From a rostrum in the town where, just four months previously, two of the largest armies ever assembled on the American continent waged a fierce battle. Lincoln used just 272 words to assess the battle's cost and the war's greater meaning. Since that long-ago day, seven presidents have delivered addresses at Gettysburg. Each of them celebrated the legacy of Lincoln's remarks--though Lincoln himself realized that they made little impression on his countrymen. Lincoln could not have known that by the time his successors faced the prospect of speaking at Gettysburg, he had become an impossible act to follow.