War, Memory, and the 1913 Gettysburg Reunion
Thomas R. Flagel

Book cover image

Narrated By: John Lescault

Duration: 4 hours and 59 minutes

What to expect

Union and Confederate veterans meet at Gettysburg on the fiftieth anniversary of the battle.

This reunion drew over fifty-five thousand official attendees who descended upon a town of four thousand during the summer of 1913 with the promise of little more than a cot and two blankets, military fare, and the presence of countless adversaries from a horrific war. Most were revisiting a time and place in their personal history that involved acute physical and emotional trauma.

Contrary to popular belief, veterans were not motivated to attend by a desire for reconciliation, nor did the Great Reunion produce a general sense of a reunified country. The reconciliation premise, advanced by several major speeches at the anniversary, lived in rhetoric more than fact. Recent scholarship effectively dismantles this “Reconciliation of 1913” mythos, finding instead that sectionalism and lingering hostilities largely prevailed among veterans and civilians.

Flagel examines how individual veterans viewed the reunion, what motivated them to attend, how they acted and reacted once they arrived, and whether they found what they were personally seeking. While politicians and the press characterized the veterans as relics of a national crusade, Flagel focuses on four men who come to the reunion for different and very individual reasons.

Genre

Military history

Listen to a sample

“This gem of a book has managed to say something truly new about Gettysburg and memory.”

The Civil War Book Review

“The 1913 reunion at Gettysburg…is commonly interpreted as the ‘high-water mark’ of sectional reconciliation…Flagel’s unique approach…offers a fresh perspective that will open a new dialogue about this iconic event.”

Jennifer M. Murray, author of On a Great Battlefield

“A significant contribution to the breadth of literature on the Civil War’s most famous battle. This book will appeal not only to Civil War buffs but also to readers who are interested in the fields of memory and remembrance.”