Today, the Lincoln Commemorative Silver Dollar Coin remembers the dedication ceremony at the Gettysburg Battlefield on November 19, 1863.
Back in the day, newspapers ran articles about the dedication ceremony.
One kept their comments short and focused on Everett’s remarks. They kept their comments brief about the President’s speech.
Another paper described the scene at Gettysburg and included Lincoln’s address in their article.
Let’s take a look.
First, the Boston Daily Evening Transcript:
The Dedication of the National Cemetery.
The telegraph furnishes a glimpse of the interesting proceedings at the consecration of the national cemetery, containing the remains of the slain at Gettysburg.
President Lincoln’s brief remarks will be admired as a terse statement of the thoughts naturally inspired by the solemn and patriotic occasion.
The address of the Honorable Edward Everett contains a graphic portraiture of the battle of the three days, and clearly describes the precedent events which led to this glorious but bloody struggle.
The disastrous result which would have followed a defeat at Gettysburg, and the immense debt of gratitude the country owes the victors, are stated by Mr. Everett with all his power of vigorous, pointed and fervid expression.
The good service rendered by General Hooker, in marching the Potomac army from the Rappahannock to Frederick, MD, watched by one of the ablest rebel generals, finds fitting commemoration in Mr. Everett’s masterly paragraphs.
His address will be regarded as the best literary monument that could be reared to the memory of the Gettysburg martyrs and heroes.
Next, the Providence Daily Evening Press:
The Dedication of the Gettysburg Cemetery.
Gettysburg, Nov. 19. —The ceremonies attending the dedication of the National Cemetery, at this place, commenced this morning by a grand military and civic display, under command of Major General Couch.
The line of march was taken up at ten o’clock, and the procession marched through the principal streets to the cemetery, where the military formed in line and saluted the President. At a quarter past eleven the head of the procession arrived at the main stand. The President and members of the Cabinet, together with the chief military and civic dignitaries, took position on the stand. The President seated himself between Mr. Seward and Mr. Everett, after a reception marked with respect and perfect silence due to the solemnity of the occasion, every man in the immense gathering uncovering on his appearance.
The military then formed in line, extending around the stand; the area between the stand and military being occupied by civilians, comprising about 15,000 people, and including men, women and children. The attendance of ladies was quite large. The military escort comprised one squadron of cavalry, two batteries of artillery, and a regiment of infantry, which constituted the regular funeral escort of honor of the highest officer in the service.
The President then delivered the following dedicatory speech:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. (Applause.)
Now 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 are met to dedicate a portion of it, as the final resting place of those who gave their lives that the nation might live.
It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this, but in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground.
The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our power to add or detract. (Applause.)
The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. (Applause.)
It is for us the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work that they have, thus so far, nobly carried on.
It is rather for us here, dedicated to the great task remaining before us, that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave up their last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that the dead shall not have died in vain. (Applause.)
That the nation shall under God, have a new birth of freedom, and that governments of the people by the people and for the people, shall not perish from the earth. (Long and continued applause.) [Three cheers were here given for the President and the Governors of the States.]
After the delivery of this address, the dirge and the benediction closed the exercises, and the immense assemblage separated at about two o’clock.
One newspaper focused on the two-hour oratory by Mr. Everett while the other showed the power of the simplicity and brevity in President Lincoln’s speech.
The Lincoln Commemorative Silver Dollar Coin shows against the bust of Lincoln at the site of the Gettysburg Address in the battlefield park.