Now scrolling: The 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.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas from Bill Sherman

As the holidays approach, be grateful it isn’t Christmas, 1864. William Sherman’s army was making its march through Georgia, living off plantations, burning them and twisting railroad ties so that they could never be used by the Confederacy again. Sherman knew how crucial the railroad connections were in Georgia.

Prior to November, Lincoln’s outlook for a second term was so bleak that he wrote to a friend, "this administration, I fear, is doomed."

All were sick of war and ready to accept Presidential candidate George McClellan’s offer of peace, allowing the South to secede and maintain slavery. Sherman knew better. He said that "if we allow the South to secede, there would be no end of rebellion."

The Pacific states were considering secession, so was New York and some of New England. A few states in the South wanted to secede from the Confederacy. This continent might have been a group of independent nations with no common Constitution. There would have been no United States of America.

Lincoln won his second term that year, supported mostly by the army vote. But he knew that he desperately needed a victory to keep morale alive. Sherman gave him that victory at a terrible cost.

To learn how high that cost really was, read General Sherman’s Christmas, by Stanley Weintraub. And if you are able to travel the Country in any direction without a passport this Christmas, remember those who paid the price to make it possible.