This Week in the Civil War - 704

Nov 19, 2013

On Thursday, November 19, 1863 at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania after a two hour oration by Edward Everett, President Abraham Lincoln rose and in little more than two minutes officially dedicated the battlefield’s national cemetery.

The president personally felt that his brief talk had failed, and in truth some in the large crowd failed to realize that the president was speaking before his comments had concluded.   However, the following day Lincoln received a note from Edward Everett acknowledging how near Lincoln had come “to the central idea of the occasion.” 

Perhaps Senator Charles Sumner in June 1865 best described Lincoln’s address, calling it “monumental” and noting correctly that the “world noted at once what he said, and will never cease to remember it. The battle itself was less important than the speech.”