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BBHQ Boomer Essays:

The Gettysburg Address

Our Boomer-In-Charge at BBHQ, Hershel Chicowitz, writes about boomer memories and current events... from a boomer’s perspective. He is sometimes funny, sometimes provocative, some-
times a little of each. We hope you get a kick out of our Boomer Essays.

The radical aspect of the speech began with Lincoln’s assertion that the Declaration of Independence — and not the Constitution — was the true expression of the founding fathers’ intentions for their new nation. Lincoln’s historic address redefined the Civil War as a struggle not just for the Union, but also for the principle of human equality.


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The Battle of Gettysburg was the bloodiest, most deadly conflict of the war. Of more significance, it was the decisive battle of the horrible war between the states. The south’s General Robert E. Lee hoped that, by defeating the north in their own territory, he could win the war, or at least turn the tide of public opinion in the north against the war.

The battle was close; but on the third day, the failed “charge” by General Pickett’s division was more than the Confederates could take. On the morning of July 4, General Lee led what was left of his army south.

General Lee would never again move into northern territory. Though the war continued for over a year and a half.

Aftermath

After the battle the little town of Gettysburg (population: 2,400) was left with thousands of dead and severely injured soldiers on both sides (8-10,000 deaths; 40,000 injured or missing). The task of caring for the living and burying the dead was overwhelming. Three and a half months later, the residents were still burying the dead.

Six days after the Battle of Gettysburg, nurse Ellen Orbison Harris writes home about wounded men drowning in flash floods and thousands who are “still naked and starving. God pity us! God pity us!“ This is the place where Abraham Lincoln will have to come and explain why the bloodletting must go on.

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