Remembering The Battle at Gettysburg 150 Years Ago
From July 1 to July 3, 1863, the Battle of Gettysburg was the site of one of the deadliest, largest battles of the American Civil War (1861-1865). It was also considered the one battle that made the American South (Confederates) close to winning. Historians are still dissecting and debating what actually happened there.
SOME HISTORICAL FACTS:
- Lincoln, the 16th president of the U.S., was serving his first term in office.
- The Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, under command of Gen. Robert E. Lee, fought the Union Army of the Potomac, under newly appointed commander Maj. Gen. George Meade.
- After the town of Vicksburg, Mississippi, fell to Union troops, Lee was driving his men north in search of a much-needed victory on Northern soil when the two armies clashed at Gettysburg.
- The Union won the battle–considered the turning point of the war by most historians–but the human costs were high for both sides, with about 51,000 total casualties. Lee and his army retreated south across the Potomac River after the battle, and the war continued for almost two more years
LITTLE KNOWN FACTS:
- During the war, many of the soldiers fighting for the Confederacy did not have shoes, as most of the shoe factories were in the North. Some confederate troops found out there was a shoe factory in Gettysburg, but on arrival to get supplies for their men…they e n countered thousands of Northern soldiers there.
- The oldest person who fought in the Battle at Gettysburg was John L. Burns, a resident of Gettysburg, was 70 years old when the battle started. Hearing the sounds of war, and being a former soldier, he grabbed an eighteenth century flintlock rifle and ran out to take part . On the way to the battle, he found a wounded soldier and traded his gun up. After volunteering his services, he was sent to the front line. Three bullets struck his arms during the battle, and he was abandoned as the Northern soldiers abandoned the position. Southerners found him, and he lied to them, claiming non-combatant status so he could receive medical attention instead of being shot. Yes, shot; in keeping with the rules of war at the time, any soldier not in uniform was technically a spy and could be killed on the spot. He outlived the battle by seven years, even though it was unusual in his day to live as long as he had when the battle started
AFTER THE BATTLE at GETTYSBURG
“A ceremony was scheduled to dedicate the Soldiers National Cemetery, where Union dead were being gathered. It was to be held about four and a half months after the battle on November 19, 1863.
The main speaker was noted orator Edward Everett. He delivered a two-hour speech, very normal for the time when an oration was an entertainment event. A hymn was sung as musical interlude, then Lincoln rose to give “a few remarks.” They were very few – ten sentences taking only about two minutes. No photographs show Lincoln speaking, as photographers were surprised by his quick finish. Reports speak of no, or very thin and scattered, applause.
But the ten sentences quickly came to be regarded as one of the greatest speeches in American history, providing guidance for a nation redefining itself in the middle of a war that threatened its very existence.”
HAPPY 4TH OF JULY