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Soldiers National Monument at the center of Gettysburg National Cemetery, Randolph Rogers, sculptor

Gettysburg National Cemetery is located on Cemetery Hill in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Shortly after the Battle of Gettysburg, with the support of Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin, the site was purchased and Union dead were moved from shallow and inadequate burial sites on the battlefield to the cemetery. Local attorney David Wills was the man primarily responsible for acquiring the land, overseeing the construction of the cemetery, and planning its dedication ceremony, although the initial concept and early organizational efforts were led by rival lawyer David McConaughy. The landscape architect William Saunders, founder of the National Grange, designed the cemetery. It was originally called Soldiers' National Cemetery at Gettysburg.



The removal of Confederate dead from the field burial plots was not undertaken until seven years after the battle. From 1870 to 1873, upon the initiative of the Ladies Memorial Associations of Richmond, Raleigh, Savannah, and Charleston, 3,320 bodies were dug up and sent to cemeteries in those cities for reburial, 2,935 being interred in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond. Seventy-three bodies were reburied in home cemeteries.

Saunders's design had two facets: first, the Soldiers National Monument was placed at the center, promoting the Union victory and the valor of the fallen soldiers; second, the graves were arranged in a series of semicircles around the monument, emphasizing the fundamental egalitarian nature of U.S. society, with all the graves considered equal. The original plan was to arrange the plots in essentially random order, but resistance from the states caused this to be modified and the graves are grouped by state, with two sections for unknowns and one section for the regular army. (In later years, additional graves were added outside the original section for the dead of the Spanish-American War and World War I.) There are numerous other monuments in the cemetery, including the New York Monument, the first statue to Maj. Gen. John F. Reynolds, the "Friend to Friend Memorial" in the National Cemetery Annex, and the monument to Lincoln's address.

The remains of soldiers buried in Gettysburg, from other wars.

The cemetery was dedicated on November 19, 1863. The main speaker at the ceremony was Edward Everett, but it was here that Abraham Lincoln delivered his most famous speech, the Gettysburg Address. The night before, Lincoln slept in Wills's house on the main square in Gettysburg, which is now a landmark administered by the National Park Service. The cemetery was completed in March 1864 with the last of 3,512 Union dead were reburied. It became a National Cemetery on May 1, 1872, when control was transferred to the War Department. It is currently administered by the National Park Service as part of Gettysburg National Military Park and contains the remains of over 6,000 individuals who served in a number of American wars, from the Mexican-American War to the present day.

3,512 Union soldiers were buried in the cemetery; of these, 979 are unknown.

Soldiers National Monument

Peace, from the Soldiers National Monument

The first monument of any type to be placed at Gettysburg was the Soldiers National Monument in the National Cemetery. It was designed by the Batterson-Canfield Company and sculpted by Randolph Rogers. The cornerstone was laid on July 4, 1865, and the full monument dedicated on July 1, 1869. The white Westerly granite pedestal supports a shaft and marble statue entitled "Genius of Liberty". The four buttresses on the pedestal support allegorical statues in white marble:

  • War, depicted as a seated American soldier resting after the conflict. The soldier is said to be relating the story of what happened at Gettysburg to the second monument,
  • History, depicted as a woman recording the names and accomplishments of the dead in her book.
  • Plenty, a woman with a sheaf of wheat over her arm and cornucopias filled with the fruits of the earth, the result of the peace at the end of the war.
  • Peace, a mechanic accompanied by machine cogs and heavy hammers. Although statues depicting peace are generally represented by female models, the seated mechanic in this work is male.[1]

See also


  1. ^ Hawthorne, pp. 131-32.


  • Hawthorne, Frederick W., Gettysburg: Stories of Men and Monuments, Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides, 1988, ISBN 0-9657444-0-X.

External links

Coordinates: 39°49′13″N 77°13′53″W / 39.82028°N 77.23139°W / 39.82028; -77.23139


Simple English

Gettysburg National Cemetery is on Cemetery Hill in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. A short time after the Battle of Gettysburg the place was bought. The Union dead were moved from shallow (not deep) burial places on the battlefield to the cemetery. It was supported by Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin. The local attorney David Wills was the person who mostly bought the land, managed the building of the cemetery, and planned its ceremony. However, the basic concept and early organizing efforts were led by rival lawyer David McConaughy. The landscape architect William Saunders designed the cemetery. It was called the Soldiers' National Cemetery at Gettysburg at first.

It was dedicated on November 19, 1863. Edward Everett mostly spoke at the ceremony. However, it was here that Abraham Lincoln delivered the famous Gettysburg Address.

3,512 Union soldiers were buried in the cemetery. 979 are unknown.


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