Article copied by Bill Wever from Tekamah Journal (Vol 44, No. 9), 1 Nov 1917.
Reunion at Vicksburg
Vicksburg is in the western part of the state of Mississipi (sic) and was the scene of the Great campaign under Grant in 1863. The Yazoo river lies to its north and the Big Black on the southwest. Its elevation is 200 feet and population 20,000. The first home was built in 1823 by Vic. Prior to 1826 it was a Spanish fort. The entire battle ground looks like a national fort for there is no place around the Confederate road or the Union road which represent the two great battlelines, but where an army could find (?) away or appear on the high plains. They hit the high places according to the inscribed monuments, tablets, shafts and statutes.
The weather was lovely, but very hot to us from the North. The nights were very cool. It is like July there now. Shade is fine. Uncle Sam can surely do things up right. Col. Newbill had everything in order. Our train stopped on a high hill upon which had been built a sixteen foot platform the entire length of the train. Immediately below this was the camp. The largest tents were in the main valley which was about 150 feet wide. In all the lateral valleys there were tents of a smaller type. The Illinois tent was the largest. It held 1800 cots. In front of the tents platforms were provided with long tables with wash pans and water. The water was conveyed through two three inch pipes. The tables were spactacular in appearance. Mess A and B the first was in a T shape. There were four tables ran up a little valley with 200 plates on each side of a table. Mess A and B could feed eight thousand at a sitting.
The menu changed every day. They used 17 beef cattle one day, 4500 lbs mutton, 84 30 doz. cases of eggs, 240 lbs of coffee three times a day, 725 gallons Dixie sweets. There were 12 cooks from New Orleans at $10 per day. We had egg omelet, apple pie, butter, syrup, sweet potatoes, fresh fruit, cereals, milk, etc.
The Veterans spent their time in various ways, viewing points of interest in the National Military Park, some wandering for great distances from the camp. My wife, another lady and myself started out on Smiths advance line and that of McPhersons Division Commanded by Col. Boomer, whose name our Post bears, following this lines gradually came together and cross. At the termination of these lines is where the surrender took place. There is a tablet erected where Col. Boomer fell. Mr. Martin of Craig stood within three feet of the Col and had just delivered a message when the Col. dropped dead with a bullett through his breast. Mr. Martin said he felt like he was on sacred ground. On our way down we saw the house that John A. Logan was born in. Our train was late at Corinth so we did not get to stay long at Shiloh. We visited the (????) shaft erected where Gen. Grant had his headquarters; part of the inscription taken from the Memorirs of Grant is: "I camped close to the river under a large oak tree and rain fell in torrents that night." The tree fell in a storm in 1914 and the shaft stands close to where the tree stood.
This National Memorial Celebration and Peace Jubilee was held under the direction of the Secretary of War in accordance with an act of Congress approved by President Wilson.
It means more than the pacification that did not work in the present war. It was a jubilee over the fact that we are a peace and have been for more than 50 years and that we are a united nation. The Blue and The Gray met with the friendliest feeling toward each other. We had the mississippi state soldiers and the regulars from Elpaso (sic), Texas and the whole trend was for a untied people and nothing was said about the past that would cause any bitterness. Nearly all the states were represented.
I must not forget to mention the services of the Regulars, National Guard and Boy Scouts. The Regulars with their big trucks and ambulances moved about ten thousand of us from the camp to Vicksburg the day of the parade. The State troops, Red Cross, nad (sic) Boy Scouts were on duty at the camp. They were very kind to the old veterans.W.S. Roberts
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