Jul 8, 2013

Battle of Boonsboro

 

(Wikipedia) The Battle of Boonsboro took place on July 8, 1863, in Washington County, Maryland, as part of the Retreat from Gettysburg during the Gettysburg Campaign of the American Civil War. While Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia retreated toward Virginia following its defeat in the Battle of Gettysburg, Confederate cavalry held the South Mountain passes. The cavalry fought a rearguard action against elements of the Union 1st and 3rd Cavalry Divisions and supporting infantry. This action was one of a series of successive cavalry engagements around Boonsboro, Hagerstown, and Williamsport. Continued
 
Pictured: Earthworks in Lee's Potomac line (Last stand of the Army of Virginia, commanded by General Lee), painting by Edwin Forbes.
 

Jul 4, 2013

Fight at Monterey Pass



(Wikipedia) The Fight at Monterey Pass (or Gap) was an American Civil War military engagement beginning the evening of July 4, 1863, during the Retreat from Gettysburg. A Confederate wagon train of Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell's Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, withdrew after the Battle of Gettysburg, and Union cavalry under Brig. Gen. H. Judson Kilpatrick attacked the retreating Confederate column. After a lengthy delay in which a small detachment of Maryland cavalrymen delayed Kilpatrick's division, the Union cavalrymen captured numerous Confederate prisoners and destroyed hundreds of wagons. Continued

The Goddess of Liberty


"There would be floats in the morning and the one that got the eye was the Goddess of Liberty. She was supposed to be the most wholesome and prettiest girl in the countryside — if she wasn't she had friends who thought she was. But the rest of us weren't always in agreement on that…Following the float would be the Oregon Agricultural College cadets, and some kind of a band. Sometimes there would be political effigies.
Just before lunch - and we'd always hold lunch up for an hour - some Senator or lawyer would speak. These speeches always had one pattern. First the speaker would challenge England to a fight and berate the King and say that he was a skunk. This was known as twisting the lion's tail. Then the next theme was that any one could find freedom and liberty on our shores. The speaker would invite those who were heavy laden in other lands to come to us and find peace. The speeches were pretty fiery and by that time the men who drank got into fights and called each other Englishmen.
In the afternoon we had what we called the 'plug uglies' — funny floats and clowns who took off on the political subjects of the day…The Fourth was the day of the year that really counted then. Christmas wasn't much; a Church tree or something, but no one twisted the lion's tail." - Nettie Spencer

Jul 3, 2013

Pickett's Charge

 
“For every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it's still not yet two o’clock on that July afternoon in 1863, the brigades are in position behind the rail fence, the guns are laid and ready in the woods and the furled flags are already loosened to break out and Pickett himself with his long oiled ringlets and his hat in one hand probably and his sword in the other looking up the hill waiting for Longstreet to give the word and it's all in the balance, it hasn't happened yet, it hasn't even begun yet, it not only hasn't begun yet but there is still time for it not to begin against that position and those circumstances which made more men than Garnett and Kemper and Armistead and Wilcox look grave yet it's going to begin, we all know that, we have come too far with too much at stake and that moment doesn't need even a fourteen-year-old boy to think This time. Maybe this time with all this much to lose and all this much to gain: Pennsylvania, Maryland, the world, the golden dome of Washington itself to crown with desperate and unbelievable victory the desperate gamble, the cast made two years ago.”

– William Faulkner

Image: Pickett's Charge from a position on the Confederate line looking toward the Union lines, Ziegler's Grove on the left, clump of trees on right, painting by Edwin Forbes 

Jul 2, 2013

Battle of Gettysburg - The Second Day

  The men who fought there

Were the tired fighters, the hammered, the weather-beaten,

The very hard-dying men.

They came and died

And came again and died and stood there and died,

Till at last the angle was crumpled and broken in…

Wheatfield and orchard bloody and trampled and taken,

And Hood's tall Texans sweeping on toward the Round Tops…

- Stephen Vincent Benet, John Brown's Body