150th Gettysburg Sojourn, part 19

Trying to beat the heat at Gettysburg

Trying to beat the heat at Gettysburg

We marched at the Route Step – which means we can carry our muskets any way we want to as long as we don’t hit a comrade inadvertently, and also we don’t have to keep cadence. Shuffling down the gravel farm road, we reach the place where we had deposited our knapsacks. We halt and stack arms.

Our water wagons are there, and we have a canteen detail of three of our men get water for us. One of our water wagons is drawn by draft horses and the other one by mules. The one that is on site today is drawn by draft horses.

We all drain our newly filled canteens and go back individually for more water. It is about 4:30PM, and the heat of the day has reached a crescendo. We all lie down to rest for a time.

I find out that one of our men has a sprained ankle and we call a medic to look at it. He is told he can go to the hospital; or they can wrap it, and he can hobble around on it. He elects to get it wrapped and takes one of the cold compresses the medic offers.

He is one of the eight that came up with us from Arkansas, so I talk him into going to the van in which he traveled and stay there overnight. He can elevate the ankle to keep the swelling down and relax in a van’s captain chair. We get the key to the van, and I transport his equipment. We gingerly walk to the van. I deposit his equipment at the van and make sure he is okay with a promise to come back later.

Once I get back to the unit, we begin to ‘cooter up to go to our new campsite for the night. Originally, we were told we would have an assault of Culp’s Hill tonight, but we have been hearing that we really wouldn’t…so we really didn’t know what was going to take place. As always, there are so many rumors you hear when in the army.

We don our knapsacks, along with all our other paraphernalia, and head out for our last night of sleeping under the stars.

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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