What Lead to the Gettysburg Ceremonies

    The two great American armies the North lead by General Meade and the South by Robert E. Lee, had met and fought from July 1 through the 3rd. The intent was to capture Harrisburg and Philadelphia and eventually end up back in Virginia with a confederate victory.  However it was the aftermath of the battle which was not to be overlooked.  The remains of the battle were horse carcasses and soldiers bodies.  For sanitary and health reasons the town began to act.  "It became necessary to find some permanent burial place."  (Barondess 33)  Many of the northern soldiers who were killed were simply buried without relatives near where they fell.  However, the soldiers from Gettysburg were to receive a much different ceremony.  (Barton 595).  To begin the process of proper burial a small committee with eighteen members one from each state was formed.  (Barondess 33-4).  Later they were called the National Soldiers Cemetery and "agreed that it would be well to dedicate this ground with imposing ceremonies."  They then set a date for October 23 1863 and invited Edward Everett to speak.  (Barton 597)  Everett was a logical choice for he had been U.S. Senator, governor of Massachusetts, member of congress, secretary of state under Filmore, minister to Great Britain, and president of Harvard.  (Sandburg 439)  Everett was seen as a master of elegance.  (Randall 306)  He replied to the invitation but requested the date to be postponed to allow him adequate time to prepare.  The committee then agreed and postponed the date to November 19th.  (Barton 597)