J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Archive for the tag “Pennsylvania”

Update on Lee’s Headquarters

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I recently blogged about the Civil War Trust’s efforts to restore the Widow Thompson House, where General Robert E. Lee had his headquarters during the Battle of Gettysburg. The CWT’s goal is to restore the house to its appearance in 1863. The Civil War Trust also intends to restore the surrounding landscape and install an interpretive trail.

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(Photo of the Widow Thompson’s House on Chamberlain Pike taken circa 1861 – 1865.)

The stone house, built in the 1830’s, was owned by Thaddeus Stephens, the Radical Republican Pennsylvania congressman who played an important role in Civil War financing and the anti-slavery movement. The house was leased to Mary Thompson who, in 1863, was a widow living in the house with her eight children. The property surrounding the house played a pivotal role during the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1, 1863. Located on Seminary Ridge, the house was first in the center of the Union line of defense and then became a key position for the Confederates. Lee’s army pushed out the Yankees, and the Confederate general quickly took control of the house as his headquarters. For the next three days, the house served as a hospital, fortress, and nerve center for the Confederate army.

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In the 1890’s, the house was left out of the National Military Park and fell into private hands. The site became a popular attraction. Campgrounds, cottages, and a museum popped up around the house. In the 1960’s, Larson’s Motel (later Quality Inn) and a large restaurant surrounded the house.

Two years ago, the Civil War Trust announced plans to purchase and restore the property, as well as four acres surrounding the house, at a cost of $6 million. After receiving donations, the property was purchased last year. This year, restoration to the property’s 1863 appearance began with the demolition of the restaurant and motel. This first phase will be completed this month.

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http://www.civilwar.org/battlefields/gettysburg/preservation/gettysburg-lees-headquarters.html?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email_update&utm_campaign=51116

 

“Four Score and Seven…”

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On this date in 1863, President Lincoln traveled to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to deliver what would become known as the “Gettysburg Address.” Although some revere Lincoln while others despise him, I think this short speech is one of the greatest American achievements. In honor of this event, here is an excerpt from my upcoming novel, A Rebel Among Us, when the main character sees Lincoln face to face.

The family arrived to find throngs of people clogging the road into Gettysburg. David drove slowly toward the center of town, past two- and three-story brick, stone, and weatherboard houses. Abolitionists lined the street, holding signs degrading the South and singing “John Brown’s Body.” Students from Pennsylvania College gathered near street corners in clusters. Union soldiers were everywhere. A group of them walked over and surrounded the landau. David’s heart raced wildly. All of his battlefield memories rushed over him. He continuously drew deep breaths in order to contain his composure and repeatedly wiped his sweaty palms against the coat Anna had provided him.

She glanced at him and noticed his wary expression. “Are you all right?” she asked.

All he could do was nod in response. He was terrified, but he couldn’t let his fears be known to the family.

Pulling Alphie to a halt, he climbed down, tied him to a post, assisted the ladies from the carriage, and escorted them toward a wooden platform that had been erected for the occasion. Someone handed him a program, so he smiled politely, being careful not to speak. The Stars and Stripes waved from atop a flagpole overlooking the gathering, its stars now totaling thirty-five, which included all of the states of the Confederacy. Behind him, he saw rows of graves, their white markers protruding from the dead earth, gleaming in the bright sunshine. Remnants of the fierce battle still remained. Scarred trees, pieces of wagons, rifle pits, scraps of clothing, broken fences, canteens, and other personal artifacts cluttered the sacred ground. Adjacent to the new Soldiers Cemetery was the old town graveyard. Ironically, a sign had been posted there before the great battle: All persons found using firearms on these grounds will be prosecuted with the utmost rigor of the law.

The Yankee dignitaries, lined in procession, finally appeared. Parading through the center of the enormous crowd, they made their way to the platform, which had a sofa and several chairs positioned on it. Four military bands began to play “Hail Columbia.” Union soldiers filed in. They stood only a few feet from David as the procession came through.

“There’s the president!” a man behind him said.

“He’s quite a Chesterfield,” remarked another.

David turned to see Mr. Lincoln atop a gray horse, riding toward the platform. Either the horse was too small or the president was too tall. His legs nearly touched the ground.

The soldiers saluted, and the president returned the gesture. David almost did, too, but caught himself in time. He gazed at the tall, slender, dark-bearded man who wore a long black suitcoat and stovepipe hat. President Lincoln’s expression was somber. His large eyes glanced over the crowd, and a faint, sad smile crossed his lips. Awestruck, David took in the sight of the man he’d heard so much about. The president’s weathered face, both homely and attractive at once, showed sensitivity and remorse. David felt overwhelmed to be in his presence. He continued to stare while the president rode past him. Mr. Lincoln turned his head and looked directly at him, apparently sensing his gaze. Their eyes met. David’s heart leaped into his throat. The president dismounted and stepped up onto the platform. His kind, gentle expression showed compassion. David wondered how he could intentionally proceed with the war, set the slaves free, and pass laws to cripple the South.

Just before noon, the program commenced with the Birgfield’s Band of Philadelphia playing “Homage d’un Heros.” Called to prayer, the audience was reminded of how so many young men had departed from their loved ones to die for their cause. The Reverend T.H. Stockton spoke with such soulful entreaty his listeners were overcome with emotion. When he was finished, the United States Marine Band played “Old Hundred.”

David glanced around; relieved no one could detect his secret. His eyes met Maggie’s. She mouthed the word “Rebel” at him, and glared so harshly he felt compelled to look away.

Edward Everett of Massachusetts began with an oration. He went on endlessly in an eloquent speech, referring to Athens, the occasion for which they all assembled, the significant victory, and the history of the war. Giving an elaborate account of the battle, he said nothing about the cavalry fight and predictably proceeded to castigate the South. In his opinion, the Confederacy had committed treason, comparable to the Bible’s “Infernal Serpent” by perpetuating wrong and injustice. He referred to the Rebels as Eversores Imperiorum, or destroyers of States.

David continuously scanned the crowd, half-expecting the soldiers to surround him at any moment. He noticed how some of the spectators yawned and wandered off to observe unfinished gravesites. After nearly two hours, Mr. Everett’s harangue finally ended. The Musical Association of Baltimore, accompanied by a band, sang “Consecration Hymn,” but the lyrics were so traumatic many people began to sob.

“Here, where they fell, oft shall the widow’s tear be shed.

Oft shall fond parents mourn their dead; the orphan here shall kneel and weep.”

David felt his throat tighten. He stared down at his boots, waited for the hymn to end, and remembered his comrades, his best friend, and his father.

At last, the President of the United States was introduced. The crowd applauded. Mr. Lincoln made his way to the front of the platform. Keeping his eyes downcast, he withdrew his steel-rimmed spectacles from a vest pocket. His visage remained staid and melancholy. Slowly, clearly, deliberately, he began to speak. David hung on every word. In spite of how he felt about the man, his heart began to swell.

“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 battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that 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.”

David thought it ironic the Northern President spoke with a hint of a Southern drawl, but then recalled Mr. Lincoln had been born in Kentucky. The president returned to his seat. A sprinkling of applause followed him. David thought he heard the President say, “Well, that fell on them like a wet blanket,” but he wasn’t close enough to be sure. Everyone around seemed surprised the president’s speech was so short, but David found himself overcome by the Yankee president’s words. Although they didn’t necessarily apply to his Southern beliefs, they were heartfelt and poignant.

A dirge was sung, a benediction given, and the soldiers completed the program with a cannon salute, which startled him and jolted his heart for a moment. The spectators filed out of the square. He glanced over at Maggie. The time was ripe for her to confess his true identity, but she merely stared at him with a smirk on her face.

 

Romance and the Civil War

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Welcome to the Indie Love Blog Hop! As part of this blog tour, I have been asked to highlight an indie author, so I chose myself! Therefore, I have included a synopsis of my two printed novels and a short, romantic interlude from each book. Please read to the end to find out how you can win a book!

First up, a synopsis and excerpt from A Beautiful Glittering Lie:

Synopsis:

In the spring of 1861, a country once united is fractured by war. Half of America chooses to fight for the Confederate cause; the other, for unification. In north Alabama, the majority favors remaining in the Union, but when the state secedes, many come to her defense. Such is the case with Hiram Summers, a farmer and father of three. He decides to enlist, and his son, David, also desires to go, but is instead obligated to stay behind.

Hiram travels to Virginia with the Fourth Alabama Infantry Regiment. Although he doesn’t intentionally seek out adventure, he is quickly and inevitably thrust into combat. In the meantime, David searches for adventure at home by traipsing to Huntsville with his best friend, Jake Kimball, to scrutinize invading Yankees. Their escapade turns sour when they discover the true meaning of war, and after two years of service, Hiram sees enough tragedy to last a lifetime.

A Beautiful Glittering Lie addresses the naivety of a young country torn by irreparable conflict, a father who feels he must defend his home, and a young man who longs for adventure, regardless of the perilous cost.

Excerpt:

Unintentionally, he fell asleep. He awoke to find his room dark. Quickly rising, he went outside to feed the animals, but was informed by Rena that his chores had already been done, so he ambled back to his room, lit the oil lamp, and picked up his guitar. He sat upon his bed, gently strumming it. Already, he had managed to figure out five different chords, and could play his favorite, which was the “Bonnie Blue Flag.” For some reason, that song made him proud to be a Southerner, and for believing in the cause that his father was about to defend, even though the concept was rather vague to him. He knew a few other melodies, too: “Old Zip Coon,” “Aura Lea,” “Old Dan Tucker,” and his favorite, “Cindy.” When he had gone through his repertoire a few times, long enough for his fingertips to start hurting, he put the instrument back in the corner.

Deciding to go outside, he stepped onto the breezeway. Voices were speaking from just beyond the corner, so he moved up close enough to see around it. His mother and father were sitting side by side, their silhouettes illuminated by the pale moonlight.

“Now don’t forget to write to me every chance you git,” she was saying.

He snickered. “I won’t forget, honey.”

“And I expect you to attend services every Sunday.”

“I will.”

“I’ll send you packages every week.”

“That’ll be jist fine.”

They sat in the dark momentarily as the faint hoot of an owl punctuated the silence.

“I don’t want you to go,” she finally said, “even though I know it’s your duty to uphold.”

“Now, Caroline, darlin’, you know I’ll be fine.”

“Yes, I do. But I’ll still fret about you.”

He softly chuckled. “There’s no need for you to worry your purty lil head.”

She took his hand. “I’ll miss you, my dear,” she tenderly whispered.

There was another extended silence, and then Hiram responded in a low, passionate voice, “I’ll miss you, too. You know that, Caroline. My heart belongs to you, and it always will.”

David stepped back into the shadows to the sanctuary of his room. He quietly closed the door behind him. For some reason, he felt consumed with gloom, but pushed the feeling aside. His father was leaving in the morning for excitement, honor, and glory. He forced his heartache to turn into anticipation.

And now, a synopsis and excerpt from A Beckoning Hellfire:

Synopsis:

During the bloody American Civil War, the stark reality of death leads one young man on a course of revenge that takes him from his quiet farm in northern Alabama to the horrific battlefields of Virginia and Pennsylvania.

On Christmas Eve 1862, David Summers hears the dreaded news: his father has perished at the Battle of Fredericksburg. Reeling with grief and thoughts of vengeance, David enlists and sets off for Richmond to join the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia.

But once in the cavalry, David’s life changes drastically, and his dream of glamorous chivalry becomes nothing but a cold, cruel existence of pain and suffering. He is hurled into one battle after another, and his desire for revenge wanes when he experiences first-hand the catastrophes of war.

A haunting look at the human side of one of America’s most tragic conflicts, A Beckoning Hellfire speaks to the delusion of war’s idealism.

Excerpt:

“Oh, Jake, darlin’,” Calle crooned, turning her face to his, “please go in and fetch me my shawl.”

Jake mooned over her. “Of course, Callie,” he said.

His countenance was that of pure adoration, dripping with too much sweetness for David’s taste. He watched Jake’s performance with one eyebrow cocked, and for a moment, looked away so that they wouldn’t see him frown. It was obvious that Jake wouldn’t be enlisting with him after all.

“Oh, and I believe your mother wishes to speak with you,” Callie added over her shoulder as Jake opened the screen door and went inside. She turned back to face David. “I would like to have a word with you privately,” she informed him.

“Yes, miss,” he responded.

A strange, awkward pause ensued. She moved closer to him. He could feel his face flushing.

“Do you remember last summer, when we were at the fishin’ hole with Jake and your two sisters?” she turned her head slightly to look at him out of the corner of her eye.

He nodded. This was making him uncomfortable. Callie reached out and grabbed hold of his hand. He felt like she was cornering him.

“Do you recollect what happened after they all left, and it was jist you and me remainin’?”

“Yeah.”

Regardless of how badly he didn’t want to remember, he couldn’t help but think back to the event. Jake had volunteered to escort Rena and Josie home. David made fun of the way Callie’s hair looked, she splashed him, he splashed her back, and then she swam right up to him, clasped onto his head with her hands, and planted a big wet kiss straight on his mouth. He recalled how shocked he was, completely taken aback, this coming from the girl who was supposed to be Jake’s. He remembered protesting, telling her that he had to leave, that Jake loved her, and that Jake was the one she should be doing that to. But to his surprise, she laughed, amused by his bewildered embarrassment. She informed him that, if anything were to ever happen to Jake, he would be her next choice. Reliving the moment in his mind made him feel even more awkward now. He looked down at his feet.

“David, I want you to know that I love the both of you,” she said. She reached out and pulled his chin up, forcing him to look at her. “And you know that I intend to marry Jake. But if he decides to go off to war, and somethin’ should happen to him …”

“Callie Mae Copeland,” he interrupted, “don’t you be thinkin’ that way.”

Callie looked deeply into his eyes. David blinked. She drew closer.

“If anything should happen, promise me you will return to take his place.”

“I don’t reckon he’s fixin’ to go.”

“He ain’t made up his mind yet.” Her penetrating stare bore into him. “Promise me you’ll come back to claim me as your bride.”

He felt his resolve melting. “All right, I promise,” he reluctantly agreed, knowing that it was the only way to escape the confrontation.

As part of this blog hop, I am sponsoring a book giveaway. What I ask is that you answer the following questions and email them to me at jdrhawkins@gmail.com. The contest runs through February 21, after which I will announce the two winners on my blog. Good luck and Happy Valentine’s Day!

  1. Describe your perfect Civil War soul mate:
  1. What is their name?
  2. Where are they from?
  3. What is their occupation?
  4. What is their age/gender?
  5. What are some of your soul mate’s personality traits?
  6. Please specify if you would like a copy of A Beautiful Glittering Lie or A Beckoning Hellfire.

Thanks for participating! I can’t wait to read what you send me. Stay tuned – winners will be announced on February 22!

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Excerpt From My New Novel!

My new novel, A Rebel Among Us, will soon be released. It is the third book in the “Renegade Series” (the first two books are A Beautiful Glittering Lie and A Beckoning Hellfire). Here are the opening pages to my new book. I’ll let you know when it is officially released!

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“Soldiers you know are born to suffer and they cannot escape it.”

  • Robert E. Lee, letter to his wife, April 5, 1863

 

Chapter One

“That isn’t right, Abigail. Try it again.”

The young girl looked up at her big sister and let out a sigh. “I can’t figure this out, Maggie,” she whined in frustration, flinging her long, blonde hair away from her face.

“I already showed you.” Maggie bent down over the two girls seated at the bench. She held out an index finger and struck it on a piano key. “It’s this one,” she instructed. She straightened, pulling her dark blonde hair back behind her shoulders. “You need to keep practicing until you learn it. You’re supposed to play this piece for our guests tomorrow, remember?”

The little girl next to Abigail laughed and swung her legs back and forth on the piano bench. She constantly played with her dark brown hair, which was tied up in a ponytail. “Start over, Abigail!” she insisted. “Maggie won’t leave you be until you learn it right!”

Abigail rolled her eyes and sighed again. “Why can’t it be something easier than ‘The Star Spangled Banner’?” she growled.

She turned to face the box piano, and spread her small fingers across the keys. Slowly, deliberately, she began to play. Reaching the troublesome note again, she struck the wrong key.

Maggie shook her head. She turned and walked out of the parlor. The two little girls heard her shoes clunk as she went up the stairs. They looked at each other and giggled.

“Let’s get our toys!” the brown-haired girl whispered, her amber eyes shining.

“We can’t, Claudia. She’ll hear that I’m not practicing.”

“Oh, all right. But do try to hurry.”

Suddenly, the family’s two dogs started barking outside.

“Hmm,” Abigail said, “I wonder what Colby and Floyd are so excited about.”

“Maybe it’s a rabbit,” Claudia replied, “or a skunk!”

The girls giggled again.

Abigail proceeded to play, making the same mistake over and over. Finally, she got past the problematic note. Staring intensely at the sheet music, she flawlessly played the rest of the piece. Upon producing the final chord, she threw her arms up in the air. Claudia applauded. The two little girls hugged.

A strange, grunting noise came from outside the front door. They whirled around to stare at it. Whatever it was on the other side started screaming and pounding against it. Claudia and Abigail looked at each other in horror.

“What do you think it is?” Claudia whispered.

“I don’t know,” said Abigail. “Let’s go see.”

They slowly crept over to the window, cautiously drew back the lace curtain, and peered out into the darkness, but they didn’t see anything unusual. Unexpectedly, a saddled horse galloped around from the side of the house, stepped up onto the porch, and pawed at the front door. The girls jumped back in surprise.

“It’s a horse!” exclaimed Claudia.

“What does he want?” Abigail asked.

Holding hands, they approached the front door, and stood staring at it. The crazed animal on the other side snorted, nickered, and thumped.

“Should we open it?” Abigail asked.

Claudia nodded, wide-eyed, in response.

Slowly, Abigail unlatched the lock, turned the knob, and pulled the door open. The horse stared back at them with strange, glowing, greenish-brown eyes. Both girls gasped in unison. He nodded his head up and down, and trotted toward the side of the house. The girls stood frozen in the doorway, watching as he came back to repeat his movements.

“I think he wants us to follow him,” said Claudia.

They slowly walked out of the two-story house and down the porch steps, still holding hands. With their eyes glued on the horse, they watched him continue to trot in circles, and followed the spotted equine around to the back of the house.

“Maybe he’s hungry,” Abigail said.

They followed the animal into the barn. The horse walked over to something heaped in the corner. They drew closer, holding their breath. Shaking his head, the horse whinnied. At once, the girls realized that the heap was a person. Claudia gasped.

“Go fetch my sisters!” Abigail exclaimed.

Claudia pulled her hand away from Abigail’s grasp and ran off.

“It’s all right, horsey,” Abigail cooed, trying to calm the animal. Warily drawing closer, she strained her eyes to see what was in the dark. The figure on the floor moaned. Stifling a scream, she clamped her hand over her mouth to suffocate the sound. She heard Claudia yell for her sisters, and stood frozen, watching the horse prance and frantically whinny. Colby, their black and white sheep dog, and Floyd, their sable collie, ran into the barn, but the horse charged at them, and sent them yelping back outside.

Abigail’s sisters arrived with Claudia.

“What is it?” asked Maggie.

Abigail pointed at the dark mound in the corner. Their older sister cautiously approached. The three other girls followed so closely behind that they all seemed to be attached.

“Who is it, Anna?” Abigail asked.

Maggie gasped. “It’s a Rebel!” she exclaimed.

“And he’s bleeding,” said Anna.

She drew closer. The horse allowed her advance.

The soldier moaned. He opened his eyes and gazed around at them, obviously confused, or delirious, or both. “Please …” he moaned, almost in a whisper. “Please, help me.”

“Come on, Maggie,” Anna commanded, kneeling down beside the soldier. “We’ve got to get him inside.”

Maggie resisted. “I don’t think we should touch him,” she said.

Anna glared at her, forcing her to give in under her stare, so Maggie pulled him up. Anna reached around his other side. The two girls hoisted him, causing the soldier to cry out in pain. Balancing the young man between them, they assisted him to the house, nearly dragging him across the barnyard, since he was so weak.

Abigail watched her sisters make their way across the yard, struggling with their load. She looked down and noticed a blood-soaked, yellowish-brown garment on the floor of the barn. Wrinkling her nose, she picked it up and shoved it between the wall slats, thinking that she’d managed to clean up quickly that way.

“Let’s feed the horsey,” she happily said to Claudia.

The two girls climbed into the loft, threw down a bale of hay, and clambered back down. Abigail poured a bucket of water into a trough.

“This will keep you busy for a while,” she said to the horse.

He nickered in response, and nosed his way over to the hay.

“Come on!” Claudia exclaimed.

The two friends ran across the barnyard and into the house.

“Where are we going with him?” Maggie asked as they carried the soldier through the kitchen.

“Upstairs to Father’s bedchamber,” replied Anna.

Maggie glared at her, but complied.

The older sisters carried him up the long wooden flight of stairs, and the two little girls followed. Reaching the top, Anna opened a bedroom door. Its hinges squeaked loudly. They led the wounded soldier over to the four-poster bed. Carefully, they eased him down, lifted his legs, and gently swung him up onto it. The young man moaned in agony. The girls noticed that he was too long for the mattress, as his feet hung over the end. While Anna lit a kerosene lamp on the bedside table, Maggie pulled the windows open to let out the warm, stale air. The flickering lamplight illuminated the soldier’s condition. The front of his shirt was covered with blood, and his right trouser leg was blood-soaked as well.

“Oh!” Claudia exclaimed at the sight. “He’s all leaky!”

Abigail drew closer to him. “Eew!” she reacted, pinching her nose shut with her thumb and forefinger. “He smells like a horse!”

Claudia giggled at the sound that her friend’s voice made.

Anniversary of Famous Presidential Speech

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One of the greatest American speeches ever delivered took place on this date in 1863. Following the bloody Battle of Gettysburg on July 1-3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln was invited to participate in dedicating the Soldiers National Cemetery to say “a few appropriate remarks.” After a long, two hour oratory given by Edward Everett, a popular speaker of that time. President Lincoln rose to his feet, stepped to the front of the platform, and began reading. His speech lasted just over two minutes, but it has endured through the ages. Once he was finished reading, the audience responded with only a spattering of applause. Lincoln remarked that his carefully chosen words fell on them like a wet blanket. Little did he know, his speech would become one of the most famous, reverent speeches in this country’s history.

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.

150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address

One of the greatest American speeches took place 150 years ago at a small town in Pennsylvania known as Gettysburg. The occasion was the dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetery, following the bloodiest three days in our history that took place during the Civil War. At the time, both sides believed themselves to be victorious, but by July 4, 1863, it became apparent that the Union had succeeded in defeating the Confederates when General Lee ordered his army to retreat back into Virginia.

The number of casualties was immense: Union losses numbered 23,055 (3,155 killed, 14,531 wounded, and 5,369 captured or missing). It is believed that Confederate casualties were similar, although the exact number is questionable. Four months after the battle, President Abraham Lincoln was invited to speak, along with Edward Everett, a popular orator of the time. It is rumored that the president wrote his speech on the train ride to Gettysburg, but this has been undocumented. Lincoln’s speech lasted just over two minutes, but it has lasted through the ages, and is as follows:

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.

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