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U.S. President Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, Nov. 19, 1863. Lincoln is pictured in the center of the platform, facing camera, hatless with his bodyguard, Ward Lamon, and governor Andrew Curtin of Pennsylvania. This photo was taken about noon, just after Mr. Lincoln arrived and some three hours before his famous speech.
U.S. President Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, Nov. 19, 1863. Lincoln is pictured in the center of the platform, facing camera, hatless with his bodyguard, Ward Lamon, and governor Andrew Curtin of Pennsylvania. This photo was taken about noon, just after Mr. Lincoln arrived and some three hours before his famous speech.
(United States Library of Congress)

David Shribman

Four score and 70 years later, Americans are still living the Battle of Gettysburg

The United States is days away from marking a solemn anniversary, one soaked in blood, fraught with emotion, marinated in promise. In a small town in Pennsylvania thousands will gather to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the fateful Battle of Gettysburg.

This is America’s Agincourt, Ypres and Balaclava combined in one: moments of glory, terror, genius and miscalculation all wrapped tightly into three days’ brutal and bitter fighting in a crossroads that remains a small college town. It was the moment – July 1-3, 1863 – when the tide of the Civil War swung decisively in the Union’s favor. At this place, less than four months later, Abraham Lincoln delivered a speech of 270 words that transformed the war for Union into a war for freedom.