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October 31, 2014



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Gettysburg Trivia
  • Several companies of black emergency volunteer militiamen were raised in Pennsylvania during the Confederate invasion. One of these saw action, when it was put into the lines with the 27th Pennsylvania Volunteer Militia at Wrightsville, on 27 June. The company, about 100 men organized at Columbia, suffered one man killed before Union forces were withdrawn across the Susquehanna, whereupon the Columbia bridge was burned.
  • Russel C. Mitchell, who fought at the Devil's Den and the foot of Little Round Top on 2 July as first sergeant of Company I, 1st Texas Infantry, a part of Robertson's brigade of Hood's division, was the grandfather of Margaret Mitchell, who wrote Gone With the Wind.
  • The dubious honor of being the first Union soldier to die in the Battle of Gettysburg apparently belongs to Cpl. Cyrus W. James, CompanyG, 9thNewYorkCavalry, while the equally dubious honor of being the first Confederate soldier to fall probably beongs to Pvt. Henry Raison of the 7th Tennessee Infantry.
  • When his brigade surrendered on 1 July, Brig. Gen. James J. Archer --the first of Lee's generals ever captured-- was brought to see Maj. Gen. Abner Doubleday, who had been Archer's classmate at West Point. The latter greeted him in a friendly manner, saying, "Good morning, Archer. How are you? I'm glad to see you," to which the unchastened Rebel replied, "Well, I am not glad to see you by a damned sight!"
  • As Confederate Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell stood observing the attack of his II Corps on the afternoon of 1 July, he was struck in the leg by a musket ball and knocked down. His aides rushed to his side, fearing the worst. But the general just picked himself up, saying "I'm not hurt." Then he smiled, adding, "But suppose that ball had struck you? We would have had the trouble of carrying you off the field, sir. You see how much better fixed for a fight I am than you are. It don't hurt a bit to be shot in a wooden leg."
  • On 3 July Lt. Col. Johnathan Lockwood, commanding the 7th West Virginia captured his own nephew, who had been wounded leading part of the 7th Virginia at the climax of the Confederate assault on Cemetery Ridge.
  • During the three days of the Battle of Gettysburg an estimated 566 tons of ammunition were expended, amounting to about 24 pounds for each casualty on both sides.
  • On the 4th of July, as the two armies lay glaring at each other across the bloody fields between Cemetery Ridge and Seminary Ridge, Robert E. Lee's pet hen caused a minor command flap. It seems that the bird, who rode in Lee's headquarters wagon and was wont to lay an egg under his cot every morning, thereby providing his breakfast, managed to get lost. Perhaps fearful that his little pet had ended up in someone's cook pot, Lee ordered a search. After a short time, the bird was found and returned to her proper place and Lee got back to contemplating his next move.
  • As the Confederate troops were falling back from "Pickett's Charge" at Gettysburg, British observer Lt. Col. James Fremantle said "I wouldn't have missed this for anything," to which Lt. Gen. James Longstreet replied "The devil you wouldn't! I would like to have missed it very much . . . !"
  • Union cavalryman Elon Farnsworth's promotion to brigadier general came so unexpectedly that he had to borrow a suitable uniform from Maj. Gen. Alfred Pleasanton, which he was wearing when killed at Gettysburg four days later on 3 July 1863.
  • While enduring the Confederate bombardment atop Cemetery Ridge on the third day of Gettysburg, Union Brig. Gen. John Gibbon may perhaps have received some satisfaction from knowing that the enemy was using his The Artillerist's Manual as their basic handbook.
  • During the Gettysburg Campaign Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, reasoned that a good deal of money could be saved if the army did not supply uniforms to the many miliatiamen and volunteers who turned out to help stem Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania, since the emergency was certain to be over before their own clothing wore out: Lincoln demurred, however, and the men got their uniforms anyway.
  • As a result of an argument over who's battery had precedence on the line of march, Capt. Pichegru Woolfolk, Jr., of Virginia's Ashlad Battery, was challenged to a duel with rifles at 15 paces by Capt. George W. Moody, of Louisiana's Madison Light Artillery; Alas for honor, the expected encounter never took place, for the Battle of Gettysburg interfered in the arrangements. Although both survived, the battle neither ever met the other again.
  • When Lee conferred with Ewell and Early on the morning of 2 July, they did so in the Adams County Prison on High Street in Gettysburg, which is now a library.
  • When Confederate artillery bombarded Wrightsville on 27 June, the only two structures seriously damaged were the offices of the "Sons of Temperance" and those of the "Native American Party" [i.e.,the "Know Nothings"], a matter which some took as a sign from heaven.

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