Friday, August 17, 2007

Scenes From Gettysburg: Cemetary Ridge

The view from Cemetary Ridge. In the distance you can see the Virginia Monument.

The copse of trees. This was the focal point of Pickett's assault

The Angle. The Confederates briefly broke the Union line at this point.

The Pennsylvania Monument. For the only time of the war the Pennsylvanians fought to defend their own land. It could be argued this extra measure of incentive invigorated the previously demoralized Army of the Potomac. Noted commanders George Meade and Winfield Scott Hancock were both from Pennsylvania.

From their position behind the stone wall, the Federals watched in amazement as the long gray line of Confederates approached their position. As if in parade, the divisions of Pickett, Pettigrew and Trimble approached and then crossed the Emmitsburg Road. Soon, the Federal cannons, some loaded with double grapeshot, opened tearing huge holes in the lines. Still the gray wave came forward.

Considered by some to be the Confederate "high water mark", the brigade of Brigadier General Lewis Armistead reached the section of the wall known as "The Angle" and briefly breached the Federal line. General Hancock quickly rushed re-inforcements in the breach and Armistead's Virginians, having no support, fell back. As the assault began to fail, the Union infantry began taking prisoners over the wall, one even remarking as he pulled his counterpart from the hellish fury, "come over to the side of the Lord".

The assault broke as rapidly as it peaked with Confederate soldiers streaming back across the field. Pickett's division suffered almost 80% loss and every regimental commander was either wounded or killed. It was so completely ruined, it would participate in no major action for 18 months.

With the shattering of the attack, any chance of Lee achieving victory also dissolved. Following a quiet 4th of July interrupted only by a cannon salute by the Federals, Lee withdrew his damaged army and returned to Virginia. It would be the last time a Confederate force of any size set foot in a Northern state.


EHT said...

What a wonderful travel log!

Thank you so much for sharing your images. They make for a terrific read and view for those of us who are unable to get there.

It looks so peaceful order to get students to truly understand what happened there you really have to add all of the the various stories. I could spend a month teaching Gettysburg alone.:)

Cousin Pat said...

Beautiful stuff.

Open+Transparent said...

Good stuff. I was born in Pennsy. People don't realize how rural it is. Take away Philly and Pittsburgh, and it's not much different than most mid-western states. Some beautiful vistas to see. Quiet and peaceful.

I think Pennsy is the oldest state when it comes to its citizenship. Great to still see farms, old covered bridges, the Amish, etc.