Glorious Fourth!

Today is the 4th of July, America's Independence Day. Beyond the absolute joy of cooking EIGHT big pounds of ribs on the grill today with all the fixins', I always reflect on the fact that not only is this day important for what happened in 1776, but what happened in 1863. As mentioned in my previous post, the Battle of Gettysburg was fought between July 1st and 3rd and General Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and General Meade's Army of the Potomac were essentially fought out on Independence Day in 1863.
But to the west, General Ulysses S. Grant's Army of Tennessee was finally victorious after a six week siege of the city of Vicksburg. The Spring campaign of 1863 was one of the most daring military operations ever conducted and is considered by many historians, myself included, to be Grant's greatest operational achievement.
The campaign, shown in the link below in a map from Wikipedia was fought over a vast area and was a perfect example of surprise, maneuver and joint Army-Navy Operations

Most of all, the operation cemented Grant's reputation and ensured his eventual rise to command of all the Union armies in 1864.

However, the most important thing to remember today is the sacrifice of all those soldiers so long ago to give us the freedoms we enjoy today.

The Gettysburg Address

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
November 19, 1863

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 battle-field 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.