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Gettysburg Address ... easy question? maybe
12-15-2017, 10:04 AM (This post was last modified: 12-15-2017 10:30 AM by David Lockmiller.)
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RE: Gettysburg Address ... easy question? maybe
(12-14-2017 10:26 PM)ELCore Wrote:  
(12-14-2017 02:19 PM)David Lockmiller Wrote:  The relative importance of the Battle of Gettysburg to the future of this nation is best answered in a conversation that President Lincoln had with General Daniel Sickles subsequent to the battle.

“Mr. Lincoln,” I said, “we heard at Gettysburg that here at the capital you were all so anxious about the result of the battle that the Government officials packed up and got ready to leave at short notice with the official archives.”

“Yes,” he said, “some precautions were prudently taken, but for my part I was sure of our success at Gettysburg.”

“Why were you so confident?” I asked.

There was a brief pause. The President seemed to be in deep meditation. His pale face was lighted up by an expression I had not noted before. Turning to me, he said:

“When Lee crossed the Potomac and entered Pennsylvania, followed by our army, I felt that the great crisis had come. I knew that defeat of a great battle on Northern soil involved the loss of Washington, to be followed perhaps by the intervention of England and France in favor of the Southern Confederacy. I went to my room and got down on my knees in prayer.

“Never before had I prayed with so much earnestness. I wish I could repeat my prayer. I felt I must put all my trust in Almighty God. He gave our people the best country ever given man. He alone could save it from destruction. I had tried my best to do my duty and had found myself unequal to the task. The burden was more than I could bear.

“I asked Him to help us and give us victory now. I was sure my prayer was answered. I had no misgivings about the result at Gettysburg.” ("Lincoln Talks, A Biography in Anecdote," by Emanuel Hertz, pages 558-59.)

In Recollected Words, the Fehrenbachers note that Gen. Sickle's recall of Lincoln's words (supposedly on July 5, 1863) was published in a newspaper on February 12, 1911 — almost 46 years after the fact. And that one James Rusling of Gen. Sickles staff published a very different account of Lincoln's words, in 1895. That is, there is more than a little doubt about what Lincoln may or may not have said to Sickles about Gettysburg.

I recall that a guest in the White House had actually overheard that prayer of President Lincoln as he was making it. Do you know if that is true?

And, regarding the elements of the words between President Lincoln and General Sickles, I believe these to be true, but I do not know for certain: 1) Government officials packed up and got ready to leave at short notice with the official archives, and 2) "defeat of a great battle on Northern soil involved the loss of Washington, to be followed perhaps by the intervention of England and France in favor of the Southern Confederacy"

I do not think that I will use again the Emanuel Hertz book as a citation source.

(12-14-2017 10:26 PM)ELCore Wrote:  In Recollected Words, the Fehrenbachers note that Gen. Sickle's recall of Lincoln's words (supposedly on July 5, 1863) was published in a newspaper on February 12, 1911 — almost 46 years after the fact. And that one James Rusling of Gen. Sickles staff published a very different account of Lincoln's words, in 1895. That is, there is more than a little doubt about what Lincoln may or may not have said to Sickles about Gettysburg.

I found some additional information.

General Sickles arrived on Sunday morning, July 5, 1863, and was taken to the boarding house where he had previously stayed at 248 F Street. Col. James Rusling arrived at Gen. Sickles’ new quarters at 3 p.m. that Sunday, just moments before the guard at the door announced, “His excellency the President.’ Lincoln strode in with his son, Tad. They had ridden in from the Soldiers’ Home. Col. Rusling did his general great service in documenting this meeting. The president pressed Sickles for details of the great Union victory. Though in great pain, and still on his stretcher, the general spoke clearly while puffing on his cigar. Since Sickles was the first to get his story out, he began the process of justifying his decisions on the battlefield that had so confounded his superior, Gen. Meade. This was also the meeting during which Rusling claimed that the president confided his great faith in the “Almighty” as having provided Lincoln with guidance and assurance through the dark days of the War. (Men and Things I Saw in Civil War Days. Gen. James A. Rusling; 1899).

"So very difficult a matter is it to trace and find out the truth of anything by history." -- Plutarch
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RE: Gettysburg Address ... easy question? maybe - David Lockmiller - 12-15-2017 10:04 AM

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