Friday, October 10, 2014

Civil War Journal - Pickett's Charge

This short presentation is very interesting.  It does use some docudrama, but also using historians recounting the battle, including one who worked at the battle site. Also many pictures, included of corpses on the field.  Danny Glover narrates.  The presentation quickly tells of the first two days, where the Union had been attacked on botgh flanks.  On the third day, Lee proposed to strike the center. 
General George Picket's division had three brigades who were all engaged, pretty much without support.  (Others were assigned to the attack, but never arrived.)  Two Brigade commanders were killed and the other wounded.
One of the most poignant stories is that of the friendship of brigade commander General Lewis Armistead of the Confederacy and General Winfield Scott Hancock of the Union.  They had served together in California, and returned east to fight in the war, one for each side.  They faced each other this day.  Armistead lead his men into the angle of the stone wall and over, where they were engaged in fierce hand to hand combat.  Armistead was fatally wounded.  Hancock was also wounded, shot in the thigh, but not taken from the battlefield.  Armistead died a few yards from where Hancock was being attended to.  He as the men who attended to him to tell Hancock he was sorry.  It appears he felt one of his men likely wounded Hancock. 
Half of Picket's 12,000 men were lost this day, wounded or killed or captured.  General Lee took responsibility for having ordered the attack, which was over open territory of at least a mile, into cannon from all sides, and then into the reinforced Union defense.  This was a disaster, but it was carried out with good style, men marching shoulder to shoulder as the faced the hail of shell.

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