1896 HANDWRITTEN MANUSCRIPT DIARY - REMINISCENCES OF THE CIVIL WAR RECORDED WHILE AT THE 30th ANNUAL GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC [G.A.R.] ENCAMPMENT BY TWENTY  MEMBERS OF THE SPRINGFIELD MASSACHUSETTS CONTINGENT536
handwritten diary titled “Reminiscences of the National Encampment G.A.R at Saint Paul, Minnesota, Sept., 1896.” It was written by one of twenty members of the Springfield, Massachusetts contingent, who traveled to the 30th annual encampment. The beginning of the diary details the trip and the men in blue on the trains, and the rest tells of events at the encampment but most importantly the talks were recorded of battles that many of theses men engaged in. Here some snippets: The Mass. Dept Headquarters were assigned at the Hotel Windsor, and the Wilcox Post of Springfield (Mass), including the few veterans of other immediate posts, membering about 20, occupied 2 rooms at the Commanders High School Building, situated at the corner of East 10th and Minnesota streets, with convientely located the latter within a stones throw of the great auditorium and but a sling shot from the city Capitol Building. Here we found our meals provided for us and fairly ample accommodations…….. To give the greater emphasis to the final story he related, let me premise by saying that it was General Longstreet whom commanded the 18,000 men to whom Pickett and Pettigrew looked for his assenting nod in the final, awful charge was made up the fields of Gettysburg and Longstreet’s men were those who shot off the leg of General Sickles on the eventful July day, in the year of our Lord 1863. Well it was not very long since upon the occasion of a convention of the GAR in the south, that Sickles was cordially invited to pay him a visit to be the guest of Longstreet at his Georgia home. The commanders learning of his whereabouts, sent a messenger inviting him to come to the convention to make them a speech. Sickles declined…………….It is estimated that fully 200,000 visitors witnessed the great procession. The sidewalks were densely packed, the steps, doors and stairways and windows were over crowded and numerous temporary platforms were filled to overflowing…….Another beautiful sight on the route was the so called “living Flag,” consisting of lasses dressed in red, white and blue and so arranged in position as to present the Star Spangled Banner…………..Another Camp Fire was arranged to be held at the Auditorium at 8 o’clock, and it was in honor of the ex-prisoners of war……. There are thirteen handwritten pages each measuring about 5.5” x 8.5.” The writing is small, as if to get as much onto a page as possible, but it is mostly legible. An interesting diary written by a Union veteran of the Civil War. For the most part in good shape, One oversize page has a chipped/rough edge but no loss. The original envelope that accompanies the diary sheets is present but in rough shape.
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