The Sunday Morning Star, August 27, 1939.
President Lincoln was the special guest of David Wills, the 32-year-old lawyer whose house faced the town square. Wills had invited Lincoln to give concluding “remarks” at the dedication ceremonth, following the principal address by Edward Everett. Wills helped arrange the cemetery and its dedication on November 19, 1963, on land purchased by Pennsylvania to honor the Union dead. Although President Lincoln spent only 24 hours in Gettysburg, he, too, changed the town’s history.
Everett wrote Lincoln a brief note the next day, requesting a copy of the speech and covering it with praise: “Permit me also to express my great admiration of the thoughts expressed by you, with such eloquent simplicity & appropriateness, at the consecration of the cemetery. I should be glad, if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes.”
Lincoln graciously replied, “In our respective parts yesterday, you could not have been excused to make a short address, nor I a long one. I am please to know that, in your judgment, the little I did say was not entirely a failure.”
It is noted that when President Lincoln visited Gettysburg, he cut a stick down and had it made into a cane/walking stick for Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. Or so the story goes…
1. Partial text above attributed to www.abrahamlincolnonline.org
2. Picture above of Gettysburg National Cemetery, courtesy of Abraham Lincoln Online.