National Archives uncovers original Lincoln document
The National Archives on Thursday unveiled a handwritten note by Abraham Lincoln exhorting his generals to pursue Robert E. Lee's army after the battle of Gettysburg, underscoring one of the great missed opportunities for an early end to the Civil War.
An archives Civil War specialist discovered the July 7, 1863, note three weeks ago in a batch of military papers stored among the billions of pages of historical documents at the mammoth building on Pennsylvania Avenue.
The text of Lincoln's note has been publicly known because the general to whom Lincoln addressed it telegraphed the contents verbatim to the front lines at Gettysburg. There, the Union army's leaders failed for more than a week to aggressively pursue Lee following his defeat.
At a news conference, archivist Trevor Plante said he was looking for something else last month when he found Lincoln's note tucked away in a drawer among other papers. His reaction was ``wow'' when he recognized the handwriting and Lincoln's signature.
The importance of the newly discovered document is that it is in Lincoln's own handwriting, pinning down in time what he was thinking.
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