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National Military Park

National Cemetary
The National Cemetery.

Anniversary Reunions of Civil War Veterans

Over the years, the great interest of veterans and the public alike in the Gettysburg battlefield has been reflected in three outstanding anniversary celebrations. Dominant in the observance of the 25th anniversary in 1888 were the veterans themselves who returned to en camp on familiar ground. It was on this occasion that a large number of regimental monuments, erected by survivors of regiments or by states, were dedicated. Again, in 1913, on the 50th anniversary, even though the ranks were gradually thinning, the reunion brought thousands of veterans back to the battlefield. Perhaps the most impressive public tribute to surviving veterans occurred July 1-4, 1938, during the 75th anniversary of the battle. This was the last reunion at Gettysburg of the men who wore the blue and the gray. Although 94 years was the average age of those attending, 1,845 veterans out of a total of about 8,000 then living, returned for the encampment. It was on this occasion that the Eternal Light Peace Memorial was dedicated.

The Park

In 1895, the battlefield was established by Act of Congress as Gettysburg National Military Park. In that year, the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association—founded April 30, 1864, to commemorate "the great deeds of valor . . . and the signal events which render these battlegrounds illustrious"—transferred its holdings of 600 acres of land to the Federal Government. In 1933, the park was transferred from the War Department to the Department of the Interior, to be administered by the National Park Service. Today, the park has some 30 miles of paved roads and an area of close to 3,000 acres. More than 1,400 monuments, tablets, and markers have been erected over the years to indicate the positions where infantry, artillery, and cavalry units fought. Hundreds of Federal and Confederate cannon are located on the field in the approximate positions of batteries during the battle. Field exhibits on the field describe important phases of the 3-day struggle.

In the Park Visitor Center, south of Gettysburg, you can see museum exhibits and the famous Gettysburg Cyclorama, as well as obtain additional information and publications about the battlefield.


Gettysburg National Military Park is administered by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. Communications should be addressed to the Superintendent, Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg, Pa.

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