The Battle of Gettysburg was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It was the battle with the largest number of casualties in the American Civil War, over 46,000 on both sides, and is often described as the war's turning point. Union Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade's Army of the Potomac defeated attacks by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, ending Lee's invasion of the North.
If the South had won this battle, they probably would have won the war, since they very well may have cut Washington D.C. off from the rest of the country and weakened shaky Northern resolve to continue to fight.
The Gettysburg Address, one of the greatest speeches ever written in the English language, and the most famous speech in the History of the United States, was delivered (and, according to popular legend, finished on the train on the way to the battle ground) by President Abraham Lincoln on November 19, 1863 to consecrate part of the battlefield as a cemetery for both sides of the war.
|The Reason Why 46,000 Men Lost Their Lives -- Slavery in the United States|
The speech, beginning with the immortal words "four score and seven years ago", was not written as a speech at all -- but as informal remarks by President Lincoln. The first line of the speech ends with the very reason the war was being fought --for the proposition that all men are created equal, including the 4 million african-american slaves whose lives were as a close to a living hell as can possibly be imagined.
This video below from the new movie Saving Lincoln conveys the emotional impact of this short and powerful speech on a wavering North which has come to honor the dead soldiers on both sides and commemorate the land in which they died as hallowed ground for all times.
Lincoln has no idea his speech would make such an effect, but the crowd that assembled knew that they witnessed one of the great moment of all time in the United States of America. The speech ended two minutes after it began with these words:
—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
To find out more about the Battle of Gettysburg: