In November 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous speech to honor the men who had fought and died in the Battle of Gettysburg to preserve the Union.
His Gettysburg Address was given on Cemetery Hill in the National Soldier Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It was a short, yet powerful speech invoking the message of equality for all.
Yet the very spot where he stood may surprise those who tour Gettysburg Battlefields. Read on to learn some fascinating facts about that special day, and for information about a special event to commemorate it: Dedication Day 2021.
Interesting Facts About Where the Gettysburg Address was Delivered
- Believe it or not, Edward Everett, a popular orator in those days, was to be the “headliner” that day. The event organizer, David Wills, invited Lincoln to follow Everett’s speech and to share a few remarks to honor and memorialize the Union dead. (Everett delivered a speech that lasted more than 2 hours).
- When President Lincoln delivered his address, he did not stand on the impressive rostrum or at the statue that can be seen on site today. Instead, there is a “natural” monument of sorts in the spot where our 16th president stood to give the Gettysburg Address. Curious to know if you can stand there too? Come visit! We are located directly across from the National Cemetery, with air-conditioned bus tours ready to help you make history come alive. Plus! We now offer Vespa scooter rentals so you can enjoy Gettysburg historic trails and the great outdoors.
- Amazingly, in the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln stated: “The world will little know nor long remember what we say here.” More than a century-and-half later, we are still commemorating it.
- There are 5 known copies of the address in Lincoln’s handwriting, each one slightly different from the original. They are named according to whom Lincoln provided a “copy” of his work. The Bliss Copy is the version that appears on the walls of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. It is named after Colonel Alexander Bliss.
- View a photograph that some historians believe is Lincoln at the scene when his Gettysburg Address was given. This image was taken three hours before Lincoln gave his now-famous address, according to the Library of Congress.
Why Was the Gettysburg Address So Important?
As the Battle of Gettysburg was a Union victory often cited as a turning point in the Civil War, the 17 acres of land was purchased to dedicate to the Union soldiers who lost their lives in the battle.
The speech was to memorialize dead Union soldiers and emphasize the importance of maintaining united states. Between the Confederate and Union armies, more than 7,000 soldiers died during the Battle of Gettysburg. Lincoln used his speech to emphasize the importance of the preservation of the Union and the ideal of self-government.
When was the Gettysburg Address Given?
Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address on Nov. 19, 1863.
July 1-3, 1863: The famous Civil War Battle of Gettysburg took place, with the Union Army successfully repelling the Confederate Army
Sept. 23, 1863: Wills invites Everett to be the featured speaker at the event to commemorate the hallowed grounds.
Oct. 23, 1863: The initial date Wills established for the vent. Everett requested more time to prepare.
Nov. 2, 1863: Lincoln receives Wills’ invitation to deliver a few words at the event.
Nov. 19, 1863: The commemorative event takes place.
How Long Did it Take Abraham Lincoln to Deliver the Famous Speech?
Historical records say his speech was completed in less than 2 minutes, far longer than Everett’s 2-hour delivery. Lincoln’s participation was really an “afterthought.”
What is Dedication Day 2021 at Gettysburg National Cemetery?
The 158th Anniversary of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address will be observed in Gettysburg National Cemetery on Friday, November 19, 2021. Final details are to be determined. When held in person, the event typically features a live performance of the Gettysburg Address by an Abraham Lincoln impersonator in full periodic attire as well as a keynote speaker.
Learn about other must-see Gettysburg hot spots and contact us to help you get the most out of your next trip to Gettysburg. Call 877-680 (TOUR) (8687).