This post, with some small edits, was originally posted on November 20, 2011, back when I used to feature a United States Civil War Sunday post each Sunday.
I'm thinking about starting to rerun some of these posts on Sunday, and perhaps even post a few new ones based on photos I've accumulated from my visits to various Civil War sites.
We commemorate two important dates in Civil War history this week involving Abraham Lincoln.
Yesterday, November 19, was the 153rd anniversary of the Gettysburg
Address, one of the greatest speeches (some consider it the greatest
speech) made by a United States President. Additionally, Civil War General and
future 20th president of the United States, James Garfield, was born on November 19, 1831. (He was assassinated only 200 days into his first term as President.)
In four days we will be celebrating Thanksgiving. Although the
celebration of Thanksgiving was nothing new by the time of the Civil
War, it was not declared a national holiday until 1863. Prior to this,
each state scheduled Thanksgiving at a different time.
I will allow Lincoln to write the remainder of today's blog post. The
Gettysburg Address is first, followed by the Thanksgiving proclamation.
You may note that this proclamation declared the holiday to be the
last Thursday of November. That is not how it is celebrated today. This quiz
on Thanksgiving will teach you a lot of fascinating things including
why Thanksgiving is now celebrated the fourth Thursday in November - but
keep in mind that our national celebration of Thanksgiving here in the
United States started during the Civil War.
The Gettysburg Address in red - The Thanksgiving Proclamation in blue.
Day 20 of NaBloPoMo.
Lincoln's Gettysburg Address:
score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a
new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition
that all men are created equal.
we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any
nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a
great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of
that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their
lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper
that we should do this.
in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we
can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who
struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or
detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say
here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the
living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they
who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to
be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from
these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which
they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly
resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this
nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that
government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not
perish from the earth.
By the President of the United States of America.
The year that is
drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of
fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so
constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which
they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a
nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart
which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of
Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and
severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to
provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations,
order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and
harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military
conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the
advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth
and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national
defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe
has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of
iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more
abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased,
notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and
the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of
augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of
years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor
hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the
gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in
anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed
to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and
gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole
American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part
of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are
sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday
of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our
beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them
that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such
singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble
penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to
His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or
sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably
engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand
to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be
consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace,
harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City
of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one
thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the
Unites States the Eighty-eighth.