Artillery Duel at Gettysburg
After a grueling day of travel (yesterday) I am now happily in Gettysburg. The Civil War Institute conference is about to get under way….as a short precursor, I spent the morning with historians Peter Carmichael and Keith Bohannon going over some of the action on July 2nd. Here they are studiously engaging Confederate artillerist Edward Porter Alexander’s account of Rebel gun emplacements facing the Peach Orchard.
Standing in the spot Alexander describes (as we did – near the modern day Mississippi monument) it becomes all too striking how close the Confederate and Union positions were. I’ll let Alexander do the talking:
Hood, on McLaw’s right, first moved out to cross the Emmitsburg Pike and attack Sickle’s left flank in the rough ground in front of Round Top. Henry’s battalion moved out with him, & they were both heavily opened on by the enemy’s artillery, from the Peach Orchard & beyond. To help them out I immediately put in Cabell’s whole 18 guns, as one battery, from teh edge of the woods about 700 yards from the Peach Orchard, & then, selecting 18 of my own 26, I put them in action at the nearest point, Warfield’s House, where McLaws’s line was within 500 yards of the Peach Orchard.
Rarely does one find an artillery duel of such close proximity – it is little wonder that each side sustained the casualties that they did. There will be more battlefield action and news from the conference coming up – be sure to follow Twiiter hashtag #cwi1862 to stay up to date.