15. Apr, 2017

BLOG 03-THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS

 LINCOLN’S TRIP TO GETTYSBURG

 I have been researching President Lincoln’s actual journey to Gettysburg in November 1863 and came upon a great article giving detail to his stop by the hour.

 Did you know he was only in Gettysburg 26 hours and gave four speeches-nearly all similar or early drafts of the speech?

 He was also suffering from a mild case of small pox which killed his aid-William Johnson in Feb 1864.

Contrary to belief and rumours of the day by news papers and spectators present at the Gettysburg National Cemetery’s launch on November 19th, 1863, that president Lincoln wrote his famous 270 word speech which became known as the ‘GETTYSBURG ADDRESS’ was written on the back of an envelope during the train journey from Washington the Gettysburg the day before are all false. President Lincoln actually wrote two draft copies from receiving the formal invitation by Edward Everett (1794-1865), American statesman, educator, and orator. He was a U.S. House of Representatives and served for ten years and governor of Massachusetts from 1836 to 1840. The following year he was appointed U.S. minister to Britain, returning to the U.S. in 1845 to become president of Harvard University, a position he held from 1846 to 1849. Everett served as secretary of state (1852-1853) under President Millard Fillmore and as U.S. senator from Massachusetts from 1853 to 1854. In 1860 he ran unsuccessfully for the vice-presidency on the ticket of the Constitutional Union Party as the running mate of John Bell of Tennessee. His orations, including the one he delivered before Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

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:

*          John G. Nicolay

*          John Hay

*          Edward Everett

*          George Bancroft 

*          Alexander Bliss.         

The president was not invited until about two weeks prior to the ceremony. He was not the main speaker. Edward Everett, a noted statesman from Boston and Harvard President, was given two months notice to work on his speech, which took about two hours to deliver. Mr. Lincoln’s speech was but 270 words. It has been accepted that Lincoln wrote the address on a scrap of paper while on the train to Pennsylvania because it was reported that way in a news paper. However, the train was too crowded and noisy for him to work on it. Instead, he wrote part of it on White House stationery before he left and finished the rest on the morning of the event in Gettysburg.

GETTYSBURG

Gettysburg, borough, seat of Adams County, southern Pennsylvania; incorporated 1806. It is a tourist centre and has industries manufacturing processed food, footwear, textiles, electrical equipment, and printed materials. Gettysburg is famous as the site of the decisive Battle of Gettysburg (July 1863), one of the bloodiest encounters of the American Civil War. Subsequently, President Abraham Lincoln delivered his noted speech, the Gettysburg Address, when Gettysburg National Cemetery was dedicated on November 19, 1863. The battlefield and cemetery are now part of Gettysburg National Military Park (1895). Several museums and other points of interest in and near the borough are concerned with the Civil War events. Also in the borough are Gettysburg College (1832) and Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg (1826).

The community, laid out in the 1780s, is named for General James Gettys, an early resident.

 Battle of Gettysburg, battle fought July 1 through July 3, 1863, considered by most military historians the turning point in the American Civil War. The Battle of Gettysburg was a decisive engagement in that it arrested the Confederates' second and last major invasion of the North, destroyed their offensive strategy, and forced them to fight a defensive war in which the inadequacies of their manufacturing capacity and transportation facilities doomed them to defeat.

The Army of the Potomac, under the Union general George Gordon Meade, numbered about 85,000; the Confederate army, under General Robert E. Lee, numbered about 75,000. After the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 2 to 4, an important victory for the Confederates, Lee divided his army into three corps, commanded by three lieutenant generals: James Longstreet, Richard Stoddert Ewell, and Ambrose Powell Hill. Lee then formulated a plan for invading Pennsylvania, hoping to avert another federal offensive in Virginia and planning to fight if he could get the federal army into a vulnerable position; he also hoped that the invasion might increase Northern war-weariness and lead the North to recognize the independence of the Confederate States of America. In pursuit of this plan, Lee crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains, proceeded up the Shenandoah Valley, and, crossing Maryland, entered Pennsylvania. Upon learning federal troops were north of the Potomac, Lee decided to concentrate his whole army at Gettysburg.

On June 30, Confederate troops from General Hill's corps, on their way to Gettysburg, noted federal troops that Meade had moved down to intercept the Confederate army. The battle began on July 1 outside of Gettysburg with an encounter between Hill's advance brigades and the federal cavalry division commanded by Major General John Buford, supported by infantry under Major General John Fulton Reynolds. Hill encountered stubborn resistance, and the fighting was inconclusive until Ewell arrived from the north in the afternoon. The Confederates pushed against General Oliver Howard's corps and forced the federal troops to retire from their forward positions to Culp's Hill and Cemetery Ridge, southeast of Gettysburg. The fighting had been heavy on both sides, but the Union troops suffered more losses. More than 4000 men were taken prisoner by the Confederates, and Federal General John Reynolds was killed in battle. The federals did manage to capture Confederate General Archer, the first Confederate officer to be taken prisoner after Lee assumed command of the Confederate army. The corps led by Ewell did not move in to attack the Union troops but waited for General Longstreet to bring in his corps to reinforce the outnumbered Confederate troops.

On the following day, July 2, Meade formed his main forces in the shape of a J (resembling a fishhook), extending westward from Culp's Hill and southward along Cemetery Ridge to the hills of Little Round Top and Round Top. The Confederates, on the other hand, were deployed in a long, thin, concave line, with Longstreet and Ewell on the flanks and Hill in the centre.

Lee, against the advice of Longstreet and despite the fact that he had no cavalry, resolved to attack the federal positions. Longstreet was unable to advance until late afternoon, thus allowing the federal troops to make preparations for the expected assault. General Abner Doubleday of the federal army strengthened his hold on Cemetery Hill. The federals held Cemetery Ridge and Little Round Top, but Longstreet moved Confederate troops along Peach Orchard, driving the federals from their positions there. Although Ewell won part of Culp's Hill, he was unable to break the federal line there or on the eastern part of Cemetery Ridge. On the night of July 2, Meade held a council of war in which the decision was made not to retreat. On the third day of battle, the federals were secure in their positions and the Confederates had lost their offensive stance. General Lee decided to mount an attack despite opposition from other Confederate generals. The offensive did not begin until after noon. Groups from three Confederate divisions, including the division led by Major General George E. Pickett, totalling fewer than 15,000 men, took part in a memorable charge on Cemetery Ridge against a withering barrage of federal artillery and musket fire. The attack is known as Pickett's Charge. Although the Confederate troops breached Meade's first line of defence, the strain on the Confederates proved too great, and they fell back, having lost over three-fourths of their force.

With the repulse of Pickett's Charge, the Battle of Gettysburg was virtually over. On the night of July 4, Lee began his retreat to Virginia, expecting a counterattack from the federal army. Meade, however, did not attack, due perhaps to heavy rains which hampered pursuit of the retreating Confederates. During the three days of battle, the Union Army had about 23,000 casualties, and the Confederates had at least 25,000.

THE SOLDIER'S NATIONAL CEMETERY

In the aftermath of the greatest battle in American history, thousands of men were buried in temporary graves all around Gettysburg. Governor Andrew Curtin journeyed to the field of battle and quickly recognized that something had to be done. The concept eventually adopted was that of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery. Appointed by Governor Curtin, on behalf of the governors of the Northern states, to serve as an agent in the matter was Gettysburg attorney David Wills. Although the Confederate dead would remain in the fields around Gettysburg, those of the Army of the Potomac would be reinterred on a hill south of town adjacent to Evergreen Cemetery. In an effort to honour the fallen and officially consecrate the cemetery grounds, a dedication ceremony was planned. Edward Everett of Massachusetts was chosen to be the keynote speaker and the date eventually settled upon was Thursday, November 19, 1863. During the course of sending formal printed invitations to important national, state and military officials, the promoters of the cemetery were made aware that President Lincoln desired to attend the ceremonies. In response, David Wills was authorized to send a personal invitation to the President which included the request that he be the one to “formally set apart these grounds to their sacred use by a few appropriate remarks.” At the same time Wills sent along a less formal invitation asking the President to be a guest at his house along with Governor Curtin and Edward Everett.

As the date of dedication neared, the people of Gettysburg began to realize the importance of the occasion and preparations were kicked into high gear. According to the Reverend Henry C. Holloway, an 1861 graduate of Pennsylvania College, “the fact that the President and his cabinet were coming to town was quite sufficient to create the liveliest interest.” Gettysburg resident Harvey Sweney noted that “for some days before the 19th our town was filled with strangers eager to secure a place to stay during that memorable day. All the rooms in the hotels were engaged several weeks ahead but our old town roused up to action, —meetings were held and committees were appointed to wait on strangers and procure them accommodations in every house large and small, high and low. You could hear the sound of busy preparation for the coming multitude. Churches, public schools, town halls, all the private dwellings, barns, etc. were thrown open to receive them. Every house groaned with the good things of this life prepared to feed the coming crowd. On the morning of the 18th, the heavy trains of cars began to pour in laden with masses of human beings. Train after train came. Nothing scarcely could be heard but the loud snort of the iron horse and the rumble of the long and heavy train.”

According to the Adams Sentinel, “the influx of strangers commenced on Monday the 16th, and the trains became heavier, and heavier as the day of consecration approached. On Wednesday, Wednesday night and Thursday morning the 19th, trains arrived every few hours, swelling the crowd to immense proportions.”

THE JOURNEY

In November of 1863 President Abraham Lincoln was invited to attend the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Seventeen acres adjacent to the town's regular cemetery had been purchased for the burial of the soldiers killed in the Battle of Gettysburg. The chief orator was to be the eloquent Edward Everett of Massachusetts. Mr. Lincoln would then add a few appropriate remarks in honour of the dead. Everett ended up speaking for about two hours; Lincoln spoke for less than three minutes.

Lincoln's main goals were to dedicate the battlefield to the men who died there and to explain to the nation why the Civil War was worth fighting and would continue to be fought.

There is the legend that he wrote it on the back of an envelope. Another legend has him writing it on a piece of cardboard as the train travelled its 80-mile trip from Washington to Gettysburg. Still another story has him writing it at his host's house the night before giving the address itself. However, all of these legends are out of character for Lincoln. He took the occasion very seriously. The most reliable accounts of the speech's origin are that he essentially composed it in Washington and perhaps made a few refinements while staying overnight at David Wills' house. Two of Lincoln's friends...Noah Brooks and Ward Hill Lamon... said that Lincoln wrote the speech in the White House prior to leaving for Gettysburg.

It has been reported that the president was sick. Confirm that he was ill during the proceedings; people have made the assumption, perhaps accurate, because after he returned to the White House, he was diagnosed with variolite, which has been described as a mild form of smallpox.

WILLIAM H. JOHNSON

William Henry Johnson was a free African American, and the personal valet of Abraham Lincoln. Having first met Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois, he accompanied the President-Elect to Washington, D.C.

On November 18, 1863, Johnson travelled by train with Lincoln to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania for the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery, where Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address. On the return trip, Lincoln became ill with what turned out to be smallpox. Johnson tended to him, and by January 12, 1864 was himself sick with the disease. Lincoln recovered, but by January 28, Johnson was dead.

SOME INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THE GETTYSBURG ADRESS-NOVEMBER 19TH, 1863

-President Lincoln’s speech followed Edward Everett whom gave over 2 hour speech -Lincoln only spoke for 2 a little minutes consisting of 270 words -Lincoln finished the text on route to Gettysburg from Washington

-He wrote five versions and gave them to individuals -Lincoln wrote the address on the back of a used envelope. -He made changes to the speech as he spoke -Lincoln was suffering from chicken pox-his porter whom accompanied him on the trip died as they returned to Washington

-There was only one photograph taken of President Lincoln as he gave the speech. The reason was the time it took to set up the camera and the photographer’s were not in a hurry as they expected another long speech and it was nearly over when they realized Lincoln was only going to give a brief speech.

-In the contemporary newspaper reports of the dedication ceremonies, Everett's remarks were lauded highly and given prominence on the front page, while the words of Lincoln were relegated to an inside page.

DRAFTS OF THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS

This draft of United States president Abraham Lincoln’s (1860-1865) Gettysburg Address is a little less than a page and a half. Lincoln delivered the speech in 1863 at the site of a Union victory in the Civil War (1861-1865). The speech went almost unnoticed at the time, but it has come to be regarded as one of the most moving pieces of oratory in American history

 

BLOG 04-April 23rd, 2017

Do you remember the John Wayne Civil War movie-“THE HORSE SOLDIERS” released in 1959 which tells a fictional story of a Union Cavalry invasion into the south (Mississippi). The story is based on a true event of the war. You will learn of John Wayne’s character-John Marlowe’s true mentor and the real story of the raid and battles that the movie is based up.