Nov 25, 2007

Md. man unearths answer to Civil War mystery

(AP) - The Civil War spawned countless human narratives, each seemingly more heart-wrenching than the last. But few of those narratives matched the drama surrounding the final moments of Confederate Col. Isaac Erwin Avery. The date was July 2, 1863, the opening day of the Battle of Gettysburg. Avery's North Carolina unit was ordered to attack a heavily fortified Union position on East Cemetery Hill. Leading the charge on a white horse, Avery was struck in the neck by a musket ball.
As he lay dying, a close friend, Maj. Samuel McDowell, managed to reach Avery's side. So badly wounded that he was unable to speak, Avery dipped the point of a stick or some other sharp object into his blood and scratched out on a piece of paper his last words, "Major, tell my father I died with my face to the enemy." Continued

Images courtesy of Ethan F. Bishop