21 Poignant Gettysburg Quotes about the Battle’s Legacy

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Looking for beautiful and thought-provoking quotes about Gettysburg? Here are the best quotes about the Battle of Gettysburg disaster from historians, novelists, survivors, politicians, and pop culture that you can use on your website or your Instagram to help teach people about what happened.


Read next: 5 Books about Gettysburg to Inspire Your Civil War Travels


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quotes about Gettysburg


The Best Quotes about the Battle of Gettysburg


The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here so nobly advanced. -Abraham Lincoln


I am tired of the sickening sight of the battlefield with its mangled corpses & poor suffering wounded. Victory has no charms for men when purchased at such cost. –Civil War General George McClelland


Gettysburg. . . . You cant understand it. You would have to be born there. -William Faulkner


May we all, as a nation of believers, fight for the achievement of America; may we make sacrifices worthy of those proud men and women who fought for us, labored for us, bled soil from the beaches of Normandy to the fields of Gettysburg for us. -Cory Booker


Gettysburg Quotes


We entered Gettysburg in the afternoon, just in time to meet the enemy entering the town, and in good season to drive him back before his getting a foothold. -John Buford


One hundred and fifty years after Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, equality for many Americans remains elusive. -Mike Quigley


Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo. Shovel them under and let me work- I am the grass; I cover all. And pile them high at Gettysburg. And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun. Shovel them under and let me work. Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor- What place is this? Where are we now? I am the grass. Let me work. -Carl Sandburg

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You don’t go to Gettysburg with a shovel, you don’t take belt buckles off the Arizona. -Robert Ballard


Gettysburg Quotes


Rations were scarcely issued, and the men about preparing supper, when rumors that the enemy had been encountered that day near Gettysburg absorbed every other interest, and very soon orders came to march forthwith to Gettysburg. -Joshua Chamberlain


If a picture is worth a thousand words, please paint me the Gettysburg Address. -Leo Rosten


If you look at photos of the Gettysburg Address there’s a guy off to the right who I think is Keith Richards. -Dave Barry


If you go to Gettysburg and take the time, maybe take a tour, maybe just drive around, read some of the monuments, read some of the plaques, you will come away changed. -Jeff Shaara


Well, it is all over now. The battle is lost, and many of us are prisoners, many are dead, many wounded, bleeding and dying. Your Soldier lives and mourns and but for you, my darling, he would rather, a million times rather, be back there with his dead, to sleep for all time in an unknown grave. -George Pickett



We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain. -Abraham Lincoln


What began as a bitter dispute over Union and States’ Rights, ended as a struggle over the meaning of freedom in America. At Gettysburg in 1863, Abraham Lincoln said perhaps more than he knew. The war was about a new birth of freedom. -Bruce Catton


The sinister nature of the American soil is apparent in places like Gettysburg. Fertilize it with the blood of heroes, and it brings forth a frozen-custard stand. -Russell Baker


It wasn’t by accident that the Gettysburg address was so short. -Ernest Hemingway


Few generals were as brilliant as Robert E. Lee and few battles as titanic — and puzzling — as Gettysburg. Why did Lee fail? -Jay Winik

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Gettysburg quotes


The nation was founded and “dedicated,” to use Lincoln’s language in the “Gettysburg Address,” to equality as a “self-evident truth.” But this very principle of equality, as Lincoln also noted, was a “proposition.” To make it a reality remained “the unfinished work” of Americans. -Ronald Takaki


I was shot in the right breast, the ball entering my lung, where it remains. Capt. Hobert, of my regiment, made a detail with himself to take me off the field. They carried me over the pike, into a field near the old railroad grade, where they were compelled to surrender, and were taken prisoners to the rear, leaving me where you found me. -Colonel John B. Callis


I write simply a line to inform you of my condition. In an engagement Friday afternoon near Gettysburg, about 3 P.M. I received a wound in my left arm. -Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Franklin Little



Learn More About the Battle of Gettysburg

Whether you’re planning to visit Gettysburg or simply interested in learning as much as you can from home, I have some resources to help you.


First, check out the best books about Gettysburg, including novels, nonfiction, and memoirs. You can also read how to do a self-guided driving tour of Gettysburg.



Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!


Before you leave for Pennsylvania make sure you have a valid Travel Insurance Policy because accidents happen on the road. I pay for World Nomads, and I happily recommend them. 


I have been a paying customer of World Nomads for travel insurance for three years, and I happily recommend them.  If you get sick, injured, or have your stuff stolen, you’ll be happy to have the ability to pay for your medical bills or replace what’s stolen or broken.



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