The Last Full Measure
Thank you for the picture of a former Confederate soldier and a former Union soldier shaking hands 50 years after they fought at Gettysburg (Table of Contents, February 2007). It moved me to tears. Is there any way you could find out who they were? I’d very much like to put names to these faces.
The saddest thing any country can go through is a civil war. I hope these two men and the rest from both sides found peace. Their faces have become very dear to me. Lincoln would have loved that moment between them.
The editors reply: The photo was obtained from the Library of Congress; unfortunately, there is no information to identify these men. The Great Reunion of 1913 was a remarkable event. Invitations were sent to every known Union and Confederate veteran who had been honorably discharged, and more than 50,000 settled into the Great Camp that had been erected on the battlefield. President Woodrow Wilson addressed the gathering on July 4: “These venerable men…look to us to perfect what they have established. Their work is handed unto us, to be done in another way but not in another spirit.”
All that Jazz
I just want to say thank you for your picture of Gene Krupa (“Power and Vitality,” February 2007). It was one I never saw before. I met Krupa at a local nightclub in September 1959 when I lived in Pittsburgh. I had him paged after his act, and he came out and sat with me and my father and talked music and baseball. I asked him for a pair of drumsticks, which he went out and got for me. He was the finest gentleman and very friendly.
I met him again about two years later. By then he had contracted leukemia. But he remembered me. I still have all his records.
Thank you for the article on Shays’ Rebellion (Day to Remember, February 2007). Shays’ Rebellion has been little more to me than a two-word, 18th-century fact included in U.S. history lessons. One interesting aspect for me was how the rebellion affected people then. The description of the rebels and the Federalists’ reaction is nothing like the cursory mention I’ve always heard before. If nothing else, I’ll remember that the rebellion wasn’t led by Mr. Shay but by Mr. Shays.
Was Washington his own Grandpa?
Your article “U.S. Flag’s UK Roots?” (Almanac, February 2007) tells of an American flag donated to the church by the ancestors of George Washington. Ancestors usually begin with parents who are preceded by grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. It is puzzling to me how they found an American flag and how they knew George Washington was going to be worthy of being honored. Perhaps “collateral descendants” is what you meant.
The editors reply: The story reads “Selby Abbey…displays an American flag just below the window donated by the ancestors of George Washington.” Washington’s ancestors donated the stained-glass window to the church in 1585. The flag is a modern version meant to show the similarities between its design and that of Washington’s ancestral coat of arms. We apologize for the confusion.
When this Cruel War is Over
Gabor Boritt’s Gettysburg Gospel (“For Us the Living,” February 2007) is the literary equivalent of congressional pork barrel: expensive and unnecessary. Lincoln’s intent was clear. The address was designed to honor Union dead and encourage both military and civilian supporters. Their remaining task was to destroy the lives of Southern Americans through forced reunification.
Originally published in the June 2007 issue of American History. To subscribe, click here.