If you’ve read my newest book, The Rivers of Sorrow, then you know that a major part of the story is centered around the Battle of Gettysburg. July 1-3 is the 155th Anniversary of that horrific fight. In memory of those who lost their lives there, I present to you 10 totally random facts about this small, Pennsylvania town. (I actually used to live about 20 minutes from there!)
1. The roads leading into Gettysburg form the shape of wagon wheel spokes. With the town at the very center, it is very easy to spot the fun shape of the landscape. This feature attributed to the armies meeting and fighting at Gettysburg.
2. Col. Rufus Dawes, a Union soldier commanding one of the Iron Brigade regiments, was a descendant of William Dawes. In case this name does not ring a bell, William Dawes is one of our Patriot forefathers who rode the midnight ride with Paul Revere 😊 One can’t help but wonder what William would have thought about Rufus fighting his fellow countrymen…
3. John Wesley Culp died on his relative’s land. John was a member of the 2nd Virginia Regiment, Stonewall Brigade, and was killed on Culp’s Hill on July 3rd, 1863. It is believed that the hill was named after an uncle of John’s.
4. At Gettysburg, the Wheatfield proved dangerous for a Sickle. Union General Daniel Sickle, after disobeying orders and moving his men into the field, was shot in the Wheatfield and lost his leg as a result. He survived to become the military dictator of North Carolina following the war.
5. Prior to the battle, when the Confederate troops marched through town for the first time, some girls met them with flowers and pieces of cake. If circumstances were reversed, I don’t think I could have done that 😊
6. At least one black Confederate was at the Battle of Gettysburg! According to the book, The South Was Right! by Walter and James Kennedy, a black soldier marched a yankee prisoner down the streets of Gettysburg, much to the surprise of the population. Seems this man didn’t buy into the Emancipation Proclamation propaganda 😊
7. Pickett’s Charge took place on Cemetery Ridge. What a chillingly accurate name for the location of such a brutal fight. Nearly 7,000 men on both sides were killed, wounded or captured during this fight alone. Between 46,000-51,000 men made up the casualties of the three-day battle at Gettysburg.
8. Pickett’s Charge might deserve a different name. While Pickett did send in a large force of fresh troops (three brigades) the other two divisions were led by men serving under A.P. Hill. The attack was coordinated by Gen. Longstreet. So, rightfully the battle should be called Hill’s Charge or Longstreet’s Charge. Perhaps it is named for Pickett because he is the one who conveyed the order to commence the attack.
9. C.S. Gen. Garnett was killed in Picket’s Charge. His body was never recovered, but he was last seen riding towards a cannon right before it went off. Many believe he was trying to restore his honor following his causing Stonewall to lose the battle of Kernstown in 1862. Even though Stonewall wanted him court-martialed, Garnett respected Stonewall to his death.
10. Following Pickett’s Charge, Lee declared it was all his fault that the attack had failed. The men declared that it wasn’t and begged him to send them back. While he appreciated their loyalty and drive, Lee wisely refused and began organizing the withdrawal of the army.
Well, that’s all for now. Know some interesting facts about the Battle of Gettysburg? Why not share them with a friend and take a moment to appreciate the heroes of the past?
Have a Blessed Day!
Christian. American. Southern. Author.