Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Blue and the Gray

I have searched my vast archive of historic Civil War photos, and have come up with this one. OK, to tell the truth, Smartgirl sent this one in. I had not seen it before, and I thought it was an excellent one to show during Old Soldier Week here at OPOD. The picture was taken in 1913 at the Gettysburg Battlefield. It is interesting in that the old Rebels and Union soldiers are shaking hands over a stone wall. Maybe time does heal all wounds.


  1. I love the beards. People don't cultivate awesome beards any more. If I was a man, I would grow a long, luxurious beard just like that.

    I tried to get my husband to grow a beard but he is in the military and he can't. :p

  2. What an interesting shot. I wonder if that's a particularly meaningful wall? Found your blog a while ago and have been checking in since-- really enjoying the Gettysburg pictures so far.

  3. This picture was taken at the "high water mark" of the Confederacy, the angle of Pickett's charge against Hancock's II Corps on the third day.

  4. This is one of my favorite Civil War photos.

    I once saw actual video footage of this event on PBS, and when I saw the images of these former foes shaking hands over that wall, it brought me to tears.

    Several years ago we visited Gettysburg, and I it to be just as powerful and emotional as Ellis Island.

  5. I love the bears, too. No-one has them today.

    Facial hair like that is a no-no.

  6. Smartgirl;
    Beer is spelled "B-e-e-r", not Bear.

  7. PJM,

    If you get a copy of the 1991 Ken Burns documentary, "The War of Northern Agressi..., er, The Civil War," in the last episode, there's quite extensive video footage of the 1913 reunion.

    Your scene is included. This was taken at the "High Water Mark" of the Confederacy, the stone wall at Cemetery Ridge. The gentlemen on the right are veterans of Pickett's Charge. They reenacted the mile walk from across the field shaking hands when they arrived with the perfidious Yank veterans who'd poured murderous fire into them 50 yrs before.

    Even more fascinating, there is also footage of the 75th anniversary gathering in 1938. That includes sound, in which one of the old gentlemen lets out the rebel yell.

  8. PJM:

    haha, i meant BEARDS. i've been up all night, my house is torn apart, just like that movie THE MONEY PIT.

    unlike talented people like YOU, i have to hire people to remodel.

    it started as a kitchen remodel and now involves all new plumbing throughout the house, electrical, and a new furnace.

    i'm bankrupt, haha

  9. Jon:

    I LOVE that documentary. It's what I want for Christmas this year.

    Amazon has it - i'm buying it for myself and then telling my husband that he gave it to me.

  10. I love the faces of the old Confederate soldiers in this photo - their pride and dignity brings tears to my eyes.

    The South may have lost the war, but they were NEVER really defeated.

    I live in New England, but my heart has always supported the Confederacy in this conflict - and I'd gladly fly the Battle Flag if I could get away with it.

    But someone would either trash my car or burn my house around here, because it's considered "racist."

    I hate political correctness.

  11. It appears to be just possible the second gentleman on the left is the same gentleman seen in yesterday's photo. Hard to tell really, but there does seem to be a striking resemblance. What do you think?

    Mike in Texas

  12. SmartGirl:
    I couldn't agree more about the political correctness which seems to have crazed a large segment of the U.S.. I have a home in Fla. and on the back wall of the garage, I have a large Battle Flag (with the Stars and Stripes over it) and none of my neighbors seem to mind.
    I think I would have some problems if I flew it out the window of my NYC apartment, however. Waaaay too much correctness. Too many people view the Battle Flag a racist statement rather than a piece of our history.

  13. Mike in Texas:
    Good eye! After magnification and study, it does appear to be the same soldier shown in yesterday's photo.

  14. For years back in the seventies and into the eighties I was part of a Civil War re-enactment group. We took great pride in accuracy and authenticity and were called "stitch counters" by the less finicky. We always laughed at how many fat and old re-enactors there were since most men didn't stay fat or old in the army. We always told each other that when we got old and fat we would quit. Then someone came up with the bright idea, "hey, we could re-enact veteran's reunions when we get too old!" We made a pact.

    It's been many years since I've seen my old pards, but this coming weekend we'll be having our first veteran's reunion at Washington Arkansas. Yeah, there will be a Civil War re-enactment going on there at the same time, but we're too old and fat...

  15. When I was a small child my mother and I would go to visit a family friend who was blind. Ruth always had baked cookies for me.
    I would sit in her lap and talk to her and she would feel my face with her fingers. I guess she was trying to feel what I looked like.
    I feel the same way today reading the O.P.D.bloggers. I can't see them but I enjoy all of the comments. I think I can feel the personalities of the people.
    I like all of them.
    I still can't understand the civil war.
    I just keep thinking WHY, WHY, WHY?

  16. Anon:

    The Civil War was fought over many of the same issues that still separate the liberals and conservatives today - states' rights, limiting the power of the federal government, and TAXES.

    Slavery was an underlying issue.

    I believe the South was correct.

  17. Geezer:

    You said it. If you REALLY want to get aggravated, how about THIS:

    There is a bill pending in the RI General Assembly to allow us to vote on removin the phrase "and Providence Plantations" from the state's office name - "The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations."

    Why - because some ethnic groups find the word "Plantations" offensive.

    First of all, Rhode Island was founded before slavery, and the phrase "Providence Plantations" means "God's Lands." The word "plantation" is just another word for farm.

    Trying to institute revisionist history doesn't work.

    And what is the name change actually going to accomplish - make certain minority groups feel "better" about themselves?

    How is THAT going to get them jobs or keep them out of jail or gangs?

    What's MOST hypocritical is that the group behind this stupid idea is associated with Brown University, which was founded with money made IN THE SLAVE TRADE.

    But . . . why don't these bleeding hearts mention THAT?

    It makes me sick. And, from what I've read, most people around here plan to vote against the name change.


  18. I guess we have to agree to disagree, because I think the South was stubborn and hot headed. An unwillingness to adapt to the changing economic needs of the country. To proceed into a war without the resources to support it. I don't disagree that states rights was an important topic, but I personally don't see killing hundreds of thousands over it as worth the point.

  19. Jon (& PJM) --- your comment about the sound footage from 1938 in the Ken Burns documentary really caught my attention. It was my understanding from family folklore that the Rebel Yell was outlawed following the Civil War and through the years was lost -- no one knowing exactly how it sounded. Members of my husband's family (from Missouri/fought for the confederacy) would do what they called a "nigger yell" (pardon the racist name, it is not meant to offend anyone but rather to say what they actually called it) which we always thought was probably the Rebel Yell, 'legalized' :) Interesting someone really captured the yell. I will have to find a copy of that documentary and listen to it. This is an interesting blog theme this week!

  20. Just discovered that You Tube has that portion of the film which contains the 'rebel yell'. You can find it by typing in Confederate Rebel Yell on You Tube.
    Interesting - it is similar to the yell my husband has described hearing his older relatives do at family gatherings when he was a little boy.

  21. I just found your blog and it is fascinating! I read once that at the Gettysburg reunion at the dinner a fight broke out and one of the soldiers was stabbed seriously with a fork!


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