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November 18, 1863


Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (JFK+50) Having been invited to make “a few appropriate remarks” at the dedication of the National Cemetery tomorrow, President Abraham Lincoln arrived by train here in Gettysburg at 6 o’clock this evening.

This small college town in southern Pennsylvania was the site of a fierce 3 day struggle between Union & Confederate forces on July 1-3.

General Robert E. Lee & his army of Northern Virginia were held back in an attempt to take Union positions on Cemetery Ridge.

United States forces were under the commander of General George G. Meade.

After his failure to take the ridge, Lee retreated back into Virginia.  Historians, no doubt, will see the Battle of Gettysburg as an important turning point in the war.

The President is accompanied by Secretary of State William Seward as well as other administration officials.

Mr. Lincoln will be treated to dinner & music by the 5th New York Artillery Band.

The President will spend the night at the home of Gettysburg attorney David Wills who is the principal figure in the establishment of the National Cemetery.

                       Home of David Wills
                 Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

It was Mr. Wills who invited Lincoln to take part in the dedication.**

**Lincoln spent the night in a 2nd floor bedroom of the Wills House where he made a few finishing touches on his “Gettysburg Address” before turning in.

This was Lincoln’s one & only visit to Gettysburg & the small town was flooded with 20,000 visitors for the occasion.

November 18, 1886


New York City (JFK+50) The 21st President of the United States, Chester A. Arthur, died at the age of 57 today here in New York City from complications of Bright’s Disease.*

*Bright’s Disease is a debilitating & fatal kidney ailment.

Arthur, who was born in Fairfield, Vermont,  became president in 1881 upon the death of James A. Garfield.

As President, Arthur surprised the stalwarts (conservatives) of the Republican Party by supporting & signing into law the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act.

While Arthur finished out Garfield’s term, he was not renominated by his party & retired to New York.

The funeral will be held at the Church of Heavenly Rest in New York City.*

*Journalist Alexander McClure later wrote: “No man ever entered the Presidency so distrusted & no one ever retired more generally respected.”

                       Chester A. Arthur
                          21st President


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  1. Don Dunbar on said:

    Nice to find family history in your article. David Wills was the brother of ken Wills, my great, great grand father. Don Dunbar

  2. Thanks for your comment, Don, it is indeed an honor to have a descendant of David Wills read my blog. Do you have some family stories that have been passed down that you would care to share?

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