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America's Front Yard



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Gathering of the Troops
Photograph courtesy Library of Congress

As if sailing a sea of whitecaps, a reproduction of the Civil War vessel U.S.S.Kearsarge, center, built for the Grand Army of the Republic, sits amid tents during the group's 26th annual encampment on the Mall in 1892. The organization was made up of nearly 400,000 veterans of the Union Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Revenue Cutter Service (a precursor to the Coast Guard). In this instant city they spent a weekend reminiscing about the war and spinning tales about fellow soldiers who had lost their lives. In the years following the war, the future of the Mall was uncertain, but eventually it became a gathering place and a symbol of the United States' newfound unity.





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