Friday, August 15, 2008

Guns of the Cannonade - Gettysburg

Union cannon on Cemetery Ridge near The Angle at Gettysburg rest under lifting fog and a blazing sun. Smoke from the dozens of batteries lining the North's main battle line and the South's Seminary Ridge position quickly veiled both lines after the Rebel guns opened fire preceding Pickett's Charge, limiting the effectiveness of efforts to soften up the Union position. Despite the smokescreen, neither position was a safe place in the hour or more before the Charge. "Nothing you have ever heard or read of can give you an idea of the terrific fire Lee opened on their heights," recalled one Confederate. Near where the fire was focused, the display was less admired. "My God it was terrible," Colonel Richard Penn Smith of the 71st Pa. said. "The field was a grave. Such a sight you never saw."

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Two Generals on East Cemetery Hill - Gettysburg

Equestrian monuments to Union Major Generals and corps commanders Oliver Otis Howard (left) and Winfield Scott Hancock stand within shouting distance of each other among a handful of other markers on East Cemetery Hill in Gettysburg. When the pair first met at Gettysburg, on this hill commanding the town, Howard was in charge of an army that was scrambling to get to the rise after rough handling on the first day of battle. Hancock arrived with orders to take command, despite Howard's seniority. The awkward result was remembered differently by the two generals. Howard later claimed the two split command, Hancock felt and acted as in charge. "General," Hancock rebuked a subordinate who didn't jump to his orders, "I want you to understand I am in command here." (Click image for larger view).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Meade and Moonrise - Gettysburg

A full moon rises above the statue to Union Major General George Gordon Meade on Cemetery Ridge in Gettysburg. Among the Union monuments and cannon of Arnold's Battery marking the ground near The Angle is the 26th North Carolina monument (lower left). The marker to the Confederate unit is likely hundreds of feet misplaced - it pressed close to wall in Pickett's Charge, but not before Arnold's Battery (which had withdrawn and left only one operational gun during the Charge). The monument's 1986 placement was likely influenced by a desire to place it closer to the prestigious site of the breakthrough at the Angle (and further up the ridge). Regardless, the 26th NC suffered a staggering 81 percent casualty rate in fighting on the first and third days at Gettysburg. (Click image for larger view).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Soldiers' National Monument - Gettysburg

A stone personification of Liberty stands atop the Soldiers' National Monument in the Gettysburg National Cemetery. One of the earliest monuments on the field, its cornerstone was set on July 4, 1865 and it was dedicated, though incomplete, in 1869. (Click image for larger view).

Monday, August 11, 2008

1st Andrew Sharpshooters - Gettysburg

The 1st Andrew Sharpshooters monument stands on Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg. The Massachusetts men, in a unit named for their governor, would have employed the telescopic sight pictured on the monument. The monument carries the inscription "In God We Put Our Trust, But Kept Our Powder Dry." (Click image for larger view).