The Louisiana and Mississippi State Monuments

The Louisiana and Mississippi State Monuments, located in close proximity on West Confederate Avenue on the Gettysburg Battlefield, were sculpted by Donald DeLue and erected within two years of each other. Louisiana???s monument went up first, in 19…

This post was first published on the Civil War Institute’s previous blog901 Stories from Gettysburg.
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The Louisiana and Mississippi State Monuments, located in close proximity on West Confederate Avenue on the Gettysburg Battlefield, were sculpted by Donald DeLue and erected within two years of each other. Louisiana’s monument went up first, in 1971, followed by Mississippi’s in 1973. Both monuments were cast of bronze in Italy, and each cost $100,000. DeLue’s monuments are known for their capture of moments of extreme courage and their depictions of idealized bravery; his works on the field at Gettysburg are no exception.

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Battle Studies: Perspectives on the Battle of Gettysburg by An Observer With the Army of Northern Virginia

Of the great body of writing on the American Civil War, perhaps little is more compelling to our modern audience than the first-hand accounts of its participants. There are many kinds of such accounts, including memoirs, diaries, letters, maps, an…

This post was first published on the Civil War Institute’s previous blog901 Stories from Gettysburg.

By Mary Roll

Of the great body of writing on the American Civil War, perhaps little is more compelling to our modern audience than the first-hand accounts of its participants. There are many kinds of such accounts, including memoirs, diaries, letters, maps, and photographs. Additionally, the war years saw various observers accompanying Union and Confederate armies alike. Some of these witnesses were reporters, detailing battles and campaigns for newspapers and magazines, while others were foreign military officers who attached themselves to American armies and kept diligent records of their experiences. One of these men, Lieutenant Colonel Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, a British army officer who was present with Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia at the Battle of Gettysburg, wrote vividly and extensively of his experiences and observations made while accompanying Lee’s men on the road to Gettysburg. He carried his descriptive narrative through until the din of battle had faded and the Army of Northern Virginia found itself once again in retreat across the Potomac River. Fremantle’s writings offer modern readers a unique perspective on the events of July 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, 1863, and place us directly on the ground with Lee and his officers. Over the course of the three days of battle, Fremantle directly witnessed Lee’s meetings with his officers and staff. Fremantle also watched the unfolding events of July 3rd from Seminary Ridge, in the company of Lieutenant General James Longstreet. Fremantle spent a significant amount of time in the company of Lee, Longstreet, and their staffs, and the records he left behind demonstrate that his time spent with these men allowed him to see beyond the myths and legends of the decisions they made and positions they held. Additionally, Fremantle captures quite well how Lee’s common soldiers engaged with notions of duty and pride, as reflected in their actions on the field and in the immediate aftermath of defeat at Gettysburg.

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The Woolson Monument and the Grand Army of the Republic

On September 12, 1956, a crowd of nearly 3,000 people gathered at Zeigler???s Grove on Gettysburg???s Cemetery Hill to witness the dedication of a monument of Albert Woolson, known formally as the Grand Army of the Republic Monument. This event was th…

By Mary Roll ’12

On September 12, 1956, a crowd of nearly 3,000 people gathered at Zeigler’s Grove on Gettysburg’s Cemetery Hill to witness the dedication of a monument of Albert Woolson, known formally as the Grand Army of the Republic Monument. This event was the highlight of the 75th National Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.), held from Sunday, September 9th through Thursday, September 13th. Woolson, a native of Antwerp, New York, who grew up in Minnesota, was born on February 11, 1847. He died on August 2, 1956, at the age of 109, only a month before the dedication of the monument bearing his likeness. Woolson is credited with being the last Union survivor of the war, and soon after his death, the G.A.R. was officially dissolved.

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“I had tried to avoid the responsibility of the decision, but in vain.”: James Longstreet, Edward Porter Alexander, and Pickett’s Charge

???I had tried to avoid the responsibility of the decision, but in vain.???: James Longstreet, Edward Porter Alexander, and Pickett???s ChargeIn the years following the Civil War, Pickett???s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg became synonymous with both …

By Mary Roll ’12

In the years following the Civil War, Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg became synonymous with both the height of Confederate promise and the beginning of the end of the Confederacy. Much of the blame for Confederate failure at Gettysburg has historically been placed upon the shoulders of Lieutenant General James Longstreet, who was second in command to General Robert E. Lee. There are many reasons for this: some of Longstreet’s subordinates insisted that he deliberately hesitated in executing Lee’s wishes so that the charge would be made only in desperation with diminished likelihood of Confederate victory. Others maintained that Longstreet simply acted out of anger and frustration when Lee refused to adjust his plans to reflect what Longstreet desired. However, attempting to peg Longstreet as guilty or to absolve him of any wrongdoing is not what matters. It is much more useful to objectively examine the events of July 3 from existing evidence and accounts to try to understand the choices Longstreet made in relation to the orders he both received and gave, and to recognize how those decisions were perceived by Longstreet himself and others both during the Battle of Gettysburg and after the Civil War.

July 1st, 1863, was an encouraging victory for the Confederates, with the Union driven through the town of Gettysburg from the high ridges and hills to its north and west.  On July 2nd, the Confederates made an effort to sweep Union troops off the Round Tops and Culps and Cemetery Hills.  These brought the Confederates nearer still to success. Thus, July 3rd was crucial to Confederate success at Gettysburg. General Lee believed that one final push would break the Union line. He chose to attack the Union line at its center at Cemetery Hill, where he believed the line was weakest and most easily penetrable. He desired to first launch an artillery bombardment, then to follow up with a main infantry assault. It was essential that the attack be coordinated and well timed. Lee’s plan for the grand infantry assault of July 3rd, which would come to be known as Pickett’s Charge, relied upon the assumption that the Confederate cannonade preceding it would do significant enough damage to the Union artillery to weaken and break it down. This assumption allowed Lee to believe that his troops could successfully make the attack.

General Longstreet was in a difficult position on the final day of the battle. Devoted to a defensive-offensive strategy at Gettysburg, which he hoped would force Union commander George Gordon Meade to attack first, Longstreet believed Lee was committed to the same fighting style and should execute the battle accordingly. When Lee demonstrated his desire to deviate from this plan on July 3rd, Longstreet tried – repeatedly but unsuccessfully — to caution Lee against making the charge. He could not, however, convince Lee to take another course of action. Longstreet believed his best option for ensuring that he carried out his commander’s orders and that any chance for success was not wasted was to put the opening bombardment, upon which the effectiveness of the entire operation weighed, into the hands of the gifted young artillerist Lieutenant Colonel Edward Porter Alexander. From his position at the Peach Orchard, remembered Alexander, he was to “give the enemy the most effective cannonade possible. It was not meant simply to make a noise, but to try & cripple him—to tear him limbless, as it were, if possible.” Continue reading ““I had tried to avoid the responsibility of the decision, but in vain.”: James Longstreet, Edward Porter Alexander, and Pickett’s Charge”

First Sergeant Frederick Fuger, First Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing, and the Medal of Honor

???His noble death . . . should present an example for emulation to patriotic defenders of the country through all time to come???: First Sergeant Frederick Fuger, a native of Germany, arrived on the field at Gettysburg with Battery A of the 4th U.S. …

By Mary Roll

His noble death . . . should present an example for emulation to patriotic defenders of the country through all time to come.

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First Sergeant Frederick Fuger, a native of Germany, arrived on the field at Gettysburg with Battery A of the 4th U.S. Artillery early on the morning of July 2, 1863. This battery was attached to General Winfield Scott Hancock’s Second Corps of the Army of the Potomac.  Fuger spent most of that day in command of a section of the battery, which volleyed with Confederate guns on and off throughout the afternoon. Despite the steady exchange of fire, Battery A reported minimal losses on the 2nd. However, July 3rd would prove to be the true test of the battery’s might and the loyal Sergeant Fuger’s leadership qualities.

On the afternoon of July 3rd, from their position near the Angle behind the now-famous stone wall that lines Cemetery Ridge, members of Battery A readily awaited the onslaught of southern troops charging across the open field before them. As Pickett’s Charge reached its climax and the great wave of grey swept up the ridge, the twenty-seven year old Fuger found himself in charge of the battery’s guns. Battery commander First Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing, 22, had fallen dead in the melee, and all of Fuger’s superior officers were killed or severely wounded. Continue reading “First Sergeant Frederick Fuger, First Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing, and the Medal of Honor”

The Court-Martial of Captain Henry Krausneck, 74th Pennsylvania Volunteers

On February 1, 1864, a general court martial assembled on Folly Island, South Carolina to hear a case against Captain Henry Krausneck, Co. D, 74th Pennsylvania Volunteers. Captain Krausneck was charged with two accounts of misbehavior before the e…

By Mary Roll

On February 1, 1864, a general court martial assembled on Folly Island, South Carolina to hear a case against Captain Henry Krausneck, Co. D, 74th Pennsylvania Volunteers. Captain Krausneck was charged with two accounts of misbehavior before the enemy, both stemming from his actions on the field at Gettysburg on July 1st and 2nd, 1863.  View the trial transcript.

The reputation of the Eleventh Corps of the Army of the Potomac, of which the 74th Pennyslvania was a part, had suffered greatly in the wake of the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863, where it had retreated in the face of a surprise attack by Stonewall Jackson’s troops. By the time of the Battle of Gettysburg, the Eleventh Corps was still very much affected by the stigma of cowardice it had been unable to shake following Chancellorsville. Despite this reputation, the men of the Eleventh Corps came to Gettysburg ready to fight. Corps commander Oliver O. Howard  spent much of July 1 deciding where the strongest Union points would be for the coming battle and placing his men in the appropriate positions, focusing a significant portion of his force on Cemetery Hill, from which the Eleventh Corps would fight for the next two days.  However, the remainder of the Eleventh Corps and their comrades in the First Corps had to engage the Confederates north and west of Gettysburg so that time could be gained to establish that position.  It is here we begin the story of Captain Henry Krausneck.
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