Friday, November 11, 2011

A Veterans' Day remembrance: July 1-3, 1863/1913

This photo shows two survivors of the Battle of Gettysburg. They're attending a massive reunion to commemorate the event, held on the 50th anniversary, July 1-3, 1913.

{Caption: GETTYSBURG REUNION: G.A.R. & U.C.V. (Grand Army of the Republic, United Confederate Veterans); source: Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division}


{Veterans Enrolling Their Names, Commands, and Camps and Home Addresses in One of the Thirty Register Books Located Throughout the Camp; source: Fiftieth Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg}


{GETTYSBURG REUNION: VETERANS OF THE G.A.R. AND OF THE CONFEDERACY, AT THE ENCAMPMENT; source: Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division}


{Old Time Martial Music For Their Departing Comrades; source: Fiftieth Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg}

This looks like it shows a reporter preparing a dispatch from the field.

{GETTYSBURG REUNION: G.A.R. & U.C.V.; source: Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division}

There's no information about this photo. I like how, being the same age, the men seem to represent a broad cross section of society — urban & rural, well-dressed & shirt-sleeved, well-preserved & bent with age.

{GETTYSBURG REUNION: G.A.R. & U.C.V.; source: Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division}

This shows Lindley Miller Garrison, the Secretary of War, with Hunter Liggett, then head of the Army War College.

{GETTYSBURG REUNION: G.A.R. & U.C.V. SEC. GARRISON AND COL. LIGGETT, U.S.A.; source: Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division}

Local Boy Scouts served as escorts, aides, and orderlies.

{Boy Scouts - Gettysburg. Photo shows Boy Scouts at the Gettysburg Reunion (the Great Reunion) of July 1913, which commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. Source: Flickr Commons project, 2009}


{Helping Their Own Comrade -- "To Rise in the World." (Sometimes Practiced in '61-'65.); source: Fiftieth Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg}

This photo shows a ceremonial hand shake near the Bloody Angle, which was the culmination of Pickett's Charge.[1]


The Reunion at Bloody Angle[2]

{The reunion at "Bloody Angle" - Pickett's men in for[e]ground; Union men lined against wall. Photo shows the Gettysburg Reunion (the Great Reunion) of July 1913, which commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. Source: Flickr Commons project, 2009}

Pickett's Charge

{"Pickett's Charge of July 3, 1913; source: Fiftieth Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg}

The stone wall at the Bloody Angle.

{The Blue and Gray Side-by-Side on the "Stone Wall"; source: Fiftieth Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg}

Authentic reënacters of 1913.

{Two Survivors in the Identical Uniforms of Blue and Gray They Wore There in the Battle of July 3rd, 1863; source: Fiftieth Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg }

Pickett's Men at Bloody Angle

{Pickett's men at Bloody Angle. Photo shows the Gettysburg Reunion (the Great Reunion) of July 1913, which commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. Source: Flickr Commons project, 2009 }

Detail:


Union Men at Bloody Angle

{12th Pa. Volunteers at Bloody Angle. Photo shows the 12th Pennsylvania Volunteers at the Gettysburg Reunion (the Great Reunion) of July 1913, which commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. Source: Flickr Commons project, 2009}

Detail:


Here's an eye-witness account:
It is fitting that the side of the private soldiers who fought in the ranks on those three bloody days of July, 1963, should be heard. Below is the narrative of Simon Hubler, a soldier in the 143d Pennsylvania Infantry, who was in the great battle from start to finish. ...
WE were lying at White Oak Church, south of Falmouth, Va., when we received orders to march. We did not know where we were going, but our course took us to Bealton Station, thence along the Orange Alexandria Railroad in a northerly direction, and presently we arrived at Berlin's Ford, near Harper's Ferry', where we crossed the Potomac River about June 27 and proceeded to Middletown, Md. We arrived at this place Sunday. ... During the night of [July] second I heard some one cry for water out in front of our position. The boys told me I'd get plugged, but I took risk and proceeded with a canteen of water out in front of the line in the direction of the cry. Presently I came across the object of my search and found him to be a Confederate soldier mortally wounded. I gave him all the water that I had in my canteen. He asked me who I was, and I told him I belonged to the Pennysylvania Bucktail Brigade, whereupon he remarked, "Even though you are a Yank, you have a good heart in you." The next morning our skirmishers found him dead.

There was very little fighting and comparatively little excitement until about 1 o'clock in the afternoon. ... Suddenly a cannon roared over on our left, and then another boom sounded from the right. Immediately all the Confederate batteries in our front opened fire, and the famous cannonade of the third day's fight had begun. ... I was looking toward the lines of the enemy when I suddenly saw a line of the Confederates advance over a rise in the ground. I said: "Hello boys, here comes a charge!"

The Confederates came on as though on dress parade, directly toward our position. ... When they came within about 600 yards we directed two or three volleys of musketry into them, and almost at the same time they filed obliquely toward the left, and soon struck our lines to the right of our position.

The din was awful. We could see the fighting only indistinctly, because of obstructions in the way and because of the powder smoke. We soon saw small bodies of Confederate retreating, and then large masses which hurried back, broken and disorganized. ... Pickett's charge was over about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, and during the remaining hours of daylight the firing was desultory. We maintained the position we had occupied during the day and slept on our arms during the night of July 3.
-- JUST THE PLAIN, UNVARNISHED STORY OF A SOLDIER IN THE RANKS; Exactly What a Corporal in the 143d Pennsylvania Infantry Did, Thought and Saw During the Three-Days' Battle, New York Times, June 29, 1913.
Gettysburg, July 3, 1863. This dramatic lithograph comes from a painting -- The Battle of Gettysburg: Pickett's Charge, by Peter Frederick Rothermel, 1869.

{From Rothermel's Great Painting for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the Museum at the Capitol, Harrisburg; source: frontspiece in Fiftieth Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg}

You can view a photograph of the painting here.
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Some sources:

GETTYSBURG ONE OF THE GREATEST BATTLES IN HISTORY; Sixteen Hundred Fell or Were Captured Every Hour of the Thirty That the Fight Lasted -- 153,000 Men Engaged, by Francis Trevelyan Miller, New York Times, June 29, 1913, Magazine Section. Extract: "MORE than 200,000 people, from all parts of the country, according to the estimates, are now on their way or are about to begin the journey to America's greatest battleground."

Editorial on the Gettysburg Reunion, New York Times, July 1, 1913. Extract: "Whether or not it was judicious, or even justifiable, to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg by collecting on that tragic field great numbers of the men who took part in the dreadful and magnificent conflict -- that is a question to be answered affirmatively only if the results of their presence there are great enough to compensate for the swift thinning of the veteran ranks that is sure to follow."

JUST THE PLAIN, UNVARNISHED STORY OF A SOLDIER IN THE RANKS; Exactly What a Corporal in the 143d Pennsylvania Infantry Did, Thought and Saw During the Three-Days' Battle, New York Times, June 29, 1913.

Memoirs of Gettysburg Simon Hubler, 1st Sgt., 143rd PA Vol. Inf., Co. I

Fiftieth Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, report of the Pennsylvania Commission, presented to His Excellency, John K. Tener, Governor of Pennsylvania, for transmittal to the General Assembly (Harrisburg, Pa., Wm. Stanley Ray, State Printer, 1914)

Gettysburg Reunion (the Great Reunion) of 1913 By: Callie Oettinger Date: June 30 , 2011

Yesterdays Heroes Reunite during The 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg

Rare Motion Pictures Show Civil War Veterans at the 75th Gettysburg Battle Anniversary Reunion, National Parks Traveler site

The Great Gettysburg Reunion of 1913

1913 Gettysburg reunion in wikipedia

Grand Army of the Republic in wikipedia

United Confederate Veterans in wikipedia

List of G.A.R. Grand Army of the Republic and U.C.V. United Confederate Veterans links

Dr. Simon HUBLER, 1913

BIO: Simon HUBLER, Centre County, PA

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Notes:

[1] Quoting Wikipedia: "Pickett's Charge was an infantry assault ordered by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee against Maj. Gen. George G. Meade's Union positions on Cemetery Ridge on July 3, 1863, the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. Its futility was predicted by the charge's commander, Lt. Gen. James Longstreet, and it was arguably an avoidable mistake from which the Southern war effort never fully recovered psychologically. The farthest point reached by the attack has been referred to as the high-water mark of the Confederacy."

[2] Bloody Angle -- "The ceremonies incident to the hand-shake over the Stone Wall at "Bloody Angle" on the afternoon of July 3rd, in which one hundred and eighty survivors of the Philadelphia Brigade Association (Webb's Brigade), Comrade Thomas Thompson, Commanding, and John W. Frazier, Adjutant, and one hundred and twenty survivors of Pickett's Division Association, President, Major W. W. Bentley, Commanding, and Comrade Charles J. Loehr, Secretary, participated, were of intense interest. The two lines were formed one hundred feet apart, the Philadelphia Brigade on the North and Pickett's Division on the South side of the Stone Wall, over which they had fought with such desperate valor just fifty years ago to the hour — the former with their Division Battle Flag and the latter with their "Stars and Bars" they had carried over the wall behind their brigade commander, who fell between the guns of Cushing's Union battery, and besides the body of its youthful commander." -- Fiftieth Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, report of the Pennsylvania Commission, presented to His Excellency, John K. Tener, Governor of Pennsylvania, for transmittal to the General Assembly (Harrisburg, Pa., Wm. Stanley Ray, State Printer, 1914)

2 comments:

Rebekah Brooks said...

Wow, those are some great photos and you have some cool sources there. You have to wonder what the hell Pickett and Lee were thinking to try such a risky move as Pickett's charge. Pickett wrote a heartbreaking letter to his wife after where he said he mourned for his lost soldiers and wished he was lying with them in an unmarked grave back on the battlefield. -Rebekah

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