January 25, 2010

Trip to Gettysburg

Yesterday, some of my Civil War reenacting company and I went to the Gettysburg Battlefield. Some of the guys went because, although they had been to the town of Gettysburg, they had never been on the battlefield! We took the opportunity to find out specifics of where our historical company would have been during the battle and the routes that they took.

It is amazing looking at the battlefield, pictures cannot convey the vastness and the distances. It was raining but no one really cared and we had a great time, although our feet were cold. 

During the fight on Big Round Top, this wall was just about as far as most of the 3rd Arkansas advanced. From this picture, you truly can't see how steep this climb really is. Many of the rocks on the hill are the size of cars.

The 3rd Arkansas had 479 men in the battle, It only lost 41 men directly, 101 were wounded and 40 were missing or captured.

We spent most of our time at Big Round Top, Andy read a few pages out of the 3rd Arkansas' Regimental history. It was really neat to hear about what our company would have been doing while seeing what they were seeing.

 This is a photograph of the "sharpshooter" position at Devil's Den. This was a confederate held position and is best known for the famous Alexander Gardener photograph of a dead confederate "sharpshooter." Most scholars agree that the photograph was staged, as many photographs were during the war. Many believe that the photographers moved the body to this location on a blanket to create a more dramatic photograph. Nothing indicates that that soldier was really a sharpshooter, he is photographed with a regular rifle.

Alexander Gardener commented in a book he wrote, that he saw this particular body and rifle a few months after the battle, still unburied. This was very unlikely as many relic hunters scoured the battlefield in search of souvenirs. The fact that the photographers photographed this body numerous times may indicate that most of the bodies had already been buried and they were running out of subjects. The same body seems to be photographed in both photos below.
*Note: The Alexander Gardener photographs are from the Library of Congress.

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