John Hay Reports on Events at Gettysburg

John Hay (1838-1905), who served as Lincoln’s assistant private secretary from 1860 to 1865, kept an informative diary during the Civil War. Unfortunately, the entry describing events in Gettysburg on November 19, 1863, is frustratingly skimpy: “In the morning I got a beast and rode out with the President’s suite to the Cemetery in the procession. The procession formed itself in an orphanly sort of way & moved out with very little help from anybody & after a little delay Mr. Everett took his place on the stand – And Mr. Stockton made a prayer which thought it was an oration – and Mr. Everett spoke as he always does perfectly – and the President in a firm free way, with more grace than is his wont said his half dozen words lines of consecration and the music wailed and we went home through crowded and cheering streets. And all the particulars are in the daily papers.”

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