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Though obviously staged, this image of a Union veteran regaling his daughter and grandchildren with stories of Army life is still poignant. By the standards of previous American wars, Civil War vets were large in number and formed many national and local veteran organizations with their own meeting halls.

For example, R.E. Lee Camp No. 1 of the United Confederate Veterans established a soldier’s home in 1884 Richmond, Virginia. The camp operated out of a farmhouse, and they built several support buildings to accommodate veterans. Approximately 300 veterans lived there during the camp’s peak years of usage from 1890 to 1910. It closed in 1941 when the last resident passed away.

If you ever want to visit a veteran time capsule, check out the Grand Army of the Republic’s Espy Post Room in the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall in Carnegie, Pennsylvania. The post was chartered in 1879 and moved into the library in 1906. When the last veteran died in 1938, the room was locked until reopening for tours in 2010.