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July 4, 2013

Remembering the Battle of Gettysburg

A local soldier's eyewitness account

(Continued)

The picture there presented was one to be ever remembered. The exultant rebels crossed the Run and came well up the slope, where, meeting the withering fire of the battery (and the major’s), they faltered and finally fell back; the sun was just setting, its rays lighted up the smoke which hung heavily in our front with a lurid glare, in which the rebels were running hither and thither loading and firing, all making an unnatural scene which brought to mind the hot place we read about, the rebels appearing like the devil’s imps dancing in the sulphurous smoke of the bottomless pit.

July 3, 1863: Our local boys of the 19th Regiment Company C prepare for another day of battle, unaware that General Robert E. Lee is about to launch an attack, later known as “Pickett’s Charge,” aimed directly at their position.

On the 3rd we were aroused long before day and kept awake until morning broke fine and clear. No great fuss was made about breakfast; we did not expect rations until after the battle was settled. Firing was heard at different points but the 2nd corps was not disturbed until afternoon.

The day being extremely hot, many of the men improvised shelters by inverting their muskets with the stuck bayonets in the ground, thus making posts of them to which by means of the hammers, pieces of shelter tents or blankets were made fast.

Some of the officers who were fortunate enough to have secured some grub joined in a dinner party directly in the rear of Co. C.

About 1 o’clock, just as they had got through eating and had risen, a gun was heard in our front, in a second or two a round cannon shot came bounding diagonally over the ridge like a rubber ball; Corporal Hall was in the rear a short distance, and had he not dodged down the ball would have struck him in the head. In a second there was another report and a second shot came over from the same direction, and following the same course.

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