The largest Civil War battle ever waged in the Western Hemisphere was fought near the small town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The Battle of Gettysburg began on July 1, 1863 and ended two days later with the climactic “Pickett’s Charge.” More than 150,000 Union and Confederate soldiers were drawn into the battle. By the time it was over, there were 50,000 casualties and 15,500 deaths – 7,000 for the north and 8,500 for the south. The Battle of Gettysburg was a major turning point in the War Between the States.
Abraham Lincoln’s most famous and eloquent words were spoken in a brief speech at the site on November 19, 1863, just four months after the battle. After purchasing the land on Cemetery Hill, Pennsylvania officials wanted to consecrate the grounds with an appropriate ceremony. The Hon. Edward Everett of Massachusetts was selected to present the oration for the occasion. President Lincoln’s appearance came as a surprise, but he was quickly added to the program.
Mr. Everett spoke for nearly two hours, while Lincoln’s speech lasted only two minutes. Lincoln’s remarks are a memorable and moving tribute to those who died. Download this PDF and practice reciting “The Gettysburg Address.”