The Grand Review of the Armies (May, 1865)

Matthew Brady, photographer

Matthew Brady, photographer

The Grand Review of the Armies happened on May 23rd and 24th, 1865 after the formal end of The Civil War. Much of the Union Army paraded through the streets of Washington (most importantly, Pennsylvania Ave.), much to the cheers and adulation of the crowd. The country had just been through four horrible years of war, capped off by the assassination of their beloved president at Ford’s Theatre just a month earlier.

Three of the armies were able to make it back to Washington City to take part in the parades. The Army of the Tennessee and The Army of Georgia marched 250 miles under the command of General William T. Sherman to arrive in time. The Army of the Potomac, led by General George Meade had just been victorious over Robert E. Lee in Virginia and was just across the river from the District

The officers in these armies had not seen each other for many years and were able to reconnect in the city, while enlisted infantrymen spent their time eating and drinking in the local establishments, often coming to blows over which army was superior.

Please check out the entire photo gallery at the Library of Congress website. These are amazing photos by Matthew Brady, capturing the history of our city and country.


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