Lincoln on supporting the troops
I recently happened across two paragraphs from Gabor Boritt's wonderful study on Lincoln's Gettysburg address in The Gettysburg Gospel. Boritt recounts the history after the battle, ending July 4, 1863, to the dedication of the National Cemetery, on the following November 18. Tens of thousands of people descended on the town of normally 2,400 souls. On the morning of the address, upon leaving the Will's house were he lodged, Lincoln offered some sage advice to the Press (p.94):
"If Lincoln had time on his hands, he may have also practiced reading out his [Gettysburg address] speech. Liberty Hollinger, then a young girl, would remember many years later how she watched the assembling parade from the house on the [Gettysburg town square] Diamond and noticed Lincoln coming to the window twice, looking over the crowds and holding a paper in his hands. Liberty also thought that she saw "inexpressible sadness" on his face, contrasting sharply with the excitement of the masses below.The people in the square indeed seemed ready. But before Lincoln could move out into the teeming throng, reporters managed to work their way into the house; perhaps others did, too. The president was ready to talk. "The best course for the journals of the country to pursue, if they wished to sustain the Government," he explained, "was to stand by the officers of the army." Instead of critizing military blunders, the people should be urged to provide "all the aid in their power."