The Battle of Gettysburg 1863

I've been thinking of covering some of the more important ancient battles - ideally on their anniversaries where we know the dates - because whilst many of us know them as dating criteria, too few us us remember any of their details. But given that we have the first African-American running for president I thought I'd start with Gettysburg, from the Civil War.

General Lee decided that it was time to move North, and try to bring the war to the Yankees' territory. The troops of North and South met on the 1st July 1863 at Gettysburg, although the battle itself did not begin until 4 pm on the 2nd. Lee had miscalculated and this defeat more than any other turned the tide of the war in favor of the North.

Gettysburg is best remembered for the Gettysburg Address given by President Abraham Lincoln in November that year, at the dedication of the military cemetery there. Several versions have survived of this masterpiece of speech writing, but this is the one chosen to be carved on the Lincoln Memorial:
Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on 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 this nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate…we cannot consecrate…we cannot 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 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.

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