Civil War Trust
For Immediate Release: 11/12/13
Civil War Trust Announces New Website on Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address for 150th Anniversary
Gettysburg Address website provides a behind-the-scenes view of the famous speech that energized a nation and gave new meaning to America’s most terrible conflict
(Gettysburg, Pa.) – The Civil War Trust, the nation’s largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization, today released a new website, entitled “Behind the Scenes: Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address,” that provides a fresh perspective on America’s most famous speech. The Gettysburg Address website is located at http://gettysburgaddress.civilwar.org/.
In November 1863, President Abraham Lincoln arrived by train in Gettysburg, Pa., on a mission to help dedicate a new National Cemetery to honor the more than 3,500 Union soldiers who paid the ultimate price on the Gettysburg battlefield. He was in Gettysburg for just 25 hours and spoke for just two minutes but created a lasting legacy and charted a new course for the nation. He had been asked almost as an afterthought, to make a few appropriate remarks at the ceremony. Those brief remarks became the legendary Gettysburg Address.
“At the Trust, we strive to conceive, create and distribute educational offerings that continue to up the ante,” Civil War Trust president James Lighthizer said. “This new website will enable people to remember, honor and experience the Gettysburg Address in a manner never before presented, by focusing not only on its history, but also encouraging visitors to do what Lincoln did, see what he saw, and touch what he touched in Gettysburg.”
Creating tangible connections is a key component to the Trust’s latest online offering. It transports users back in time to Lincoln’s arrival in Gettysburg on November 18, 1863, through six videos featuring Gettysburg historian Tim Smith, audio presentations, and more than 60 photographs related to the Gettysburg Address. Wide Awake Films, a long-time production partner to the Trust, collaborated with the organization to produce the video content.
The overall design of the website is dynamic, seamless and attractive, allowing for easy user navigation and discovery. Presented in five different segments highlighting the various stages of Lincoln’s visit, the website lists 22 points of interest where users can view the things Lincoln touched and saw during his trip, such as the historic Gettysburg Train Station and the pew where Lincoln sat at the Presbyterian Church. The website even encourages visitors to take advantage of a celestial event related to the Gettysburg Address: light from a star that began its journey toward Earth during the Battle of Gettysburg is just arriving on Earth in November 2013, illuminating the Gettysburg sky for modern-day tourists.
“Our Gettysburg Address website is intended to emphasize the resonance and closeness of history,” Lighthizer noted. “If the same trees, the same bricks, the same artillery shells and the same gravestones are still there, then 150 years of time seems less distant. We can engage people in a more direct, interesting and tangible way, compared to simple, instructive websites.”
In the summer of 1863, Gen. Robert E. Lee led his Army of Northern Virginia in its second invasion of the North. As the Union Army of the Potomac pursued, President Abraham Lincoln placed Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade in command. Elements of the two armies collided around the crossroads town of Gettysburg on July 1, 1863. When the smoke cleared following the third and last day of fighting on July 3, as many as 51,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, captured or missing. Four months later, President Lincoln used the dedication ceremony for Gettysburg's Soldiers National Cemetery to honor the fallen Union soldiers and redefine the purpose of the war in his historic Gettysburg Address. Learn more about the Battle of Gettysburg at www.civilwar.org/gettysburg.
The Civil War Trust is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds. To date, the Trust has preserved more than 36,000 acres of battlefield land in 20 states, including 853 acres at Gettysburg. Learn more at www.civilwar.org, the home of the Civil War sesquicentennial.