150th Gettysburg Sojourn, part 16

Union artillery at 150th Gettysburg.  Photo credit: Barbara Haddock Taylor/Baltimore Sun

Union artillery at 150th Gettysburg. Photo credit: Barbara Haddock Taylor/Baltimore Sun

There were no clouds in the sky, and the heat rolled in on us as we marched toward the battle ground. Our long sleeve shirts under our frock coats were completely soaked with sweat. We took off our hats to catch any breeze we could and to cool off our noggins.

We stopped near a water tanker on the way to the battlefield, Stacked Arms, and had a canteen detail go get water for our unit. We all sat down and rested in the shade of some trees. Joe began to sing, and some of us joined in. They were old songs that boatmen sang on the rivers back in the 19th Century. Joe is a veritable song encyclopedia for the 1860’s.

After about 20 minutes we were called back into formation, Unstacked Arms, and began our trek anew. During the march we passed by Ms. Bushey’s house. She was on her porch along with some of her family members. As we marched by we all called out and thanked her for allowing us to have the reenactment on her property.

We approached a broad field in a column of four soldiers abreast. Our Brigade Commander gave the order for our Battalion to maneuver into a battalion battle line, which would bring our four companies into a battle line of two ranks of about 100 men shoulder to shoulder. This was echoed by our Battalion Commander, and we went quickly and efficiently into a battle line.

A tree line was to our front, and once we got to the tree line, we had to break up our formation to get through the trees. But once on the other side, we swiftly went back into line. Our Battalion Flag was waiving in a slight breeze that had started blowing. We raised the Rebel Yell.

Looking up the hill, we could see Yanks in the tree line at the top of the hill. They also had one cannon off to our right flank that kept firing at us.

As I looked up the hill I tried to picture the rocky terrain over which our ancestors tried to advance instead of the grassy hillside before us.



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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