Skip to comments.Original Lincoln document found
Posted on 06/07/2007 3:26:01 PM PDT by bnelson44
WASHINGTONThe National Archives on Thursday unveiled a handwritten note by Abraham Lincoln exhorting his generals to pursue Robert E. Lee's army after the battle of Gettysburg, underscoring one of the great missed opportunities for an early end to the Civil War. An archives Civil War specialist discovered the July 7, 1863, note three weeks ago in a batch of military papers stored among the billions of pages of historical documents at the mammoth building on Pennsylvania Avenue.
The text of Lincoln's note has been publicly known because the general to whom Lincoln addressed it telegraphed the contents verbatim to the front lines at Gettysburg. There, the Union army's leaders failed for more than a week to aggressively pursue Lee following his defeat.
A week after Lincoln's note, the Confederate army slipped across the Potomac River into Virginia and the war continued for two more years.
Though Gen. George Meade led the Northern troops in the battle at Gettysburg that marked the turning point of the war, he has always been faulted for not closing in and destroying Lee's army.
At a news conference, archivist Trevor Plante said he was looking for something else last month when he found Lincoln's note tucked away in a drawer among other papers. His reaction was "wow" when he recognized the handwriting and Lincoln's signature.
Lincoln's note says "the rebellion will be over" if only "Gen. Meade can complete his work." Lincoln says he wants the "substantial destruction of Lee's army."
Plante's find reinforces "Lincoln's desperation to turn Gettysburg not just into victory, but decisive victory that stops the bloodshed," said historian Allen Guelzo, director of Civil War era studies at Gettysburg College.
The importance of the newly discovered document is that it is in Lincoln's own handwriting, pinning down in time what he was thinking.
The accuracy of the long-known telegram communicating Lincoln's thoughts was not in doubt. At the same time, "there are always risks" relying on documents by a third party for what Lincoln was saying or writing, said Guelzo.
I’ve been watching Ken Burns’ Civil War recently. The parallels between Lincoln/civil war and Bush/wot are noticeable. Very unpopular presidents but both sticking to their guns. The inabilty to finish off the enemy due to political concerns, etc.
Doesn’t say to whom the original note was addressed, but I assume it was MG Halleck.
Meade’s reluctance paled in comparison to McClellan’s ineptitude at Antietam.
Meade wasn’t the guy to go after Lee.
By the way, anyone ever see this colorization? Don`t know who did it, but damn, this has to be one of the best colorizations I`ve ever seen of any B&W photo out there. It must have taken this guy ages to do this...
Always liked this portrait of him. He's got a crafty look in his eye.
Mmmmm, mmmmm, if only I were gay.
incredible photgraphs...are those Matthew’s?
I don`t know, I found them on some website a few years ago and I just can`t find that website again, it`s been driving me crazy. That is obsession that kind of colorization. This guy must have went literally pixel by pixel.
A few Freepers probably have that photo hanging right next to their Lincoln desktop statues.
Did you catch the Chamberlain speech at Fredericksburg in Gods and Generals? I thought they overdid it- too much drama.
Someone told me once that when they had those pics taken back then, the photographer would tell them to hold their breath so they didn`t move, and he would mention “cheese” as cheese smelled bad. I always thought saying “cheese” was meant to make people look like they were smiling, but you look at those old pics from the 1800`s, it does look like they are holding their breath doesn`t it? Lincolns mouth for example is always closed, he looks like he is holding his breath.
I got Bedford on my wall....Travis can attest to that!
That`s not a bad idea. I used to have a color printer and I wouldn`t mind printing that out and framing it. The first time I saw that pic it just absolutely blew me away.
And just think; all those pics we take today with digital cameras will look exactly the same, just as clear as they do now 100, 200 even 2000 years from now. All those digital camcorders, if saved right, people 1000 years from now can look at them and they will look like they were taken minutes ago.
Can you imagine if that kind of tech existed back in the time of Lincoln, Washington even Christ? You could pop in a DVD and watch Lincoln giving a speech and it would look like it was taken seconds ago. We are living in an age now where we are at the cusp of that kind of tech but will never live to see the kind of effect it will have on people a few hundred years from now. But I guess people back 200, 300 years from us said the same about paintings and photographs. Who knows, 200 years in the future digital photos and videos will seem “old”. They`ll probably have 3d interactive photos or something. That`s if people are still around by then. It all depends who wins the election in `08. Duncan Hunter, we will continue..Hellary, all bets are off.
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