Our Honored Dead …

When Abraham Lincoln gave his stirring remarks at Gettysburg in 1863 word spread quickly across the nation.

The San Francisco (CA) Daily Evening Bulletin of 18 Dec 1863 captured the impact of Lincoln’s words that still move us today.

Newspapers report what happens every day giving each of us the emotion, context and impact of the news as it happens.

GenealogyBank with more than 3,400 newspapers over four centuries gives us the news as it happened.


Gripping accounts of the attack at Lexington & Concord appeared within days giving us the emotion and details of that day.
(NH Gazette & Historical Chronicle. 21 April 1775).

As we look back and remember our “honored dead” it is a good time to pause and reread Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

Four score and seven years ago
our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation,
conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition
that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether
that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.
We are met on a great battle-field of that war.
We have come to dedicate a portion of that field,
as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives
that that nation might live.
It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense,
we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—
we can not hallow—this ground.
The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here,
have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.
The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here,
but it can never forget what they did here.
It is for us the living, rather,
to be dedicated here to the unfinished work
which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.
It is rather for us to be
here dedicated to the great task remaining before us
—that from these honored dead
we take increased devotion to that cause
for which they gave the last full measure of devotion
—that we here highly resolve
that these dead shall not have died in vain
—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom
—and that government of the people,
by the people,
for the people,
shall not perish from the earth.
This familiar version cited from Wikipedia

Now compare that with the version published in the San Francisco (CA) Daily Evening Bulletin of 18 Dec 1863

There were in fact multiple versions of the Gettysburg Address that were written down by reporters, others at the event and Lincoln himself.

See a discussion of this on the Library of Congress website loc.gov including a copy of the only known photo of Lincoln taken that day.