President Lincoln in Gettysburg

by fifer1863 on November 19, 2008

The following is from The Lincoln Log website and gives you an idea of what Lincoln’s day was like on November 19, 1863 prior to giving his famous speech.

If you plan to have your students recite the Gettysburg Address for class, this should help provide some background information about the event.  Check out this post for more information on the Gettysburg Address.

If the technology had been available, Lincoln probably would have used something like PowerPoint during his speech. Here is a link to what the PowerPoint presentation may have looked like for the the Gettysburg Address.

Here is a nice YouTube video of Jim Getty portraying President Lincoln 11/19/2006.

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Thursday, November 19, 1863.
Gettysburg, PA and Washington, DC.

According to Nicolay’s account, after breakfast at Wills house, Lincoln retires to his room, where Nicolay joins him, and completes preparation of his speech.

About 10 A.M. President, dressed in black, wearing white gauntlets and usual crepe around hat in memory of Willie, leaves Wills house to join procession. Receives round after round of “three hearty cheers,” and shakes many hands as crowd gathers.

Thousands welcome President in Gettysburg. Weather fine. Flags in Washington at half-mast in honor of dead in cemetery at Gettysburg.

Gov. Curtin (Pa.), who arrived last evening with numerous important people on special train from Harrisburg, Pa., remarks to Lincoln about serenade given Gov. Seymour (N.Y.), and Lincoln replies: “He deserves it. No man has shown greater interest and promptness in his cooperation with us.”

President mounts “a magnificent chestnut charger.” Rides in procession to cemetery. Procession delayed; starts to move about 11 A.M.

Head of procession arrives at speaker’s platform inside cemetery at 11:15 A.M. President receives military salute. President and members of cabinet,with group of military and civic dignitaries, occupy platform. “The President was received with marked respect and a perfect silence due to the solemnity of the occasion, every man among the immense gathering uncovering at his appearance.”

Lincoln shakes hands with Gov. Tod (Ohio), who introduces Gov.-elect John Brough (Ohio), and takes his place between chairs reserved for Sec. Seward and Edward Everett, orator to make principal address. At 11:40 A.M. Everett arrives, is introduced to President, and program music begins.

Once during Everett’s two-hour oration Lincoln stirs in his chair. “He took out his steel-bowed spectacles, put them on his nose, took two pages of manuscript from his pocket, looked them over and put them back.”

About 2 P.M. Lincoln “in a fine, free way, with more grace than is his wont” delivers Gettysburg Address. He holds manuscript but does not appear to read from it. Pronounces his “r” plainly, does not speak like Southerner.

On platform, after speech, President remarks to Marshal Lamon: “Lamon, that speech won’t scour! It is a flat failure and the people are disappointed.”

John R. Young, recording speech in shorthand for Philadelphia “Press,” leans across aisle and asks President if that is all. Lincoln replies, “Yes, for the present.”

President decides to hear address by Lt. Gov.-elect Charles Anderson (Pa.) at 4:30 P.M. in Presbyterian Church. Meets “old John Burns, the soldier of 1812, and the only man in Gettysburg who volunteered to defend it.” Burns accompanies him and Sec. Seward to hear Anderson speak. President’s special train leaves Gettysburg about 7 P.M. and arrives in Washington at 1:10 A.M. on Friday.

Lincoln returns from Gettysburg with a mild form of smallpox (varioloid) and remains under half quarantine in White House for nearly three weeks.

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