** Please check out my tribute page to two of my Civil War relatives who never made it home **

Monday, July 22, 2013

July 22, 2013

I like this photo for a number of reasons. First, it’s a different angle, a partial view of the Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble Charge as seen from the Union artillery at the Copse of Trees. Second, it’s always fun for me to identify the monuments in the photo and accordingly put together who did what where. The cannonballs in the foreground are part of the High Water Mark memorial; the cannon to which they belong is located just to the left of the shot. Some of the trees of the High Water Mark, as well as an old wrought-iron fence, can be seen at left.

The first monument is the iconic 72ND Pennsylvania Infantry, which has been featured in many a photograph over the past 122 years. This monument was slightly damaged in a freak storm that swept through the area in June 2013. To the right is the blocky monument representing the 71ST Pennsylvania Infantry. The trees of the Angle, directly alongside the 71ST, were also damaged in the above-mentioned storm. I’m not sure if they are “witness trees” or not. Far to the right of the 71ST is a small, scroll-shaped marker. This memorial marks the spot where Confederate General Lewis Armistead was wounded while charging toward the Union-held stone wall.

The artillery battery at far right is Alonzo Cushing’s Battery A, 4
TH U.S. Artillery. The red granite marker detailing the artillerists’ struggle on the third day’s battle can be seen between the cannons. The memorial on the other side of the stone wall, at the extreme right of the photo, is probably the “secondary” monument honoring the men of the 72ND Pennsylvania. Notice there are also many position markers, especially at the left of the photo. The town of Gettysburg (the “modern”, touristy section, not the old historic center) can be partially seen at the center and right of this photo.


Co. D, 13TH Pennsylvania Reserves (42ND Infantry)

Born 1839 --- Died July 30, 1863 at age 24

Pvt. Collins was just a hearty Pennsylvania laborer like so many others, nothing out of the ordinary, yet infinitely special. His story particularly touched me due to a site I discovered with many of his war-era letters. Well aware that his parents in Kinzua, Pennsylvania struggled with finances and were dependant on his army pay, he dutifully sent what he could, worrying more over his family than himself. He fought like a lion during the battle of Gettysburg and was wounded twice on the 03RD, dying twenty-seven days later at the Worley farm. Pvt. Collins was later buried at Gettysburg National Cemetery. His name is misspelled “Cordillo” on his gravestone. 

I highly recommend reading soldiers’ letters. For me, this has automatically transformed the Gettysburg dead from nameless, faceless casualties to real individual men and boys who gave their lives for their causes and who had lives and dreams that would have otherwise remained hidden from future generations.

(c) 2013 Skies of Blue and Gray

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