23 Aug 2015

Civil war veterans at Gettysburg anniversary in 1913 (15 Pics)

The 150th anniversary of Gettysburg, the battle that many historians cite as a key turning point in the US civil war, which left nearly 50,000 Union and Confederate soldiers dead, wounded or captured on Pennsylvania farmland. In 1913, on the 50th anniversary of the battle, the same fields played host to the largest ever gathering of civil war veterans, where former soldiers from both sides – many in their 70s – returned to commemorate the war
All honourably discharged veterans were invited to the reunion, drawing more than 50,000 members of the Grand Army of the Republic (the north) and the United Confederate Veterans (the south). Fifty years after the battle, many were in their 70s.
Union veterans in front of an Indiana tent. The War Department – the precursor to today’s Defense Department – provided tents for housing the tens of thousands of veterans who made the pilgrimage back to Gettysburg.
The Blue and the Gray at Gettysburg: a Union veteran and a Confederate veteran shake hands.

Confederate and Union veterans pass the time with a drum-and-fife corps.
Boy Scout escorts take a break for some fun in the July heat. Several hundred scouts from Washington were tasked with helping the aged veterans move smoothly around the encampment during the anniversary activities. 
A veteran takes a break in the shade. Many of the scheduled events involved dedications of memorials or low-key re-enactments of the charges and fighting of 50 years earlier. For others, the time was spent simply reminiscing.
A veteran carries a cot through the Gettysburg encampment. The War Department’s plan for the commemorations involved thousands of active soldiers working to provide latrines, housing and food for the veterans. 
Former Confederate soldiers gather at a North Carolina Tar Heel tent. Of the 50,000 veterans who came to Gettysburg, fewer than 10,000 were Confederates. 
Veterans disembark from a train directly on to the battlefield, thanks to a platform built specifically for the anniversary. Much as the soldiers had in 1863, the veterans and observers swelled the tiny town of Gettysburg beyond its usual population of 4,000. 
In a sea of tents, veterans sit at a mess table for a meal.
Union and Confederate soldiers gather around a cannon.
General Daniel Sickles, seated, is surrounded by veterans. Sickles, a New York general, lost his right leg to a cannonball during a Confederate attack and had it sent to the army medical museum. He would reportedly visit it on the anniversary of the battle. 
Union veterans pose in the July heat.
A Union veteran and a Confederate veteran.
Men who participated in the notorious Pickett’s Charge reunite at Bloody Angle, Confederates in the foreground, Union soldiers against the wall. The 2 July march across Cemetery Ridge, which is considered the high-water mark of the Confederacy, involved 12,500 southern soldiers. More than half of them were killed or wounded. 

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