“What did you think of the inaugural? That rail-splitting lawyer is one of the wonders of the day. Once at Gettysburg and now again on a greater occasion he has shown a capacity for rising to the demands of the hour which we should not expect from orators or men of the schools. This inaugural strikes me in its grand simplicity and directness as being for all time the historical keynote of this war; in it a people seemed to speak in the sublimely simple utterance of ruder times.”
Charles Francis Adams Jr. in a letter to his father, Charles Francis Adams Sr., Abraham Lincoln’s minister to Great Britain, upon reading the text of Lincoln’s second inaugural address. Adams Jr. knew what he was talking about regarding the Gettysburg campaign, where he had served as Brevet Brigadier General of the Fifth Massachusetts Volunteers and fought with distinction at the Battle of Aldie.