Gettysburg, July 1-3, 1863
50th Anniversary Reunion
From the Evening Times c. June 28, 1913 (Pawtucket, Rhode Island)
Pawtucket Veterans Who Took Part
in Battle of Gettysburg
Large Delegations from this State Will Leave Tomorrow for Reunion on Famous Battlefield Which is to Last
From July 1 to July 5 Inclusive - Tower and Ballou Posts to Be represented.
"On to Gettysburg" is the watchword of a number of the members of Tower Post, G.A.R., of this city and Ballou Post, G.A.R., of Central Falls, who will leave this city tomorrow afternoon at 4 o'clock bound for the famous battlefield to be present at one of the largest and most unique celebrations ever held by veterans of the Civil War from both North and South. "On to Gettysburg" is not a battle cry this year, as it was 50 years ago, but rather a watchword for thousands of veterans all over the country who will clasp hands on the battlefield where the famous battle of Gettysburg was fought just 50 years ago.
Tower Post to Parade.
The members of Tower post who will make the trip will parade the streets tomorrow afternoon before their departure. Headed by a drum corps they will leave their headquarters on Exchange Street and march down North Main to Main, thence to Broad and to the depot where they will board the train to Providence. Upon their arrival there they will join the other veterans who are going to the celebration under an appropriation by the state. They will sail from Providence for New York Sunday evening and will arrive at Gettysburg in time for supper on Monday evening. About 30 members of the local post had signified their intentions of going to the celebration at first, but a number have dropped out on account of their advanced age and the length of the trip. All those who will make the trip are as happy as boys and expect to have a grand time. At various reunions they expect to meet men whom they fought with shoulder to shoulder and whom they have not seen for years. It is to be one grand reunion for the members of the armies of the North and the South.
According to all reports great preparations have been made at the famous battlefield for the accommodation of the 40,000 veterans who are expected to take part in the celebration. The army of Civil War veterans will come from both the North and the South, but at this encounter they will meet without their muskets and the Blue and the Gray will clasp hands. Every star of the entire 48 in the American flag is expected to have its quota of veterans present to participate in the celebration. It is estimated that over $1,000,000 will be spent altogether for the entertainment of these soldiers and the invited guests. It has been estimated that over 800,000 meals will have to be served during the days the veterans are in camp.
The Big Camp
The big camp is already pitched and is on that part of the battlefield which lies southwest of Gettysburg. On 300 acres of ground 7000 tents are already being put up under the supervision of the War Department. Five thousand of these are for the exclusive use of the veterans. The camp has been laid out like a city, each street and tent having a number so that it will be easy for each veteran to find his friends and comrades. The veterans will be encamped according to states. Although each tent has been designed to accommodate 12 men, only eight will be assigned to a tent in order that they may have plenty of room.
For Veterans Only
The orders given out by the commission in charge of the celebration states that entertainment and accommodations will be for veterans only and that no other members of the veteran's family or any outsider should accompany them and expect to be accommodated on the battlebield.
The veterans have planned to visit historic places in and about the great area where the battle was fought and where skirmishes occurred that led up to it and to hold reunions. The celebration will open on July 1, just 50 years to a day from the time the battle opened to the west of the town.
The veterans have been requested to wear all their badges so that they may be identified by old comrades and others who may have changed with time. Each veteran therefore is expected to wear his army, corps, division, brigade, regimental and sociey badges.
The United States government has erected and fully equipped a large hospital close to the camp. The commissary department will be under the direct charge of regular army officers, and it is expected to be one of the most complete ever organized for a camp. There will be 800 cooks and 125 bakers will furnish bread fresh each day for the army of veterans. Great care has been arranged in serving the 20 meals that will be served during the week, the menu having been prepared with due regard for the age of the men.
Pawtucket Men Who Were in Battle
Although it was stated a short time ago that as far as could be learned only one member of the Tower Post now living was at this famous battle, it has since been learned that there are a number who were present at the battle. Among these in addition to Joseph Martin, who was mentioned in the Times of a recent date, are Alonzo E. Pierce, Third Vermont Volunteers; Abraham Lessard, Fifth Vermont Volunteers and U.S. Signal Corps; Louis Gregory, Tenth Vermont Volunteers; and Samuel Hudson, Seventh Massachusetts volunteers.
Alvin C. Cash, Seventh Massachusetts Volunteers, and George McGunigle, Battery E, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, both of this city, are former members of Tower Post who were in the battle.
Jermiah Bucklin, Battery E, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, and Welcome O. Johnson, Second Rhode Island Volunteers, members of Ballou Post, but residents of Pawtucket, were also in the famous battle.
There may be others, too, who were present either at the battle or in that vicinity, but they are difficult to locate.
It may also be interesting at this time to know that Rhode Island has four memorials on the field, erected in 1886, as follows; Second Rhode Island Volunteers, Sixth Army Corps; Battery A, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, Second Army Corps; Battery B, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, Second Army Corps; Battery E, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, Third Army Corps.
The Second Rhode Island Volunteers reached the battlefield on the afternoon of July 2, after a record march from Manchester, nearly 40 miles away; they performed efficient service in the battle and were moved from point to point, but not as actively engaged as some. According to the address delivered by Horatio Rogers, colonel of the regiment, at the time their memorial was dedicated in October, 1886, the regiment had one man killed and five wounded.
The three light batteries suffered much more severely.
Battery B, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, had five wounded; 29 horses were killed and 36 wounded.
Among the wounded was T. Fred Brown, first lieutenant commanding the Battery, as Captain John G. Hazard was on detached service commanding the Second Corps Artillery Brigade; First Lieutenant William S. Ferrin succeeded Lieutenant Brown. The historic field piece which has been in our State House so may years, known as the "Gettysburg Gun," belonged to Battery B and was disabled July 3 during the terrific cannonade preceding Pickett's charge. It was in command of Sergeant Albert Straight at the time.
Lieut T. Fred Brown was later promoted captain of the battery and mustered out of service June 12, 1865, as brevet lieutenant colonel. He is still living at his home, Daytona, Fla.
The other two light batteries, A and E, also suffered severely, about the same as B. The memorials of A and B are on Cemetery Ridge, very near the "High Water Mark Monument," being nearly in the center of the Second Corps line of battle, and exposed to the fury of the cannonade above referred to. The memorial of Battery E is on the Emmittsburg road, a mile or more distant and near the famous "Peach Orchard" where they fought so gallantly on July 2. William A. Arnold was captain of A and George E. Randolph of C. Capt. Randolph, however was on detached service commanding the Third Army Corps Artillery Brigade and the battery was commanded by First Lieutenant John Knight Bucklyn during the battle.
The Pawtucket men who were in this famous battle can tell many thrilling and horrible stories of this famous encounter.
Tell Thrilling Stories
Alvin C. Cash, who is a member of the General Assembly and of the Rhode Island state Gettysburg Commission, George McGunigle and Welcome O. Johnson are the only Pawtucket men who were at the battle who will make the trip. Mr. Cash is a former member of Tower Post. He is a retired carriage and sign painter and was wounded in the battle of the Wilderness.
Mr. McGunigle enlisted when 16 years of age and was in the first battle of Bull Run. He served during the entire war and was wounded in the wrist in July 3, 1863, in the famous battle. He is a retired woodturner and lives at 140 Garden street, this city.
Abraham Lessard, another Tower Post member who was in the famous battle, served in the 5th Vermont Volunteers and the U.S. Signal Corps. He saw much active service during the war. Mr. Lessard is now retired and lives at 217 Harrison street. He is prominent in G.A.R. circles and had planned to make the trip but being in poor health has decided to remain at home. Mr. Lessard is at present 76 years of age.
Alonzo E. Pierce, another well known Pawtucket citizen served in the 3rd Vermont Volunteers and saw much active service during the war. He too was among the Pawtucket men in the famous battle of Gettysburg.
Samuel Hudson, a well known retired policeman of this city, also has the honor of having been in the battle. He lives at 132 Woodbine street, this city, and is still a member of Tower Post.
Louis Gregory, who for many years worked as a bolt maker for the Pawtucket Manufacturing Company, was in the battle with the 10th Vermont Volunteers and saw active service during the entire war. He is retired and makes his home at 40 Vincent avenue where he has taken up farming for a diversion.
Joseph P. Martin who was with the 2nd Rhode Island Volunteers, has been mentioned in the Times of recent date. Mr. Martin is retired and a prominent member of Tower Post. On account of his age he does not intend to make the trip. He has visited the famous battlefield several times.
Welcome O. Johnson of 697 Main street, a veteran of the Second Rhode Island Infantry, is a Gettysburg soldier who will find himself thoroughly at home when he joins in the reunion on the famous battlefield next week. Mr. Johnson was with his regiment on the second and third day of the battle and is anxious to take part in the big reunion. Mr. Johnson was a charter member of the Arnold Post, G.A.R., of Providence, but when he came to Pawtucket several years ago he gave up his membership. He is now enrolled Ballou Post, Central Falls.
Those Who Intend to Make the Trip
Members of the Tower Post and others who have signified their intentions of making the trip are as follows: Adjutant William Massey, Commander Joseph P. Cornell, Lyman P. Southwick, Erastus M. Hunt, Timothy E. Curren, Jubal Blount, William J. Hughes, John P. Cullen, Joseph T. Nichols, Sylvanus Wilson, Silas A. Tabor, Orville L. Dary, Charles F. Read, William T. Arnold, Alexander Brady, Michael J. Gibbons, John A. Nickerson, George E. Young, George A. Winchester, R. J. Sandford, Octavus H. Perkins, Roger M. Pollard, John J. Hickie, Jasper A. Partridge, Nelson J. Ballou, Michael Looby, George McGonigle, Louis Reithel, Augustus L. Paine, Terrence Goodwin, Thomas Moriarty and George J. Fairbrother.
Source: This article was transcribed from the original Pawtucket Evening Times article by Edmond Campbell, great grandson of Abraham Lessard [aka Lassard], and great grandnephew of Lewis Gregory [aka Louis Gregoire] both of whom are mentioned in this article. Abraham's wife was a sister of Lewis. Both men were born in the Province of Quebec and lived in the State of Vermont before the Civil War and in the State of Rhode Island after the war. See also Abraham Lessard's obituary, and extracts from Lewis Gregory's pension record.