Since the end of the Civil War, small groups of veterans have held reunions. However, there have been several large scale reunions over the years. |
Among the most notable get-togethers have been the ones at Gettysburg in 1888, 1913 and 1938. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the great battle, many veterans gathered at the site. A decision was made to hold a reunion every 25 years, and another was organized by the state of Pennsylvania in 1913 to celebrate the 50th anniversary.
During the 1913 Reunion, over 54,000 veterans attended, many of them aging and frail. The youngest veteran was 61 and the oldest was 112. It was an emotional event, commemorated by the shaking of hands by both the Northern and Southern troops over a stone wall, and a reenactment of Pickett's Charge. Most of the event was civil, however, there was an incident where a veteran attacked another with a fork.
The Reunion of 1938 was promoted as "The Last Reunion of the Blue and Gray." By that time, 75 years had passed and most of the remaining veterans, many of whom had only been boys at the time of the battle, were in their 90's or even older than 100. Still, almost 2,000 were able to attend. Several of the veterans died in the extreme heat. The event was marked by the dedication of the Peace Memorial by Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was an eternal flame that still burns brightly today and is a popular tourist attraction.
There was never to be a 100th anniversary reunion, as the last veteran died in 1956, just 7 years before it would have taken place. The last Civil War widow is still living. She was married to a much older Southern Gentleman.
Video footage of the later events actually exists.