The Gettysburg Address
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For generations, American school children were required to study the Gettysburg Address, and in many cases, memorize it. We could not let the 150th Anniversary of Lincoln's immortal speech pass by without having our scouts pay tribute to Lincoln and the brave warriors of the Union.
 


Background...

The Gettysburg Address was delivered just past the war's half-way point, but the war's end was not necessarily evident at the time.  The Union was fatigued after two and a half years of conflict.  Lincoln used his address to reinvigorate and refocus the war effort.  The brevity, clarity, and eloquence of his words redound to the present, making it one of the most important and powerful speeches of American history.

Numerous local monuments used in the video are highlighted in map below.
 

     


Oneida County and the Union War Effort...

As mentioned in the video, Oneida Country supported the Union not only with what it grew and made, but also with its people.  As would be expected, there are echoes of this sacrifice all around us.  Here are a few highlights.


The Forest Hill Cemetery (off Oneida Street in S. Utica) has a section set aside for Union veterans.  This section also contains a memorial boulder which was provided by William Henry Bright, a Union veteran and former Surrogate of Oneida County.
 

The Soldiers and Sailors Memorial, located on Genesee Street at Oneida Square, has been a prominent landmark for over a century.

This monument at Gettysburg is dedicated to Colonel Charles Wheelock's 97th NY Volunteer Infantry; this regiment formed in Boonville.  The 97th was extensively engaged in the fighting, especially on the first day of the battle.

Lt. Colonel Henry Hastings Curran tried to recruit a regiment at the end of his junior year 1861 at Hamilton College but the effort failed. He completed his senior year and graduated in 1862 and then helped recruit the "Fifth Oneida" which became the 146th New York Volunteer Regiment.

Though a resident of Oneida County, Lt. James Bayne joined a non-Oneida County regiment, as did hundreds of others.  He was killed at Cold Harbor, Virginia, in 1864.

Pictured here is the first Civil War Monument erected in Oneida County, in 1871 at Glenside Cemetery, New York Mills.

Brevet Lt. Colonel George Pomeroy was lucky enough to have survived the war, even though he participated in several major engagements.  He died in 1900.

Though only 17 years old, Charles Cleveland was fighting in the Battle of Antietam, the single bloodiest day of the Civil War. The soldier carrying the Union flag fell to enemy fire. Cleveland stepped forward, picked up the flag and carried it until wounded 3 times. He received the Medal of Honor for this act of heroism. After the war, he joined the Utica Police Department, and became its Chief.

Many small towns throughout the North contain Civil War monuments, reminding us that rural areas supplied much of the Union's manpower. The one shown here from Waterville is an especially attractive example.

Charles Wheelock was a Boonville produce dealer at the start of the Civil War. He was instrumental in the formation of the 97th NY, donating much of his personal fortune to aid in its formation. He gained great notoriety when he was forced to surrender following the first day's action at Gettysburg. He soon escaped his captors, and made his way back to Union lines, killing a rattlesnake en route.  The good Colonel later remarked that he hated rattlesnakes more than rebels.  Click here for more of his fascinating story.

Painstakingly restored, this Civil War cannon is located in front of the Oneida County Historical Society on Genesee Street in Utica (see map above).

Sgt. Hepworth came to the US from England when he was only 2 years old. He enlisted at age 21 and served with great honor up until the time of his capture near Petersburg, Virginia (1864). 

He survived the horrors of the Andersonville POW camp, and returned home after the war to become a prominent businessman in New York Mills. (more about Sgt. Hepworth can be found in his bio on this page)

Henry Hastings Curran (from above) died in Saunders Field, Battle of the Wilderness in 1864 while leading his men. While in front of the Confederate fortifications, he shouted to a fellow officer, "this is awful." The other officer asked, "where are all our men?".  Curran replied, "Dead." 

Immediately afterwards, he was shot through the head.  The 146th sustained the 2nd highest casually rate of all Union units participating in this battle (54.5%).

     

Other Images in the Video...

"The Surrender of Lord Cornwallis" at Yorktown (Revolutionary War) just under "four score and seven years" prior to Lincoln's great speech.
(learn more here)

"Our Banner in the Sky" has a fascinating back-story, underscoring Union indignation when the flag was lowered at Ft. Sumter, signifying its surrender at the start of hostilities in 1861.
(learn more here)

     

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 battlefield 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.

Trivia...

bulletLincoln was sick the day he delivered the address, and indications are that he was in the early stages of smallpox. [read more]
bulletPresident Kennedy was invited to speak at the 100th anniversary of the address, but was unable to do so.  Instead, he was in Dallas, Texas, helping settle a dispute between Governor John Connally and US Senator Ralph Yarborough.  Kennedy was assassinated 3 days later, on November 22'nd. [read more]

The Music...

We'd like to acknowledge the generosity of two groups of musicians who kindly gave us permission to use their work as a backdrop to the above video.

Oh Shenandoah
Gracenotes Chamber Music, LLC
www.GracenotesChamberMusic.com
www.String-Bling.com
youtu.be/TBOvklUnMDA
    Colonel Terryes Quickstep
Fort McHenry Guard Fife and Drum
National Park Service
www.amazon.com/
Fun-Fury-Civil-Fife-Music

 

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