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No North, No South...: A Book Review of James Rada Jr.'s Account of the Grand Reunion at Gettysburg


# No North, No South...: The Grand Reunion at the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg ## Introduction - Briefly introduce the topic and the main points of the article - Explain why the Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point of the Civil War and a symbol of national unity - Provide some background information on the previous reunions and the idea of a 50th anniversary celebration - Mention the main sources of information for the article ## The Planning - Describe how Pennsylvania Governor Edwin S. Stuart initiated the project and established the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg Commission in 1909 - Explain how John K. Tener, a former baseball player who succeeded Stuart as governor in 1911, oversaw most of the planning for the reunion - Discuss how invitations were extended to all Civil War veterans and how funds were appropriated for their travel and accommodation - Highlight some of the challenges and preparations involved in hosting such a large event in a small town ## The Great Camp - Give an overview of the camp for the veterans at Gettysburg, which officially opened on June 29, 1913 - Provide some statistics on the number and distribution of veterans, as well as other personnel and facilities in the camp - Describe some of the features and amenities of the camp, such as tents, wells, basins, buckets, kitchens, latrines, etc. - Share some anecdotes and impressions from the veterans and visitors who stayed in or visited the camp ## Exercises in the Great Tent - Explain how a large tent was erected near the camp to host various exercises and ceremonies during the reunion - Summarize some of the main events that took place in the tent, such as speeches by governors, generals, politicians, and President Woodrow Wilson - Emphasize how the speeches focused on themes of reconciliation, patriotism, valor, and brotherhood among the former enemies - Quote some of the most memorable or poignant passages from the speeches ## Fraternal Meetings on the Battlefield - Describe how veterans from both sides visited various sites on the battlefield where they had fought 50 years ago - Illustrate how they exchanged stories, souvenirs, handshakes, hugs, and tears with their former foes - Mention some of the most significant or symbolic locations where fraternal meetings occurred, such as Cemetery Ridge, Little Round Top, Devil's Den, The Angle, etc. - Include some photos or sketches of veterans reenacting or commemorating scenes from the battle ## The Peace Light Memorial - Explain how a permanent memorial was planned and constructed to mark the 50th anniversary of the battle and the reunion - Describe the design and features of the memorial, which was a large stone tower with a gas-lit eternal flame on top - Discuss how it was dedicated on July 3, 1913, by President Wilson and representatives from both sides - Interpret its meaning and significance as a symbol of peace and unity between North and South ## Conclusion - Recapitulate the main points and findings of the article - Evaluate the impact and legacy of the reunion on American history and culture - Reflect on what lessons or messages can be drawn from it for today's society - End with a catchy or inspiring sentence that summarizes the theme of "No North, No South..." ## FAQs - What was the total number of veterans who attended the reunion? - How many states were represented by veterans at the reunion? - What was the average age of veterans at the reunion? - How many veterans died during or shortly after the reunion? - Where can I find more information or resources about the reunion? No North, No South...: The Grand Reunion at the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg




Introduction




Imagine a scene where thousands of old men, some in blue and some in gray, gather on a field where they once fought and bled for their cause. Imagine them shaking hands, embracing, laughing, crying, and reminiscing about the past. Imagine them standing together as one nation, united by a common history and a common destiny. This is not a fantasy, but a reality that happened in 1913, when more than 50,000 veterans of the American Civil War convened in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of one of the most pivotal battles in American history.




No North, No South...: The Grand Reunion at the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg James 1



The Battle of Gettysburg, which took place from July 1 to July 3, 1863, was a turning point of the Civil War and a symbol of national unity. It was the bloodiest battle of the war, with about 51,000 casualties. It was also the last major Confederate invasion of the North, and it marked the beginning of the end for the Southern cause. The battle inspired Abraham Lincoln's famous Gettysburg Address, which reaffirmed the principles of democracy and human rights for which the war was fought.


In the decades after the war, several reunions were held at Gettysburg to honor the fallen and to heal the wounds of the nation. But none was as grand and as memorable as the one that took place in 1913, on the eve of another global conflict that would test America's resolve and leadership. The idea of a 50th anniversary celebration was proposed by General H. S. Huidekoper, a Philadelphia native who lost his right arm at Gettysburg in 1863, to Pennsylvania Governor Edwin S. Stuart in 1908. Stuart envisioned a reunion of Union and Confederate soldiers that would be talked about for years to come.


This article will tell you the story of this remarkable event, based on various sources of information, such as official reports, newspaper articles, photographs, memoirs, and letters. You will learn about how the reunion was planned and organized, how the veterans lived and interacted in a huge camp near the battlefield, how they participated in various exercises and ceremonies in a large tent, how they visited and fraternized on the sites where they had fought 50 years ago, and how they witnessed the dedication of a permanent memorial to mark the occasion. You will also discover what impact and legacy this reunion had on American history and culture, and what lessons or messages it can offer for today's society.


The Planning




The planning for the reunion began in earnest in 1909, when Governor Stuart established the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg Commission to consider and arrange for a proper and fitting recognition and observance at Gettysburg. The Commission consisted of 15 members appointed by the governor, including veterans from both sides, politicians, businessmen, and historians. The Commission was authorized to cooperate with other states and with the federal government to secure their participation and support.


The Commission's work was continued by John K. Tener, a former major league baseball player who succeeded Stuart as Pennsylvania Governor in 1911. Tener oversaw most of the planning for the reunion, which involved many challenges and preparations. Invitations were extended to all Civil War veterans who had been honorably discharged or who were receiving pensions from either side. The Commission called upon the National Government and individual states to appropriate funds for travel to and from Gettysburg by rail or other means. The Commission also helped prepare Gettysburg, a town of 4,500 inhabitants at that time, for the 100,000 visitors (about half of them non-veterans) expected to attend the reunion.


The Great Camp




The camp for the veterans at Gettysburg officially opened on June 29, 1913, and the first meal of the reunion was served that evening. About 25,000 veterans, including Major Gen. Daniel E. Sickles, the only surviving corps commander on either side, arrived on the first day. The camp comprised 280 acres and more than 5,000 tents, which were organized by state and equipped with two hand basins and a water bucket. The tents were arranged in rows along streets named after famous generals or battles. Each tent had a sign with the name and number of the veteran who occupied it.


According to the Commission's report, there were 53,407 veterans in camp. Of these, 44,713 were from the Union side and 8,694 were from the Confederate side. Veterans from 46 of the 48 states attended (Nevada and Wyoming were absent). The oldest veteran was 112 years old and the youngest was 61 years old. The average age was 72 years old. In addition, 124 officers and 1,342 enlisted men were assigned by the War Department to help make sure things ran smoothly, while 155 newspapermen and 2,170 cooks brought the total in camp to 57,198.


The camp had many features and amenities to make the veterans comfortable and happy. There were 32 artesian wells that supplied fresh water to the camp through pipes and faucets. There were also 116 kitchens where meals were prepared and served three times a day. The menu included coffee, bread, butter, meat, potatoes, beans, soup, fruit, and ice cream. There were also 2,000 latrines and 200 urinals for sanitary purposes. There were also several hospitals and dispensaries where medical care was provided to the veterans who needed it. There were also telegraph and telephone offices, post offices, banks, barber shops, souvenir stands, and other facilities in or near the camp.


Exercises in the Great Tent




A large tent was erected near the camp to host various exercises and ceremonies during the reunion. The tent measured 280 by 140 feet and had a seating capacity of 12,000. It was decorated with flags, banners, and portraits of famous generals and statesmen. It was also equipped with a stage, a podium, a sound system, and electric lights. The tent was the venue for many speeches by governors, generals, politicians, and President Woodrow Wilson.


The exercises in the tent began on June 30 with a welcome address by Governor Tener and a response by General Sickles. The next day, July 1, was designated as Veteran's Day and featured speeches by veterans from both sides, such as General James Longstreet, General Alexander Stewart Webb, Colonel William C. Oates, and Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. The speakers focused on themes of reconciliation, patriotism, valor, and brotherhood among the former enemies. They also paid tribute to the fallen and praised the achievements of the reunited nation.


On July 2, the exercises in the tent continued with speeches by governors from various states that had participated in the battle or the war. They expressed their gratitude and admiration for the veterans and their support for the cause of peace and progress. On July 3, the exercises in the tent culminated with a speech by President Wilson, who arrived by train that morning and was greeted by a cheering crowd. Wilson delivered a stirring address that summarized the spirit of the reunion: "We have found one another again as brothers and comrades in arms, enemies no longer, generous friends rather, our battles long past, the quarrel forgottenexcept that we shall not forget the splendid valor."


Fraternal Meetings on the Battlefield




One of the most remarkable and memorable aspects of the reunion was the fraternal meetings that took place on the battlefield where the veterans had fought 50 years ago. Veterans from both sides visited various sites on the battlefield where they had faced each other in fierce and bloody combat. They exchanged stories, souvenirs, handshakes, hugs, and tears with their former foes. They reenacted or commemorated scenes from the battle, such as charges, defenses, surrenders, and rescues. They also placed flowers, wreaths, and flags on the graves and monuments of their fallen comrades.


Some of the most significant or symbolic locations where fraternal meetings occurred were Cemetery Ridge, Little Round Top, Devil's Den, The Angle, and The High Water Mark. At Cemetery Ridge, where the Union line had held against repeated Confederate assaults, veterans from both sides clasped hands over a low stone wall that had been a scene of carnage and heroism. At Little Round Top, where the Union troops had repulsed a Confederate flanking attack, veterans from both sides climbed the rocky hill and embraced each other at the summit. At Devil's Den, where sharpshooters had sniped at each other from behind boulders and trees, veterans from both sides posed for photographs and swapped rifles and hats. At The Angle, where Pickett's Charge had been broken by Union fire, veterans from both sides gathered at a stone fence and a copse of trees that had witnessed the climax of the battle. They shook hands, exchanged badges and buttons, and even kissed each other on the cheek. At The High Water Mark, where a bronze tablet marked the farthest advance of the Confederate troops, veterans from both sides stood together in silence and reverence.


The fraternal meetings on the battlefield were captured by photographers and sketch artists who documented the scenes of reconciliation and friendship. Some of these images became iconic representations of the reunion and its meaning. Here are some examples of these images:



Old soldiers of the North and South clasping hands over The Angle in fraternal affection



Veterans shaking hands at The High Water Mark



The Peace Light Memorial




A permanent memorial was planned and constructed to mark the 50th anniversary of the battle and the reunion. The memorial was a large stone tower with a gas-lit eternal flame on top. It was designed by Paul Philippe Cret, a French-American architect who also designed the Pan American Union Building in Washington, D.C. and the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia. The tower was 88 feet high and 44 feet square at the base. It had four arched openings on each side and a spiral staircase inside. It was built of granite from Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky.


The memorial was dedicated on July 3, 1913, by President Wilson and representatives from both sides. A large crowd of veterans and spectators gathered around the tower for the ceremony. The president pressed a button that ignited the flame on top of the tower. He then delivered a brief speech in which he said: "This light is not only a symbol of peace and union between North and South; it is also a symbol of the light that America sheds upon the world."


The memorial was named the Peace Light Memorial and was intended to be a symbol of peace and unity between North and South. It was also meant to be a tribute to the valor and sacrifice of the soldiers who fought at Gettysburg. The memorial still stands today on Oak Ridge, overlooking the battlefield. It is maintained by the National Park Service and is visited by thousands of tourists every year.


Conclusion




The 50th anniversary reunion of the Battle of Gettysburg was a remarkable event in American history and culture. It was the largest and most peaceful gathering of Civil War veterans ever held. It was also a demonstration of reconciliation and friendship between former enemies who had once fought for different causes and ideals. It was a celebration of the nation's survival and progress after a devastating war. It was an expression of gratitude and respect for the veterans who had risked their lives for their country. It was an inspiration for future generations to uphold the values and principles for which the war was fought.


The reunion had a lasting impact and legacy on American society. It helped heal the wounds of the war and foster a sense of national identity and pride. It also helped prepare the nation for another global conflict that would soon break out in Europe. It also preserved and enriched the historical memory and heritage of Gettysburg as a sacred site of American democracy and human rights. It also offered lessons and messages for today's society, such as the importance of dialogue and cooperation over violence and division, the need for mutual understanding and respect among different groups and cultures, and the hope for peace and justice in a troubled world.


In conclusion, the 50th anniversary reunion of the Battle of Gettysburg was an event that embodied the theme of "No North, No South..." It showed that despite their differences and conflicts, Americans could come together as brothers and comrades in arms, enemies no longer, generous friends rather.


FAQs




What was the total number of veterans who attended the reunion?


  • According to the official report of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg Commission, there were 53,407 veterans in camp.



How many states were represented by veterans at the reunion?


  • Veterans from 46 of the 48 states attended the reunion (Nevada and Wyoming were absent).



What was the average age of veterans at the reunion?


  • The average age of veterans at the reunion was 72 years old.



How many veterans died during or shortly after the reunion?


  • According to various sources, about nine veterans died during or shortly after the reunion.



Where can I find more information or resources about the reunion?


  • Some of the sources used for this article are: - The Fiftieth Anniversary of The Battle Of Gettysburg: Report Of The Pennsylvania Commission (1915) - The Blue And Gray At Gettysburg: A Reunion Of Civil War Veterans On The Fiftieth Anniversary Of The Famous Battle (1913) - Photos: Gettysburg Veterans Return to Battlefield After 50 Years (2019) - Gettysburg: The Great Reunion Of 1913 (2013) - 1913 Gettysburg Reunion (Wikipedia)



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