Friday, October 24, 2008

'Like grain before the reaper' - Gettysburg

The last final charge uphill stands beyond the second of two fences along the Emmitsburg Road crossed by Confederates in Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg. "We opened on them and they fell like grain before the reaper," wrote a soldier of the 12th New Jersey in a letter home shortly following the Union victory. (Click image for larger view.)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

'Limber up and get out' -Gettysburg

The position held by the 9th Massachusetts Battery, the last to leave the Wheatfield Road line of artillery, is marked with a stone monument and a pair of cannon near the Peach Orchard at Gettysburg. It was at a nearby farmhouse, however, where the battery was hardest pressed. Capt. John Bigelow, ordered to 'limber up and get out" as the Confederates collapsed the Union's Peach Orchard salient, feared his gunners would be shot down if they stopped firing the cannons to pull them out. Instead, he ordered firing on the run, moving back with each gun's blast. The battery was finally ready for a more traditional withdrawal when Bigelow was ordered to hold his ground in a tight corner of land at the Trostle House as the Union artillery line was reformed on Cemetery Ridge. Guns were lost as the rebels mixed with the battery before the final chaotic withdrawal. Bigelow reported his battery had fired three tons of ammunition. He also lost 8 killed, 18 wounded and two missing, plus 45 horses, essential sacrifices to buy time. (Click image for larger view.)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Artillery on Powers Hill - Gettysburg

A monument to one of three Union batteries posted on Powers Hill stands in isolation in heavy woods near Granite Schoolhouse Lane at Gettysburg. The hill was a better artillery platform during the battle, when trees did not obscure the sightlines to Culp's Hill. (Click image for larger view.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Peach Orchard - Gettysburg

The Peach Orchard, seen in the distance from Brooke Avenue between the Wheatfield and the Rose farmhouse, overlooks much of the battlefield of the second day from its low rise between Cemetery and Seminary Ridges at Gettysburg. (Click image for larger view).

Monday, October 20, 2008

116th Pennsylvania of the Irish Brigade - Gettysburg

The monument to the 116th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry stands on the Loop at the Stony Hill at Gettysburg, where it had been sent into action at the Wheatfield on the second day at Gettysburg. The monument depicts a Irish Brigade member at rest along a stone fence, exactly as described by the unit's commander, Major St. Clair A. Mulholland, who came upon the young faced-casualty and remembered the scene vividly despite the roar and confusion of the fighting. He described the dead man as laying at peace, face turned to the sun, appearing relaxed with only a small bullet wound to the head to give evidence of his fate. (Click image for larger view).