BLTC Press Titles

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The Art of Worldly Wisdom

Baltasar Gracian

Through the Looking Glass

Lewis Carroll

The Worm Ouroboros

E. R. Eddison

Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Hermenie Templeton Kavanagh

Lincoln at Gettysburg

by Clark Ezra Carr


dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation shall, under God, have a new birth of freedom, and that governments of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.



THE battle of Gettysburg was fought on the first, second, and third of July, 1863. The Confederate army, under the command of General Robert E. Lee, elated with success, had entered Pennsylvania, menacing Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington. Even New York was threatened, for, had the advance of Lee not been checked, the great metropolis would have been at his mercy, and there can be little doubt but that the Southern rebellion would have been successful.

Under these circumstances, with the invading hordes upon them, the consternation and terror of the loyal people of Pennsylvania can be better imagined than described. That this invasion of the North was not successful is due to the heroism and fortitude of the Union soldiers, who, under the command of General George G. Meade, met the invader in mortal combat, and, after three days of desperate fighting, in which many thousands were killed and a vast number wounded, hurled him back across the border, never to return.

ILLINOIS OPENED THE BATTLE It is not generally known

that Illinois soldiers were the first to meet the onset of the enemy and fired the first shot in the great battle. This is the fact, brought out clearly by Colonel William Gamble, of the Eighth Illinois cavalry, in a letter to the Honorable William L. Church and myself, March 10, 1864, the truth of which, so far as I know, has not been questioned. This regiment belonged to Buford's cavalry division, and fired the first shot in meeting and checking the advance of the Confederates under General A. P. Hill. This shot precipitated and brought on the three days' conflict which turned the tide of war. THE NATIONAL CEMETERY

Scarcely had the reverberations of the guns of the battle died away when the Honorable David Wills, a citizen of Gettysburg, wrote to the Honorable Andrew G. Curtin, the great war Governor of Pennsylvania, suggesting that a plat of ground in the midst of the battlefield be at once purchased and set apart as a soldiers' naional cemetery, and that the remains of the dead be exhumed and placed in this cemetery. He suggested that the ground to be selected should be on what was known as Cemetery Hill, so called because adjoining it is the local cemetery of Gettysburg.


As a reason why that ground should be chosen, Mr. Wills said: "It is the place where our army had about forty pieces of artillery in action all Thursday and Friday, and for their protection had thrown up a large number of earthworks. It is the point where the desperate attack was made by the Louisiana brigades on Thursday evening, when taking possession of them, and were finally driven back by the infantry, assisted by the artillerymen with their handspikes and rammers. It was the key to the whole line of defences, the spot of the triangular line of battle. It is the spot above all others for the honorable burial of the dead who have fallen on these fields."

Governor Curtin at once approved of the recommendation of Mr. Wills, and correspondence was opened with the governors of the loyal States whose troops had engaged in the battle, asking them to cooperate in the movement. The grounds proposed by Mr. Wills, seventeen acres, which embraced the highest point of Cemetery Hill, and overlooked the whole battlefield, were at once purchased.

The governors of fifteen of the

States immediately responded, foremost among whom was Illinois's great war Governor, known and recognized everywhere as "the soldiers' friend," Richard Yates.


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