by Abigail Hartley

gettyimages 2504374 Mark Twains address to the Union Veterans of Maryland is so classically him

A portrait of American writer Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens, 1835 – 1910), circa 1900. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

November 29, 2017, is the 182nd birthday of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, who would become known and loved by readers worldwide as Mark Twain. While he has many connections to the military—his enormous effort to publish and circulate the memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant chief among them—I thought this small, little-known excerpt of his work was the best way to remember him.

Here is Mark Twain’s address to the Union Veterans Association of Maryland in Baltimore. The year was 1887, just 22 years after the end of the Civil War, and as Mark Twain himself points out, he was actually in the Confederate army during his very brief stint in the war. Nonetheless, this address from a former enemy agent-turned-voice for peace to a room full of veterans manages to be warm, witty, and biting all at the same time.


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