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Lincoln and the National Cemetery at Gettysburg


Dr. Bradley M. Gottfried and Linda I. Gottfried will be the featured speakers at the November 16, 2022, meeting of the York Civil War Round Table. They will present a program titled “Lincoln Comes to Gettysburg: The Story of the Creation of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery.” The meeting is free and open to the public. It will be held at 7:00 p.m. (doors open at 6:30) at the York County History Center, 250 E. Market Street, York, Pennsylvania. All are welcome!
Most visitors to the National Cemetery at Gettysburg are unaware of its difficult birth. Many steps were required to bring the idea to fruition, from the decision to form the cemetery to its dedication. This presentation highlights the single- minded activities of several men who made it happen. From Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin, who championed the idea to William Saunders who created the cemetery’s plan, to Ward Lamon who planned the consecration ceremony, to Basil Briggs who helped dig up the corpses so they could be moved to the National Cemetery. They all toiled to bring the cemetery to fruition. But one person towers above the others: David Wills, who played a major role during each phase. Abraham Lincoln also played a major role, and his story is one of sadness, fortitude, and mystery. The story of his visit is the stuff of legends.
Brad and Linda Gottfried will use a PowerPoint presentation to illustrate the cemetery’s formation and Lincoln’s visit.

Brad Gottfried earned a Ph.D. in Zoology and served as a college educator for over 40 years, rising to the presidency of two colleges before he retired in 2017. He has written 17 books on the Civil War. He is also a Gettysburg Town Guide and an Antietam Licensed Battlefield Guide.
Linda Gottfried earned a BFA and served as a graphic designer and development officer at several colleges and nonprofit organizations before retiring in 2015. She now spends her time as a sculptor and enjoying retirement. Several of her pieces have won awards.
Brad and Linda have collaborated on two other projects: “Lincoln Comes to Gettysburg: The Creation of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address” (published by the Emerging Civil War) and a book for that series that still needs a title, that covers Lee’s Retreat/Meade’s Pursuit after Gettysburg. That book will probably be published next year.
The Gottfrieds live in Fayetteville, PA, and have five children and seven grandchildren.