Tuesday, September 05, 2017

The First Civil War Peace Jubilee


President Taft addresses the Peace Jubilee


On July 21, 1911, the town of Manassas, Virginia hosted a Peace Jubilee to mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil War's first great battle. George Carr Round, a Union veteran who settled in Manassas, is credited with organizing this gesture of reconciliation.

According to a contemporary account, “The Peace Jubilee, when a northern President, William Howard Taft, and a southern Governor, William H. Mann, of Virginia, shook hands during the exercises, like the 1,000 veterans of blue and gray present, symbolized the cementing of the two sections.”  This was the first time in history when survivors of a great battle met fifty years after and exchanged friendly greetings at the place of actual combat.

At noon on July 21, the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Manassas, the veterans moved to the top of Henry Hill. When the signal was given, the veterans marched forward with hands outstretched.  For five minutes they shook hands.  The day was capped off by an address by President Taft. 

According to Major Archibald Butt, President Taft’s military aide, once at the Peace Jubilee the President gave, “…a flub dub speech about the Blue and Gray which brought tears to the eyes of the veterans of both sides and smiles to the faces of politicians.  Every politician has a canned speech up his sleeve for these reunions, and while they all smile while someone else makes them, yet they take themselves most seriously when making them themselves.”


                                                   


General George S. Patton once said, “Compared to war, all other forms of human endeavor shrink to insignificance.” Here are four stories about the history of the world IF wars we know about happened differently or IF wars that never happened actually took place.

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