Free Transportation for Veterans to the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettsyburg

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Thursday, June 26, 1913: A busy bee, I cannot be by the looks of this entry.

Source: Milton Evening Standard (June 26, 1913)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Another quiet day for Grandma—but others felt a sense of excitement.  Civil War veterans who lived in central Pennsylvania were preparing to head to Gettysburg to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

A hundred years ago today, the local newspaper, The Milton Evening Standard, had a front page article about how veterans were to pick up their vouchers to travel to Gettysburg (see article above).

A month earlier there was another article about how the state of Pennsylvania would pay for the transportation costs of Civil War veterans who wanted to attend the huge anniversary celebration at Gettysburg.

Source: Milton Evening Standard (May 27, 1913)
Source: Milton Evening Standard (May 27, 1913)

26 thoughts on “Free Transportation for Veterans to the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettsyburg

    1. There must have been a lot of vets. I think that about 65,000 were at the Gettysburg celebration–but I have not idea how many were from Pennsylvania.

  1. I agree with Diana above. $165,000 seems like a lot of money for 1913 transportation and a tent and possibly food over an open fire. I also chuckled over the newspaper calling the veterans ‘old.’ They wouldn’t get away with that any longer. I remember when we thought of all veterans as belonging to WWII and Korea but those days are long gone. The 2nd clipping addresses the issue of proving the veteran actually served and has an honorable discharge. Do you have any idea what a Civil War Veteran might have received as proof of service and honorable discharge?

    1. I don’t know how they proved that they were honorably discharged. But, they probably already had whatever documentation they needed. My understanding is that most honorably discharged Civil War veterans received pensions.

  2. Recently a great deal of official effort has gone in to getting our WW2 veterans to various services in Egypt and Europe and the Pacific. The veterans appreciate the trips so much; for some it is the first time back to the battle areas since they were there as young men.

    1. Since so much was spent, I’m assuming that politicians thought that funding the transportation would be politically popular. People must have really supported the Civil War vets.

    1. I don’t know if other states funded travel for their vets–but I’ve seen newspaper articles which indicated that a large number of vets attended from other states.

  3. Its easy to read this blog and to think so many of the daily entries are so close to our lives and then to read about Civil War Veterans and the 100 years ago suddenly becomes more real.

  4. Thanks for sharing those newspaper clips! I wonder why Peter Guibert and John Conroy decided to turn down the offer of free transportation 100 years ago and walk all the way from Pittsburgh to Gettysburg instead!

      1. Hi Susan! It’s a great story. Peter Guibert was a drummer boy from Pittsburgh that served in the Civil War, including the Battle of Gettysburg, with the 74th Pennsylvania Regiment. In 1913 he decided to walk to the reunion, with a fellow veteran, John Conroy, and the drum he used in the war. They gave musical and educational performances in towns along the way. Peter was 70 years old and John was only a few years younger. This year a drummer and veteran from Greensburg, PA, Jim Smith, who now owns Peter’s drum, replicated the trek, along with friend a and fellow veteran Ray Zimmerman, in order to celebrate the sesquicentennial celebration and bring awareness to the role that musicians played on the battlefield. They generally followed much of the Lincoln Highway as it was most likely the route the original pair took in 1913 based on newspaper accounts. Super cool! I did a story on the trek on my blog and there’s a little website they set up with some background info:

  5. Cute little rhyming entry from Helena! And I don’t believe I’m reading it wrong that $165 K was the entire appropriation from the state of Pennsylvania and was expected to cover all the soldiers in all five classes.

  6. We have to remember back then most veterans were probably in their late 60’s to early 70’s (most served from age16 and above) and would have been alot of soldiers/sailors attending. It is amazing to note that now we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Battle Gettysburg this July. I hope one day we finally learn to honor the dead men and women with no more wars. I just looked up there were over 2 million men who served in the Union and app deaths 650,000 to 850,000 (they did not specify if it was from both sides or just from the Union). So you would have many many veterans left in 1913, most of the Union forces were from PA, MA, and NY if I remember correctly.

    1. I like the way you described the importance of learning to honor the men and women who were killed. Thanks for the information about the Civil War soldiers. There sure were a lot of men who fought in that war.

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