The Man Who Invited LIncoln-to-the Gettysburg Address

April 1, 2021
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November 19, 1863

Pres. Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address.

But the famous speech would not have happened without this one man whose name isn’t as well known.

“It will be a source of great gratification to the many widows and orphans that have been made almost friendless by the Great Battle here, to have you here personally.”

Gettysburg Attorney David Wills, who wrote a letter to President Abraham Lincoln on November 2, 1863, inviting him to speak at the dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetery on November 19.

David Wills

  • 32 years old when the Civil War battle raged between Union & Confederate soldiers.
  • Helped provide care for those injured, clear the battlefield of dead, communicate with families looking for missing relatives.
  • One of the main forces behind purchasing 17 acres for a cemetery to honor the fallen.

The Battle of Gettysburg

  • Brutal battle: July 1-3, 1863
  • 100,000+ Americans fought; 1 in 5 killed, wounded or missing.
  • Union soldiers pushed back Confederates, the victory arguably a tipping point in the war.
  • It took nearly another 2 years of fighting until the South officially surrendered.

David Wills' home is still standing in Gettysburg, PA. You can visit the room where Pres. Lincoln slept the night before he delivered the Gettysburg Address. Re-read the whole speech on our source page.

David Wills to Abraham Lincoln, Monday, November 02, 1863

by Jenna Lee,