150th Gettysburg Sojourn, part 18

We begin to scream the Rebel Yell, and men begin to fall all around me. Our Battalion halts and we are given the order to fall back. We have about 60% of the men we started out with.

We reform about 40 yards down the hill and trade volleys with the Yanks.

Then we are given the order to advance again. Up swells the Rebel Yell from our ranks, and more men go down. We are at about 45% of our original strength.

I am at the end of the line, and as we approach closer to the wood line, I take a hit and go down. Our battalion has halted and is still trading volleys with the Union Line.

Some of us get up and begin to move down the hill hobbling, as if wounded, and we pick up others doing the same. At the base of the hill, we stop and reform. The battle scenario is over and the rest of our men join us.

Team of mules pulling our water wagon

Team of mules pulling our water wagon

We began looking for our mule drawn water wagons. We mistake a Georgia unit’s wagons for our own, which are further down the field, and so we have to walk further to get our unit’s water.

We stand around filling canteens for awhile until all our water wagons run dry.

We are all tired, soaked in sweat, and definitely hot. A few have had to sit down under the shade of trees and take it easy, rather than get heat exhaustion.

I look back up the grassy hill at the wood line we advanced toward today and think again about the boulder-strewn hillside our ancestors tried to take 150 years ago and got shot all to pieces in the attempt. I just hope they look down on us and understand that, in our feeble way, we are giving thanks to them for their courage and bravery.

We are finally called to reform, and it is a bunch of foot-sore, tired, grizzled Rebs who begin to march back to get their packs.

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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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