How the 1913 Gettysburg Reunion Came to Be the ‘Greatest Gathering of Conqueror and Conquered’

Fifty Years After the Civil War Battle, Politicians Preached Patriotic Amnesia, While Veterans Attempted to Find Solace 

The old veterans couldn’t wait to come. Roads ran thick with automobiles and horse buggies. Most arrived on the nation’s sprawling rails. A few walked more than 100 miles. An 85-year-old man, fearing his son would prevent him from going, crawled out a window and caught a train.

Altogether, an estimated 50,000 of the blue and gray trekked to the Great Reunion, a grand commemoration at iconic Gettysburg, on that battle’s 50th anniversary: July 1 to 3, 1913.

Why did they go? According to the many politicians and generals who …

Why Do We Salute Volunteer Soldiers but Scorn Professional Warriors?

Since the Mexican-American War, Army Regulars Haven't Always Been Treated as Heroes

In the United States today, citizens often express their patriotism through the celebration of military service. Politicians, sports leagues, and charities ask Americans to show special reverence and gratitude to …

The Civil War Was Won By Immigrant Soldiers

Fully One in Four Union Fighters Was Foreign-Born

In the summer of 1861, an American diplomat in Turin, then the capital of Italy, looked out the window of the U.S. legation to see hundreds of young men forming …