July 7, 1863
---Siege of Port Hudson, Day 41
--- Word arrives in Port Hudson that Vicksburg has surrendered. Gen. Franklin Gardner, in command of the Southern garrison inside, decides that their surrender is inevitable.
---Pres. Lincoln receives Gen. Grant’s dispatch that Vicksburg has fallen. This evening, a large spontaneous crowd gather at the White House. A band shows up and, as always happens on such occasions, the people call for a speech from the President. Among other things, Lincoln offers these thoughts:
Fellow-citizens: I am very glad indeed to see you to-night, and yet I will not say I thank you for this call, but I do most sincerely thank Almighty God for the occasion on which you have called. [Cheers.] How long ago is it?---eighty odd years---since on the Fourth of July for the first time in the history of the world a nation by its representatives, assembled and declared as a self-evident truth that ``all men are created equal.'' [Cheers.] That was the birthday of the United States of America. . . . and now, on this last Fourth of July just passed, when we have a gigantic Rebellion, at the bottom of which is an effort to overthrow the principle that all men were [are?] created equal, we have the surrender of a most powerful position and army on that very day, [cheers] and not only so, but in a succession of battles in Pennsylvania, near to us, through three days, so rapidly fought that they might be called one great battle on the 1st, 2d and 3d of the month of July; and on the 4th the cohorts of those who opposed the declaration that all men are created equal, “turned tail” and run. [Long and continued cheers.] Gentlemen, this is a glorious theme, and the occasion for a speech, but I am not prepared to make one worthy of the occasion. I would like to speak in terms of praise due to the many brave officers and soldiers who have fought in the cause of the Union and liberties of the country from the beginning of the war. There are trying occasions, not only in success, but for the want of success. I dislike to mention the name of one single officer lest I might do wrong to those I might forget. Recent events bring up glorious names, and particularly prominent ones, but these I will not mention. Having said this much, I will now take the music.