|Longstreet and his former Union adversaries in Gettysburg at the 1888 reunion.|
(CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.)
|Veterans with family members at the dedication of the 121st Pennsylvania monument |
at Gettysburg on July 4, 1888 -- one of many such gatherings in late June and early July
that year on the battlefield. (William Tipton photo) (CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE.)
sentiment which attracts … is powerful’
|Longstreet's visit was covered extensively|
by the press.
“The town is indeed a poor place for the accommodation of such crowds of visitors as come here. There is not a really good hotel in the village. … Carriages are needed to go from point to point, for the battlefield covers an area of twenty-five miles, and the people take full advantage of the crowds and gouge everyone who hires a buggy or a hack. The extortion is worse than that practiced by the St. Louis hotel people during the Democratic Convention. And yet, in spite of all these unpleasant things, the people come, for the sentiment which attracts is more powerful than the feeling of disgust created at the meanness of the people of the place."
|An 1880s view of Spangler's Spring, where some |
veterans partied at 1888 reunion. (William Tipton)
|In a cropped enlargement of the William Tipton image below, Longstreet stands next to|
former Union general Henry W. Slocum.
|U.S. Army veterans and Longstreet on July 3, 1888. Dan Sickles, who lost a leg at Gettysburg,|
stands next to Longstreet (right). (CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE.)
Pete’ and Sickles: ‘Friends in a moment’
|40th New York veterans and two women in Devil's Den in a photo taken at a reunion|
in Gettysburg, perhaps in 1888. (William Tipton | Library of Congress)
‘Something beyond description’
|Longstreet appears in a cropped enlargement of the William Tipton image below.|
'All were inspiring'
"The actors were the very men who defended the ridge on whose slopes the cemetery lies against the repeated assaults led by the very men 25 years ago this very day who joined them here now in pledges of friendship, loyalty to a common flag and unity of devotion to a common country. All -- place, scene, and the living figures of the men themselves -- were inspiring."
|A post-war likeness of John Gordon,|
who gave a speech at the
Gettysburg National Cemetery
at the 1888 reunion.
(The Cyclopaedia of American
When Georgia governor John B. Gordon, a brigade commander at Gettysburg, appeared, he was greeted by a deafening roar, and his speech was interrupted by shouts of “Hurrah!” and “Good!” Longstreet spoke only a few sentences. “I changed my suit of gray for a suit of blue so many years ago,” he said, further endearing himself to the Union vets, “that I have grown myself in my reconstructed suit of blue.”
At the dedication of the 95th Pennsylvania monument that day in the Wheatfield, though, the general’s actions spoke much louder than any words. Longstreet held the regiment’s tattered battle flag, which was pierced by 81 holes in fighting at Gettysburg, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Malvern Hill and elsewhere.
Gently, James Longstreet pressed the flag to his lips … and wept.
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- Harrisburg (Pa.) Independent, July 2, 1888.
- Harrisburg (Pa.) Telegraph, July 5, 1888.
- New York Evening World, July 3, 1888.
- New York Sun, July 1, 1888.
- New York Times, July 2 and 3, 1888.
- New York Tribune, July 4, 1888.
- Philadelphia Inquirer, July 3, 1888.
- Philadelphia Times, July 3 and 5, 1888.
- The Times Picayune (New Orleans), July 3, 9 and 13, 1888.