150th Gettysburg Sojourn, part 13

We had a musket inspection, and the officers checked to see if we had water in our canteens and enough cartridges and caps. This time we didn’t stack arms and wait for 30 minutes. We marched out and down that steep hill to the place we had been fighting during the morning. We traversed over a long field in battle line, sent out skirmishers, and kept advancing toward a line of trees. Yanks were all over the hills in front of us as we pushed forward.

Sojourn 13 Union reenactors from Missouri

The skirmishers were recalled and we halted and fired by companies. It sounded awesome. We advanced to the tree line and pushed past it into a field. We halted and fired a series of volleys again. The battalion on our right had advanced with us, and we both moved up toward a line of Union troops. I really feel sorry for the Union reenactors during the summer. Their dark blue uniforms make them a lot hotter than our butternut and light gray uniforms.

We continued the move up toward their lines. We were told to start taking casualties and some of the men started falling when the Yanks fired their volleys.
We were told to retreat and moved back down the hill and reformed near the tree line again. We moved back into the field where we had started and threw out skirmishers again. The unit to our right stayed at the tree line and fired at the Yanks.

I witnessed a mass Union charge by one of their battalions against our unit that had stayed in the tree line. It was reminiscent of the type of Union charges that had occurred at Spotsylvania. The Yanks came yelling down the hill in a column of companies. I thought they were going to hit our boys and there was going to be some actual hand to hand combat (which has happened to me at a reenactment before). However, they stopped and our unit quickly retreated. The Yanks in front of our unit advanced to the tree line and fired at us. We returned fire, but they didn’t advance past the tree line. They outnumbered us two to one and I thought they would surely push us back, but they didn’t.

At that point the sun had just gone down, and we headed back up that steep hill to camp. We arrived in camp and I was pooped. It was too late to clean my weapon, so I just lay down and went to sleep.

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About Civil War Reflections

Vernon has been a Civil War buff since childhood, but had been inactive in Civil War history for over two decades. However, in the early 1990s his interest was rekindled after watching Ken Burns’ “Civil War Documentary” on PBS. He particularly became interested in the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) and decided to learn more about this epic struggle.
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