Sunday, November 19, 2006

History is Our Stories ~ Dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery

Gettysburg National Cemetery
Dedicated November 19, 1863

The Battle of Gettyburg, July 1-3, 1863, were the bloodiest days this country has ever known. 50,000 soldiers were killed or wounded in those three days. Hastily buried in shallow graves, on the battlefield and in the yards of the homes serving as hospitals, the fall weather eroded away the covering. The dead of the southern states would remain until the 1870's, when they were removed to cemeteries in the south.

The people of Gettysburg took the land known as Cemetery Hill and moved the Union bodies to this site, which was near the center of the Union lines during the battle. The land was purchased by the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The work was not completed by the time of the official dedication, November 19, 1863.

This event would probably not be remembered were it not for the fact that President Abraham Lincoln delivered his most famous speech, The Gettysburg Address, in which he reminded the gathering of the sacrifice of "these honored dead.." who gave their lives for the purpose of preserving the union.

The Civil War raged on until Lee's surrender on April 9, 1865.

This cemetery is now park of the National Park Service and is the final resting place for these Union soldiers and military men from the all of our wars have joined them here.


Anonymous said...

You made an error in the statement that 50,000 soldiers were killed at Gettysburg. There were over 50,000 killed and wounded in the battle. About 4,500 were killed in battle.

Flag Gazer said...

Thank you for your correction - I did mean to say killed or wounded and will correct. However, precise numbers are impossible to find, and every source will give you something different. Over 3,500 Union soldiers were interred at the cemetery and over 3,700 Confederate soldiers were removed to the south for burial. Of the wounded, a huge percentage also died at other locations.

I think we can agree that it was an incredibly bloody battle.