from Muskegon Chronicle, 11 July 1913
|Muskegon Veteran Searches Gettysburg Camp Two Days to Find Brother -- He does.
Henry G. Bigelow, 182 Jefferson street, who was one of the members of Phil Kearny Post, Grand Army of the Republic, present at the reunion on the field of Gettysburg, tells most entertainingly of his experiences while there. His descriptions of events of the reunion, his adventures while there and of points about the field, is most interesting being told in his inimitable way with touches of humor which add to the interest. He said in part:
"Four of my comrades, Krebs, Renick, Smith and Anderson, and myself left Muskegon Saturday morning, June 28, and reached Gettysburg Sunday at 5 o'clock. The railroad track ran right through the camp and trains were stopped at the most convenient point for disembarking. A large number of additional tents had been made ready because of the unexpected number of veterans arriving.
"On the Pullman the first night, it was warm when we turned in for the night, but ????was not sufficient to make us comfortable. The boys acted more like kids than like old men of seventy. When it was about time for the rooster to crow one asked, 'How deep is the snow?' to which some one responded, 'I haven't measured it, but I guess about a foot.'
"I had received an intimation that my brother from Massachusetts would be at the reunion, and hunted for him two days and then decided that if I succeeded in finding him it would be when I was looking for some one else. The next day I hunted for my old tent mate from Santa Barbara, Cal., and while doing so found my brother. It was known at the different headquarters who came through and a request for each to register his street and tent number wopuld have facilitated in finding friends.
"One day while in my tent alone a comrade looked in and asked: 'Is there a one armed Bigelow here?' I said 'No but you are talking to a two-armed Bigelow right now.' A night or two later I found the one-armed Bigelow and a little later two others came in, both Bigelows.
"During the first few days I saw probably three or four ladies in the great camp. One attracted my attention and as soon as she put her coffee cup down we were shaking hands to beat the band. She was formerly a Muskegon stenographer and a member of my family, say twenty years ago.
"It was very easy getting acquainted in camp. One man asked, 'Where do you hail from?' I said Muskegon, Mich. He said, 'I knew a man who started for Muskegon without a dollar in his pocket and made a fortune' And when he said his name was McGordon, I told him that I knew just where he was buried in Evergreen cemetery.
"The unknown dead in the Gettysburg cemetery have a granite square, elevated above the ground three or four inches, each one numbered and over each grave, a blue and a red flag a little distance apart, are placed. From a little distance away these suggest a beautiful flower garden.
"The ex-confederates were on their good behavior. I heard it remarked time and again that only one confederate had taken a drop or two too much. I met a confederate from the 7th Souzth Caroline regiment and he said that he had fought before the 15th Massachusetts at Antietam and they hgad lost one flag. My regiment had captured a flag there and when I told him he was anxious to have it back and I promised to do what I could to bring about its return.
"At present there are only two Confederate monuments on the Gettysburg field but in the near future every southern state will be represented there.
"The weather was very warm and one hot night I took a bath right in front of my hotel. The water is very sopft at Gettysburg and Hayerstown and I very frequently found myself washing my hands when they didn'T need it.
The largest attendance in one day at the reunion was 53,000 union veterans and 11,000 Confederates. I had dinner at the hotel in the room that was General Lee's headquarters. I was about the last man left in the tents and came near having to be told to get out. I visited at Hagarstown and Sharksburg and had a fine time. Wouldn't have missed it for the world. I brought home with me as a souvenir a bullet that was found in the Devil's Den. It has a t point flattened and a dent in one side showing that it struck two hard substances in its flight. Everyone who can afford to do so should travel to see the Gettysburg National cemetery."