Witness to Gettysburg Address
I first walked through the Gettysburg National Cemetery as a child on a Cub Scout field trip. From that trip, I still have the Gettysburg Handbook, published by the National Park Service. On page 39 of the handbook it states, “The Soldiers’ National Monument honors the Federal dead who fell at Gettysburg. Dedicated July 1, 1869, it stands where Lincoln stood when he delivered the Gettysburg Address.”
In visits over the years, the spot where Lincoln stood when he delivered the Gettysburg Address has gradually shifted to the southeast; first still in the National Cemetery and now most historians believe that Lincoln stood on a platform in the neighboring Evergreen Cemetery. I decided to plot viewpoints, of a photograph by Alexander Gardner and a sketch by Joseph Becker, on a map to draw my own conclusions.
A few of my related Gettysburg & Lincoln posts include:
- 1925 Article sheds light on President Lincoln photograph at Hanover Junction
- Find Lincoln on the Gettysburg Speakers Platform
- President Lincoln was Interrupted Five times with Applause during his Gettysburg Address
- 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 my explanation about plotting the viewpoints of a photograph by Alexander Gardner and a sketch by Joseph Becker.
I’ve zoomed into a portion of an Alexander Gardner photograph taken on November 19, 1863; the day that President Abraham Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address. Historians point out that the speakers platform is located in the area indicated.
The arched structure on the left side of the photograph is the backside of the Main Gate in the adjoining Evergreen Cemetery. Evergreen Cemetery was established in 1854. Being a relatively new cemetery, there were a few, but not many graves.
The Evergreen Main Gate sets the far end of the left field of view line for my zoomed-in-view of this photograph. On November 19, 1863, a flagpole stood at the site presently occupied by the Soldiers’ National Monument. The flagpole is just out of view to left, setting the near end of the left field of view line.
The photograph was taken at a moderate distance from the speakers platform. Coupling viewpoints with different-ranges-of-view, from different directions, usually yields nice results. One such long-range view was published in the December 5, 1863, issue of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.
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.
The front of the Evergreen Cemetery Main Gate appears at the left of this zoomed-in-view, therefore this is a long-distance view from a hilltop on the east side of the Baltimore Pike. The Main Gate and flagpole pretty much dictate the placement of the viewpoint and my estimate of the location of the speakers platform in Evergreen Cemetery. I’d say the location is between 140 and 170 feet southeast of the Soldiers’ National Monument.
One might question the accuracy of a sketch produced at a later date. Actually Joseph Becker drew on-the-spot sketches, prior to creating his elaborate detailed sketch entitled “Dedication Ceremony.”
This is a Joseph Becker on-the-spot sketch showing the location of the speakers platform on November 19, 1863. One can see how Becker used this on-the-spot sketch to create his elaborate detailed sketch entitled “Dedication Ceremony.”Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts