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50th Anniversary Reunion - Battle of Gettysburg


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When I first started collecting Civil War Veteran materials (23+ years ago) one of the first really special items I had a chance to purchase was a hand-sewn 3'x4' Confederate Flag that had stiched on it UCV Gettysburg, July 1913 (that was before people were faking so many flags BTW). After a little research I was hooked on collecting anything and everything from the reunion held June 29 - July 5, 1913 - the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

 

This was the largest single reunion of Civil War Veterans ever held. In all the official report of the reunion (Pennsylvania Commission) shows that a total of 53,407 Veterans - 45,233 Yankees and 8,174 Confederates, attended this event. The average age of the Veterans in attendance was reported at 72!

 

The variety of Veteran (and other attendee) materials available to collect seems at times endless. There was State badges, Regimental/Unit medals and ribbons, Association medals (e.g., former POWs), Official Medals (e.g., Commission Official Guest and Press), general Souvenir medals for attendees, paper (programs), glassware, books (e.g. monument dedications during the event), photographs, pennants, and yes, flags (like mine). Some items are fairly common and relatively easy to acquire (e.g., Souvenir medals) while others, like say the State medal for California attendees (only 100 attendees from that State recorded), are extremely rare.

 

Whether you are interested in Yankee or Confederate Veteran materials - you'll find something associated with this unprecedented event. This was a true Blue/Gray reunion event that brought a lot of folks together in the healing process. Just one look at the famous photograph of the Confederate and Yankee Veterans shaking hands across the wall at the High Water Mark says it all.

 

Anyway, I thought someone might be interested in seeing some of the Veteran items associated with the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg reunion.

 

P.S. There was also a 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg Reunion held in 1938. Invitations went out to approximately 1800 still-living veterans (all Civil War veterans, not just from Gettysburg) and between 1200-1300 actually attended. By that event the average age of the surviving Veteran was about 92!

 

Here are some pics for your viewing pleasure.

 

First, some State Medals (New Hampshire, Michigan, Rhode Island, and Virginia (Cavalry)

 

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Notice the Blue and the Gray theme in the Michigan badge!

 

A few general items:

 

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More in another post.

Mickey
Southern Cross Farm

 

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Here's a sampling of a few other items.

 

A regimental ribbon (actually compliments of an individual), the Official Commission Guest Badge, a badge from a GAR Post in Elmira New York, and an itinerary for folks traveling from Oregon to attend the reunion.

 

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I have other pics if anyone has any particular interest in these materials.

 

P.S. That UCV Flag I mentioned in my original post - the working theory is that this was a hand-swen flag brought to the reunion and flown over the Confederate area of the huge tent-city erected by the US Army to house the Veterans during the event. It also could well have been used in the parade and/or in one of the battlefield ceremonies. It could be one of the ones you see in the photographs from the event - there's just no way of telling.

 

Anyway, hope you enjoyed the pics of my little corner of the collecting universe.

50th_GBurg_8th_Ill_Cavalry.bmp

Mickey
Southern Cross Farm

 

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Great Gettysburg reunion memorabilia! thumbsup.gif

 

I know what you mean when you say that the 1913 Gettysburg reunion materials are endless. Civil War reunion badges in themselves are variation upon variation. And you have various reunion goodies. w00t.gif

 

I would love to see more pictures of your Gettysburg collection.

"You can't please everyone so you have got to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

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Well, you did ask for them, so here are some other pics I have handy.

 

These are tickets to the events in the Great Tent, July 1-4, 1913.

 

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A few general souvenir items, including an elongated penny.

 

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And yet another pennant variation (there are a number known).

 

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I'll post a few more State/Locality medals in a separate post.

 

Mickey
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A few more State/Locality medals for the 1913 Gettysburg reunion.

 

Brooklyn New York Veterans, Ohio, New York State, and St. Lawrence New York.

 

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That's all the pics I have handy. I can track down others if there's interest.

Mickey
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This is an amazing accumulation of veterans material. I was hoping to do something similar with the G.A.R. National Encampment held in Chicago in the year 1900. I've got a few pins and auxiliary badges, but nothing compared to the breadth shown here. I can appreciate the effort that goes into building a collection such as this. Thank you many times over for sharing!

 

Kevin

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Thanks Kevin. I enjoy being able to share my collection with like-minded folks that appreciate the history behind it - not to mention the work that goes into building and researching a collection!

 

Picking a single reunion event certainly helps narrow the treasure hunt - but I unfortunately got hooked on one that has a seemingly endless array of potential items - some known and as-yet unacquired (e.g., I've seen the Colorado medal ONCE in 20+ years, and I didn't get it!), and other total surprises (which makes the hunt and the research forever exciting). I've heard rumors of 1-2 complete State Medal collections for 50th at Gettysburg - but I've never actually seen one! When you factor in all the possibilities (State, Commission, Unit, Camp, GAR Post, et al) I don't think there's ever going to be a complete collection. But I'm going to keep trying!

 

I for one would enjoy seeing a collection of items from a single National GAR reunion (starting w/1900 Chicago)! You see the classic examples of medals from these events (like the National Delegate badge), but there are SO many associated medals, ribbons, paper, and photographs that you never have the opportunity to appreciate the breadth of that single event. A National GAR event had many of the same attributes as the 50th at Gettysburg - State badges, Department badges, Officer badges, Post badges, and unit badges just to name a few. There are even election pins/ribbons - "vote for so-and-so for National Commander"! Then of course there are the affiliated organizations that met in conjunction with the Nationals - like Nurses, or the Naval Veterans, or former POWs. It's amazing how many different items there are to collect from any single National reunion event!

 

P.S. If anyone is interested I'll post some pics of medals from the 1938 75th reunion in Gettysburg. Collecting those materials was a natural follow-on to my 1913 focus. There are far fewer items to collect from that event since it was so small. Most of what is out there is known (e.g., the official Commision-issued badges are well documented) - with the addition of individual engraved badges for each Veteran that attended and their assigned attendant (remember, they average age at that point was 92!). What's really cool is that every living Veteran that could be identified/found was sent an individual letter from the Government inviting them to the reunion. There are also a variety of "souvenir" items from the 1938 event - since the spectators outnumbered the Veterans by a considerable margin.

 

P.S.S. If you were wondering - there was a 25th anniversary reunion at Gettysburg in 1888. That one didn't really have the blue/gray focus that 1913 or even 1938 had. Most of what's available from that event are unit-specific, including monument dedications, etc.

Mickey
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  • 7 months later...

How much are these 75th anniversary medals worth?

 

We have one that reads 75th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and the name Geo. W. Lefwich. (George W. Leftwich I'm assuming). It has an eagle and shiled with a blue and gray ribbon. And on the back is has 1778.

Do you think this one of the soldiers pins or the invited family member?

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Baker7598 -

 

Without a picture it's hard to be 100% certain - but I'm fairly sure you have one of the named Attendee (Veteran) medals from the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. If it's a Veteran medal there's an eagle at the top - below it are two shields (one Union, one Confederate) - with a blue & gray ribbon - the name engraved on the bar - with a round drop.

 

The Attendant medal - given to the person accompanying the Veteran (usually a family member) is easy to recognize as it has the word "Attendant" across the top (above the75th Anniversary reference). Each Veteran was allowed one Attendant at the event.

 

The Veteran medals were provided by the Government - engraved with the Veteran's name. I see a reference to George W. Leftwich on the list of attendees - indicating he was a Yankee - attending all the way from Inglewood, California.

 

Value is hard to estimate without seeing the actual medal and doing some research. There are lots of factors to take into consideration. Union Veteran medals are worth less than Confederate Veterans (which are rarer) - but all are rare when you consider how few Veterans were alive in 1938 - let alone how many participated in the reunion. The average age of the Veterans attending the 75th reunion was 92! Pairs of medals (Veteran and Attendant) increase the value of the Veteran medal itself. The unit the soldier served in also has an impact of the value - but not as much as you might think given the overall rarity of these medals. For example these Veterans did not need to have been at the Battle of Gettysburg - so as you might imagine the medal of an actual Veteran of the battle would have a higher value. Do you have the original blue box - that also affects the value.

 

I'm a little reluctant to start throwing numbers around without more information. I have two pairs of these medals in my collection, along with a couple of unpaired Attendant medals. I've also looked at and considered many others over the years. The prices have been quite varied based on the factors I've described above. However I will say that these Veteran medals are rare - there's no question about that.

 

If you'd like to post more details about your medal, or send me details via email if you'd prefer, I'd be happy to offer an opinion as to an estimated value range based on my knowledge of the market.

Mickey
Southern Cross Farm

 

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Baker7598 -

Without a picture it's hard to be 100% certain - but I'm fairly sure you have one of the named Attendee (Veteran) medals from the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. If it's a Veteran medal there's an eagle at the top - below it are two shields (one Union, one Confederate) - with a blue & gray ribbon - the name engraved on the bar - with a round drop.

The Attendant medal - given to the person accompanying the Veteran (usually a family member) is easy to recognize as it has the word "Attendant" across the top (above the75th Anniversary reference). Each Veteran was allowed one Attendant at the event.

The Veteran medals were provided by the Government - engraved with the Veteran's name. I see a reference to George W. Leftwich on the list of attendees - indicating he was a Yankee - attending all the way from Inglewood, California.

Value is hard to estimate without seeing the actual medal and doing some research. There are lots of factors to take into consideration. Union Veteran medals are worth less than Confederate Veterans (which are rarer) - but all are rare when you consider how few Veterans were alive in 1938 - let alone how many participated in the reunion. The average age of the Veterans attending the 75th reunion was 92! Pairs of medals (Veteran and Attendant) increase the value of the Veteran medal itself. The unit the soldier served in also has an impact of the value - but not as much as you might think given the overall rarity of these medals. For example these Veterans did not need to have been at the Battle of Gettysburg - so as you might imagine the medal of an actual Veteran of the battle would have a higher value. Do you have the original blue box - that also affects the value.

I'm a little reluctant to start throwing numbers around without more information. I have two pairs of these medals in my collection, along with a couple of unpaired Attendant medals. I've also looked at and considered many others over the years. The prices have been quite varied based on the factors I've described above. However I will say that these Veteran medals are rare - there's no question about that.

If you'd like to post more details about your medal, or send me details via email if you'd prefer, I'd be happy to offer an opinion as to an estimated value range based on my knowledge of the market.

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  • 2 months later...

I am so happy to have found this site today! I was just handed down the exact medal picture in the last post,wiith my great, great (?) grandfathers name engraved on it, V. H. Scrivner, Valentine was his first name and I'm fasinated by you mentioning there is a list of attendees! Is his name on it? Is there a site I can go to see it? We know nothing about this medal and I'm anxious to put some history to this family heirloom. I do have the blue box it came in and the number on the back is 1066.

 

thanks for any help you can provide,

Janine

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I am so happy to have found this site today! I was just handed down the exact medal picture in the last post,wiith my great, great (?) grandfathers name engraved on it, V. H. Scrivner, Valentine was his first name and I'm fasinated by you mentioning there is a list of attendees! Is his name on it? Is there a site I can go to see it? We know nothing about this medal and I'm anxious to put some history to this family heirloom. I do have the blue box it came in and the number on the back is 1066.

 

thanks for any help you can provide,

Janine

 

Janine -

 

i found a V.H. Scrivner listed as attending from Missouri (it indicates he was a Union veteran). His address is listed as Gallatin. The number is not recorded in this reference - but there is little doubt it would match up in the records.

 

I am not aware of a web site that lists the attendees. There are sites that have pictures and other information. It may be out there - but I just haven't found it. That might be because I have reference books with this information and just haven't looked.

 

FYI, the book I'm looking at is titled: The Last Reunion of the Blue and Gray by Paul L. Roy. It was published in 1950. This title isn't easy to find - but it does show up on eBay now and then - and at Civil War collector shows. The attendees are also listed in the official book published on the reunion. There is also a DVD/video available of some of the new-clips of the reunion - you might find those interesting.

 

Hope that helps.

Mickey
Southern Cross Farm

 

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Janine -

 

i found a V.H. Scrivner listed as attending from Missouri (it indicates he was a Union veteran). His address is listed as Gallatin. The number is not recorded in this reference - but there is little doubt it would match up in the records.

 

I am not aware of a web site that lists the attendees. There are sites that have pictures and other information. It may be out there - but I just haven't found it. That might be because I have reference books with this information and just haven't looked.

 

FYI, the book I'm looking at is titled: The Last Reunion of the Blue and Gray by Paul L. Roy. It was published in 1950. This title isn't easy to find - but it does show up on eBay now and then - and at Civil War collector shows. The attendees are also listed in the official book published on the reunion. There is also a DVD/video available of some of the new-clips of the reunion - you might find those interesting.

 

Hope that helps.

 

 

Thank you SOO much! I will be looking for that book on eBay, I did find a few clips of footage on youtube, I've

only seen one picture of Valintine, it was taken on his 104th birthday, (he was born on July 4th too) I've been

trying to see if I can see him in the footage, but it's hard to tell.

 

You have been a wonderful help and I hope to do much more research. I have never thought of going to a

Civil War collector show, but I will be looking them up and attending a local one when I can. Do you have

any suggestions on any shows in the Southern California area?

 

thanks,

Janine

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No problem. Glad to help Janine.

 

You might want to keep an eye out for the book Pennsylvania at Gettysburg, Volume IV - The Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of te Battle of Gettysburg. It's the report of the Pennsylvania Commission. It was actually compiled by Paul Roy. It was published in 1939. This is the complete history of the reunion - with lots of photographs. I don't see Scrivner listed in the index - but but you never know what you might find.

 

There are many photographs of that reunion floating aroiund - from web sites - to those in collector hands. For nstance i have an album of about 70+ 8'x10" photos of the reunion compliled by the US Army Signal Corps (many of them appear in the above referenced book) - likely for one of the Commission members. I also have a large group of photographs of the Boy Scouts services at the reunion. The Boy Scouts assisted veterans at both the 50th (1913) and the 75th (1938) reunions.You never know - you might just find our ancestor in one of the many photos that exist for this historic event.

 

FYI, you'll find a number of books on the 75th Reunion at Gettysburg. You might want to search eBay for some of these - which are regularly available.

 

I can't help you with shows on the west coast - but I'm sure you can find them listed on the Internet.

 

You might also try to locate a book seller - or check a site like www.abebooks.com to locate those titles.

Mickey
Southern Cross Farm

 

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  • 6 months later...

Haven't been able to put my hands on the book, but have found an attendee's medal with his Attendant's badge as well. Named to "Nelson Brooks" (Attendant - M.C. Wehle). Any help to nail down Brooks would be greatly appreciated, as the name pops up 15 times in Civil War service records.

Jeff Floyd

The universe is made up of neutrons, protons, electrons and morons

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Haven't been able to put my hands on the book, but have found an attendee's medal with his Attendant's badge as well. Named to "Nelson Brooks" (Attendant - M.C. Wehle). Any help to nail down Brooks would be greatly appreciated, as the name pops up 15 times in Civil War service records.

 

Jeff,

 

Unfortunately, I don't have good news for you. I've checked both of the references I have that list attendees at the 75th reunion at Gettysburg and I can't find a Nelson Brooks. The only Brooks listed is a Confederate from Kansas - R.B. Brooks, Topeka.

 

I also tried searching the lists (manually BTW, I need to load these into a DB one day) for some variant - say Brooks Nelson (typos happened even back then <g>) - and I even looked for Wehle just in case - no luck.

 

But don't sweat it too much. I know for a fact that there were attendees at this reunion who DO NOT appear on any of the published lists. I've researched other medals that I KNOW were right - but they weren't on the list. Also, I have a collection of medals and photographs for a Virginia Veteran - and in one picture he is clearly wearing his 75th Anniversary Attendee Medal. Now, what's odd about this is that the photograph appears to date to the 1938 UCV National Reunion in SC (at least he's wearing the medal for that reunion) - which I believe was after the Gettysburg event. Did he miss the Gettysburg reunion for some reason - yet receive his medal in the mail from the Government? That might account for him not being on the attendee list - yet having the medal. I'm still working on solving that mystery.

 

Also, these Attendee/Attendant medals are quite unique - and I've never seen one faked - which is odd given their value - and what I've seen of lessor value that has been <g>. Perhaps they are too difficult to fake with any credibility.

 

I see your challenge - there are 14 Nelson Brooks listed - but only what, 10 of those appear to have survived the war. You'll just have to keep looking - researching each of those individuals - until you find proof that one of them went to Gettysburg in 1938. My suggestion - start with the youngest. I see one that was 40 when he enlisted, and another that was 35. Just playing the odds in terms of search order!

 

Good luck with your search! Let me know if I can be of any assistance.

 

P.S. If you want to send me a photo of the medal I'd be happy to take a look just to check-out the engraving/etc.

Mickey
Southern Cross Farm

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have never been that interested in GAR and CV medals and such. Then one day I found my great-great-grandfather's name in a Confederate Veteran's reunion book. I don't think he attended but they listed his name. These medals are an interesting historical link to the battles of that war.

 

I have a buddy who works at the Gettysburg Musem who might be interested to see these photos.

 

BTW, I have a Gettysburg Guide Book from 1924. It is missing the cover but it is full of info about the park and the battle. I need to find a good home for it.

 

Thanks for sharing it.

 

Steve

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  • 2 years later...

Just added another piece to my 1913 Gettysburg Reunion collection. This one is an excellent example of a regiment-specific piece created just for this event so I thought I'd add it to this thread. Most regimental pieces that I've seen are simple ribbons or pin-backs. The 10th New York Cavalry went to great lengths to stand-out at the reunion!

 

This is one of the most detailed pieces I've run across - with the unit's history and accomplishments related to Gettysburg detailed on the ribbon. It's also of a rather unique construction. It appears to be backed by very heavy paper or even leather. The edges of the ribbon are sewn over the backing along the sides.

 

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After 25+ years of collecting 1913 Gettysburg Reunion pieces it's getting harder and harder for me to find unique pieces. There are still "known" pieces out there somewhere that I am hoping to find one day, but it's these "unknown" pieces that keep me constantly in the hunt. There's no way of knowing how many regiment or even company-specific pieces might exist. The thrill comes from finding these "I've Never Seen One of Those!" pieces. They are few and far between, with long dry-spells, but sometimes I get lucky. I also just picked-up a 142nd PA company-specific 1913 ribbon as part of a group! I guess I'm due for another dry-spell!

Mickey
Southern Cross Farm

 

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  • 1 month later...

Okay, I'm on a roll. One of those pieces I was pretty sure was out there but I had never seen (or even heard of a sighting) was just added to my 1913 Gettysburg collection. The State of Connecticut, according to the records of the reunion, sent 350 Veterans to the reunion - all Yankee. I always assumed they had an official State badge - but I had no proof that it even existed - let alone what it might look like. Then this piece appeared!

 

post-1293-1330916149.jpg

 

There's no reason not to assume this is the official State of Connecticut badge for the 1913 reunion. This is the first new State reunion badge I've managed to add to my collection in many years.

 

And there was a bonus! The person that sold me this included in the package some "other" materials that came with the badge - two copies of pension papers and a copy of Tipton's Gettysburg Views book. The pension papers positively identify the owner who served in Co. B of the 14th Connecticut Volunteers. The book was likely picked up on his journey to the reunion. These pieces were unsolicited - added after the purchase - so there's no reason to believe they aren't authentic. Now, not only do I have a missing piece for my story - I also have the name and service record of the Veteran that proudly wore this badge at the reunion.

 

The search continues - but if I don't find anything new for awhile I certainly can't complain that I've had a bad year collecting!

 

Mickey
Southern Cross Farm

 

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Always Looking to Purchase Gettysburg Related Veteran Items

1888/25th - 1913/50th - 1938/75th Reunions, Regimental Reunions, Monument Dedications

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mcintire_scf@yahoo.com, Mobile: (804) 306-8321

 

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