AAA Editor Notes
David Wills House is at 8 Lincoln Sq. on the downtown square, within Gettysburg National Military Park. The site reveals what Gettysburg was like during the weeks after the Civil War battle through displays, two interactive exhibits and two films. Much of the recovery phase was centered around the three-story brick house of David Wills, a prominent lawyer. From here local women cared for wounded soldiers, and state leaders convened to discuss burial options for the Union casualties. Pennsylvania's governor, Andrew Curtin, placed Wills in charge of organizing a national cemetery.
On Nov. 2, 1863, Wills wrote to President Lincoln, inviting him to deliver “a few appropriate remarks” at the cemetery's dedication on Nov. 19. To many people's amazement, the president accepted and arrived the evening before the event. Mr. and Mrs. Wills welcomed him into their home, where they were hosting a dinner for nearly three dozen guests. That night from his bedroom (Mrs. Wills had prepared her own for the president), he completed the Gettysburg Address he would give the next day.
The museum collection features original furnishings, including the bed Lincoln slept in, and the saddle he used on his trip to the cemetery. A model with 260 buildings is a powerful visual representation of the 1863 town.
Photography is permitted.