The Battle of Gettysburg
In July 1863, on a battlefield in Southwest Pennsylvania, 28,000 Confederate and 23,000 Union soldiers lost their lives fighting the Battle of Gettysburg. The 3-day war was a decisive victory for the North and the turning point of the Civil War.
In November of that year, President Lincoln traveled to Pennsylvania to consecrate the soldiers’ resting place in the Gettysburg National Cemetery, delivering the Gettysburg Address to a crowd of 15,000. The President’s two-minute speech was said to have been unremarkable within the events of the day, but his words are some of the most famous in American history. Lincoln’s humility and his devotion to the cause of uniting the northern and southern states have endured long after his death less than two years later.
From the Gettysburg Address
… But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our power to add or detract …
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.