Sunny Weather When Lincoln Addressed Crowd At Gettysburg
Prior to the US Weather service, prior to even a nationwide organization collecting and recording weather data of any kind, newspaper reports of the day tell us the weather was fine in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on the day President Lincoln addressed a crowd that had gathered to consecrate a new burial ground dedicated to the dead of arguably the bloodiest 3-day battle in American history.
It can be said that the Northern Army kind of accidentally bumped into the Army of The Confederate States of America as they attempted an end-around flanking move through Pennsylvania farmlands, on a move designed to capture Washington, in July of 1863. What took place over the next few days took so many lives, some 45,000 were killed, injured or went missing.
Too many bodies to move, the Governor of Pennsylvania directed 17 acres of farmland at the battle scene be purchased to bury the dead. The battle marked a turning point in America's Civil War; Robert E Lee never again ventured into Northern Territory.
Though no official meteorological record of the day exists, many newspaper accounts do and none mention inclement weather. One imagines a beautiful mid-November fall sky with a light breeze gently moving the ladies hair, grown men comfortable in their daily dress woolen frock coats and kids running and chasing each other around as the politicians spoke.
One of the more famous orators of the day, Everett Horton bellowed on for just over two hours about who knows what. Details of his speech, for the most part, are still echoing out there in the Pennsylvania countryside, as after the president spoke, not much else of the day was remembered.
After two hours of Horton's steady windage, Lincolns remarks at 272 words and taking but three or four minutes to deliver, were not only a relief to the crowd, all standing on their feet, but in those words, he precisely summed up the struggle for freedom and equality for all, for the ages. The speech was delivered 155 years ago today, 19 November 1863. And for generations, school children were required to memorize The Gettysburg Address.
Horton, the long-winded orator wrote to Lincoln the next day commending the speech and wishing that he himself, Horton, could come to a point in two minutes rather than the two hours it usually took him. True enough today historians largely remember Horton as the speaker before Lincoln that day, and not for much else.
The Gettysburg Address
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives, that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.
It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here, have, thus far, so nobly advanced. 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 here 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.