Pub. by C. A. Blocher, Gettysburg, Pa c 1920s
I've never been to Gettysburg, so some maps helped me get a sense of the lay of the land. This waymarking site pinpoints the location of the statue and has a small gallery of photos. Much has been said about Abraham Lincoln in the days surrounding the Inauguration of President Obama. This map shows the site of the Lincoln Speech Memorial.
I don't know how the Obamas are holding up partying at ten balls on Inauguration night, but I was feeling woozy just watching some of it on TV. Last I heard they were expected to arrive at the final ball around 2:15 a.m. and would return to the White House for their first night's sleep in their new residence around 4:00 a.m.
Maybe that's why when I saw this postcard in the box the quiet of it said Hush! for just a little while after all the excitement of the day. Pause and be thankful that, for us, tomorrow is full of promise, unlike those who rest at Gettysburg. Winfield Scott Hancock, who is honored with the statue shown in this old postcard, is not one of them. He's buried at Montgomery Cemetery in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Hancock is an interesting historical figure I knew nothing about before reading for this post. Here's information on his fascinating life, including:
Mike and I attended a wedding about nine summers ago. The bride was the daughter of a man who had been in treatment with me, and evidently I made an impression on her during family visits at the treatment center (she was just a little girl at the time). Turned out that she and her fiance' were heavy into the Civil War Reenactment scene, and their wedding was designed around that theme. Her wedding dress was not totally "Period" but did have an old-fashioned look. The groom and his attendants, however, all wore their full Civil War uniforms. Some Union, some Confederate. Heavy. Wool. Layers. And beards. As I said, this seemed to be a lifestyle for them. It would have been interesting enough, but the day set a heat record.......I don't remember what the temperature rose to but my contacts fried onto my eyeballs on the drive home which was nearly an emergency.
Winfield Scott Hancock (February 14, 1824–February 9, 1886) was a career U.S. Army officer and the Democratic nominee for President of the United States in 1880. He served with distinction in the Army for four decades, including service in the Mexican-American War and as a Union general in the American Civil War. Known to his Army colleagues as "Hancock the Superb", he was noted in particular for his personal leadership at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. One military historian wrote, "No other Union general at Gettysburg dominated men by the sheer force of their presence more completely than Hancock." As another wrote, "... his tactical skill had won him the quick admiration of adversaries who had come to know him as the 'Thunderbolt of the Army of the Potomac'." His military service continued after the Civil War, as Hancock participated in the military Reconstruction of the South and the Army's presence at the Western frontier.After the Civil War, Hancock's reputation as a soldier and his dedication to conservative constitutional principles made him a quadrennial Presidential possibility. His noted integrity was a counterpoint to the corruption of the era, for as President Rutherford B. Hayes said, "... [i]f, when we make up our estimate of a public man, conspicuous both as a soldier and in civil life, we are to think first and chiefly of his manhood, his integrity, his purity, his singleness of purpose, and his unselfish devotion to duty, we can truthfully say of Hancock that he was through and through pure gold." This nationwide popularity led the Democrats to nominate him for President in 1880. Although he ran a strong campaign, Hancock was defeated by Republican James Garfield by the closest popular vote margin in American history.
The wedding was outside in a little-known, overgrown park by a creek. When we arrived there were four attendants out in a dusty field directing parking and they looked like they were losing the battle. I had a bottled water with me and offered it to one of them and he literally grabbed it from me and chugged it down. By the time the reception line was formed after the ceremony some of the men had unbuttoned their coats, but they stood stalwartly by their buddy in his time of need, good soldiers all.