Gettysburg is preparing for the 150th anniversary of the battle this summer, but the 50th anniversary in 1913 was an actual reunion of 54,000-plus Civil War veterans who spent the week living in tents on the battlefield. Essentially, the U.S. Army built a temporary city on the battlefield. It was the largest reunion of its kind. Here are some of the numbers from my book, “No North, No South…: The Grand Reunion at the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg."
• 47.5 - miles of avenues and company streets built in the reunion area.
•500 - arc lights needed to light the camp.
•501 - bubbling water fountains provided water throughout the camp.
•A6,592 - lanterns were used in the tents to provided light.
•13,200 - wash basins used by residents of the camp during their stay.
•54,000 - Souvenir mess kits (each contained a knife, fork, large spoon, small spoon, tin cup and two plates) provided to each veteran.
•6,592 - tents housed camp residents.
•44,850 - cots were used in the tents.
•6,486 – mattresses distributed to residents of the camp.
•6,600 - mattress covers distributed to residents of the camp.
•2,070 - bed sacks used by residents of the camp.
•105,262 -blankets used by residents of the camp.
•90 - miles of wire used by the Signal Corps for telephone communications.
•91 - army telephones installed in the camp.
•7,000 to 8,000- daily number of calls handled using the camp telephones.
•35 - pay phones installed by Bell and Independent phone companies.
•36 - Western Union Messenger Service.
•1 - temporary U.S. Post Office.
James Rada, Jr.
Author of No North, No South... and Battlefield Angels