Question of the Week: 11/13-11/19/23

What aspects of the days and events surrounding the dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetery at Gettysburg in 1863 are most interesting to you?

8 Responses to Question of the Week: 11/13-11/19/23

  1. Lincoln’s movements in general during his visit. Specifically, where was the actual site of the speakers’ platform when he gave his address. It’s surprising that the exact location was not memorialized, but I guess his address did not become the “Gettysburg Address” until years later. I have heard that the Tritle gravestones in the town cemetery mark the actual spot and about a week ago I had the opportunity to stand there at sunrise with some of the fall foliage still present. It was quite beautiful.

    1. There’s an absolutely fascinating 2022 Lincoln Forum presentation by Christopher Oakley who, it sure seems, was able to ascertain the location with more precision than any other previous efforts have. It’s must-see for all of us Gettysnerds. And yes, I recently just photographed the “third rhododendron!” (That’ll make sense after you check out the video.) You can watch it here:

    2. There was an absolutely fascinating presentation by Christopher Oakley at last year’s Lincoln Forum that’s a must-watch for us Gettysnerds. He and his team have convincingly ascertained the location with, it seems to me, more precision than any other previous efforts have. Even Fraz would have to be impressed! Search C-SPAN for 2022 Lincoln Forum – Photo of Lincoln at Gettysburg. Spoiler alert: check out the third rhododendron!

  2. It would have been interesting to be able to ease drop while Lincoln toured Seminary Ridge before he gave his iconic address at the cemetery dedication.

  3. compare lincoln’s masterpiece with the forgotten 2 hour oration of Edward Everett. apparently in that era there was a trend towards turgid, epic length speeches. i’d like to hear the full text of it I wonder who was writing it down or was able to remember it. maybe one day i’ll listen to it on youtube on 1.75 speed and see if it is indeed as forgettable as it is reputed to be

  4. It seems strange that in the overall area of the Gettysburg National Military Park, which includes more than 1200 monuments, plaques, and historical markers to memorialize the sacrifices of the soldiers who fought there, that the specific spot where Lincoln stood on the platform while he gave the Gettysburg Address was never marked or documented. Additionally, the only photograph that was taken of Lincoln is blurred since none of the photographers expected his speech to be so brief. These factors can make it more difficult to connect personally with this major place and moment in history. However, during my recent visit to Gettysburg this past summer, someone (I can’t remember who) pointed out that many of the local people from the town who heard Lincoln give the Gettysburg Address were later buried at Evergreen Cemetery, which is likely where he spoke; Garry Adelman also has noted that many people in the town in the years after the address later wanted to be buried near the location where the speech was given. Thus, while there is not a historical marker specifying where Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address, when you visit the site it may be helpful to reflect on the fact that many of the local gravestones visually represent some of those local residents who were there during this moment in time.

  5. The complete absence of Food Trucks needed to fortify the audience during Everett’s Eternal Oration.

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