors of the Battle of Gettysburg. The battle resulted in 23,000 Union casualties and 28,000 Confederate.

The battlefield soon became a national cemetery, and President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address there in November 1863. It is now a national park.

Learn more about the Battle of Gettysburg through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources below.


Build up to Gettysburg: 13 June 1863 - History

On June 1, 1865, Senator Charles Sumner referred to the most famous speech ever given by President Abraham Lincoln. In his eulogy on the slain president, he called the Gettysburg Address a "monumental act." He said Lincoln was mistaken that "the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here." Rather, the Bostonian remarked, "The world noted at once what he said, and will never cease to remember it. The battle itself was less important than the speech."

There are five known copies of the speech in Lincoln's handwriting, each with a slightly different text, and named for the people who first received them: Nicolay, Hay, Everett, Bancroft and Bliss. Two copies apparently were written before delivering the speech, one of which probably was the reading copy. The remaining ones were produced months later for soldier benefit events. Despite widely-circulated stories to the contrary, the president did not dash off a copy aboard a train to Gettysburg. Lincoln carefully prepared his major speeches in advance his steady, even script in every manuscript is consistent with a firm writing surface, not the notoriously bumpy Civil War-era trains. Additional versions of the speech appeared in newspapers of the era, feeding modern-day confusion about the authoritative text.

Ever since Lincoln wrote it in 1864, this version has been the most often reproduced, notably on the walls of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. It is named after Colonel Alexander Bliss, stepson of historian George Bancroft. Bancroft asked President Lincoln for a copy to use as a fundraiser for soldiers (see "Bancroft Copy" below). However, because Lincoln wrote on both sides of the paper, the speech could not be reprinted, so Lincoln made another copy at Bliss's request. It is the last known copy written by Lincoln and the only one signed and dated by him. Today it is on display at the Lincoln Room of the White House.

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.

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

Named for John G. Nicolay, President Lincoln's personal secretary, this is considered the "first draft" of the speech, begun in Washington on White house stationery. The second page is writen on different paper stock, indicating it was finished in Gettysburg before the cemetery dedication began. Lincoln gave this draft to Nicolay, who went to Gettysburg with Lincoln and witnessed the speech. The Library of Congress owns this manuscript.

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 battle field of that war. We come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do.

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 hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here while it can never forget what they did here.

It is rather for us, the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us that, from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain that the nation, 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.

Believed to be the second draft of the speech, President Lincoln gave this copy to John Hay, a White House assistant. Hay accompanied Lincoln to Gettysburg and briefly referred to the speech in his diary: "the President, in a fine, free way, with more grace than is his wont, said his half dozen words of consecration." The Hay copy, which includes Lincoln's handwritten changes, also is owned by the Library of Congress.

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 here on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it, 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 can never forget what they did here.

It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have, thus far, so nobly carried on. 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 shall have a new birth of freedom and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Edward Everett, the chief speaker at the Gettysburg cemetery dedication, clearly admired Lincoln's remarks and wrote to him the next day saying, "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." In 1864 Everett asked Lincoln for a copy of the speech to benefit Union soldiers, making it the third manuscript copy. Eventually the state of Illinois acquired it, where it's preserved at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

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 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 here 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.

As noted above, historian George Bancroft asked President Lincoln for a copy to use as a fundraiser for soldiers. When Lincoln sent his copy on February 29, 1864, he used both sides of the paper, rendering the manuscript useless for lithographic engraving. So Bancroft kept this copy and Lincoln had to produce an additional one (Bliss Copy). The Bancroft copy is now owned by Cornell University.

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 here 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.

Source for all versions: Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, edited by Roy P. Basler and others.

Lincoln speech text is in the public domain the organization, remaining text, and photo on this page are copyright 2020 Abraham Lincoln Online. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy


My Great-Great-Grandfather Hated the Gettysburg Address. 150 Years Later, He’s Famous For It

Late last week, the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, newspaper, now called the Patriot-News, issued a tongue-in-cheek retraction of its 150-year-old snub of President Abraham Lincoln’s heralded Gettysburg Address.  The editorial page informed its readers:

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"Seven score and ten years ago, the forefathers of this media institution brought forth to its audience a judgment so flawed, so tainted by hubris, so lacking in the perspective history would bring, that it cannot remain unaddressed in our archives."

The editors mused that their predecessors had likely been “under the influence of partisanship, or of strong drink.” Waiving the statute of limitations, the newspaper ended its announcement in time-honored fashion: “The Patriot-News regrets the error.” The news was picked up by a wide swath of publications, but none were more surprising than the appearance of a “Jebidiah Atkinson” on “Saturday Night Live:”

But of course there was no “Jebidiah Atkinson.” The author of the thumbs-down review was Oramel Barrett, editor of what was then called the Daily Patriot and Union. He was my great-great-grandfather.

The “few appropriate remarks” President Abraham Lincoln was invited to deliver at the dedication of a national cemetery in Gettysburg are remembered today as a masterpiece of political oratory. But that’s not how Oramel viewed them back in 1863.

“We pass over the silly remarks of the President,” he wrote in his newspaper. “For the credit of the nation, we are willing that the veil of oblivion shall be dropped over them and that they shall no more be repeated or thought of.”

My ancestor’s misadventure in literary criticism has long been a source of amusement at family gatherings (and now one for the entire nation.) How could the owner-editor of a daily in a major state capital have been so utterly tone deaf about something this momentous?

Oddly enough, Oramel’s put-down of the Gettysburg Address—though a minority view in the Union at the time—didn’t stand out as especially outrageous at the time. Reaction to the speech was either worshipful or scornful, depending on one’s party affiliation. The Republicans were the party of Lincoln, while the Democrats were the more or less loyal opposition (though their loyalty was often questioned).

Here’s the Chicago Times, a leading Democratic paper: “The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly flat dishwatery utterances of a man who has to be pointed out to intelligent foreigners as the President of the United States.”

It wasn’t just the Democrats. Here’s the Times of London: “The ceremony was rendered ludicrous by some of the sallies of that poor President Lincoln.”

In the South, naturally, Lincoln was vilified as a bloodthirsty tyrant. But his opponents in the North could be almost as harsh. For years, much of the Democratic press had portrayed him as an inept, awkward, nearly illiterate bumpkin who surrounded himself with sycophants and responded to crises with pointless, long-winded jokes. My ancestor’s newspaper routinely referred to Lincoln as “the jester.”

A caricature of Lincoln as the “National Joker.” (Image courtesy of Doug Stewart)

Like Oramel Barrett, those who loathed Lincoln the most belonged to the radical wing of the Democratic Party. Its stronghold was Pennsylvania and the Midwest. The radical Democrats were not necessarily sympathetic to the Confederacy, nor did they typically oppose the war—most viewed secession as an act of treason, after all. Horrified by the war’s gruesome slaughter, however, they urged conciliation with the South, the sooner the better.

To the Lincoln-bashers, the president was using Gettysburg to kick off his re-election campaign—and showing the poor taste to do so at a memorial service. According to my bilious great-great-grandfather, he was performing “in a panorama that was gotten up more for the benefit of his party than for the glory of the Nation and the honor of the dead.”

Worse, for Lincoln’s opponents, was a blatant flaw in the speech itself. In just 10 sentences, it advanced a new justification for the war. Indeed, its first six words—”Four score and seven years ago”—were enough to arouse the fury of Democratic critics.

A little subtraction shows that Lincoln was referring not to 1787, when the Constitution, with its careful outlining of federal rights and obligations (and tacit acceptance of slavery), was drawn up, but to 1776, when the signers of the Declaration of Independence had proclaimed that “all men are created equal.”

The Union war effort had always been aimed at defeating Southern states that had rebelled against the United States government. If white Southerners wanted to own black slaves, many in the North felt, that was not an issue for white Northern boys to die for.

A British cartoon paints an unflattering picture of Lincoln and the Civil War. (Image courtesy of Doug Stewart)

Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation at the start of 1863. Now, at Gettysburg, he was following through, declaring the war a mighty test of whether a nation dedicated to the idea of personal liberty “shall have a new birth of freedom.” This, he declared, was the cause for which the thousands of Union soldiers slain here in July “gave the last full measure of devotion.” He was suggesting, in other words, that the troops had died to ensure that the slaves were freed.

To radical Northern Democratics, Dishonest Abe was pulling a bait-and-switch. His speech was “an insult” to the memories of the dead, the Chicago Times fumed: “In its misstatement of the cause for which they died, it was a perversion of history so flagrant that the most extended charity cannot regard it as otherwise than willful.” Worse, invoking the Founding Fathers in his cause was nothing short of libelous. “They were men possessing too much self-respect,” the Times assured its readers, “to declare that negroes were their equals.”

Histories have generally played down the prevalence of white racism north of the Mason-Dixon Line. The reality was that Northerners, even Union soldiers battling the Confederacy, had mixed feelings about blacks and slavery. Many, especially in the Midwest, abhorred abolitionism, which they associated with sanctimonious New Englanders. Northern newspaper editors warned that truly freeing the South’s slaves and, worse, arming them would lead to an all-out race war.

That didn’t happen, of course. It took another year and a half of horrific fighting, but the South surrendered on the North’s terms—and by the time Lee met Grant at Appomattox in April 1865, both houses of Congress had passed the 13th Amendment, banning slavery. With Lincoln’s assassination just six days later, the criticism ceased. For us today, Lincoln is the face on Mount Rushmore, and the Gettysburg Address one of the greatest speeches ever delivered.

Doug Stewart also wrote about his cantankerous great-great-grandfather, Oramel Barrett, in the November 2013 issue of America’s Civil War.


Gettysburg at 50: The Great Reunion of 1913

From June 29 to July 6, 1913, the Union and Confederate flags flew side by side when more than 50,000 Civil War veterans convened in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of one of the most pivotal battles in American history. Here’s a closer look at the Great Reunion of 1913.

The Idea

In April 1908, General H. S. Huidekoper, a Philadelphia native who lost his right arm at Gettysburg in 1863, suggested a fitting semicentennial observance of the three-day battle to Pennsylvania Governor Edwin S. Stuart.

Stuart, who presented the idea to the state’s General Assembly in January 1909 and established the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg Commission later that year, envisioned a reunion of Union and Confederate soldiers that would be talked about for years to come. “Other States, both north and south, whose sons fought at Gettysburg, will surely co-operate in making the occasion one that will stand foremost in the martial history of the world,” he said.

Several reunions had been held at Gettysburg before, including one to commemorate the 15th anniversary, but this one would trump them all.

The Planning

John K. Tener, a former major league baseball player who succeeded Stuart as Pennsylvania Governor in 1911, oversaw most of the planning for the reunion. Invitations were extended to all Civil War veterans and the Commission called upon the National Government and individual states to appropriate funds for travel to and from Gettysburg, predominantly by rail.

With assistance from the War Department, the Commission helped prepare Gettysburg, a town of 4,500, for the 100,000 visitors (about half of them non-veterans) expected to attend the reunion. The official celebration would be held from July 1 (Veteran’s Day) to July 4.

The Great Camp

The camp for the veterans at Gettysburg officially opened on June 29, and the first meal of the reunion was served that evening. About 25,000 veterans, including Major Gen. Daniel E. Sickles, the only surviving corps commander on either side, arrived on the first day.

The camp comprised 280 acres and more than 5,000 tents, which were organized by state and equipped with two hand basins and a water bucket. Artesian wells were installed in the months leading up to the reunion to supply water to the veterans’ village. According to the Commission’s report, there were 53,407 veterans in camp. In addition, 124 officers and 1,342 enlisted men were assigned by the War Department to help make sure things ran smoothly, while 155 newspapermen and 2,170 cooks brought the total in camp to 57,198.

Only veterans with the proper credentials, such as honorable discharge or pension papers, were fed and sheltered in the camp. Most of the 50,000 non-veterans who traveled to Gettysburg to share in the celebration were housed at Gettysburg College.

Exercises in the Great Tent

Public exercises were held July 1-4 in a giant tent, equipped with 13,000 chairs, inside the camp. Colonel J.M. Schoonmaker, the chairman of the Pennsylvania Commission, opened the ceremonies on July 1 at 2 p.m. Dedications of state monuments followed. The second day of the reunion, Military Day, featured a reading of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and the introduction of members of Union Gen. George G. Meade’s family. July 3, Governor’s Day, featured 65 regimental reunions, speeches by more than a dozen Governors, a flag ceremony at the site of Pickett’s charge, and a fireworks display. An address by President Woodrow Wilson highlighted the festivities on the Fourth of July.

Sweltering Conditions

Temperatures climbed into the triple digits on the first few days of the reunion. According to a report by the U.S. Army’s Chief Surgeon, 744 cases were admitted to the camp’s hospitals, and 319 of those were for heat exhaustion. (Sunstroke and tonsillitis each accounted for one case.) There were nine fatalities during the reunion, but considering the mean age of the veterans present was 72 and that most had traveled hundreds of miles to attend, it’s a wonder that number wasn’t greater. The post-reunion report by the Pennsylvania Commission declared the number of fatalities as “nothing short of marvelous.”

Food and Supplies

Cooks served 688,000 meals from June 29 to July 6. The great camp was stocked with 156,410 pounds of meat, 14,722 pounds of fowl, 7,008 cans of fish, 24,930 dozen eggs, 12,383 pounds of butter, and 403 gallons of pickles, among many other provisions. The dessert menu included 2,015 gallons of ice cream and 7,000 pies. Unused meat and vegetables were sold at auction after the camp closed. Fifty-four thousand mess kits were provided to the veterans as souvenirs. Each mess kit contained a fork, knife, small and large spoon, tin cup, and two plates. Veterans were asked to bring their own towels and toiletries.

Reunions Within the Reunion

When they weren’t taking in the scheduled public exercises at the reunion, veterans spent their time in Gettysburg reminiscing with friends and getting to know former foes. It was common for a veteran to seek out a man who may have shot him or exchange badges with a soldier from the other side. Two men reportedly purchased a hatchet at a local hardware store, walked it to the site where their regiments fought, and buried it. Here are three of the more interesting mini-reunions mentioned in the Pennsylvania Commission’s report and various newspaper accounts:

Flower Girls
When Gen. John Buford’s blue-uniformed soldiers rode through the streets of Gettysburg on June 30, 1863, a throng of girls in white dresses greeted them. The girls sang patriotic songs and threw flowers while standing on grocery boxes to get a better look at the troops. “It was a mighty cheering preparation for the fight of the next day,” one member of the Sixth New York Cavalry recalled.

Fifty years later, the members of the Sixth New York Cavalry who returned to Gettysburg combed the town in search of surviving members of that welcoming party. They found six women, who were brought to camp for an impromptu reunion. “We wish to thank you and say ‘God bless you’ for the friendly greeting you extended to us in those days so long ago, when kind words from gentle and noble women were like an oasis in a desert,” one member of the Sixth said. The women then sang a stirring rendition of “Rally Round the Flag.”

Bragging Rights
An op-ed in The New York Times during the reunion mentioned that many veterans reminisced about their experiences at Gettysburg in 1863 as they would a baseball contest. A separate article described the scene of a Union and a Confederate soldier posing for a photo by shaking hands next to a cannon. The Union soldier turned to the Confederate and said, “I’m mighty glad to do this, you know but still, you know, we did lick you.”

“You Are the Man”
Yet another New York Times article detailed an encounter between a Confederate soldier who was shot at the Bloody Angle, and would have died, were it not for a Union soldier who came to his rescue. A Union soldier who heard this story told the Confederate that he had saved a Confederate at the Bloody Angle that day, describing exactly what he had done. The Confederate examined the Union soldier more closely and declared, “But my God, that’s just what the Yankee did for me. There couldn’t have been two cases like that at the same time. You are the man.”

President Wilson’s Address

President Wilson initially declined the invitation to the reunion, having established a personal rule not to leave Washington for any speechmaking occasion while Congress was in session, but he ultimately reconsidered and decided to attend. Wilson addressed the camp at 11 a.m. on the Fourth of July and left after the playing of the National Anthem. The process of shutting down the camp began soon after. The hospital closed on July 5, fewer than 300 veterans remained on the night of July 6, and the last veteran left on July 8.

1938 Reunion

A 75th anniversary reunion was held in 1938, but as you might imagine, most Civil War veterans had passed away by then. About 25 veterans who had fought at Gettysburg and 2,000 other veterans attended.


David Wills House

The Wills House from the diorama exhibit of downtown Gettysburg inside the Wills House.

The home of Gettysburg attorney David Wills was the center of the immense clean-up process after the Battle of Gettysburg and where President Lincoln put the finishing touches on his Gettysburg Address, the speech that transformed Gettysburg from a place of death and devastation to the symbol of our nation's "new birth of freedom."

In honor of Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday on February 12, 2009, the David Wills House opened to the public, offering visitors a world-class museum experience that tells the story of Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address. The museum features six galleries, including two rooms that have been restored to their 1863 appearance: Wills' office, where he received letters from families looking for loved ones after the battle and began planning for a cemetery and its dedication and the bedroom where Lincoln stayed and prepared the Gettysburg Address.

How to Visit the Wills House

Hours of Operation

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the David Wills House is CLOSED.

Adult (age 13+) = $7.00
Senior (age 65+) and Military Personnel = $6.00
Youth (ages 6-12) = $4.00
Children (5 and under) = FREE

GROUP RATES
Adult and Senior = $6.00

Purchase tickets through the Gettysburg Foundation website.

Location

8 Lincoln Square, Gettysburg, Pa.

Parking: Park at the Gettysburg Municipal Parking Garage on Race Horse Alley or take the Freedom Transit Shuttle from the Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center.

Phone: 866-486-5735 or 717-334-2499 (local calls)
FAX: 717-334-5796

Portrait of David Wills.

The David Wills Story

The David Wills House. The Civil War came to the doorstep of the Wills home in 1863. Confederate soldiers first came to Gettysburg in search of supplies on June 26. During the Confederate occupation of the town, Wills saw, “a group of rebels with an axe break open the store door,” of one of his tenants. Local citizens huddled in his cellar. After the battle the Wills home filled quickly with wounded and dying soldiers. Local women acting as nurses tended to these men, and the U.S. Sanitary Commission (an early version of the American Red Cross) established a temporary warehouse here. The U.S. Provost Marshall used the home as headquarters, and Gettysburg’s leading citizens met here to make plans for proper burial of the dead.

President Abraham Lincoln.

The President in Gettysburg

As many as 20,000 people converged upon Gettysburg to attend the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery and to catch a glimpse of visiting dignitaries.

November 18, 1863: President Lincoln arrived in Gettysburg on the evening of November 18 and was escorted to the Wills home. The galleries on the second floor follow the events of Lincoln’s visit through his immortal address on November 19. You will hear the story of how Gettysburg managed the vast number of visitors and how David and Catherine accomodated the distinguished guests who spent the night at their home. You will stand in the bedroom where Lincoln finished revising the Gettysburg Address and learn why this speech continues to endure.

The only known picture of Abraham Lincoln from the November 19, 1863 ceremony shows Lincoln from a distance with his hat removed and his head bowed. He is surrounded by dignitaries and the large crowd. November 19, 1863: By 10 a.m. dignitaries were assembled outside of the Wills home for the procession to the new Soldiers’ National Cemetery. The ceremony began with music and an invocation. Edward Everett’s two-hour oration was followed by a funeral dirge, and then the President arose to deliver his, “few appropriate remarks.” He spoke for about two minutes. The brevity of Lincoln’s speech surprised many, but his words were long remembered.

As the death toll mounted during the first two years of the war, many wondered whether any cause was worth the awful price. The Gettysburg Address was Lincoln’s effort to define and defend the war’s objectives and the need to see them through — whatever the cost. The war, he said, was a test of whether a nation, “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal,” could survive and remain true to its founding ideals.

The Wills House first floor plan.

Accessibility and Safety

Information about accessible parking, restrooms, temporary wheelchair use, service dogs, and more can be found on our Accessibility page.

Firearms

The Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center is owned and operated by the Gettysburg Foundation, which also owns and administers the grounds and parking lots adjacent to the building. The carrying or possession of any type of weapon on the grounds of the visitor center or in the building is prohibited with the exception of law enforcement officers or officials that are within their jurisdiction.

Firearms in National Parks: The law governing possession of firearms inside a national park changed on February 22, 2010. Visitors may possess firearms within a national park unit provided they comply with federal, state, and local laws. The role of the responsible gun owner is to know and obey the federal, state, and local laws appropriate to the park they are visiting. Please remember that federal law prohibits firearms in certain park facilities and buildings. These places are marked with signs at public entrances. The role of the responsible gun owner is to know and obey the federal, state, and local laws appropriate to the park they are visiting. For more information about gun laws in Pennsylvania, please visit the Pennsylvania State Police web site.


Hidden Gettysburg: Exploring the Battlefield’s Secret Stories

When 93rd Pennsylvania veterans put up their monument in October 1888 along the John T. Weikert farm lane, masons leveled a boulder previously used for the 93rd’s smaller 1884 monument. The rubble from that renovation is nearby, complete with remnants of carving. (Photo by Melissa A. Winn)

Dana B. Shoaf
October 2019

The 9th Massachusetts Battery nicknamed its cannons after some of the wives left behind at home. A vestige of that practice remains on one of the Napoleon cannons at the battery’s Trostle Farm monument. Go behind the guns, and you’ll find the name “Cora” in weathered paint on a breech. (Photo by Melissa A. Winn)

Iron Brigade monument at Culp’s Hill. (Photo by Melissa A Winn)

Bent Iron

The famous Iron Brigade suffered a staggering 1,153 casualties during fighting on July 1. The Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan regiments

were later moved to a “quiet” area on Culp’s Hill, where small monuments and restored earthworks mark their line. From that location, battered but not broken, they fired at Confederates attacking Cemetery Hill on the evening of July 2. “Dident we give them hell,” wrote Captain Henry Young of the 7th Wisconsin.

Tribute to Sallie the pit bull terrier, mascot of the 11th Pennsylvania. (Photo by Melissa A. Winn)

Loyal Pittie

Regimental mascot Sallie the Dog forever rests on the 11th Pennsylvania monument along Doubleday Avenue on Oak Hill, facing the fields over which Confederates attacked her regiment. The pit bull terrier reportedly barked ferociously during the fight. She died during an 1864 battle.

Lieutenant Stephen Brown and his ax. (Photo by Melissa A Winn)

Lieutenant Stephen Brown of the 13th Vermont had to turn in his sidearms before the battle when he was disciplined for disobeying orders. He carried a camp ax during Pickett’s Charge, and the unusual weapon can be seen lying at his feet on his bronze monument along Hancock Avenue on Cemetery Ridge.

A cannonball remains in the Schmucker House on the grounds of the Lutheran Theological Seminary on Seminary Ridge. Look under the porch roof on the south side of the house. A Confederate battery blasted the shot that hit the home on July 1.

Park at the pink granite 43rd North Carolina monument along East Confederate Avenue at the base of Culp’s Hill, and walk through the woods back to Rock Creek. You’ll find the remnants of an old park boundary fence and a bucolic scene at the location where troops of Maj. Gen. Edward Johnson’s Division crossed during their attacks on Culp’s Hill. (Photo by Melissa A. Winn)

Dinosaur tracks can be found on the capstone of the Plum Run branch bridge on South Confederate Avenue. On the south side, they are on the sixth stone from right as you face south, and on the north side, they are on the fifth stone from the right as you face that direction. (Photo by Melissa A. Winn)

Veteran in Charge

John Page Nicholson fought on Culp’s Hill at Gettysburg as a lieutenant in the 28th Pennsylvania. After the war, he became active in veterans’ affairs and later served as the chairman of Gettysburg National Military Park from 1893-1922, overseeing increases in battlefield acreage and monumentation. He is also responsible for the Pennsylvania at Gettysburg series of books familiar to many researchers. Stop by and pay your respects to him at his monument along Hancock Avenue near Ziegler’s Grove.


Watch the video: Συγκέντρωση διαμαρτυρίας Κίνησης Πολιτών 10 9 21 (May 2022).

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