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.)

No comments: