Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lieutenant General James Longstreet

You won't find many memorials on the Gettysburg Battlefield more engaging than this of Lieutenant General James Longstreet. Second-in-command to General Lee, Longstreet did not agree with Lee's idea to launch an assault on the center line of Union forces arrayed along Cemetery Ridge. He strongly advised against it, predicting massive casualties for the troops who must cross nearly an open mile of pasture to reach the enemy line.  However, Lee was convinced that the Union force would be weakest at the center and ordered Longstreet to launch the attack, which is  known as "Pickett's Charge," for one of the generals, under Longstreet, who led the infantry assault.

 On a sunny day with high light and dark shadow, you might imagine this horse and rider to be flesh and blood, so dynamic is their pose.  And I guarantee that your response to this pair will be visceral.

I hope you soon get to visit Gettysburg to experience the thrill of this and so many other remarkable memorials.

Till then . . .

Georgia Anne

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Little Round Top and Devil's Den

Little Round Top is a rocky hill south of Gettysburg where the Union (left flank) repelled a Confederate attack on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, July 2, 1863.  Those who have seen the 1993 movie Gettysburg will recall Jeff Daniels' convincing portrayal of Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamblerlain, who courageously defended the flank, charging downhill with his men, bayonets raised because their ammunition was spent.  But one man and his company (the 20th Maine) did not themselves win the hill for the Union. Some, like Brigadier General Stephen Weed,  commanding the 91st Pennsylvania's brigade, were mortally wounded while defending it.   

No one knows whose bullet struck and mortally wounded Weed, but some speculate that it came from one of the Confederate sharpshooters hiding within rocks and crevices of Devil's Den.  (I took both images in February 2012.)  Stories abound about the fates of those men locked in battle--the Confederate sharpshooters below firing upon the Union officers and men above.  I found one such  at the Web site, Devil's Den: A History and A Guide, by Gary E. Adleman and Timothy H. Smith:

"In July 1865, the laying of the cornerstone for the Soldiers Monument in the National Cemetery attracted a large crowd of visitors to Gettysburg. A few of the reporters covering the event took this opportunity to visit the battlefield.  Lorenzo L. Crounse of the New York Times wrote:

In front of [Little Round Top] is the little valley, rendered moist by a stagnant brook: the "Devil's Den," a remarkable upheaval of enormous rocks, forming a cavern a hundred feet long, and large enough to admit a man; through this runs a trickling stream, and here our poor wounded men crawled during the battle for water and safety, only to meet their death by drowning when the rains of the night suddenly swelled this stream to a torrent from which there was no escape. A dozen bodies were afterward taken from a huge crevice, where they had been left by the receding waters.3"
For more such compelling reports, visit the History and Guide at

Until next time . . .

Georgia Anne

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Talking with the Generals

Today: April 3, 2013  One year ago, I posted this entry to another of my blogs (26 Years to Live).  I mention this because once again I find that the week has slipped by and I'm not prepared with a new post.  Thus please indulge me and accept this post, exactly one year old today.

One Year Ago:
Recently friends visited and I showed them parts of the Gettysburg battlefield. I'm sharing a photo (taken by my friend Ingrid) of re-enactors playing the roles of various generals at the battle of Little Round Top, where this photo was taken. I believe the gentlemen to the left was playing Brig. General Weed, who died defending Little Round Top.

(Writing today on April 3, 2013, I'd like to add a note to this information. General Weed was shot while defending Little Round Top but did not die until the next day.  Like other wounded soldiers, he was taken to Jacob Weikert's Farm, which had become a field hospital. Recently I've been commenting on the book Tillie Pierce: Teen Eyewitness to the Battle of Gettysburg (by Tanya Anderson), so it bears mentioning that during her stay at this same farm, Tillie spoke with Weed before he died.)

Back to last year . . . .
To get "up to speed" on the Gettysburg battle, I first watched the movie Gettysburg (1993) directed by Ronald F. Maxell, which is based on the book by Michael Shaara, The Killer Angels. I'm currently reading the book and am enjoying it immensely, especially having been first introduced to the main "players" in this battle, our nation's most significant in casualties (51,000).

I am fortunate to have moved to Gettysburg, to be surrounded by the now serene fields where 150 years so many lost their lives. To learn what these men fought for, how they fought, and how they died is humbling. And I daily recognize that the land over which I gaze is sacred ground.

Till next time . . .

Georgia Anne Butler