Find Lincoln on the Gettysburg Speakers Platform
After my post Witness to Gettysburg Address, earlier this week, I received more e-mail than with any other post. Thanks to everyone for all the kind words. Hopefully, I’ll answer all of your additional questions in this post.
On November 19, 1863, a flagpole stood at the site presently occupied by the Soldiers’ National Monument. In my post Witness to Gettysburg Address, from earlier this week, I noted, “The flagpole is just out of view to left, setting the near end of the left field of view line.”
QUESTION 1: If the flagpole was in the photo, why did I crop-it out? Answer: No excuses … I should have included the flagpole. At the beginning of this post is a wider-angle-view of the Alexander Gardner photograph taken in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on November 19, 1863. This is a wider-angle-view compared to the dotted-white-line view presented in Witness to Gettysburg Address.
Historians point out that the speakers platform is located in the area indicated. One of my readers noted that a person appearing to be Lincoln could be found on the speakers platform. I’ll get into that find and answer more of your questions later in this post.
Related Gettysburg & Lincoln posts include:
- Witness to Gettysburg Address
- President Lincoln was Interrupted Five times with Applause during his Gettysburg Address
- 1925 Article sheds light on President Lincoln photograph at Hanover Junction
- Read The Actual Article: Next-day Newspaper Coverage of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address
- Dallastown Soldier buried in Gettysburg National Cemetery
- Letters to LINCOLN during the Invasion; “Burning bridges on the Northern Central”
- Looking Back on the 100th Anniversary Commemoration of The Battle of Gettysburg; Part 1
- Subsequent to the Gettysburg Address; Civil War Election of 1864
- Locomotives that pulled Abraham Lincoln through York County; Lincoln Funeral Train
- In The Sights of Civil War Purists and Going Down
- A Retrospective of the Confederate Invasion of 1863
Continue reading for answers to your questions.
A wider-angle-view of the Alexander Gardner photograph taken in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on November 19, 1863, results in the upper red field-of-view line moved up to the dotted red field-of-view line on this viewpoints illustration. The flagpole, which stood at the site presently occupied by the Soldiers’ National Monument, now falls within the wider-angle photograph field-of-view.
As a refresher, artist and reporter, Joseph Becker, was witness to the events of November 19, 1863, at Gettysburg. He produced sketches of what he saw that day. He later created an elaborate detailed sketch entitled “Dedication Ceremony,” which appeared as a two-page spread in the December 5, 1863, issue of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. I’ve zoomed-in on the center section of this sketch in the following illustration.
QUESTION 2: Becker has a prominent tree near the center of his sketch, why doesn’t such a large tree show up in the photograph? Answer: I needed the wider-photograph-view to see the tree. The front of the Evergreen Cemetery Main Gate appears at the left of the sketch, therefore this is a long-distance view of the Dedication Ceremony from a hilltop on the east side of the Baltimore Pike. From the placement of the tree trunk, the tree is also on the east side of the Baltimore Pike; therefore very near (appearing big to) Becker and far from the photographer (appearing smaller).
Here is a zoomed-in-view of left side of the Alexander Gardner photograph taken in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on November 19, 1863. I’ve marked the location on the wide-angle-photo, at the beginning of this post, with dotted green lines. As indicated, the prominent tree does appear as a distant tree.
QUESTION 3: You said that Becker was likely standing on a hill to create the sketch; what hill? Answer: There is a slight hill on the east side of the Baltimore Pike. I’ve indicated the likely location from which Becker did his sketch on the photograph. The indicated people appear to be at about the correct location; maybe a group of people gathered to watch Becker make his sketches.
QUESTION 4: Why did I choose the Becker sketch instead of other sketches? Answer: I wanted a distant sketch. Plus the details within the Becker sketch were all consistent with photographic evidence of the surroundings; which can’t be said for some of the other sketches that I’ve seen depicting Lincoln giving the Gettysburg Address.
One of my readers searched the Internet for the Alexander Gardner photograph; he found this interesting link. Christopher Oakley discovered that a person appearing to be Lincoln is found on the speakers platform. The Alexander Gardner photograph analyzed by Oakley appears to be taken close to the same time as the Alexander Gardner photograph that I utilized. The Smithsonian has a nice Interactive Illustration about Christopher Oakley’s find at this link; click on the number 2 at the bottom of the photo, then click on Oakley’s Lincoln and drill down on the image at the right within the Smithsonian Illustration to compare Lincoln’s profiles.Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts