150th Gettysburg Sojourn, part 22

We raise the Rebel Yell again and begin moving forward. Somebody behind me shoots their musket, and I can feel the vibration and pressure go by my head. I decide to take a hit and I fall down. I don’t want to actually get injured due to the unsafe firing of a musket.

Our unit pulls back down the hill. After they leave, I began to hobble down behind them as if I am wounded.

We reform again and go back up the hill. Screaming the Rebel Yell, we surge forward in battalion line at a shuffled run. I suddenly realize that I am actually keeping up with all the young men. I feel like a million dollars. I am pushing my body like I use to do in 2012 before getting ill at the beginning of 2013. I am back to my old self. I have a feeling of elation that runs through my soul.

We continue up the hill and are halted. We fire a few volleys and are told to fire at will. We begin to fire our muskets as quickly as we can. The barrel on my musket is so hot I can’t touch it. I have to use the leather strap that runs from the trigger guard up to the upper part of the stock to hold the musket so I can pour powder down the barrel. After awhile, we retreat down the hill, cross the rock wall, and reform. Our boys that have taken hits come and join us.

As one last act of rebellion, and to clear our weapons from the battle, we are told to load and come to the ready. We are going to volley fire by battalion. Up to this time only our four companies have volley fired.

The adrenaline hits another crescendo. We all want this to be perfect. We just have to have it sound like one rifle firing multiplied by 125.

Our Colonel yells, “Fire by Battalion. Ready. Aim. Fire!”

The bombastic sound is almost like a section of cannon going off. It echoes across the valley behind us. We have done it! Not one musket fired too late or too soon. The Colonel yells, “Wonderful”. We scream the Rebel Yell to the top of our lungs. We are Hood’s Texas Brigade, and there ain’t no unit that’s any better.

Monument to Gen. J.B. Hood's Texas Brigade at Gettysburg

Monument to Gen. J.B. Hood’s Texas Brigade

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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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