Gettysburg: July 2nd Part Two

Culp's HillOnce we finished at the museums we headed out on a Circle Tour of the Gettysburg Battlefield, which isn’t a single field, but basically the whole area around the city of Gettysburg. The first place we stopped at and got off the bus was below Culps Hill.  Here we heard the story of the 27th Indiana Infantry Unit that tried to take the hill and were basically slaughtered.  The thing that really got me at this site was that the orders got mixed up and instead of a couple of soldiers going up to basically see how far they could get; the person delivering the orders got it mixed up and said that the whole group was supposed to attack the hill.  The confederates had the high ground and were dug in amongst the trees and rocks.

CircleTourRededication-0851This marker tells the tale and marks the furthest spot the Indiana boys got to. It was in an open field maybe about 50 yards from the base of the hill area where the Confederates were.  From there we went up onto Culps Hill and learned about the fighting there from our excellent Guide John Cox. John would tell the story so well that the story seemed to come alive right before our eyes. Continuing on the tour we got to see Oak Ridge and McPherson Ridge and fields where battles were fought. We saw places like The Peach Orchard; The Wheatfield; Little Round Top; and Devil’s Den.

We didn’t get to get out and walk around any of the above sites, but I put links to them so you can see what happened at each site and who was at each one…pretty intense fighting. If I ever get back to Gettysburg, I think I’ll visit those places first. The reason we didn’t stop at these sites was that we ran out of time. We had to get to the Minnesota Monument at the site of the charge at Plum Run.

CircleTourRededication-0921This is a close up shot of the statue on top of the memorial to the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

CircleTourRededication-0943I saw this and just had to get the image, an image of peacefulness represented by the Bluebird perched at the tip of the bayonet. This is the site where, on July 2nd, 1863 – the men of the First Minnesota saved the Union by charging across an open field for about 200 yards with fixed bayonets towards Wilcox’s Alabama Brigade, even though they were outnumbered five to one.  General Hancock had just given them the orders: “Take Those Colors!” referring to the mass of Confederate soldiers advancing and ready to break the Union’s line.  The First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment suffered over 80% casualties holding the line and repulsing all those Confederates.  This set up General Lee’s desperate attempt the next day to finally break the Union lines with what is known as Pickett’s Charge. More on that later.  The following images are from the re-dedication of this monument.

First Minnesota Monument Rededication-0948First Minnesota Monument Re-dedicationA large crowd is gathered for the re-dedication.

March Down To Plum RunFirst Minnesota Re-Enactors marching the open field leading to Plum Run.

CircleTourRededication-1017The First Minnesota re-enactors marching to meet a contingent from Alabama.

CircleTourRededication-1049Generals from Minnesota’s and Alabama’s State National Guard Armies met on the battle field and exchanged gifts in a gesture of friendliness and in honor of the memory of both side’s soldiers.

Cannon at Plum RunI couldn’t pass up this photo op!  This was one of several Cannons lined up at this spot in the open field to Plum Run.

First Minnesota Re-Enactors Standing Proud At The MonumentFirst Minnesota Re-Enactors proudly posing around the Monument to the First Minnesota after the re-dedication.

Finally, while back in Gettysburg attending our evening banquet…Secretary of State Mark Ritchie had just made a comment about this being the exact moment 150 years ago that the battle started at Plum Run. As he was saying that, someone in the group saw this and pointed it out to me. I sprinted out the door, down about 30 stairs and out the door to get the shot:

Rainbow At the Exact Time of the BattleWhat a day!


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