People across the United States, and indeed the world were keeping score of Gettysburg last week, In fact they were also reflecting on the terrible tragedy that took the life of John F Kennedy twoscore and ten years ago.
But sevenscore and ten years ago the 272 words including that "the world will little note nor long remember what we say here," were spoken to thousands gathered, and they are still very well known today. As they should be!
Abraham Lincoln had taken the noon train the day on 18 November 1863 at Washington DC and travelled with a large entourage of officials to Gettysburg in the late afternoon and spent the night at the Wills house. Wills being the very lawyer who was so instrumental in helping to start a cemetery for the thousands that were still laying on the ground they died on days after the horrendous battles across some 25 acres of land named in honour of Sam Gettys. Those horrific days of July 1-3, to be remembered forever.
Many of the public raced on ahead of the parade and entered to get best viewing by using the adjoining Evergreen and passed through the gatehouse shown above. A sign then posted at its entrance warned that..." All persons found using firearms on these grounds will be prosecuted with the utmost rigor of law." One must wonder if that sign existed three months months earlier during the deady battle, fought in part, on the very land that was then, and is today, part of Evergreen.
The Tyson Brothers Photography Studio of Gettysburg were two of over 500 photographers that made pictures during the Civil War. The brothers were among about 45 at Gettysburg. The image on the left was taking by them about 11.30 in the forenoon and shows a street now called Baltimore, and heading into the town. You are looking Northbound. The building on the left is at the corner of a street heading of to the left, as you look at the picture (Westbound) and is today known as Steinwehr Avenue. The building still stands today.
A few minutes later the parade started to arrive and head off up Steinwehr to the entrance of the National Cemetery. If you enlarge the image on the right several ranks of military become quite obvious.
Here's a view on the same area taken not long ago, and a map of the immediate area. The intersection is just above the letter "A" on right image.
The "A" actually marks the spot where Jennie Wade was killed. Twenty year old Jennie was visiting a sister who had just given birth a few days earlier. Jennie and family were visiting and helping out. The house was located between no mans' land between the Confederates off to the left and the Union off to the right. During the three day battle Jennie and others baked bread and biscuttes for the Union soldiers and had awaken earlier one morning to place the bread kneaded the day before into an oven when a minnie ball shot rang out, traveled right through two doors and instantly killed her.
While the house was hit about 150 times during the three day battle, Jennie would become the ONLY civilian to die at Gettysburg. With some 125,000 battling it out, she'd be the only civilan casualty. She would later be buried at Everygreen, and quite close to the fence seperating it from the national cemetery.
Note both cemeteries also on the above map.
As you look at the photo you are looking eastbound. The town is off to the left. The flag pole on the left is now marked by the National Monument shown within the semi-circle in the photo 2 down. The Evergreen Cemetery's gatehouse shown above, and also in the top picture in this blog, is also shown in the picture below this one. It is just left of the green arrow locating on the highway running from the top to bottom near the right side of image.
But this gatehouse is further back and at the road. The crowd scene is much closer to the foreground in the image.
Still farther down slightly... and to the left is another marker. It is in this very area that it is believed Abraham Lincoln stood on a makeshift wooden platform and delivered his memorial speech.
But more on that on Monday.