The veterans of the Civil War, like veterans of wars both before and after, came together to remember and reflect on their years of service in a conflict that had become greater than anything they had done, or would do, again.
The men of the Seventeenth Connecticut formed an association (the Seventeenth Connecticut Volunteer Infantry Veterans Association) that came together every year on the anniversary of the unit’s muster into US Service—August 28th. By 1922, a mere 12 veterans were able to attend the annual reunion (who voted at this meeting to purchase the nameplate that is still affixed to the flagpole on Barlow’s Knoll) and the surviving members of the regiment began to hold combined reunions with the 28th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry veterans.
In addition, the veterans of the 17th would come together on the field of Gettysburg on the 21st anniversary of the battle to dedicate the regimental monument on Barlow’s Knoll as well as a second trip in 1889 to dedicate the monument on East Cemetery Hill.
To commemorate the events, the veterans association published souvenir pamphlets covering the events and issued silk ribbons to the attendees.
The pamphlets contain many interesting facts and vignettes, if one is willing to look for them. Anecdotes about many of the veterans reveal clues to their personalities, and the relationships they enjoyed with their comrades. The Gettysburg pamphlet lists places they lived, as well as facts about the regiment’s participation in the battle not found in the official reports.
This section of the website will contain accounts of their annual reunions as well as the 1884 and 1889 excursions to Gettysburg. Once again I am indebted to Ginny Gage for taking time to transcribe the Gettysburg pamphlets for the site, as well as Sheila Hislop for tracking down newspaper accounts of the annual reunions. Paul Keroack of the Norwalk History Room has been a great help tracking down photos and news clippings from the later reunions.