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).