My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Unlike Arlington National Cemetery, which has had many books written about it, Gettysburg National Cemetery — a.k.a. Soldiers’ National Cemetery — has very few, most of which are out of print. That’s a shame, since the whole system of American national cemeteries, including Arlington, owes its existence to this plot of ground in Pennsylvania.
This booklet, which I picked up at the gift shop at Gettysburg National Park, seems to be the most comprehensive information available on the subject. It opens with photographs of corpses strewn across the battlefield and subsequently laid in a temporary grave, then goes on to describe the movement to honor the fallen, which grew until it inspired President Lincoln to write the Gettysburg Address. I found this portion of the book worth the price. In fact, I would have liked even more detail.
The book’s second half fulfills its title by providing biographies and some photographs of the men laid to rest at Soldiers’ National Cemetery. I was impressed by the research that went into uncovering these stories. I wonder if more could be added since this book was published in 1995.
Soldiers’ National Cemetery was a crucial development in the way the dead are treated in this country. If you have any interest in the matter, track down this book.
You can order your own copy from Amazon: Lincoln and the human interest stories of the Gettysburg National Cemetery