I came across some interesting weather notes (links below) relating to the Battle of Gettysburg, now celebrating its 150th anniversary this July 2013.
As a side note, our family's first reenactment with our 148th living historians was at the then "massive" 135th anniversary of Gettysburg (~20,000 reenactors in Picket's charge, for example). This event continues to grow in size each year, attracting reenactors from around the world.
In the first week of July, 1863, the battle began almost by accident, bringing into conflict two of the greatest armies of the Civil War. Although the war raged for almost two more years, until Lee's surrender on Palm Sunday (April 9, 1865) at Appomattox Courthouse, Gettysburg is said to have represented the "high water" mark for the South.
Estimates of 50,000 casualties, including 10,000 fatalities, required time to attend. It was not until November 19, 1863, four months after the battle, that Lincoln was able to deliver his famous Gettysburg address, honoring those that had sacrificed, while dedicating the Soldiers' National Cemetery.
The Bliss version of Lincoln's speech is pasted here:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. 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 have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
WEATHER RELATED LINKS
1. Link to thoughtful article by Accuweather StaffWriter Samantha-Rae Tuthill on "How Weather Impacted the Bloodiest Battle of the Civil War" (dated July 1, 2013).
2. Original detailed notes by Rev. Dr. Jacobs II on the "Meteorology of the Battle" (letter to the editor, dated July 30, 1885).
3. Current link to the Accuweather Gettysburg 150th Anniversary Forecast (July 2013)