2013 finds Gettysburg National Military Park celebrating the 150th anniversary of the battle. Many events will be held in Gettysburg to commemorate this great battle. However, the largest of all Gettysburg Reunions was held in 1913 with over 53,000 veterans in attendance. In honor of this great event I have included several pages with photographs and items from the 1913 reunion.
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The 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg would be held on July 1 - 4, 1913. Civil War veterans attending the festivities included 44,713 Union veterans and 8,694 Confederate veterans. This four day event would bring these once foes together as united Americans. Above veterans from the North and South shake hands over the stone wall at the "Angle".
A huge tent city (layout above) would be established to house the thousands of veterans attending. Over 6500 Army issued pyramid tents would be constructed and the camp would span over 280 acres. The camp itself was established on the fields that 50 years earlier would see Southern troops crossing on July 3rd during "Pickett's Charge".
There would be 173 kitchens constructed to provide meals to the attending veterans. During the event there would be 668,000 meals served. There would also be five hospital facilities staffed by Army personnel and supported by the American Red Cross. Each veteran would be provided the necessary equipment including blankets, a cot and mess equipment.
One of the most remembered landmarks was the "Great Tent" that was the scene of many large gatherings. This tent would hold over 15,000 visitors and provide a platform for many dignitaries to speak including President Woodrow Wilson on July 4.
Present Woodrow Wilson is escorted by a Union and Confederate veterans upon his arrival on July 4.
Inside view of the "Great Tent" during President Wilson's address.
General Daniel Sickles who commanded the 3rd Corps at Gettysburg can be seen sitting to the left of the photo in his wheelchair. Sickles lost his right leg when it was mangled by a cannon ball on the afternoon of July 2nd. Sickles was warmly greeted by many veterans during the 1913 reunion. Sickles would die in 1914. The Roger's house no longer stands.
Veterans enjoying a fine meal and conversation with old and some new friends.
Southern troops would relive "Pickett's Charge" as they would walk and then make a brief rush for the Northern lines giving the famous "rebel yell" just as they did fifty years before. Visitors to the battlefield today are still walking these famous fields.
Northern veterans standing at the stone wall near the "Angle" viewing the field that fifty years before would be full of advancing southern troops. As you visit the field today you can stand where these veterans once stood.
Northern and Southern veterans meet at the stone wall as part of the Webb / Pickett flag ceremony. Veterans from Alexander Webb's Brigade whom held the stone wall on Cemetery Ridge on July 3 would meet veterans of Pickett's Division that fifty years before would attack the Northern line. These veterans would then "clasp hands and buried their faces on each other's shoulder".
Veterans of the 150th New York Infantry, the "Dutchess County Regiment" are photographed on July 1, 1913 in front of their regimental monument. This regiment was engaged here on July 3, 1863.
150th New York Infantry Monument located on Culps Hill c1913.
Veterans enjoying a cool cup of water from Spanglers Spring.
The event would end on July 4 and the last veterans would leave Gettysburg on July 8. For many this would be the last time they would ever see Gettysburg and many familiar faces.
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