Friday, December 5, 2008
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).
Thursday, December 4, 2008
One of several stones marking the unknown burials at Gettysburg National Cemetery marks a large group of anonymous graves. Of the 3512 Union battle dead buried there, nearly one quarter were interred without identification. (Click image for larger view).
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
The New York State Monument stands over graves in the National Cemetery at Gettysburg. Only Pennsylvania supplied more troops at the battle, but the New Yorkers suffered the greatest number of casualties: 6,700 killed, wounded or missing out of 23,000 soldiers on hand. (Click image for larger view).
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
A cannon points at Confederate positions from the Union-held crest of Little Round Top, scene of fighting on the second day at Gettysburg. Gun crews struggled to push their weapons to the top of the hill as both sides met at what had been just a short time before a virtually unoccupied position. The next day, the artillery here would be put to use before and during the distant Pickett's Charge. (Click image for larger view).
Monday, December 1, 2008
Robert E. Lee looks out over the field of Pickett's Charge from his favorite mount, Traveller, in their depiction atop the Virginia State Memorial at Gettysburg. Its sculptor, Frederick William Sievers, must have considered his commission to create the largest Confederate monument at Gettysburg to be a high point of his career. But it was by no means his last Rebel effort: Sievers was responsible for crafting numerous Confederate memorials throughout the South. And though the Virginia State Memorial was dedicated in 1917, its sculptor lived to see the centennial of the battle before dying at age 93 in 1966. (Click image for larger view).