The Trip To Gettysburg And The Parade

    This trip was of such importance to Lincoln that he asked his secretary of war, Stanton to change their traveling plans to ensure an early arrival.  Originally they were scheduled to leave Washington on November 19th the day of the dedication and arrive by noon.  However, Lincoln opposed these plans for the slightest mishap would mean they would miss the ceremonies.  So Stanton agreed and informed the President they would leave the day before.  It has been said that Lincoln might have composed part of his address on the train, however, we are not certain.  We are certain of a specific encounter with an older man who boarded the train.  During the day this man  told  Lincoln that he had lost a son on Little Round Top ( this was one of the Gettysburg battle sites).  The President replied, "When I think of the sacrifices of life yet to be offered, and the hearts and homes yet to be desolate before this dreadful war is over, my heart is like lead within me, and I feel at times like hiding in deep darkness."  These simple remarks show us that Lincoln experienced the war just as deeply as the soldiers and people of the country.  Lincoln placed great pressure upon himself for he carried the weight of responsibility and a saddened heart.  The train arrived in Gettysburg at sundown.  The town was overflowing with visitors.  Every private home was filled and the hotels had many sleep on the floor.  Mr. Lincoln stayed with the Wills while his secretary of state stayed next door at the Harper house.  (Barondess 35-7) 

    The following morning the ceremonies began.  The exact number of the crowd is unknown however estimates range from 15 thousand to as high as 100 thousand.  The parade began at eleven and Lincoln along with others proceeded in on horses.  (Sandburg 443) During the procession minute guns were shot to symbolize the cry for battle. (Randall 309)  The procession was over in fifteen minutes however when the marchers reached the cemetery there was a delay.  The orator Edward Everett had not yet arrived, so the band played on until he finally arrived around noon.  (Barondess 37)