Wednesday, March 11, 2009
'Will you hold it?' - Gettysburg
The monument to Union General Winfield Scott Hancock on East Cemetery Hill at Gettysburg pictures the Second Corps commander in an active pose, reaching out a steadying hand. His arrival there late on the opening day of battle helped assure the Union would secure its position after being soundly beaten back by Confederates. Taking command of the field, he rode the lines, making preparation for defense of the gathering army's newest position. "My corps is on the way, but will not be here in time. This position should be held at all hazards. Now, Colonel, can you hold it?" he asked of Col. Orland Smith, a brigade commander. "I think I can," was his reply. This did not satisfy Hancock. "Will you hold it?" he asked again, his tone doubtlessly changing. "I will," Smith replied. (Click image for larger view).