Book Chat
Lincoln At Gettysburg
The Words That Remade America
Garry Wills

This chat took place in the Civil War Home Chatroom on 12/05/05 and covered Appendix III. 

12/5/2005 9:01 pm (et) ks: So did everyone finish the book?

12/5/2005 9:01 pm (et) Basecat: I did.

12/5/2005 9:02 pm (et) CWgal: I did.

12/5/2005 9:02 pm (et) Vickie: Yep finished.

12/5/2005 9:02 pm (et) amhistoryguy: I did.

12/5/2005 9:02 pm (et) Vickie: Thank goodness LOL.

12/5/2005 9:02 pm (et) mobile_96: Yeppers.

12/5/2005 9:02 pm (et) Babs: I finished Everett's speech but not the others.

12/5/2005 9:04 pm (et) mobile_96: I finished at 7:45

12/5/2005 9:04 pm (et) ks: Me too. But I'll admit I cheated. ;) Everett I read thoroughly. But Pericles and Gorgias... :) ... they got a skim job. And that said, we'd best get started. The beginning of the END so to speak. ;) The Four Funeral orations is now ON topic. So what did you all think of the Everett version.

12/5/2005 9:04 pm (et) Basecat: Babs, did not miss much in the others, and they were used to compare how the Abe and Everett speeches were written.

12/5/2005 9:05 pm (et) mobile_96: Wordy

12/5/2005 9:05 pm (et) CWgal: I was at a loss as to why he thought he had to recap the entire battle, plus everything leading up to it. Was it just to fill time or make him look like he was an expert?

12/5/2005 9:06 pm (et) Babs: Base, That's what I gathered from skimming over them.

12/5/2005 9:06 pm (et) Basecat: ks...Very flowery language in Everett's speech, and he tried to be as descriptive as he could. Am guessing it played well for the out of towners who visited, but if I was a GB local, I probably would have said seen that done that.

12/5/2005 9:06 pm (et) amhistoryguy: I got the impression that people got what they expected from Everett - It was not really a speech, but an oration.

12/5/2005 9:06 pm (et) ks: I had the impression that was the expectation for a major oration in that day and age, CWgal. And Everett was a big name, major speaker.

12/5/2005 9:08 pm (et) CWgal: Well after Everett's speech I can see why Lincoln said "the world will little note nor long remember what we say here" :D

12/5/2005 9:08 pm (et) Babs: amhg, That's what I thought too. There were some passages where I tried to imagine a dramatic rendition.

12/5/2005 9:08 pm (et) Basecat: Gal...I agree with you, way too much leading up to the battle. The one thing I got out of it, his is really the first speech done about the battle looking over the ORs.

12/5/2005 9:09 pm (et) amhistoryguy: One of the things, IMO, that made it important was that it was Everett that delivered it. I didn't think that what was said was as important as who was saying it.

12/5/2005 9:09 pm (et) mobile_96: And some before they had been submitted to Meade.

12/5/2005 9:09 pm (et) Basecat: By ORs...printed reports of Union commanders at that time.

12/5/2005 9:10 pm (et) ks: I saw somewhere (but now do not recall where) the order of speakers for this event. If it was in the book, sorry, I've blanked on where. I'm wondering where Everett's speech was in the order of events. Where was Lincoln's short address?

12/5/2005 9:10 pm (et) CWgal: Base, wasn't that the reason Everett wanted to put off the dedication until the later date, because the ORs hadn't been published yet or something like that?

12/5/2005 9:10 pm (et) Babs: For some reason he felt the need to give a (long) synopsis of the battle. The rest of the speech was much better.

12/5/2005 9:10 pm (et) Basecat: amhg...Was trying to think who would be as famous for oration nowadays as Everett was back then, and drew a blank here.

12/5/2005 9:11 pm (et) ks: LOL. Just saw your commentary regarding "little note no long remember", CWgal.

12/5/2005 9:11 pm (et) Basecat: Gal...Yeah, he wanted to read what Meade had written about the battle, and that was not available to him right away.

12/5/2005 9:11 pm (et) Babs: They don't make 'em like they used to.

12/5/2005 9:12 pm (et) Babs: I saw (and heard) Maya Angelo speak. She's good.

12/5/2005 9:12 pm (et) Basecat: Babs...I agree with you. Problem is I am thinking with a 21st Century mind here, and a small recap would have sufficed.

12/5/2005 9:12 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Basecat, I was trying to come up with someone too - thought of perhaps Billy Graham or Pat Robertson, Everett was an ordained minister and had studied theology at Harvard. I think they still fall short of Everett though.

12/5/2005 9:13 pm (et) ks: Maya Angelou may be good, but if she was speaking on the history of a recent battle in this detail, I tend to believe people would be nodding off.

12/5/2005 9:13 pm (et) Babs: I am sure we are missing a lot by not having it in his voice.

12/5/2005 9:14 pm (et) Babs: ks, I agree that was not the highlight of the speech.

12/5/2005 9:14 pm (et) mobile_96: Probably right Babs.

12/5/2005 9:14 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Surprised after all the mention of Greek form etc. that Wills didn't make more of Everett's background, for example, his being a professor of Greek literature at Harvard. If Everett had not done his speech in a Greek style it would have been a surprise.

12/5/2005 9:15 pm (et) Basecat: One thing I did notice...Lots of speculation about what could have happened in the speech about the battle. Section on Day 2 saying how thankful we all should be that the Confederates did not attack at dawn, because if they had the Union army was doomed. One of the first what iffers if there ever was one..:)

12/5/2005 9:15 pm (et) ks: Well it was noted in some earlier chapter that Lincoln was one to grasp and begin to speak in a more "telegraphic" style. Gleaned what was most important of the thoughts he wished to transmit and did so with a minimum of words...unlike Everett.

12/5/2005 9:15 pm (et) CWgal: I thought that too Base.

12/5/2005 9:16 pm (et) Basecat: Gal...I guess the Confederates were not tired after day one...:)

12/5/2005 9:16 pm (et) Babs: Personally, I am going to try to insert "egregious trifling" (paragraph 45) into my everyday speech.

12/5/2005 9:16 pm (et) CWgal: LOL.

12/5/2005 9:17 pm (et) ks: I found the "Southern Aggression", "Northern Response" and "Crime of Rebellion" sections of the speech the most interesting.

12/5/2005 9:18 pm (et) CWgal: Well ks, all I can say is....he was opinionated! ;-)

12/5/2005 9:18 pm (et) Basecat: Other thing...I can see why Everett had a problem bathroom wise...Standing on your feet for 3 plus hours and probably drinking some water as you spoke does not make the innards a happy place..;)

12/5/2005 9:19 pm (et) amhistoryguy: It would have been interesting to know how the crowd responded to those various sections of the speech - where there was applause, if any.

12/5/2005 9:19 pm (et) CWgal: Wasn't he the one with the bladder problem anyway?

12/5/2005 9:19 pm (et) ks: Yes, he was, CWgal.

12/5/2005 9:20 pm (et) Basecat: amhg...Was just thinking about that as many times his talk was interrupted by applause.

12/5/2005 9:20 pm (et) ks: Repeating questions from earlier... I'm wondering where Everett's speech was in the order of events. Where was Lincoln's short address? Can someone direct me to the order of service for the day??

12/5/2005 9:21 pm (et) Babs: I imagine the part where he quoted the dieing words of the fallen was an effective part of the speech. The notes say Lincoln liked it.

12/5/2005 9:21 pm (et) ks: To me it was odd to read the Gettysburg Address with the notations of where there'd been applause. Somehow, it seemed WRONG to me. I've only heard the address in reverential tones recited all the way through without interruption. It was a new thought for me to even CONSIDER that there'd been applause throughout it.

12/5/2005 9:22 pm (et) Basecat: ks...IIRC...Benediction, intro of speakers by Wills, Everett, Abe and then another prayer and it was over.

12/5/2005 9:22 pm (et) Babs: KS, I thought it gave that info earlier in the book, not that I can find it now.

12/5/2005 9:22 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Music - Everett - Hymn by a glee club - Lincoln - Hymn

12/5/2005 9:22 pm (et) CWgal: That is what I was about to say Babs. I can't find it either

12/5/2005 9:22 pm (et) Basecat: Babs, that and the fact he liked the part where he praised the women for their angel like ministering of the wounded soldiers.

12/5/2005 9:23 pm (et) Vickie: I thought the applause odd too.

12/5/2005 9:23 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Stockton's prayer followed the first music.

12/5/2005 9:23 pm (et) mobile_96: page 34

12/5/2005 9:23 pm (et) CWgal: Thanks mobile.

12/5/2005 9:23 pm (et) mobile_96: 34-bottom of page, with balance on page 35.

12/5/2005 9:23 pm (et) ks: Babs, that's what I said when I asked the questions the first time...that I was sorry I didn't recall WHERE I'd read it.

12/5/2005 9:24 pm (et) Babs: People from CNN were probably there counting the nuber of applause breaks.

12/5/2005 9:24 pm (et) Basecat: ks...Which is a good point, as like you the speech flows, and hard to see me applauding until after Abe was finished.

12/5/2005 9:25 pm (et) CWgal: The applause is probably what made it 3 minutes long :D

12/5/2005 9:26 pm (et) Basecat: Like you posted...the speech flows when we have heard it read.

12/5/2005 9:26 pm (et) Basecat: Gal...:) Actually thought today about the folks in the back yelling Louder...:)

12/5/2005 9:26 pm (et) mobile_96: Maybe he intended pauses, but it was thought to indicate a spot for people to applaud

12/5/2005 9:27 pm (et) ks: Not following you there, mobile. ?

12/5/2005 9:29 pm (et) mobile_96: As Lincoln spoke, he intended a short pause to people to think of what he said, but the audience used the spot to applaud.

12/5/2005 9:30 pm (et) ks: Was that in the reading for tonight, mobile? If so, I missed it entirely.

12/5/2005 9:32 pm (et) mobile_96: Where the applause was indicated in the speech, on page 261

12/5/2005 9:33 pm (et) Babs: KS, I think Mobile was speculating.

12/5/2005 9:34 pm (et) ks: Yes, I know the applause breaks are noted. But it was my impression that was someone's record of where people actually HAD applauded. Was it not?

12/5/2005 9:34 pm (et) mobile_96: Correct, as we weren't there to 'hear' the Address.

12/5/2005 9:35 pm (et) ks: I thought you were saying, mobile, that what we read in that section were Lincoln's notes of where he intended to pause FOR applause... That didn't make sense to me.

12/5/2005 9:35 pm (et) ks: Wills title for the book was in part "The Words That Remade America". Hyperbole or Fact? Your thoughts?

12/5/2005 9:35 pm (et) mobile_96: Right, but comment was made about why the applause in so short a speech, speculating a pause might have been meant by Lincoln but people applauded at that point.

12/5/2005 9:36 pm (et) ks: Got it. :)

12/5/2005 9:36 pm (et) Basecat: The Sickles part was entertaining to read as he moved forward "to gain a commanding position for which to repel the Rebel Attack"...Enuff said on that from the Garden State. :)

12/5/2005 9:36 pm (et) mobile_96: As we asked at the beginning of the book, did Wills prove his point, and I don't see that he did

12/5/2005 9:37 pm (et) CWgal: Looking back now, I think those words had much healing in them. So in that respect "yes" they did remake America.

12/5/2005 9:38 pm (et) Basecat: ks..I don't know if the words remade America, as I think his Second inaugural does that more forcefully, but at the time it was said, it sure cast a light on what those who fought and died at Gettysburg.

12/5/2005 9:38 pm (et) Babs: I think he made some points, strayed from them, then came back and beat them so deeply into the ground that the marauding hogs could not have rooted them out.

12/5/2005 9:39 pm (et) ks: Well Wills made the case for the 2nd Inaugural completing the GA. Put together, I can go along with the idea of them being words that "remade" America.

12/5/2005 9:40 pm (et) mobile_96: Good color Babs

12/5/2005 9:40 pm (et) Basecat: ks...Will add, reading both speeches after Abe's death helped in them both remaking America.

12/5/2005 9:40 pm (et) Babs: Mobile, Tanks. I'm practicing in case I have to make a speech.

12/5/2005 9:41 pm (et) Babs: Thanks.

12/5/2005 9:41 pm (et) amhistoryguy: I think the words came to hold even more meaning for later generations, I imagine there would have been some resistance to the words Lincoln spoke from Southern folk. Later, the words were a large part of remaking America, I would agree.

12/5/2005 9:42 pm (et) ks: But you didn't use "egregious trifling" in your post, Babs. ;)

12/5/2005 9:42 pm (et) CWgal: Exactly AHG.

12/5/2005 9:43 pm (et) mobile_96: Relating to later years I can agree

12/5/2005 9:43 pm (et) Babs: Are his words respected in the south now?

12/5/2005 9:43 pm (et) Babs: Ks, I'm saving that for the big finish.

12/5/2005 9:44 pm (et) amhistoryguy: An individual thing probably Babs, but as Americans the Gettysburg Address is a well loved part of OUR heritage

12/5/2005 9:44 pm (et) CWgal: Oh I would say absolutely, Babs

12/5/2005 9:45 pm (et) Babs: Glad to hear that.

12/5/2005 9:46 pm (et) CWgal: Babs, we have great respect for Lincoln, but still have a problem with carpetbaggers and scalawags :D

12/5/2005 9:47 pm (et) Basecat: Babs...South has changed as well, especially in the major cities, as there are a lot of Foreigners, I mean Yankees living down there as well. Have met many a true Southron, and those who I have spoken to about Lincoln's words at Gettysburg, all agreed it was a very important speech.

12/5/2005 9:47 pm (et) Babs: CW, That's fair.

12/5/2005 9:48 pm (et) mobile_96: CWgal, some areas are mostly carpet baggers today, especially Florida.

12/5/2005 9:48 pm (et) CWgal: So true mobile :-)

12/5/2005 9:49 pm (et) Babs: I lived in the south briefly as a military wife. Things were edgy in 69/70.

12/5/2005 9:49 pm (et) CWgal: Well, I can understand that Babs. Heck we still fight the war everyday. Sore losers, I guess. :D

12/5/2005 9:50 pm (et) mobile_96: Actually, with all the regional mixing in the last 25 years, might consider the US is becoming more homogenous.

12/5/2005 9:50 pm (et) Babs: Mobile, I thought Dalton GA was the carpet capital of the world.

12/5/2005 9:51 pm (et) mobile_96: If not, where Babs.

12/5/2005 9:51 pm (et) ks: Are there other thoughts you'd care to share on this Appendix and/or this book?

12/5/2005 9:51 pm (et) Basecat: Gal...Way different up here, in terms of the most ignoramuses around here had no clue we ever had a Civil War...:)

12/5/2005 9:52 pm (et) Babs: CW, The edginess I noted was a great mixture of things. Old north south things plus the racial issues of the day.

12/5/2005 9:52 pm (et) Basecat: ks...Am about Willsed out here, so will just say thanks to all for participating in the chat, and enjoy your vacation..;)

12/5/2005 9:53 pm (et) amhistoryguy: FWIW, Everett was an important enough figure in American History to have his image engraved on the 1890 and 1891 fifty dollar silver certificate.

12/5/2005 9:54 pm (et) Babs: Base, Same true here.

12/5/2005 9:54 pm (et) CWgal: Well of course Base :D

12/5/2005 9:55 pm (et) Babs: amhg, I think that is interesting. I still must assume that the great Eward Everett Horton was named for him.

12/5/2005 9:56 pm (et) ks: I'd say "ditto" to that, Basecat. :) Have enjoyed sharing this book with people here and look forward to the NEXT Lincoln book we'll take up in 2006. We do need to get suggestions for a NEXT, NEXT or Babs and I might start hyperventilating. ;) YODB...czech it soon for thoughts. Contribute your own.