Friday, July 2, 2010

Anniversary of Gettysburg

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This week it’s the 147th anniversary of the famous Battle of Gettysburg, the largest, bloodiest, most pivotal battle of the entire American Civil War. On July 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the year 1863 approximately 150,000 soldiers total, North and South, met to do battle for three successive days in the sweltering Pennsylvania summer heat. When it was all finished the clashing armies left over 50,000 casualties in their wake. Although approximately halfway through the war, after Gettysburg the South would never come so close to victory again.

Gettysburg features prominently in my novel, The Long Defeat, and I devote several chapters to the battle. Yesterday, July 1st would have marked the opening shots of the conflict where both armies almost accidentally collided with one another. Today, July 2nd marks some of the heaviest fighting as Confederate assaults raged up and down the Union lines, making famous place names such as Little Round Top, Cemetery Hill, and Devil’s Den. Tomorrow, July 3rd, is the anniversary of probably the most famous action of the entire war, Pickett’s Charge. Needless to say, when the fight was over both armies simply gazed exhaustedly at one another across no-man’s land on July 4th. The Southerners would later retreat that night.

With the 4th of July soon upon us and everyone putting out flags and fireworks it’s definitely important to remember so many of the events that have shaped this country, from the signing of the Declaration of Independence to Gettysburg to our ongoing nation today. So I hope all of you have a wonderful 4th of July and enjoy your barbeques and summer weather. Happy Independence Day!