150 years later, Pa. newspaper retracts Gettysburg ‘review’



The Patriot-News is apologizing for its dismissal of President Lincoln’s “silly remarks” — what we know today (many of us by heart) as the Gettysburg Address.

It’s not as if the Harrisburg paper, then the Patriot & Union, “a democratic (broadsheet) staunchly opposed to Lincoln,” didn’t have time to weigh the president’s speech. The editorial wasn’t published until five days after the consecration of the cemetery.

On Tuesday morning, Nov. 24, 1863, the Patriot-Union abruptly tossed aside Lincoln’s oratory with these words:

“We pass over the silly remarks of the President. For the credit of the nation we are willing that the veil of oblivion shall be dropped over them and that they shall be no more repeated or thought of.”

On Thursday morning, Nov. 14, 2013, the Patriot-News issued a retraction, blaming “our predecessors, perhaps under the influence of partisanship, or of strong drink, as was common in the profession at the time.”

Read the Patriot-News’ retraction here (scroll down to read the 1863 editorial).

Don’t miss Donald Gilliland‘s fun read on how the press covered the cemetery’s dedication here.