Thursday, July 31, 2008

Barlow's Knoll - Gettysburg

Cannons mark the line held by Union gunners under Lt. Bayard Wilkeson on Barlow's Knoll on the field of the first day of fighting at Gettysburg. Wilkeson put his battery in place and was just under way engaging Confederates when he was mortally struck in the leg. The Union line would not hold much longer against the overpowering rebels, who stormed through this position before sweeping the Federals through the town.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Four-legged soldiers - Gettysburg

Horses relax in a green field in front of Union monuments to New Yorkers of the Third Corps that fought in vain to repel attacks at the Peach Orchard on the second day of fighting at Gettysburg. An estimated 72,000 horses were in service with both armies at Gettysburg, with 3000 to 5000 killed during the fighting. Many had names we know today and served high-placed riders, such as Old Baldy, Hero or Lucy Long. The majority were anonymous and toiled at the back-breaking work of moving armies. (Click image for larger view.)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Robert E. Lee - Gettysburg

Confederate General Robert E. Lee's image in bronze, astride his trusted Traveller, stands on top of the Virginia State Memorial on Seminary Ridge at Gettysburg. He regally gazes over the field of Pickett's Charge, back straight and shoulders held high. It does not match the picture described by rebel General John Imboden, who waited for Lee at his headquarters the evening following the charge:
"When he arrived there was not even a sentinel on duty at his tent, and no one of his staff was awake. The moon was high in the clear sky and the silent scene was unusually vivid. As he approached and saw us lying on the grass under a tree, he spoke, reined in his jaded horse, and essayed to dismount. The effort to do so betrayed so much physical exhaustion that I hurriedly rose and stepped forward to assist him, but before I reached his side he had succeeded in alighting, and threw his arm across the saddle to rest, and fixing his eyes upon the ground leaned in silence and almost motionless upon his equally weary horse, - the two forming a striking and never-to-be-forgotten group. The moon shone full upon his massive features and revealed an expression of sadness that I had never before seen upon his face." (Click image for larger view).

Monday, July 28, 2008

The First Massachusetts - Gettysburg

The monument to the First Massachusetts stands on the Union line temporarily held along the Emmitsburg Road during the fighting of the second day. The men here skirmished most of the day with their Confederate counterparts before the massive rebel attacks broke the thinly held line and sent the survivors of Union Major General Daniel Sickles' Third Corps in retreat to safety on a bolstered line on Cemetery Ridge. (Click image for larger view).