Battle of Gettysburg
Union and Confederate soldiers fought for three days on the bloody fields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. While the Union could call this battle a victory, nearly 8,000 Americans died. The enormous loss of life prompted President Lincoln to dedicate a cemetery at Gettysburg on November 19, 1863, and give his legendary Gettysburg Address. This Union victory, more than any other battle of the war, ended the Confederacy’s hopes for foreign aide and shattered General Lee’s image of invincibility.
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Vivandieres were women who served in the Civil War by traveling with the army as cooks, nurses, mascots, and soldiers. Marie Tepe belonged to this class of women and fought at the Battle of Gettysburg. Born in France in 1834, she immigrated to the United States and married a tailor in Philadelphia. When the Civil War broke out she joined the military with her husband and served with the 27th Pennsylvania Infantry, Co. I and 114th Pennsylvania Infantry. At the Battle of Fredericksburg she was shot in the ankle, after the Battle of Chancelorsville she received the Kearney Cross, and at the Battle of Gettysburg she nursed the injured for weeks after the three-day conflict. Many of the men called her “French Mary”, but whatever her name, this courageous woman served her country at a time when staying out of the battle was easy and accepted. Hundreds of women served on both sides during the Civil War, and the service by these Vivandieres will never be forgotten by the soldiers whose lives they saved.
Jennie Wade, the only civilian killed
2 July 1863 | Gettysburg, PA
Gettysburg had a population of 2400, despite of the three days of heavy fighting, only one civilian was killed. Her name was Jennie Wade, she was tired of hiding in the cellar, so she went to her kitchen to get something to eat. A stray bullet came through the door and killed her. She was buried in Evergreen Cemetary on the Cemetary Hill.
Wesley Culp, the sad homecoming
3 July 1863 | Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Wesley Culp was born in Gettysburg and grew up on the farm owned by his grandfather, Henry Culp which contains the famous Culp Hill. He was born in 1839 and in 1858, he moved 45 miles to Shepherdstown, Virginia (West Virginia today), and in 1862, he joined the 2nd Virginia of the Stonewall Brigade. This brigade was attached to the First Corp, under Ewell.
On morning of July 3, before Pickett's Charge, the 2nd VA was fighting at the Culp Hill, and Wesley was killed somewhere on the Culp Hill. His family in Gettysburg heard that he was killed and tried to locate his body afterward, but only found a rifle bearing his name. Thus, Wesley Culp had the distinction of die in battle on the land named after his grandfather.
As example of brother against brother, Wesley Culp's brother was a private in the Fourth Corp of the Union Army. Wesley was member of Ewell's Corp which fought the Fourth Corp in the Battle of Winchester in June, 1863. The Culp were on the opposite side on this battle.
General Howard and Sickles
1 July 1863 | Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
During the Chancellorsville Campaign, the Eleventh Corp under General Howard was positioned on the right flank of the Union line. Howard lefted his flank up in the air. Seeing this, Confederate General Stonewall Jackson decided to attack the Eleventh Corp. The Eleventh Corp collapsed quickly and created a panic that caused the rest of the Union Army to collapse.
In the main time, the III Corp was position in the center of the Union line, its commander General Sickles decided to move his corp forward in a salient at Hazel Grove. While this salient seperated Jackson's Corp from rest of the Confederate Army, it was dangerous exposed and got attacked from both flanks, like being in a nutcracker. The III Corp also collapsed and adding to the confusing.
One the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, the commander of the Union Army, John Reynolds was killed and the command was passed on to Howard. Howard decided to position his Eleventh Corp with flank up in the air again. Again, Confederate General Jubal Early took advantage of this and rolled up the Eleventh Corp and it made panic withdrew to the Cemetery Hill. Fortunately, General Hancock arrived in time to take replace Howard and prevented another Chancellorsville.
One the second day of battle, General Sickles again decided to move his III Corp forward in an exposed position, and even worse, he lefted a gap in the left side Union line, which included the Little Roundtop. Once again the exposed salient got attack from both sides, and again got crushed like a nut in a nutcracker, only the quick thinking General Warren who moved men ( including 20th Maine) to the Little Roundtop and General Hancock who ordered the First Minnesota into the gap left by the III Corp to buy him sometime, so he can get reinforcements. First Minnesota lost over 80% of it men, but they brought an extra eight minutes for reinforcement to arrive, thus, avoiding another Chancellorsville.
The moral to the story is "those who failed to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it"
General Sickles was directing the battle on a horse when leg was shot off by a cannon ball and was taken from the field and never commanded again. He placed the leg in a small coffin and donated it to the National Museum of Health and Medicine. Sickles die in 1914, it was noted he had visited his leg many times in the Museum! This Museum is now a part of the Walter Reed Hospital.
Howard and Eleventh Corp redeemed themselves when they helped General T. Sherman in capturing Atlanta and General Hooker in capturing the Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga. Later in life, Howard founded the famous Howard University in Washinton DC in 1867. In 1877, the Nez Perce led by Chief Joseph were trying to escape to Canada. Howard led an army in pursue, the Nez Perce managered to stay miles ahead of Howard, until Nelson Miles Army came along and blocked their path only miles from the Canadian border. Howard was on hand to accept Chief Joseph's famous surrender "My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever."