Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Longstreet at Gettysburg

Confederate Lt. General James Longstreet's monument gazes from the Pitzer Woods at Gettysburg. (Click image for larger view).

Monday, December 29, 2008

Louisiana and Mississippi at Gettysburg

The Louisiana and Mississippi state monuments stand on Seminary Ridge on land best known as the starting off point for the Mississippians under Bigadier General William Barksdale as they stepped off in their crushing assault on the Peach Orchard on the second day of fighting at Gettysburg. Barksdale had been impatiently waiting for his chance to bring his brigade against the Federal salient, and finally got his chance after watching hours of fighting sap Union strength in the sector. His charge crushed the Union's Peach Orchard position, touching off the collapse of the rest of the Emmitsburg Road line. "The most magnificent charge of the war," one witness claimed. (Click image for larger view).

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Rhode Island at Pickett's Charge - Gettysburg

Leaden clouds hang over the monument to Arnold's Battery at the Angle at Gettysburg, where its Rhode Islanders helped repel Pickett's Charge - but not before first surviving action on the second day, as well. From its spot on the low crest of Cemetery Ridge, the battery's gunners countered the bombardment preceding the Charge, then those who remained witnessed the awful effectiveness of the Union artillery on the advancing rebels. "Men, or fragments of men, were being thrown in the air every moment," one of them wrote. (Click image for larger view).

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Gibbon at Gettysburg

The Pennsylvania Monument emerges from fog beyond the monument to Union Brigadier General John Gibbon, who commanded men in the Second Corps along Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg. During the cannonade preceding Pickett's Charge Gibbon and his aide, Lt. Frank Haskell, found the fire less daunting in front of his lines because of the Confederate's high aim. Spending some time observing the scene from the front, they returned to the ridge's crest but not before coming across a soldier hugging the ground on his way back to the line, laden with freshly filled canteens. "Look out, my man, you might get hit!" Gibbon jokingly called out, having some fun with the fears of the soldier where he and Haskell stood the fire in relative safety. "At the sound of my voice, he turned his head, still keeping it as close to the ground as possible, to look at me and then, as if inspired by a new idea, rose to his feet and walked deliberately back to his regiment; no doubt arguing with himself that if two could walk erect there was little danger to a third." (Click image for larger view).

Sunday, December 21, 2008

72nd Pa. at the Angle - Gettysburg

The moon rises beyond the 72nd Pa. Infantry monument at the Angle at Gettysburg. (Click image for larger view).

Friday, December 19, 2008

In detail: the 111th New York - Gettysburg

The 111th New York Infantry monument in front of the Brian house on Cemetery Ridge marks only one spot the regiment occupied during its few days at Gettysburg. It helped stop the Confederate attacks on the second day of battle, south of its final position at the stonewall. And before helping repel Pickett's Charge at the little farmhouse members of the 111th performed the duties of skirmishing between the Cemetery and Seminary Ridge lines. "Line fighting is barbarous, but skirmishing is savage - nay, devilish," a captain of the 111th determined. "To juke and hide and skulk for men and deliberately aim at and murder them one by one is far too bloodthirsty business for Christian men." The Rebels exacted a toll in exchange. The 111th sent 390 men into the battle, 249 became casualties, 58 killed. (Click image for larger view).

Thursday, December 18, 2008

111th NY at the Brian Farm - Gettysburg

The 111th New York Infantry monument stands on Cemetery Ridge in front of the Brian House at Gettysburg, behind the stone wall the men used as shelter first from the cannonade preceding Pickett's Charge, then during the infantry assault. The 111th NY and its neighboring units had the better of the action on the north end of the charge, punishing its attackers. "As the effect of each volley could be seen, the cheers and the confusion were wild," reported the 111th's colonel. (Click image for larger view).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Brian Farmhouse - Gettysburg

The simple farmhouse of Abraham Brian sits on Cemetery Ridge, right on what became the main Union line on the second and third days of fighting at Gettysburg. Brian's family lived here from 1857 to 1869, when he sold the house and took up a job in the town. The house had significant post-war additions before being renovated and returned to its appearance during the battle. (Click image for larger view).

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Brian Farm - Gettysburg

The 111th New York monument stands next to the Brian farm barn on Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg. The barn was part of a farm owned by Abraham Brian, a free black man who fled as Confederates neared. His 12 acre farm would provide the setting for a large part of Pickett's Charge. After returning to Gettysburg and finding graves in his devestated farm fields and his modest house damaged and ransacked, Brian filed claims for $1028 in damages. He received $15. (Click image for larger view).

Friday, December 12, 2008

Boom with a view - Gettysburg

Smith's 4th New York Battery monument stands on Houck's Ridge atop Devil's Den at Gettysburg, in front of Little Round Top and the 44th and 12th New York monument. The view today is radically altered - in two ways. The vandalized Smith battery monument awaits repair after a vicious 2006 attack, and the park's landscape restoration project has cleared most trees, (including the one at center) from this end of Houck's Ridge, bringing it more closely to its 1863 appearance. (Click image for larger view).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

O.O. Howard - Gettysburg

Union Major General Oliver Otis Howard is honored in a statue on East Cemetery Hill at Gettysburg. His XI Corps did not fare well on the first day of fighting, driven back to the hill and remaining there for the rest of the battle as part of the main Union line. His corps had already suffered an embarrassing setback in allowing a surprise attack at Chancellorsville, but Howard, who lost an arm earlier in the war, survived to continue a long and varied career in and out of the military. He found more success in the army following Gettysburg while fighting in the West, and went on to a number of high-profile post-war positions, including heading West Point and presiding over the Washington, D.C. university he helped found and to which he lent his name. (Click image for larger view).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

North Carolina - Gettysburg

The North Carolina Monument pushes forward toward Cemetery Ridge from its position on Seminary Ridge, the stepping-off point for North Carolina troops in Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg. 42 regiments and batteries from North Carolina served at Gettysburg, among them, 15 regiments participated in Pickett's Charge. (Click image for larger view).

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Federal firepower - Gettysburg

Guns mark Union positions at the Angle, with fog obscuring the Copse of Trees in the background, along Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg. Artillery and infantry here stood up to the brunt of Pickett's Charge, and though the line was briefly pierced, it held in the climax of the battle. (Click image for larger view).

Monday, December 8, 2008

View from the cupola - Gettysburg

A foggy morning negates the view from the cupola of Schmucker Hall, but it made a fine lookout from the Lutheran Theological Seminary during the first day of battle at Gettysburg. Union cavalry commander Brigadier General John Buford famously told Major General John Reynolds from the cupola's platform (since rebuilt after a 1913 fire) "The Devil's to pay!" as the battle of Gettysburg was just beginning. (Click image for larger view).

Friday, December 5, 2008

153rd Pa. at Barlow's Knoll - Gettysburg

As the 153rd Pennsylvania, nine month men from Bethlehem, Pa., got set to head into battle on the first day at Gettysburg, an officer addressed them, telling the men their enlistments had expired. "If there was a man in [the] ranks who did not wish to go into battle; he should step out, that it was no disgrace;" a soldier wrote, retelling the officer's words, "but that the enemy was in our native state, and that the people of Pennsylvania looked to us for relief, and that it was our duty to protect our homes... we gave three cheers and not a man stepped out of the ranks." Their officer must have been mistaken, misjudging the enlistment terms by a month. The regiment's survivors mustered out July 24, three weeks after the battle. (Click image for larger view).

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Unknowns - Gettysburg

One of several stones marking the unknown burials at Gettysburg National Cemetery marks a large group of anonymous graves. Of the 3512 Union battle dead buried there, nearly one quarter were interred without identification. (Click image for larger view).

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

New York at Gettysburg

The New York State Monument stands over graves in the National Cemetery at Gettysburg. Only Pennsylvania supplied more troops at the battle, but the New Yorkers suffered the greatest number of casualties: 6,700 killed, wounded or missing out of 23,000 soldiers on hand. (Click image for larger view).

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sunset from Little Round Top - Gettysburg

A cannon points at Confederate positions from the Union-held crest of Little Round Top, scene of fighting on the second day at Gettysburg. Gun crews struggled to push their weapons to the top of the hill as both sides met at what had been just a short time before a virtually unoccupied position. The next day, the artillery here would be put to use before and during the distant Pickett's Charge. (Click image for larger view).

Monday, December 1, 2008

Lee and Traveller - Gettysburg

Robert E. Lee looks out over the field of Pickett's Charge from his favorite mount, Traveller, in their depiction atop the Virginia State Memorial at Gettysburg. Its sculptor, Frederick William Sievers, must have considered his commission to create the largest Confederate monument at Gettysburg to be a high point of his career. But it was by no means his last Rebel effort: Sievers was responsible for crafting numerous Confederate memorials throughout the South. And though the Virginia State Memorial was dedicated in 1917, its sculptor lived to see the centennial of the battle before dying at age 93 in 1966. (Click image for larger view).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Humphreys and the 11th Massachusetts - Gettysburg

Monuments to Union Brigadier General Andrew Humphreys and the 11th Massachusetts Infantry stand on the Emmitsburg Road at Gettysburg. The stone sword-wielding arm of the 11th Massachusetts still awaits repair at the time of this posting after being ripped down and broken by vandals on a spree that left two others monuments heavily damaged in early 2006. (Click image for larger view).

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The 7th at the Salient - Gettysburg

The unusual monument to the 7th New Jersey Infantry rests at the Peach Orchard salient where the Jersey men engaged in fighting on the second day. It depicts in massive scale a minie ball -the principal bullet of the Civil War era - on the site of the mortal wounding of Col. Louis Raymond Francine during the unit's withdrawal as the Union line collapsed. Francine survived two more weeks, dying on July 16th before being buried in his native Philadelphia's Laurel Hill Cemetery. (Click image for larger view).

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Old Glory over Gettysburg

The US flag flies over the Soldiers' National Cemetery and the New York State Monument at Gettysburg. (Click image for larger view).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cannonade from the Cornfield- Gettysburg

Corn grows around a Confederate battery position on Seminary Ridge at Gettysburg. In the massive artillery barrage that preceded Pickett's Charge the guns planted in farmers' fields unleashed a storm on the Union center. But replying artillery took its toll, too. "For more than an hour it went on. Nearly every minute the cry of mortal agony was heard above the roar and rumble of the guns..." wrote Colonel Joseph Mayo of the 3rd Virginia Infantry, whose men waited inside the ridge's tree line for their attack. "Doubtless there would have been some consolation to know, as we afterwards learned, that our blue-coated friends over the way were in the same, if not worse predicament." (Click image for larger view).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Longstreet - Gettysburg

The monument to Confederate Lt. General James Longstreet stands in fog among Pitzer Woods at Gettysburg. The monument, placed on the battlefield in 1998, is unusual for at least three reasons: First, it stands flush to the ground, no high pedestal. Second, it took nearly a century to reach completion after first being proposed. Lastly, it breaks with the Gettysburg tradition, or at least the coincidence, that the position of the horse's legs reveal the fate of its rider in battle. Four legs on the ground: no battle injury. One hoof raised: the rider suffered a wound. Two legs off the ground: the rider was mortally wounded. Longstreet, whose horse (Hero) is depicted raising a front hoof, suffered no wounding at Gettysburg. It can be argued, perhaps, that his reputation was a lingering casualty following the Confederate loss. (Click image for larger view).

Friday, November 14, 2008

5th Michigan - Gettysburg

The 5th Michigan Infantry monument stands among the jumble of rocks - and many other markers - on the Union line at the Stony Hill at Gettysburg. The 5th Michigan was one of the first Union regiments to take residence in the Wheatfield area on the second day of fighting. (Click image for larger view).

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Maine at the wall - Gettysburg

The monument to the 17th Maine Infantry rests behind the stone wall in the Wheatfield among a swirl of fall color at Gettysburg. The marker depicts a soldier crouching behind the stone wall, alert and ready. The 17th was among a handful of regiments holding the wall bordering the Wheatfield against Confederate attacks that eventually took the field, but not without a sharp fight. One officer in the Maine regiment reported: "Never was loading and firing of muzzle-loaders done more rapidly than by the 17th at the time." (Click image for larger view).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A restored warrior - Gettysburg

The 74th Pa. monument on the first day's battlefield is in line with other markers for Union regiments on the 11th Corps position outside Gettysburg. Like the fallen color bearer it depicts, the monument was itself struck down - victim of an errant driver that left it in pieces in 2004. Careful restoration has returned it to its spot on the line, but not without scars. (Click image for larger view).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

'Cross I must' - Gettysburg

The monument to the 118th Pennsylvania, the Corn Exchange Regiment, looks over the Rose Farm and its grazing cattle from the Stony Hill at Gettysburg. Cattle were not an uncommon sight among the livestock and farm fields, but Union artillery chief Henry Hunt was nearly a casualty of one panicked cluster after he inspected a battery position at Devil's Den as fighting began on the second day, he reported:

"A herd of horned cattle had been driven into the valley between Devil's Den and Round Top, from which they could not escape. A shell had exploded in the body of one of them, tearing it to pieces; others were torn and wounded. All were stampeded, bellowing and rushing in their terror first to one side, then to the other, to escape the shells that were bursting over and amongst them. Cross I must, and in doing so I had my most trying experience of the battle of Gettysburg. Luckily the poor beasts were as much frightened as I was, but their rage was subdued by terror, and they were good enough to let me pass through scot-free, but 'badly demoralized.' However, my horse was safe, I mounted, and in the busy excitement that followed almost forgot my scare." (Click image for larger view).

Monday, November 10, 2008

'Clear the Way!' - Gettysburg

"Faugh A Ballaugh" - anglicized Gaelic for "Clear the Way" is inscribed on the 28th Massachusetts Infantry monument on the Stony Hill, scene of fighting on the second day at Gettysburg. As part of the Irish Brigade, the 28th swept through the Wheatfield before taking position on the low hill at the Loop. It wasn't a long stay: Confederate attacks regained the sector, finally taking control of the Wheatfield for good after it changed hands several times, with the Irish taking just one part in a confused battle there. (Click image for larger view).

Friday, November 7, 2008

Timbers Farm - Gettysburg

Foundations are all that remain of the Timbers Farm (Weikert during the battle) at Gettysburg, seen here surrounded by trees near Brooke Avenue, but now exposed by recent tree removal in the park service's restoration. Confederates advancing on Union troops on the second day of fighting passed around the farm buildings, and they remained in Confederate hands until the withdrawal. (Click image for larger view).

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The 20th Maine - Gettysburg

Tucked among the rocks of Little Round Top, the squat monument to the 20th Maine Infantry rests where its men fought off repeated attacks on the second day at Gettysburg. Because the fight on the end of the Union line was popularized first in The Killer Angels then the movie Gettysburg, the Maine men receive more attention for their efforts that day than perhaps are deserved in comparison to other worthy units. The fight, however, did result in a heroic stand for the Union men against a determined enemy fighting uphill. Col. Joshua Chamberlain reported as the armies met: "From that moment began a struggle fierce and bloody beyond any that I have witnessed, and which lasted in all its fury, a full hour. The two lines met, and broke and mingled in the shock. At times I saw around me more of the enemy than of my own men. The edge of conflict swayed to and fro - now one and now the other party holding the contested ground. Three times our line was forced back, but only to rally and repulse the enemy."(Click image for larger view).

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dawn at the Sickles Salient - Gettysburg

The rising sun lights up the sky over the Peach Orchard area at Gettysburg. It was late afternoon when Federal troops and artillery here were routed by the en echelon attacks launched by Confederates from Seminary Ridge. (Click image for larger view).

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Snow in the Cemetery - Gettysburg

The Soldiers National Cemetery rests under a blanket of snow at Gettysburg. The Soldiers National Monument stands as one of the few markers not covered by the light snow - the grave markers of those killed at Gettysburg are flush to the ground in a simple design, radiating in a half circle from the tall monument at its center. (Click image for larger view).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Opposing Armies - Gettysburg

The monument to the 72nd Pa. Infantry stands on Cemetery Ridge at the Angle, facing the Virginia State Memorial (left background) and the Confederate lines on Seminary Ridge at Gettysburg. Confederates in Pickett's Charge crossed this open ground (lined by the shadow of the Copse of Trees) before briefly piercing the Union line here. (Click image for larger view).

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

14th Indiana - Gettysburg

Monuments to the 14th Indiana Infantry (left) and Major General Winfield Scott Hancock stand among other Union markers on East Cemetery Hill at Gettysburg. As dusk fell at the end of the second day day of fighting, a Confederate attack reached the top of the artillery stronghold. The 14th was part of the brigade ordered in to the defense of the hill by the Hancock. Upon arriving at the action, the 14th's Colonel John Coons found rebels mixing with the cannons at the crest. "I immediately formed my regiment into line and advanced upon them with fixed bayonets, driving them from the gun they had taken down the hill over a stone fence in front of the battery. At this point we gave them two or three volleys, when they fell back." (Click image for larger view.)

Monday, October 27, 2008

69th Pa. at the Angle - Gettysburg

The low stone wall occupied by Union troops at the Angle at Gettysburg is marked by monuments all along the line, but only one unit, the 69th Pennsylvania Infantry, has separate markers representing each of its companies positions (partially shown at right). Many Union troops fought off Pickett's Charge but few were in as hot a position as the 69th, which found itself at the point of the only Confederate breakthrough. (Click image for larger view).

Friday, October 24, 2008

'Like grain before the reaper' - Gettysburg

The last final charge uphill stands beyond the second of two fences along the Emmitsburg Road crossed by Confederates in Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg. "We opened on them and they fell like grain before the reaper," wrote a soldier of the 12th New Jersey in a letter home shortly following the Union victory. (Click image for larger view.)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

'Limber up and get out' -Gettysburg

The position held by the 9th Massachusetts Battery, the last to leave the Wheatfield Road line of artillery, is marked with a stone monument and a pair of cannon near the Peach Orchard at Gettysburg. It was at a nearby farmhouse, however, where the battery was hardest pressed. Capt. John Bigelow, ordered to 'limber up and get out" as the Confederates collapsed the Union's Peach Orchard salient, feared his gunners would be shot down if they stopped firing the cannons to pull them out. Instead, he ordered firing on the run, moving back with each gun's blast. The battery was finally ready for a more traditional withdrawal when Bigelow was ordered to hold his ground in a tight corner of land at the Trostle House as the Union artillery line was reformed on Cemetery Ridge. Guns were lost as the rebels mixed with the battery before the final chaotic withdrawal. Bigelow reported his battery had fired three tons of ammunition. He also lost 8 killed, 18 wounded and two missing, plus 45 horses, essential sacrifices to buy time. (Click image for larger view.)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Artillery on Powers Hill - Gettysburg

A monument to one of three Union batteries posted on Powers Hill stands in isolation in heavy woods near Granite Schoolhouse Lane at Gettysburg. The hill was a better artillery platform during the battle, when trees did not obscure the sightlines to Culp's Hill. (Click image for larger view.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Peach Orchard - Gettysburg

The Peach Orchard, seen in the distance from Brooke Avenue between the Wheatfield and the Rose farmhouse, overlooks much of the battlefield of the second day from its low rise between Cemetery and Seminary Ridges at Gettysburg. (Click image for larger view).

Monday, October 20, 2008

116th Pennsylvania of the Irish Brigade - Gettysburg

The monument to the 116th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry stands on the Loop at the Stony Hill at Gettysburg, where it had been sent into action at the Wheatfield on the second day at Gettysburg. The monument depicts a Irish Brigade member at rest along a stone fence, exactly as described by the unit's commander, Major St. Clair A. Mulholland, who came upon the young faced-casualty and remembered the scene vividly despite the roar and confusion of the fighting. He described the dead man as laying at peace, face turned to the sun, appearing relaxed with only a small bullet wound to the head to give evidence of his fate. (Click image for larger view).

Friday, October 17, 2008

'Savior of Little Round Top' - Gettysburg

Union Brigadier General Gouverneur Warren is memorialized in a bronze statue on the summit of Little Round Top, perhaps the most photographed monument on the most photographed part of the battlefield at Gettysburg. Warren earned his prominent marker for becoming the "Savior of Little Round Top" when he recognized the need for troops to secure the strategic hill and rushed to see that they arrived. (Click image for larger view).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wadsworth - Gettysburg

The monument to Union Brigadier General James S. Wadsworth looks out over the battlefield of the first day at Gettysburg. Wadsworth, a division commander of the First Corps, was respected by his peers though he was not a career soldier. "A braver man never lived," wrote one. He would later die in the Battle of the Wilderness less than a year later. (Click image for larger view).

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Weikert House - Gettysburg

The George Wiekert house stands on Cemetery Ridge, about halfway between the Angle and Little Round Top on what was Union ground throughout the battle at Gettysburg. The simple stone house, typical of many farmhouses during the battle, did not see battle rage directly around it, but it was witness to heavy fighting just outside its fences. Union troops were funneled around it on the second day of battle, and artillery unlimbered and thundered across its fields. (Click image for larger view).

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Moonlit Lee - Gettysburg

Confederate General Robert E. Lee rests on Traveller atop the Virginia State Memorial on Seminary Ridge at Gettysburg, lit by a bright moon. The Confederate Avenue monument depicts Lee looking out over the field of Pickett's Charge, looking at the Union position he failed to take. (Click image for larger view).

Monday, October 13, 2008

On the crest of Culp's Hill - Gettysburg

The monument to the 60th New York Infantry stands near the crest of Culp's Hill, where that unit joined others in building breastworks to defend the rugged slope just outside the town of Gettysburg. The hill appears here with thick underbrush, but at the time of the battle it had much less growth under its canopy of trees, making it easier for the defenders to find targets among advancing Confederates trying to take the hill from below. (Click image for larger view).

Friday, October 10, 2008

In Memory - Gettysburg

A simple sentiment in polished granite echoes many on monuments throughout the battlefield of Gettysburg. This one stands on the north slope of Little Round Top. (Click image for larger view).

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Geary on Culp's Hill - Gettysburg

The monument to Brigadier General John Geary stands on Culp's Hill at Gettysburg. The men of Geary's division dug in and created formidable breastworks on the hill that were soon to be tested. After being sent to a different part of the field, his men had to fight their way back to their works after mistakenly being marched off the battlefield, then ordered to their original position. (Click image for larger view).

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Rocky slope of Culp's Hill - Gettysburg

Union monuments stand among the boulders of Culp's Hill that helped turned the Gettyburg rise into a stronghold. "Our position and the front were covered with a heavy growth of timber, free from undergrowth, with large ledges of rock projecting above the surface," reported Brigadier General George Greene. "These rocks and trees offered good cover for marksmen." The breastworks or "rifle pits" created on the hill would soon be the focus of the fight. (Click image for larger view).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Dusk on East Cemetery Hill - Gettysburg

Last light shines on East Cemetery Hill at Gettysburg and the monuments to the 7th West Virginia Infantry and Union corps commander Major General Winfield Scott Hancock. It was at dusk on the second day of fighting that a Confederate charge crested here, with a repulse coming in virtual darkness on the prominent, cannon-covered hill. As reinforcements sent by Hancock, including the 7th West Virginia, passed the busy artillery one of the cannoneers expressed his joy with a shout: "Glory to God! We are saved!" (Click image for larger view).