Soldiers' National cemetery, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
CMH Remembers: 150th Anniversary
Dedicating the Soldiers National Cemetery
November 19, 2013
Fought on 1-3 July 1863, the Battle of Gettysburg was a pivotal event in the Civil War – a Union victory that halted Confederate General Robert E. Lee's second and boldest invasion of the North. And it was the bloodiest battle of the war with over 50,000 casualties. The battle also inspired President Abraham Lincoln's immortal Gettysburg Address. Lincoln gave the speech on 19 November 1863, at the dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. He followed the keynote speaker, Edward Everett, whose 13,000-word oration on the Battle of Gettysburg ran for two hours. In his 272–word speech, Lincoln paid tribute to the fallen Union soldiers, and he explained why the war had to be fought. Then he closed with a declaration "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." Everett later told Lincoln, "I should be glad, if I could flatter myself, that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion in two hours as you did in two minutes."
1863 Gettysburg dedication ceremonies
at the Soldiers' National Cemetery
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