I am finishing up my coffee before I head out the door for Grant’s Tomb. It is going to be a warm one today, close to 100. I’m trying to embrace the heat to the extent I can. Today is the 155th anniversary of Day One of the Battle of Gettysburg. I was with a friend in Green-Wood Cemetery Friday and yesterday and, with a sense of longing for Adams County, was paying close attention for headstones of men who fought and/or were killed at Gettysburg. Yesterday I took this photograph of the Edward B. Fowler headstone. He and his men served under James Wadsworth in the Union I Corps. After the war he was a prominent figure in Brooklyn. When he died in 1896 he lay in state in Brooklyn’s City Hall and then had a full military burial in Green-Wood.
On Friday I finished re-reading David Blight’s Race and Reunion. While I don’t believe the work’s arguments were as groundbreaking as some would have us believe, R&R is no doubt an extraordinary work of scholarship. I gained a lot from going back to it. One of the things that most fascinates me about Grant’s Tomb, besides the life and times of the man resting there, is how the general’s death fit in to Americans’ memory and understanding of the war. Once I have my Grant history and historiography down a bit more, I intend to explore some of these things in a deeper way. I have already begun doing that. Grand Army Men were visiting the tomb for Decoration Days well into the 1920s. After the Armistice, they marched with men from the Spanish-American and the Great War.