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).

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