A crisis soon began developing at the Great Reunion when more than a few veterans lost their return train tickets home. The following passage is from the official Pennsylvania report on the Great Reunion and echoes news reports from various newspapers:
“Early in the morning of July 2nd, it developed that a number of our veteran guests from not only Pennsylvania, but mostly from other States, some far, some near, had, from one cause or another, lost their return transportation from Gettysburg to their homes, and as in most instances, they were without funds sufficient to pay their own way home, and their States had made them no provisions to meet such a contingency, they all were greatly perturbed thereby. We immediately brought the matter to the attention of His Excellency, Governor Tener, resulting in the following direction issuing forthwith to the two railroad systems entering Gettysburg, The Philadelphia and Reading, and the Western Maryland:”
The official report goes on to say that Lewis Beitler, the Commission’s secretary, informed the populace as a whole that the Commission and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania would provide one-way transportation back to a veteran’s home upon presenting his identification…so nobody would wind up stranded in Pennsylvania or having to cover his lost ticket out of his own pocket.
Oh, one more thing. Beitler’s communique did note one caveat: “such return transportation so issued to a Pennsylvania veteran in no instance [was] to cover beyond the State border.” So basically, any Pennsylvania veteran craftily looking for a free railroad trip to, say, Missouri for a vacation was out of luck!