Sunday, June 30, 2013

Civil War Sunday - The Reunions

Today, we are on the eve of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, in southeast Pennsylvania.

On C-SPAN 3 (a non profit cable channel initially created by the cable industry here in the United Stats) I've been watching live coverage of various Civil War historians giving talks about various aspects of the battle and the people who were part of it.

Earlier this evening, I watched a live interview with writer Jeff Shaara.  He is not a historian, but a writer of historical fiction.  When he writes a novel (Civil War oriented or otherwise) he goes directly to source documents, and, for him, "it's all about the characters".  He tells history through the story of the people who were involved.

Jeff Shaara also talked about the Gettysburg reunions - the 50th and 75th reunions, to be exact.

Shaara told us that, in the 50th reunion (in 1913) sicknesses ran rampant as the veterans, mostly in their 70's, camped on the battlefield.  The bodies of the veterans had been weakened by malaria and dysentery suffered during the war.  Now, climbing hills and hiking across land they had fought on as young men, they became sick once again.

But, they wanted so much to be there.  Federal and Confederate veterans shook hands and ate together. Confederate veterans once again voiced the "rebel yell".  The Civil War shaped these men - for good or bad, it followed them all their lives.

The last verified veteran of the Battle of Gettysburg died in 1950 at the age of 102.

Now it is up to future generations to remember the Civil War,  the story of America's past. Part of the history of the human race.


  1. What an interesting and informative post. I might have to check out Jeff Shaara. I had no idea it has been 150 years since the Battle of Gettysburg. My ancestors are probably rolling around in their graves, I am from NC after all. I should inherently know these things, right?

  2. I admit that I am not really into civil war stuff, but reading the description of your blog you had me at gardening and flowers! Will be looking forward to your posts :)

  3. You should end this piece on the Civil War -> the story of America's past. Part of the history of the human race.

    Of course, there are so many other countries like Africa, Afganistan etc. which we know little about. History of any culture teaches us so much. It always saddens me to read about wars. I know, they are a fact of life. If only we could settle them without bloodshed.

    1. Francene, you may want to skip my blog until Friday. The Civil War is a national obsession right now in our country, and this particular battle is of great interest where I live because of the role locals played in its outcome. You're totally correct in that many other histories have been neglected - including in the schools I was educated in so long ago. And, we forget all history, including some of its horrors, at our peril. The lessons of our Civil War are still not being accepted by some.

    2. I changed the ending to what you suggested. You're right, it didn't end the way I meant it to.

  4. I loved the video! What a fascinating piece of history!


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