On that solemn November 19th day, as he stepped down from the dedicatory platform after the delivery of his three minute address to the people at Gettysburg, Lincoln had second thoughts about the adequacy of his words. From the perspective of exactly 152 years later, we now view that address as perhaps the greatest single speech ever given in the Western world.
I have recently returned from a journey to that most famous of all American Civil War battlefields. Reflecting on Lincoln's words from that address, I directed my photography on those monuments and regions of the battlefield that best exemplify the true meaning behind the key terms and phrases from his address. Over the next several months I will be constructing a five part blog essay on Lincoln's eloquence that have been captured in the preservation of the Gettysburg National Military Park. My focus will be on day two of the three day battle. Pickett's Charge on day three gets most of the attention from park visitors, for it perhaps being the most easily understood tactically. But it was day two on which the Union tide of battle was in most jeopardy. It was none other than the well respected Confederate general James Longstreet who stated that mid-day two was "the best three hours of fighting ever done by any troops on any battlefield". The consequence was that many thousands of men from both sides lost their lives and were seriously wounded as night fell on July 2nd, 1863.
My upcoming serial blog will evaluate the following concepts/terms from Lincoln's address: The Devotion, The Honored Dead, The Bravery, The Struggle, and The Consecration. For over 30 years, I have researched and studied American Civil War history and visited numerous Eastern USA battlefields. My great grandfather served three years for the Union as a private and later as a Sergeant in the 4th Maryland Infantry. He experienced the hard fighting during Grant's Overland Campaign of 1864, which yielded over 50,000 casualties for that summer. I have stood the same ground on where he fought during the Battle of the Wilderness. That was a memorable and moving moment. I have also felt his presence as I walked the same path that he marched across in front of the Bloody Angle at the Battle of Spotsylvania.
I hope that you will stay tuned to my upcoming thoughts on this epic nineteenth century battle in the little hamlet of Gettysburg. The town was never the same afterward and neither was America which reemerged with "a new birth of freedom".
See my image gallery at http://dworr.zenfolio.com/gettysburg
D W Orr
Environmentalist, Historic Preservationist, and Photographer
Harford County, Maryland
November 19, 2015