So where has the Gettysburg, 1913 blog been for one month exactly since the last post? I’ve been hard at work finishing up Part II of Gettysburg, 1913: A Novel of the Great Reunion. Now that Part II of the novel is almost finished, it’s time to get back to the blog…and with the 100th anniversary of the Great Reunion now less than two months away, I’m going to try and post at least four or five times each week.
Today’s post is a “philosophical” one. As I’ve been making my entries into this blog, and as I’ve been writing the novel about the Great Reunion – in fact for more than a decade now ever since I had the original idea for the novel – I’ve periodically tried myself in the place of one of those old warriors from either side of the Civil War who 100 years ago were getting ready to travel to Gettysburg.
The demographics of more than 50,000 old veterans varies, as I’ve written about. Many of them were Union Army veterans from Pennsylvania who would be traveling within their home state; perhaps from as far away as Pittsburgh or Erie, or up in the Northeast part of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, but for the most part headed not too far from home.
Others were coming from as far away as the west coast, and in addition to possibly confronting their memories (and nightmares) from half a century earlier, also had to deal with grueling transcontinental travel, almost certainly by railroad.
Many were coming from the south, essentially headed into “enemy territory” or at least the unknown with what awaited them during those days of reunion and reconciliation.
All were old – some very old – and in their sunset years.
How would I feel if one of them were me? How would you feel? Many of them were returning to the very battlefield where they had faced such terror for up to three whole days. All would soon face veterans from the other side who, to put it bluntly, would certainly have done their utmost to kill them half a century earlier during the war. What must that be like?
These thoughts are all worth considering as the commemorations of the Battle of Gettysburg itself, and the Great Reunion, tick closer and closer by the day.