Civil War Gettysburg 150th Anniversary

Civil War dead in the  Wheatfield near the Emmitsburg Road, Battle of Gettysburg, July 2 1863

Civil War dead in the Wheatfield near the Emmitsburg Road, Battle of Gettysburg (PA),  July 2 1863 (Library of Congress)

July 1-3 1863: The Largest Battle in American History in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania: 6,000 dead, 50,000+ injured and wounded, lives changed forever.

Today in History (July 1) The Battle of Gettysburg Begins

Take a trip this summer to walk the Hallowed Ground — much of it now  protected and transformed back into the pastoral meadows and fields of Gettysburg, Pa., where the Army of the Potomac (Union) and the Army of Northern Virginia (Confederate) met with devastating effect, in what most consider the turning point of the Civil War. (3D, animated, maps and other resources are linked at the end of this story.)

Abraham Lincoln as he looked 11 days before he gave the Gettysburg Address on Nov 19, 1843. Courtesy of the USAHMI.

Abraham Lincoln as he looked 11 days before he gave the Gettysburg Address on Nov 19, 1863. Courtesy of the USAHMI.

The Gettysburg Address

President Abraham Lincoln personally saw the aftermath of the carnage. On Nov 19, 1863,  while the dead were still being buried and relocated into graves,  President Abraham Lincoln came to Gettysburg to deliver a 287-word address for the dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetery.

Here are words of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address:

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.

Source: Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, edited by Roy P. Basler. The text above is from the so-called “Bliss Copy,” one of several versions which Lincoln wrote, and believed to be the final version. For additional versions, you may search The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln through the courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Association.


Plan your visit

Learn more about the Battle of Gettysburg

Gettysburg Animated Map is a 3-D photo presentation cosponsored with the Civil War Trust and Center for Civil War Photography. 70% of all Civil War documentary photographs were shot as “stereoviews” intended to be seen in 3-D.  Explore the Gallery

Gettysburg Civil War App GPS-enabled smartphone tour guide includes videos, audio recreations, detailed accounts, and photos. Details 

Hallowed Ground Magazine stories and other articles outline the preservation of the Gettysburg battlefields. Read the stories

Battlefield Map

Battlefield Map