150th Gettysburg Sojourn, Part 31

150th Gettysburg Pickett's Charge Reenactment

Just as I thought we were going to be flanked and all shot down with enfiladed fire, the battalion in front of us wheeled to meet the Yankee unit.

We were free to advance to the stone wall against the Yanks.

Once we were unmasked, the Yanks started to fire volleys at us. Our men started to go down. We fired one volley and were ordered to Charge Bayonets. Of course, we didn’t have our bayonets fixed on our muskets, but we acted as if we did.

We began a surge forward, trying to keep a straight line. With the entire cannonade, musketry and officers yelling orders, it was a mad house!

My pards continued to go down around me, and within about 15 yards from the Yankee stone wall, I heard the shot that was meant for me.

I hit the sod.

Once on the ground, I played dead for a few minutes. Then, I did the unforgivable and got out a camcorder to take some videos. Once I put the camcorder back in my frock coat, I raised up again to see what the spectacle looked like around me.

How do you describe chaos?

Yanks were firing volleys. A multitude of “dead” Rebels were lying everywhere within 50 yards of the Yankee stone wall. Confederates in small pockets still fired on the Yanks, but for all practical purposes, the Charge was over.

I can imagine that once the Rebs had braved Union artillery fire on their march to Emmitsburg Road, climbed the fence, and been subject to Union musketry in the open field — Pickett’s Charge stalled to a halt in just a matter of minutes. The longest time and greatest effort was spent simply getting to Emmitsburg Road!

The death and destruction inflicted by the Union forces was enormous.

Our reenactment numbers — though small in comparison — gave each of us a sample of what they endured 150 years ago.

Now we had to execute our plan for a timely departure from the reenactors’ parking lot.

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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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