David Wills to Abraham Lincoln, Monday, November 02, 1863 (Invitation to attend the dedication of the cemetery at Gettysburg and make a “few appropriate remarks"), Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress, http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/alhtml/malhome.html.
Transcribed by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College, Galesburg, IL
Adapted by John Osborne, Dickinson College
The following transcript has been adapted from the Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress.
Gettysburg Nov. 2nd 1863
The several States having soldiers in the Army of the Potomac, who were killed at the Battle of Gettysburg, or have since died at the various hospitals which were established in the vicinity, have procured grounds on a prominent part of the Battle Field for a Cemetery, and are having the dead removed to them and properly buried.
These Grounds will be Consecrated and set apart to this sacred purpose, by appropriate Ceremonies, on Thursday, the 19th distant,--
Hon Edward Everett will deliver the Oration.
I am authorized by the Governors of the different States to invite You to be present, and participate in these Ceremonies, which will doubtless be very imposing and solemnly impressive.
It is the desire that, after the Oration, You, as Chief Executive of the Nation, formally set apart these grounds to their Sacred use by a few appropriate remarks.
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; and it will kindle anew in the breasts of the Comrades of these brave dead, who are now in the tented field or nobly meeting the foe in the front, a confidence that they who sleep in death on the Battle Field are not forgotten by those highest in Authority; and they will feel that, should their fate be the same, their remains will not be uncared for.
We hope you will be able to be present to perform this last solemn act to the Soldier dead on this Battle Field.
I am with great Respect,
A. G. Curtin Gov. of Penna,
and acting for all the States.