Thursday, July 03, 2008

It was at one o'clock that two Confederate signal guns were fired...

And so, 145 years ago on this day, began Pickett's Charge.

The charge has been romanticized so much that the actual event has been muddled in the memory of the American public. Not many people outside of the Civil War community know that there was a a second, larger division under Pettigrew that made the charge as well. Just like Pickett's Division, they were slaughtered by the artillery and musket fire from the Army of the Potomac.

The charge has also been the subject of much July 4 quarterbacking. "Lee should have..." type discussions. There are many historians who cringe when people do this, but I think it's fun. It's the game we all play with hindsight. The challenge is, knowing what the people knew then, not what we know now, talk about what could have happened.

So consider that at 1pm Eastern Time, as a whole pile of Confederates stepped off their start lines and went on to their place in history.

For further reading I recommend:

Carol Reardon, "Pickett's Charge In History and Memory."

Earl J. Hess, "Pickett's Charge-The Last Attack at Gettysburg."

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