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Andrew Johnson to David Wills, July 3, 1865

Andrew Johnson, engraving
Andrew Johnson suffered from various illnesses during early July 1865 and largely restricted his activities to the White House for several weeks. One ceremony he was forced to forgo was the celebration of remembrance and the laying of the cornerstone for the Soldiers' Monument in the Gettysburg National Cemetery in Pennsylvania. In this letter, he write his regrets to David Wills of Gettysburg, the man credited with playing the leading role in instituting the cemetery and, later, the national park encompassing most of the 1863 battlefield there. On a note of reconciliation, he reminds Wills to remember at the ceremony the "thousands of whites as well as blacks whom the war has emancipated" and who now liberated from "ambitious , selfish leaders" can "cherish the Government against whose life they in their blindness they struck." Johnson communicates his faith and his belief that the United States will continue to progress and holds, somewhat curiously, that while Will's memorial will eventually crumble, the country that it stands for will continue to grow and grow. (By John Osborne)


How to Cite This Page: "Andrew Johnson to David Wills, July 3, 1865," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,