Friday, July 25, 2008

44th and 12th New York, Little Round Top - Gettysburg

The towering monument to the 44th and 12th New York stands out on Little Round Top, seen above a screen of trees. The castle-like monument is one of several for Union units that defended the hill on the second day of fighting at Gettysburg. The virtually unguarded hill - "the key of the whole position" - nearly fell into rebel hands save for troops rushed to its summit before Confederate attackers. (Click image for larger view).

Thursday, July 24, 2008

15th Massachusetts - Gettysburg

The 15th Massachusetts Infantry monument sits among dozens of others along Hancock Avenue at Gettysburg. The men of the 15th Massachusetts entered the fight here on the second day, bringing resistance to the Confederate attacks that finally stalled at the Union center.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Steven's Knoll - Gettysburg

Union artillery on this hill, now topped by a monument to Major General Henry Slocum, defended against the Confederate attack on East Cemetery Hill as darkness fell over the battlefield on the second day. Before the rebels began their charge the bloody day seemed to be ending peacefully, until a shout of "Look! Look at those men!" turned the artillerists to their guns as a rare night attack began. (Click image for larger view).

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Smith's Battery - Devil's Den, Gettysburg

The monument to Captain James Smith's 4th New York battery of Parrott rifles stands above Devil's Den, in a precarious position that only allowed four of his six guns to be posted before the fight on the second day at Gettysburg. The cannoneers soon went from dueling with Confederate batteries on the opposite Seminary Ridge and long-range fire against infantry to fighting for their lives and their guns at close range. A different fight continues today. Incidents of vandalism in the area were first recorded more than one hundred years ago and in 1995 the artillerist on the Smith battery monument was wrenched from its base. More recently the statue was dragged down and decapitated, damage that has yet to be repaired. (Click image for larger view).

Monday, July 21, 2008

4th Michigan in the Wheatfield - Gettysburg

The monument to the 4th Michigan in the Wheatfield depicts a soldier holding the colors, inspired by the stand taken by Col. Harrison Jeffords after the flag was dropped in the wheat as the Confederates took the field for good on the second day at Gettysburg. He died in the hand-to-hand combat that resulted as he led the effort to recapture the prized flag. The marker notes of his death: "From his bosom that heaved, the last torrent that was streaming, and pale was his visage, deep marked with a scar. And dim was that eye, once expressively beaming, that melted in love, and that kindled in war." (Click image for larger view.)