We spent most of Day 8 on an interesting, but long tour of Days 2 and 3 at Gettysburg.
Some of the highlights:
- 1st Minnesota: As much as it pains me as a Packer fan to give credit to anything Minnesota… The 1st Minnesota and their countercharge towards swarms of oncoming Confederates is truly incredible. Here we focused on one soldier, Charlie Goddard and his story before, during and after the war.
- 20th Maine: Here Colonel Joshua Chamberlain anchored the far left of the Union’s fishhook and withstood a withering series of attacks on the wooded slopes of Little Round Top. He also conducted perhaps my favorite charge of the war when he swung his men like a “barn door hinge” down at the charging Rebels which created a simultaneous frontal assault and flanking maneuver.
- Lewis Armistead: Commanding his brigade in Pickett’s Charge, Armistead placed his black hat on his sword, raised it overhead and shouted, “Remember what you are fighting for – your homes, your friends, your sweethearts!” Where he broke the Yankee lines on Cemetery Ridge is called the ‘high-water mark’ of the Confederacy.
- At various parts of the field we discussed soldiers who did not perform “heroically” for one reason or another. I participated in an interesting tour at the Future of Civil War History Conference this past March where a Gettysburg College professor explained different reasons for soldier cowardice at Gettysburg. We discussed these individual scenarios and found they were as complicated as the battlefields on which they fought.
- Yankee General Daniel Sickles and Confederate Richard Ewell both made controversial decisions (click on their names for more on their controversies) during the 3 days at Gettysburg. To their respective sides, these general’s decisions had rather unfortunate results.
What this day on the field taught me is that on the next CW Adventure we need to hire a guide as we did at Antietam and focus on one part of the field. My initial thought is to tour the Day 2 battles in the Peach Orchard and Wheat Field and perhaps focus on the Confederate experiences there.
I believe the highlights of the day came when Mr. Collier and I enjoyed pumpkin fritters at the historic Farnsworth House, the group visited the field where a hobbled Barton Mitchell made an ill fated charge near Culps Hill and our evening visit to the Gettysburg National Cemetery (see next and final Adventure post).