Saturday, July 05, 2008

Gettysburg - The First Day

Picture: Gettysburg Times - July 5, 2008

"The Devil's to pay..." General John Buford's words to General John Reynolds as Reynolds looks up to the Lutheran Seminary's cupola where Buford is watching advancing Confederate troops west of Gettysburg. Reynolds is the Wing Commander of the Army of the Potomac and had ridden ahead of his troops after receiving word that Buford's calvary had engaged the enemy.

Reynolds: "Can you hold them, John?"
Buford: "I reckon we can."

Reynolds then rode back to bring up his First Corps Infantry and the Battle of Gettysburg had begun on July 1, 1863 - the largest battle every fought on the Northern Hemisphere. A battle that ended on July 3 with the disastrous Longstreet Advance ("Pickett's Charge") from the Confederate position west of the Emmitsburg Road, across one mile of open fields and up to the waiting Union troops atop Cemetery Ridge.

The 145th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg brought out thousands of reenactors for the First Day's Battle. I've been going to Gettysburg reenactments for ten years and this was the largest one. There seemed to be more reenactors on the field than in the movie "Gettysburg".

I admire the dedication and professionalism of the men and women who keep history alive.


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