A Most Famous Speech
In November, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln traveled to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to dedicate a national cemetery that was being established to bury Union soldiers. He was suffering from small pox at the time, and scribbled the speech down on paper as he rode the train from Washington.
Once he arrived, he took a room at the Gettysburg Hotel. He was given a tour of the battlefield, still strewn with limbers, knapsacks, and various other military equipment. On the day of the dedication, he rode a horse down the main street of town to the cemetery. A crowd of about 15,000 spectators was in attendance.
Edward Everett, a famous orator at the time from Massachusetts, gave the opening remarks. They lasted two hours! After performances by local musicians and choirs, the president stood to give his dedication, which was only two paragraphs long.
After he delivered his famous speech, which he considered to be “a few appropriate remarks,” he was overheard to have stated, “I failed, I failed, and that is about all that can be said about it.” This was because of the poor reception he received following his speech. People didn’t applaud or cheer. Perhaps, they were awestruck by the simple speech and the poignant words it held. The Gettysburg Address would become one of the most famous addresses in American history.