Aldie-Host - The fighting was expected to begin in the center of the field through the Peach Orchard and wheel left rolling up the Federal Line. The intelligence was now about four hours old when Lieutenant General James Longstreet's Army Corps had begun it's march to what was then believed to be the extreme left of the Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg. The unexpected positioning of the 3rd Army Corps under Major General Daniel Sickles along the Emmitsburg Road, along the Peach Orchard, The Wheatfield and Devil's Den would cause Longstreet's great momentum to slow, and slow long enough for the Army's Chief Engineer, Major General Gouverneur K. Warren to get the troops he knew were necessary to hold the key to the Federal position at Gettysburg, Little Round Top.
Aldie-Host - James Longstreet was hesitant to go into combat on this day. The Army of the Northern Virginia was brought to battle prematurely and not until about 11:00 am that morning did he have only two thirds of his entire corps strength on the field, sending orders to Brigadier General Evander Law at New Guilford, Pennsylvania late the previous evening. At about 3:00 am on the morning of 2 July 1863, Law would get his brigade of Alabamians on the road pointed towards Gettysburg, but it became a forced march of twenty four miles and just as they arrived, joined Major General John Hood's division in the line of march and would end up on the extreme right flank of the 1st Army Corps south of town.
bluelady - Why were the ones that brought up the rear made to march beyond the first ones placed instead of keeping the whole line moving?
Aldie-Host - As Hood's division came online upon the ground between the Emmitsburg Road and the Round Top Mountain, both Brigadier General Evander Law and Brigadier General Jerome Robertson formed the front line of two just prior to the launch of the attack, Evander Law's brigade on the extreme right and Robertson's Texans anchored to their left. About two hundred yards behind these two brigades followed Benning's Georgia Brigade and G.T. Anderson's Georgians, these in support.
Aldie-Host - They had been at the head of the column
bluelady - But it sounded like the first ones were placed east and the last ones had to march further west going past those already in place.
Aldie-Host - While these brigades and divisions began aligning themselves for the advance, the Signal Station on Little Round Top had wig-wagged a message off to Major General Meade at 4:00 pm. It stated: "The only infantry of the enemy visible is on the extreme (Federal) left; it has been moving toward Emmitsburg." What this said to the Confederate Army observing the signalmen is that despite the number of troops coming online, it had still gone on unobserved.
Aldie-Host - The order of march on the 2nd Day was McLaw's Division first, and then Hood's. Evander Law was a brigadier commander under Hood. He would have been at the head of Hood's Column.
Aldie-Host - Law had detached a handful of hand picked men to scout Big Round Top feeling for the Federal Left. He noted a lack of federal cavalry in the area at that time and came to the conclusion that the Federals were more than likely using the huge emminence to secure their left.
bluelady - OK I was a bit confused as to why Law's brigade being on the forced march still had the farthest to go for deployment.
Aldie-Host - Shorlty after these six men trotted off with their orders, the Alabamians commander had spotted some dark clothed figures attempting to cross the Emmitsburg Road from the Confederate rear, they proved to be Federal Soldiers, having medical certificates, they had been headed towards the Federal Trains which the direction had been pointed out to Law. During the course of the conversation, the soldiers were nice enough to break the news to this Confederate Brigadier that the Federal Ornance Wagons were back there as well. With no attack expected from the Yankees on this point, there was NO federal left flank in this area, and the news was quickly sent off to Major General John Bell Hood.
Aldie-Host - As Law and Hood later conferred about moving the attack further to the right, Evander Law made a four part protest to the frontal assault that his division commander was asking of him. He restated his protest to Captain Hamilton, of Hood's staff, and Hood then sent him off in search of General Longstreet. A long series of staff officers would ride back and forth between Longstreet and Hood, before Longstreet now rode over to stating that time would not allow for his corps to redeploy further to the right. It was settled, the frontal assault would go on.
bluelady - Longstreet agreed in principle with Hood on this, right?
Aldie-Host - Yes, he did. But there was no time to make it happen.
Aldie-Host - It wasn't long after the assault began that General Law, seeing the federal line extended further and further to his left, he quickly ordered Robertson's Brigade to the front line, left flank, and Benning's Brigade to the front right flank. The Third Corps was beginning to waiver and break. Devil's Den had fallen to the Confederates within an hour after their attack had begun.
bluelady - That's what I thought.
shari - Pete did agree with Hood, only Lee would not be persuaded to abandon the frontal attack for anything.
bluelady - Was the fight also in the wheatfield and Peach orchard at this time as well?
Aldie-Host - As the attack began to mount the Round Tops, General Law rode up to Colonel William Oates, commanding the 15th Alabama Infantry and explained to him that he was now the extreme right of the Confederate Army. His instructions were clear, to hug the base of the larger hill, proceed up the hill in the valley between the two hills and find the Federal Left flank and do whatever damage he could. He furthermore told him that Colonel Bulger of the 47th Alabama was to keep close to his left.
Aldie-Host - No, as a matter of fact McLaw's Division which fought in the Peach Orchard and Wheatfield were late getting started. It took a personal conversation between Evander Law and Joseph Kershaw of South Carolina to get Kershaw's Brigade moving to support Hood's already underway assault.
Aldie-Host - Oates brought the regiment across Plum Run and was about to follow his brigade commanders orders, when a burst of musketry fire hit him on the right. Before Oates could react to this new development another volley was fired. It was a detachment of Major Homer R. Staughton's 2nd United States Sharpshooters. The second volley from the breech-loading weapons began finding their marks.
bluelady - So Devil's Den fell first?
Aldie-Host - Yes, Longstreet was not expecting Dan Sickles to do such a nutty thing such as move 10,000 men forward into these areas, however, Longstreet had to deal with it first.
WuzReb - Were the 2nd USSS to the extreme left of the Union lines, even beyond the 20th ME?
bluelady - Sickles or the den?
Aldie-Host - It was enough to slow Longstreet's assaults but it wasn't enough to stop them.
Aldie-Host - Yes, the 2nd that morning had been as far as the Emmitsburg Road and basically got trapped in their position there. They had only been able to fire a couple of volleys before beating feet for the rear. They'll show up again later on in the discussion.
Aldie-Host - The Devil's Den, Bluelady.
Camp - Wuz, IIRC one company of the 2nd USSS was with the 20th ME
Aldie-Host - I'm getting to all of that.
bluelady - OK Aldie!
Aldie-Host - One of the first soldiers in the 15th Alabama was Colonel Oates' Executive Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Feagin. He was hit in the knee and taken out of the fight before the fight had even gotten started. This annoyance quickly caused the regimental commander to change directions to the right.
Aldie-Host - His direction had carried him up Round Top in pursuit of the sharpshooters. The terrain became rocky and broken giving the sharpshooters plenty of cover but causing the formation of the 15th and 47th Alabama Infantries to come apart. Around the right of the hill, one party of the sharpshooters were making their escape, so Colonel Oates had dispatched his Company A to make pursuit of them.
Aldie-Host - This becomes the FIRST detachment of Company A, by the way.
Aldie-Host - With Company A now gone, Oates prior to his engaging had also sent off twenty three soldiers with canteens to make a water run. The Alabamians had dry canteens, but the twenty three sent out would disappear never to return with them, as they were wondering south of the Round Top, these men became guests of the Army of the Potomac unexpectedly.
KyReb - Gen. George Meade said on Longstreet's advice to Gen. Lee at Gettysburg..."Longstreet's advice was sound military sense; it was the step I feared Lee would take."
Aldie-Host - Amen.
Aldie-Host - As the 15th and 47th Alabama ascended the hill, Oates felt that he could no longer push the men and ordered a brief halt upon the summit. He began to realize that he was now sitting on the best piece of real estate on the entire battlefield. He had once stated that: "Within a half hour I could convert it into a Gibraltar that I could hold against ten times the number of men that I had.
Aldie-Host - Within five minutes, Captain Leigh Terrell of Law's personal staff rode up to him inquiring as to why he had stopped. It was here that Oates had learned of Hood's wounding and that his brigade commander was then taking command of the division. Terrell didn't inquire into how Colonel Oates planned on hugging the base of the hill when he was sitting upon it's summit, but he did inform the colonel that his orders were to move forward. Colonel Oates had protested, and Captain Terrell was even agreeable, but orders were orders.
bluelady - That was Big Round Tp he was talking about ?
Aldie-Host - Yes, the 1st stop of the 15th and 47th Alabama.
Aldie-Host - Upon descending the summit, Oates could see the Federal Wagon trains to the east side of the Round Top and once again dispatched Company A with the intent of capturing them. As these three dozen men disappeared down the east side of the hill, it would be the last time that Oates would see them until the fight was over.
Scarlet - Aldie, It makes you wonder exactlly what these men were thinking, anyone with sense would know that the high ground was preferable to the low ground, and that terrain is so rough, any one above the rocks would have the advantage!
Aldie-Host - Oates here lost thirty some odd crucial men, that could have played a key role against Chamberlain.
bluelady - Big Round Top was heavily wooded at the time?
Aldie-Host - Colonel Vincent brigade was presently rushing to the top of the Little Round Top area. His brigade had been in the valley area near the George Weikert House awaiting further orders. Vincent had been sitting on horseback at the head of his brigade with Private Oliver W. Norton, the brigade color-bearer. Either it was Captain Jay or Captain John Williams of George Sykes' staff was intercepted by Vincent on his way to General Barnes headquarters.
Aldie-Host - The hill was wooded, the low lying areas were not. The Slaughter Pen for instance is now covered with trees as it wasn't in 1863.
Aldie-Host - A conversation ensued between the two, Colonel Vincent asking for the captain's orders. The captain asked Vincent the whereabouts of General Barnes, but Vincent persisted, with "What are your orders, captain?" The captain was carrying verbal orders from Major General Gouverneur K. Warren to General Barnes to send troops with all haste to Little Round Top. Vincent took it upon himself to see to it and got his brigade on the march for the summit.
bluelady - I am still confused exactally where the slaughter pen is. Is it between the round tops or is it in the area we were in for the Farnsworth Charge?
Aldie-Host - Vincent began placing his brigade with the 16th Michigan Infantry falling in on the extreme left of the Union Army. A personal request of Colonel James Clay Rice to have his regiment, the 44th New York Infantry fall in on the 83rd Pennsylvania's right flank, having fought this way together since the Peninsula. It was here that Vincent's rearranged his brigade marhcing the the 16th Michigan Infantry behind the brigade to the far right and the new flank became the 20th Maine Infantry under Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain.
Aldie-Host - The Slaughter Pen sits in the low lying areas of Plum Run directly in front of Devil's Den and below Big Round Top.
Aldie-Host - No, No, No!! Not yet!! Later, ok?
Aldie-Host - Standard battle practices sent out one company of infantry for every regiment as skirmishers and each of Vincent's regiments had done just that. The skirmish line of the 20th Maine Infantry fell on Captain Walter G. Morrill, commanding Company B.
Aldie-Host - As Morrill began deploying to the left front of his regiment, his company ran into elements of the 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters now seeking shelter from the coming storm, about a dozen of them requested of Captain Morrill if they could fall in with his company. There manpower was gratefully accepted, and picking out a stonewall off in the woodline, Company B and the U.S. Sharpshooters crouched down and waited for the fireworks.
Aldie-Host - Unlike, what you see of the movie GETTYSBURG. The United States Sharpshooters did not leave Vincent's Brigade for the skirmish line. Instead they were running back to some sort of formidible strength because they were caught out on Big Round Top and seriously outnumbered.
Aldie-Host - It had been less than a quarter hour since the 20th Maine took it's position that the cannonading on their right had stopped. The new recruits felt relieved by this change of events, but the veterans knew better. It meant that their infantry was getting too close to make dropping shells dangerous to their own troops.
Aldie-Host - Am I boring everyone?
Aldie-Host - As the 20th Maine Infantry began to brace for the attack, the high yipping sound of the rebels could be heard before they were seen. Captain Joe Land, commanding Company H, was cracking jokes to his men all the way up to the time that the rebels attacked.
Aldie-Host - It was roughly 6:00 pm when musket fire from the grey troops began to clip the twigs on the trees and cut branches down. The bullets began striking lower and lower until they found human flesh. The 47th Alabama Infantry hit the 20th Maine first, coming across the front of the 83rd Pennsylvania and striking the right of the Maine troops. Chamberlain had noticed the 15th Alabama moving beyond the 47th Alabama, moving the colors out of the center of the line and moving them over to the left. He then, when they could had his men side step to the left, some of the companies thinning their line to one rank.
chaser - No Aldie. Not at all!!
bluelady - Not boring me Aldie!
Aldie-Host - The 15th Alabama Infantry then came online and struck the 20th Maine. The fight here would begin without cessation for the next hour and a half.
WuzReb - I'm listening, Aldie!
Aldie-Host - Very important to note, that over this next hour and a half, Colonel Chamberlain would not have a moments time, let alone three or four moments time, to call the officers together and say: "WHAT'S UP??!!"
Aldie-Host - Private William Jordan of Oates' command had stopped briefly at a small tree to reload his rifle. While the rest of his command continued to move forward, he was forced to bolt forward over open ground until he reached and took refuge behind a large boulder at the foot of the spur, several more Alabamians ran for the same shelter, but the Maine boys had dropped two of them dead, and wounded another in the foot. Eight men on the 15th Alabama's left would gain refuge behind this boulder, however would be pinned down here for the entire fight.
Aldie-Host - Colonel Chamberlain had been attacked twice in front by the 15th Alabama by three of Colonel Oates' companies. The remaining seven companies continued to swing around to the right in an attempt to turn the left flank now bending back from the colors.
Aldie-Host - The musketry fire was incessant. Major Ellis Spear in command of the left wing remembered it that no audible command could be heard above the deafening sound of musketry. The men began dumping their cartridge boxes on the ground and sticking their rammers into the ground. The boys had marked their ground, they were NOT going to give it up.
Aldie-Host - Private John Connell, formerly of the 2nd Maine had looked behind him and could see the men from the other regiments falling to the ground. Company C's Captain Charles Billings was struck above the knee with a musket ball and was forced to turn his company over to Lieutenant James Stanwood, and then, he was struck in the leg as well, but continued on the field.
Aldie-Host - The 47th Alabama Infantry, under Colonel Michael J. Bulger, was having problems. The left wing of the 83rd Pennsylvania was striking their left, while the angle of the 20th Maine's right was hitting his right from above. Colonel Bulger was frustrated, and without properly support, his small command (150 men) was getting cut up. He wound up mounting a rock, and as he did a federal ball passed through his chest.
Abolitionist - Incessant musketry all right but not very accurate. Some 20,000 shots were fired during this engagement and less than 2% found their mark. Definitely not shooting at pointblank range!
Aldie-Host - He staggered backwards with blood oozing from his mouth and nose. Propping himself up against a tree, he simply sat and waited for death, if it were to come.
Aldie-Host - In the meantime, Colonel Oates was moving even further to his right. He was intent on hitting the federal flank and if so, he could drive the rest of Vincent's Brigade from the hill. He used the tree cover to mask the movement, but Major Spear already felt it coming. He turned to Colonel Chamberlain and asked him for two more companies to be shifted to the left.
bluelady - Aldie, When is the Charge????
Aldie-Host - Chamberlain had ordered companies E and I from the extreme right of his line to move to the left. The 47th Alabama was posing much of a threat to them and he had figured it would work, however, it darn near caused a stampede to the rear. Company K, the next in line held firm to their ground, and it was enough for the colonel to get the two companies back in line where they stood and countermand the order, Major Spear would have to hold with his own.
WuzReb - Bluelady, it's coming....
Aldie-Host - The charge comes at the end, Bluelady. At the end of the bayonet, too, I might add.
Aldie-Host - The fighting to this point had been brutal. Private George Buck was lying still with a badly wounded shoulder. The colonel had promoted him back to his original rank of sergeant there on the spot. It had been taken weeks earlier upon a skiff with another regiment member, and Buck was given it back just prior to his honorable death.
Aldie-Host - As the 15th Alabama Infantry was about to charge again, Captain James Ellison commanding Company C, one of Colonel Oates' favorites, and trimmed out in a brand new captain's uniform began to rally his men for another charge when a musketball passed through his head, killing him instantly. Next Colonel Oates lost the commander to Company G, Captain Henry C. Brainard.
bluelady - Man, it sounds like the 15th Alabama was decimated!
Aldie-Host - While back on the top of the hill Sergeant Isaac Lanthrop sustained a stomach wound, and Sergeant Charles Steele approached his company commander, Captain Joe Land, with a bleeding wound in his chest, telling the Captain that he was now gone, and most certainly he was.
Aldie-Host - Color Sergeant Andrew Tozier was manning the colors while loading and firing a musket. He was only recently transferred into the 20th Maine last May having been a former 2nd Mainer himself. And as Chamberlain, years later, would be the only other soldier on that portion of the line to receive the Medal of Honor, by the recommendation of the gallant colonel himself.
Aldie-Host - Now here are a couple items you need to understand...
bluelady - You charge WITH bayonets!
Aldie-Host - First Off, the 2nd Maine was going home like all the other TWO year regiments at the battle of Chancellorsville in May. Because these 120 men were three year enlistees, they were incorporated into the 20th Maine Infantry back in May of 1863. NOT two hours before the battle started, like the movie makes you think they were.
bluelady - It is easier to charge DOWNHILL!
Aldie-Host - Second, Sergeant Andrew Tozier was one of those 120 Second Mainers. The movie makes you believe that he was with the 20th Maine his entire army career.
Aldie-Host - The 15th Alabama's colors was a prize that Private John Nelson of Company K, wanted. Sergeant John G. Archibald, holding them stepped back, while watching a bayonet get driven into Nelson's head, killing him for the effort.
Aldie-Host - Three times a bead was drawn on Colonel Chamberlain himself, the first time a private had stepped out of line just as the round was being squeezed off and walked right into path of the bullet, saving Chamberlain and ending his life. The other two times, both Confederates later said, they had him square in their sights, but didn't have the heart to pull the trigger.
Abolitionist - Does anyone believe that in the heat of battle, they "would not have the heart to pull the trigger?"
Aldie-Host - Colonel Chamberlain then appealed to Captain Orpheus Woodward commanding the 83rd Pennsylvania Infantry's left flank to send him a company. The left flank of the 20th Maine was almost doubled back on the right at that point. Captain Woodward could not do this, he was to hard pressed as it was, however, he told Chamberlain that if he moved his right company over to the left, he'd see to it that the 83rd Pennsylvania covered the gap. This was acceptable.
bluelady - That, in my opinion was said in Hind sight!
Aldie-Host - Yes, I think that's possible. Especially when most Civil War soldiers were trained to go after the privates in the ranks and not the officers.
WuzReb - Abol, sometimes it happened.... A man just seemed to brave to shoot.... Not a mere blurred target, but an officer, a man, exposed to mortal danger and yet holding his post.... It happens. I've heard of it.
Aldie-Host - One of the three did pull the trigger however did not get him.
bluelady - OK just as Sam Watkins said
bluelady - I always shoot at privates. The were the ones that did the Killing
WuzReb - I've read many cases of men NOT shooting someone who struck them as exceptionally brave... Or being sad, when someone that brave WAS killed, even if he was an enemy...
bluelady - ...Officers were just harmless personages....
Abolitionist - It's just as likely that some Reb wanted to gain attention long after the war by claiming he had the famous Chamberlain in his sights but hesitated.
Jlc723 - Yes Abolitionist, however his name remaind anonymous
Aldie-Host - The Maine regiment then turned a double line of soldiers into a single. Leaving Company F, on the original left flank, the companies from the right now extended the line bending it backwards from colors. The entire 20th Maine Infantry was now mostly in a single line soldiers, Major Ellis Spear in charge of the left flank while Colonel Chamberlain was attending the movements and operations on the right.
Aldie-Host - Company F, the 20th Maine's color company, had taken a licking. It marched up to Little Round Top with only forty men sustained fifty percent casualties, now only having twenty one grim faced soldiers left to stand.
Aldie-Host - Lieutenant Holman Melcher, now in charge of the color company after the wounding of Captain Sam Keene, appealed to Colonel Chamberlain to allow him to move the colors forward a few paces so that he may cover up the wounded from anymore stray balls that may wound further or kill. Chamberlain said, "No." Only to wait a few minutes because, he, Chamberlain was about to order a charge.
WuzReb - Those post-war pronouncements were made in private letters to JLC, so no fame or attention was to be had, unless in the eyes of JLC himself...
Aldie-Host - Melcher returned to the colors, but no word or movement came from Chamberlain. He became impatient and took it upon himself to move the colors forward to save his wounded. The sounds of battle were deafening, the smoke from the powder weapons choking.
Aldie-Host - You tell 'em Wuzzy!!
Aldie-Host - As the colors began to move forward, Major Spear caught the flag staff in his sight from the left flank. He could not contain his men, nor should he have. The left flank began to move forward with the colors and indeed was on the move before Chamberlain ever got a word out of his mouth.
Jlc723 - Can I give the command Aldie?
bluelady - Jlc723,You didn't give it then, why NOW?
Aldie-Host - Good Point.
Aldie-Host - Chamberlain at the dedication ceremony of the monument on Little Round Top in 1889, said: That he may have given the command, he may have gotten the command started, it may not even come out of his mouth at all.
Aldie-Host - As the 15th Alabama troops were rallying at the bottom of the hill, Colonel William Oates watched in horror as his own brother John was cut down by no less than five Yankee musketballs. As he looked around he saw one of his soldiers fall when a splash of dust from a ball had been lift off his back. The enemy was in his rear!
bluelady - But in later years JLC said he definitely gave the order!
Aldie-Host - No, he filed his official after action report in July of 1863 and said that he DID give the order. None of the officers in the command liked the report, because they figured the colonel was just plain full of himself. The dedication of the monument was in 1889 and then Chamberlain retracted his statement in the after action report.
Aldie-Host - It was Company B, that had been taking pot shots at Colonel Oates men the entire time they were engaged with the men on the spur. In the confusion of watching his men come apart, he wasn't sure how many Yankees had managed to gain his rear but it was about all they could handle.
bluelady - But didn't he and spear have an on going argument even later?
Aldie-Host - Just as Colonel Oates started ascertaining the movements in his rear, Major Ellis Spear, Captain Joe Land, and the left flank of the 20th Maine were rushing down the spur straight at them. Sheer pandemonium occurred in the ranks of the 15th Alabama. Men started running for their lives.
Abolitionist - WhenCongress gave JLC the Medal of Honor in '93, the application was not supported by even one officer or man of the 20th maine. Pretty strange.
Aldie-Host - Chamberlain and Spear were friends before the war. Spear had even gone to college at Bowdoin and knew Chamberlain. They remained friends until Chamberlain had died in 1914, all with the exception of one hour and a half on a hot July day in 1863!!!!
bluelady - Yeah but he could have gotten it for Petersburg just as well as LRT
Aldie-Host - Spear once wrote that if there was any true hero was Little Round Top, it was Strong Vincent and not Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain.
Aldie-Host - It was awarded for Little Round Top, Bluelady.
Aldie-Host - As the majority began to run back towards the Big Round Top, Captain Morill, commanding Company B, rose up from the wall that he, his company and a dozen U.S. Sharpshooters had been hiding behind. An entire wall of flame hit them in flight, the 15th Alabama taking numerous casualties.
Aldie-Host - In the route of this part of the charge, some Alabamians about eighty had run straight for the Taneytown Road and got themselves corraled in the Weikert farm yard out in the northeasterly direction, only to be apprehended by the U.S. Provost Marshall. Another handful and run to the rear down a side path between the round tops, while the remainder skedaddled back to the top of the high summit.
bluelady - Yeah Aldie, I knew that about the medal of Honor, I was just mentioning Petersburg as an opinion.
Aldie-Host - As the left along with Captain Morrill's Company B, began sweeping them back the center and then the right began to charge down the hill. Chamberlain had himself gone to the bottom of the spur and met up with a Lieutenant Robert Wicker of the 15th Alabama. Wicker stood there and waited for Chamberlain's arrival until he was about six paces in front of him, when he raised his pistol at his face.
Aldie-Host - Chamberlain was not carrying a pistol with him, and as the weapon was raised he only had a micro second to comprehend the situation. Lieutenant Wicker had fired and missed the colonel. As he missed, Chamberlain knocked the pistol away from him with the flat of his sword and then brought the tip up to Wicker's neck.
Aldie-Host - It was time to collect what prisoners they could. Many of the rebs threw down their weapons and gave up, while others tried desperately to run. The flank had been saved, and the rebels driven back at quite a cost to both sides.
bluelady - Talk about misfiring! I thought the weapon misfired.
Abolitionist - Wicker was obviously not as chivalrous as the anonymous Rebs who failed to shoot Chamberlain.
Aldie-Host - That night the 20th Maine would move in the pitchy darkness to the top of Big Round Top where they spent the most terrifying night of their lives. Within ear shot the lay down only paces away from where the 15th and 47th Alabama came to rest. So close they could hear their rebel counterparts talking in the darkness.
Aldie-Host - No, Lieutenant Wicker had one shot left in the chamber and missed Chamberlain altogether with the shot, only six paces away. I'd say Colonel Chamberlain was a blessed individual.
Aldie-Host - That night the 20th Maine would move in the pitchy darkness to the top of Big Round Top where they spent the most terrifying night of their lives. Within ear shot the lay down only paces away from where the 15th and 47th Alabama came to rest. So close they could hear their rebel counterparts talking in the darkness.
bluelady - What really would have been spooky if they ended up sleeping right NEXT to them!
Aldie-Host - Explain please?
WuzReb - Wasn't a reg't or a couple companies supposed to come up and join the 20th, but they got spooked and turned back in the dark?
bluelady - They were within ear shot? The darkness could have caused them to come right up on them?!?
Aldie-Host - The night on Big Round Top would be another discussion to talk about. It was the most frightening night the 20th Maine Infantry ever spent during the entire war, they say.
Aldie-Host - In some cases, it did.
GUNNER - Aldie-Host, how many lives where lost on LRT.
bluelady - I mean as close as within 2 feet!
Aldie-Host - Good observation, Wuzzy!!
bluelady - That would be frightening!
Abolitionist - Did Chamberlain "save LRT " or not? Oates said years later that the 15th could not have held the hill for ten minutes had they overcome the 20th.
Aldie-Host - I'm getting to that, Gunner.
Aldie-Host - The units on Big Round Top that turned and "beat feet" were the Pennsylvania Reserves.
Aldie-Host - This is true. They could not have without support. If they rolled up the 20th Maine, they would have had all the troops along to hill to reckon with.
WuzReb - One of the 20th WAS killed on BRT, was he not...? Stumbled into something in the dark?
Aldie-Host - 15th Alabama Infantry was too small to do that.
Aldie-Host - Yes, an officer was shot and killed up on BRT.
bluelady - Like I said, Spooky!
Camp - Aldie which brigade of reserves?
Aldie-Host - Colonel Fisher's Third Brigade.
Aldie-Host - THE PLAYERS
Aldie-Host - Colonel Strong Vincent: He celebrates his 26th Birthday on the battlefield at Aldie, Virginia on 17 June 1863. It's the first time he goes into combat in command of the brigade. Formerly the colonel of the 83rd Pennsylvania Infantry, he now rushes his brigade to the spur at Gettysburg only moments before Colonel Bulger and Colonel Oates men strike the flank. During the engagement, Colonel Vincent is shot through the groin and carried to the farm house of Mr. William Bushman, where he dies on the 7th of July. He was award his brigadier general star, but doubt whether he even knew of it, before his death.
Aldie-Host - Colonel Charles Gilmore: Is the commanding officer of the 20th Maine Infantry. His military career started with the 7th Maine Infantry however in 1861 is wounded in the head at the battle of Lee's Mill in 1861, and it wrecks his confidence. When Brigadier General Adelbert Ames accepted a brigade in Major General Oliver Howard's 11th Corps, Colonel Chamberlain and Captain Spear were to be promoted, while Gilmore was supposed to resign, but he didn't. Just before the battle of Gettysburg, he typically reported to the hospital in Baltimore as being incapcitated to command the regiment.
Aldie-Host - Colonel Joshua Chamberlain: Is having health problems of his own along the march north. Falling out of the column with heat exhaustion he returns just before the 5th Army Corps comes into the fight, still suffering from the heat. With an unauthorized advance of his color company, his regiment, the 20th Maine Infantry charges forward and plunges Chamberlain into his meeting with Lieutenant Robert Wicker of the 15th Alabama Infantry. He'll go on to end the war at Appomattox Court House in April 1865, after a brutal wound at Petersburg, he's promoted to Brigadier General, receives the Medal of Honor for his defense on Little Round Top, but while his Confederate Counterpart is commissioned a general in the Spanish American War in 1898, Chamberlain is rejected after a similar application for commission. He dies in February 1914.
bluelady - Imagine if HE were in command of the regiment!
Aldie-Host - Major Ellis Spear: He is a pre-war friend of Chamberlain's and attends Bowdoin College where Chamberlain teaches prior to the war. Unlike Chamberlain, the glory of warfare does not come easy to this man. He recruits a company back in Maine and loses his first man on the battlefield at Aldie, after promising neighbors, the safe keeping of their sons. He winds up commanding the left wing of the 20th Maine at Gettysburg and loses more. His friend Captain Samuel Keene is wounded up on Little Round Top, but returns to the regiment only to die from another wound at Petersburg resting in the arms of Major Ellis Spear. He winds up disputing the chain of events on Little Round Top with his life long friend, Colonel Chamberlain for the remainder of his natural life. Publishing his memoirs before his death in April 1916, Spear believed the only true hero of Vincent's Spur, Little Round Top was Colonel Strong Vincent. In a letter to the Washington Tribune in 1913 he remained adament that Colonel Chamberlain never ordered a bayonet charge.
Aldie-Host - Lieutenant Tom Chamberlain: He's the only one of four Chamberlain's that never attended Bowdoin College and struggled to find his place in life. When the war breaks out, he joins his brother Lawrence and enlists in the 20th Maine Infantry. He then is appointed the regiments adjutant by Colonel Chamberlain, although the position was earned by merit and not blood. Tom is also one that is greatly effected by the war, and doesn't see the glory in it as did his older brother. Throughout a long annual series of regimental reunions at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Tom Chamberlain only attends one of them. Tom dies in 1896 from Tuberculosis after a long struggle battling alcoholism.
Aldie-Host - John Chamberlain: Joins the Christian Commission back in Maine, and is on a visit to Virginia in June 1863 when he meets up with Lawrence and Tom during the march north. He sets up a aid station on Little Round Top while the battle is raging around his brother's regiment and cares for the wounded. He too would die of tuburculosis in the 1890s.
Aldie-Host - Lieutenant Holman Melcher: Second in command of Company F, the color company at first on the extreme left of the Federal Army, later it remained in the center as the left flank bent behind him. His company commander, Captain Sam Keene is desparately wounded in the fight and Melcher takes charge of the company. Towards the end of the fight, Melcher appeals to Colonel Chamberlain to allow him to move the colors forward in an attempt to cover his wounded now lying in his front. His request is denied only with an assurance that a charge is about to be ordered. The order doesn't come quick enough for Melcher, who takes it upon himself to move the colors forward, tipping off to Major Spear and the left flank that the regiment is moving and thus begins the infamous charge down the hill towards the 15th Alabama Infantry. He goes on to survive the war carrying home the rank of brevet major. He would live until the summer of 1905, dying on 27 June 1905 of Bright's Disease.
Aldie-Host - Colonel William C. Oates: He commands the 15th Alabama Infantry as it's colonel. He along with the rest of Law's Brigade march the morning of the 2nd of July some thirty miles before launched into mortal combat. Upon that hill on the afternoon of 2 July, he watched his command almost destroyed, losing many promising officers and men, including his own brother John. After the war, he becomes a federal congressman for Alabama, and then is commissioned brigadier general when the United States declares war on the Spanish in 1898. The many attempts he had made to place a monument to his boys on Little Round Top, mainly because of his inability to recall the facts of the battle as it happened. The monument that you'll never see was to read:
bluelady - Sounds like Tom chamberlain would be considered for battle fatigue today!
Aldie-Host - "To the Memory of the Lieutenant John A. Oates and his gallant comrades who fell here on July 2nd 1863. The 15th Alabama Regiment, over 400 strong, reached this spot, but for lack of support had to retire. Lieutenant Colonel Feagin had lost a leg, Captains Brainard and Ellison, Lts Oates and Cody and 33 men were killed, 76 wounded, and 84 captured. Erected 39th Anniversary of Battle, by General William C. Oates, who was colonel of the regiment."
Aldie-Host - Colonel Michael Bulger: He's colonel of the 47th Alabama Infantry when Colonel Jackson takes charge of the brigade when Evander Law commanded the division, and his part on the fight along Vincent's Spur at Little Round Top both confronts, the 83rd Pennsylvania Infantry as well as the 20th Maine Infantry. Shortly after the fight began he stepped in front of a bullet, taking it in the chest. Although leaning up against a tree awaiting death, he will not come calling on Colonel Bulger this day. He goes on to the political forum after the war, but can't find success in the matter. It is believed that his initial belief that Alabama should not pass an ordinance of secession in 1861, killed any chance he had of representing his state.
Xan - Naw, bluelady, IIRC Tom Chamberlain was a bit of a lush before the war. Re: Melcher, "Bright's disease" was a catchall term for kidney failure.
WuzReb - Bluelady, I have long thought that of Tom... He was an excellent soldier, but had a hard time as a civilian.... JLC loved him always, refused to ever really admit Tom had troubles, but it was obvious to the rest of the family that Tom was struggling....
Aldie-Host - Well...that's all folks!
bluelady - Applause!!! Applause!!! for aldie!
WuzReb - Actually, according to Trulocks' bio of JLC, the CHamberlain family had a history of lung and heart disease.... Several family members died of such.
Xan - *Applause*, Aldie, good job. At least the beginning and the end were good, I assume the middle I missed was equally so.
CWgal - Excellent job Aldie!!!!
Tom - very good Aldie-Host!
Aldie-Host - If anyone wants to read a really outstanding book on the fight on Vincent's Spur, read: Thomas Desjardin's "Stand Firm Ye Boys of Maine."
WuzReb - Col. Oate's brother always struck me as especially tragic... I can't recall the quote, but it was obvious that the two brothers were extremely close, and losing John about took the heart and soul out of the Col.....
Aldie-Host - I pulled all that material out of about eight separate references.
GUNNER - Aldie-Host, i would like to know more about the other regts on the hill.
Aldie-Host - We live in the 21st Century, it's silly that we should still continue to fight North and South, but rather all veteran soldiers, both North and South should be duly remembered and honored when you walk those battlefields. They were ALL Americans!!
WuzReb - *clap-clap-clap-clap* Yayyy, Aldie! Well done!
bluelady - Absolutly Aldie and I do when I go there!
Aldie-Host - Gunner with the time alloted to discussion this incredibly detailed account, I could only give you the end of the left flank. I strongly suggest getting a copy of "Gettysburg: The Second Day" when you can and read it. It's a great book!!