PIckett’s Charge Map – Click Image for larger view (at the Civil War Trust website).
The morning of July 3, 1863 began with an assault on Culp’s Hill, but General Meade had ordered troops back to Culp’s Hill to fortify Union ranks. By 11 am, the Union forces regained lost ground. The Confederate assault at Culp’s Hill was stymied. General George Edward Pickett’s brigade, having the only fresh troops on day three of the battle, was ordered, under General James Longstreet’s command, to assault the weakened center of the Union line. Confederate artillery commenced firing on Union troops on Cemetery Ridge at approximately 1 pm. Union cannons answered this bombardment with a cannonade of their own. At 3 pm, the battlefield quieted and the order to begin the infamous “Pickett’s Charge” across a mile of open battlefield towards a “copse of trees” was given.
Originally positioned at the rear of the brigade, General Lewis Addison Armistead, a Confederate from North Carolina, led his men forward during the charge. Union cannon began to fire at the advancing Confederate Army, mowing down as many as 20 Confederate troops at a time, as it advanced towards Cemetery Ridge. General Armistead’s “support troops” filled in the gaps and, eventually, ended up in the front of the Confederate charge.
Devils Den, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (c1909) – Location of intensive fighting on Day 2 (July 2, 1863) of the Battle of Gettysburg in the American Civil War.
Photo Courtesy of the Library of Congress Archives.
I’ve been to the Gettysburg battlefield in Pennsylvania twice (so far) in my lifetime. Once in 1999 with my family and again in 2005 with my old, college roommates at my insistence. Both times, I’ve really enjoyed myself there. The historical significance of the Gettysburg Battlefield alone is really inspiring. And, of course, the ample graveyards and ghost stories really made me feel at home.
You have to spend at least a day in Gettysburg. The battlefield is so extensive it takes a whole day to do a self guided car tour– if you see everything from Iverson’s Pits, the Roundtops, the Devil’s Den, the Triangular Field, and Culp’s Hill (among other places). The visitor centers, cemeteries, and museums are really engaging too. Probably the most notable thing about this battlefield is the documentation of the battle and the National Park’s efforts to restore the battlefield to how it looked those three fateful days in 1863. In the years since I’ve been to Gettysburg, they’ve removed trees where there were none and planted trees and orchards where they once stood. Something about the atmosphere and the terrible amounts of men who met their untimely demise on the field of battle in Gettysburg calls to the dead– though the official park stance on the paranormal is that they have no stance on the paranormal.
Set in the farmlands of Central Louisiana, sits a modest two and a half-storey house built by William Lloyd of the Lloyd’s of London insurance dynasty. It is surrounded today by 640 acres of working farm land, though the plantation is a bed and breakfast inn.
Nestled in the Southern Rocky Mountains, in the north-central part of New Mexico lies a battlefield that is known as the Gettysburg of the West. While the bulk of the Civil War occurred east of the Mississippi River, there were a few skirmishes scattered throughout the rest of the country, but the largest took place at Glorieta Pass along the Santa Fe Trail, just east of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Scattered around the cemetery are many monuments to those men who lost their lives in the Civil War. Although the cemetery opened seven years after the War ended, there are plenty of individuals whose families brought them back to New Orleans for internment. Near the Moriarty monument stands a tumulus – a place of burial built into a hillside or earthen mound – dedicated to the Army of Tennessee, Louisiana Division. Atop the hill stands a statue of General Albert Sidney Johnston astride his horse Fire Eater. On a pedestal at ground level at the entrance to the tomb is a Confederate soldier calling the roll of the honoured dead. A total of 48 soldiers are interred within this mound.
A corporal in the 87th Pennsylvania expires from wounds during the Second Battle of Winchester while a Major General for the Union in the American Civil War is marching towards the little town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Neither of the men have met before, but what they share in life makes a better tragedy than any writing of Shakespeare’s because their true stories are written in the annals of history.