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The Battle of Gettysburg

Updated on July 11, 2013

RARE GLIMPSES INTO THE BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG AND THE CIVIL WAR

This website does not just contain average Battle of Gettysburg information. It includes a first hand account of the battle by an actual Gettysburg Civil War Veteran as well as other witnesses, and also contains links to different oddities about the battle and site. You will learn about ghosts & spirits at Gettysburg, animal mascots in the battle, Civil War uniforms, really cool vintage Gettysburg photos, the best Gettysburg Bed and Breakfast locations and also has an opportunity to buy actual Civil War relics and collectible information.

Gettysburg photo from Google Images Creative Commons and is in the Public Domain.

My Interest in Gettysburg

I have always been interested in the Civil War and of the greatest battle of that war at Gettysburg. I have visited there several times and even took a auto driven tour with a man who knew many veterans of the battle. Gettysburg was the most pivotal battle in the Civil War and I found the article in this website in a very old publication from the early 1900's in the Public Domain. It is a first hand account of the battle from a veteran. This is a perspective you don't hear very often.

I hope you are as interested in this information as I am and hope you enjoy this website!

VETERAN H.M. HOWELL ON GETTYSBURG

A FIRST HAND ACCOUNT BY PARTICIPANTS IN THE BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG

This is a public domain account of the Battle of Gettysburg by actual participant and witnesses. This was published in 1913.

VETERAN H.M. HOWELL ON GETTYSBURG

The attack of Hood's Division of Longstreet's Corps, consisting of the Brigades of Laws, Benning, Anderson and Robeson was made at 4 o'clock p.m. on the second of July, on Wards Brigade of Sickles Corps, which with the Fourth N.Y. Independent Battery were stationed on the extreme left of the Union army.

Gen. Lee's order required that the right Brigade (Law's of Hood's division) should attack first, after which the movement should be taken up by brigades successively to the left, expecting to break the line of Ward's brigade on the Union left, this letting the Confederate troops in the rear of Sickles' Corps, with the intention of routing the line from behind; and as Lee had four lines of battle, he was fully justified in expecting such a result.

But, the single line of Ward's Brigade had been moved forward by Gen. Sickles to a strong position at "Devil's Den" and were posted in such a way that their strength was unknown to the attacking force. The guns of Smith's Fourth N.Y. Battery had been posted on the top of a rocky ridge at "Devil's Den" and as the Confederate lines approached, were served very effectively causing considerable delay and much loss of life to the enemy. The Union Infantry was kept under cover while the artillery duel was fought.

Finally, the Confederate force came creeping up the hill and were among Smith's guns when Col. Ellis gave the order to "up and at them, my hearties." The struggle was on, and for two hours and a half, the fiercest kind of battle was waged around and among Smith's guns.

Many writers of history have named the "Peach Orchard" as the pivoted point in the battle of Gettysburg, but now fifty years after, we find that the men who attacked at the "Peach Orchard" had been posted on high ground where they could watch the fight at "Devil's Den"" for two hours before they were ordered forward. They agree as to the length of time and wondered why they were not sent forward sooner.

Lee's order to attack from their right Brigade was carried out to the letter, but Ward's regiments refused to be doubled up or driven from their position. At one point of this battle when the rebel columns were pressing forward with a flag posted very near the front of the 124th regiment, Col. Ellis and Major Cromwell mounted their horses and ordered a counter charge, which was heroically made, but with great loss of life, both of the officers named and many others being killed.

At the time we thought it was a needless slaughter, as all knew we were facing four lines of the enemy. Now we know that the charge was very effective, as it made the enemy believe we had a very strong force in front of them, and for the next hour they were very careful to keep further back from our front.

If at any time during the first two hours of the battle the line at "Devil's Den" could have been broken, there never would have been any fighting at the "Peach Orchard," as the enemy would have flanked our army there and driven it out from behind; so while later the "Peach Orchard" became a crucial point and the fighting was very fierce there, the pivotal point was at the "Devil's Den."

The writer met Judge Cummins, who fought in a Texas regiment and W. G. Whitfield, First Sergeant, Co. D 35th Alabama, both of them being in the advance line that attacked at the "Peach Orchard" at about 7 o'clock p.m., and they agreed that from their position on high ground they had watched the fighting at "Devil's Den" fully two hours before their regiments were ordered into the fight.

All writers say that Lee was very much chagrined at Hood's failure to force the line at "Devil's Den" with the strong force at his command and if the attacking party had known the weakness of the Union line at the time they would have forced it from its position at the beginning of the battle.

In view of the facts stated, the Devil's Den was the pivoted point in the battle of Gettysburg.

H.M. Howell

Middletown, July 12, 1913.

Please Let Us Know What You Thought of this Battle of Gettysburg Website

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    • tvyps profile imageAUTHOR

      Teri Villars 

      5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      @anonymous: That is definitely true. There is an eerie feeling there but I just remember, the skies opened up to the heavens and took up many great men and women!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      Visited Gettysburg this past summer. You can feel the history all around you. incredible.

    • ryokomayuka profile image

      ryokomayuka 

      6 years ago from USA

      I have been to Gettysburg a few times. My preacher knows a lot of the history. Great Lens

    • Bigdaddyguru profile image

      Bigdaddyguru 

      6 years ago

      Great lens with some great old photos.

    • EdTecher profile image

      Heidi Reina 

      6 years ago from USA

      Gettysburg bears so many sorrows and scars. A first person account helps to put a face to the pain of this battle.

    • Brandi Bush profile image

      Brandi 

      6 years ago from Maryland

      I was just in Gettysburg yesterday, my brother owns a tattoo shop on the square. I have always been fascinated by Gettysburg...I grew up there and Devil's Den was a frequent hangout for me and my friends. This is a great lens...I love the firsthand account you have included. SquidAngel Blessed! :)

    • hsschulte profile image

      hsschulte 

      6 years ago

      History is always more interesting to me when you can hear it from the perspective of people who lived it.

    • senditondown profile image

      Senditondown 

      6 years ago from US

      Nice lens and enjoyable to read. I have visited Gettysburg and toured the battlefields. So serene now...hard to believe what actually took place there.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 

      6 years ago

      Great lens. Blessed and featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012. Hugs

    • AaronSquid profile image

      AaronSquid 

      6 years ago

      I checked out the link to the 'Gettysburg Ghosts' - there is an EVP on the ist which is one of the scariest I have heard - really chilling.

    • vkumar05 profile image

      vkumar05 

      6 years ago

      Nice Lens. Some very interesting and impressive information.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      Returning with a blessing for The Battle of Gettysburg, I believe I was here a little over a year ago and still recall how impressed I was and still am of your work here.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      Nice lens. I would love to visit Gettysburg.

    • Swisstoons profile image

      Thomas F. Wuthrich 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      When I was a kid, my buddy was given an historically accurate "Gettysburg" board game made by Avalon-Hill of Baltimore. Reinforcements entered at the appropriate times from the edge of the board via roads such as Taneytown Rd or Emmitsburg Rd. The rulebook was thick and we'd spend hours arguing over the meaning of this rule or that rule. It wasn't uncommon to spend longer playing the game than the three days it took to fight the actual battle! Wow! I just checked. That old game is available on ebay this morning! Great lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      Thanks for a good read, I as well as my son have an interest in the civil war.

    • profile image

      kylekartarn 

      7 years ago

      Excellent Lense. Check Mine out squidoo.com/haida-indians

    • profile image

      reasonablerobby 

      7 years ago

      I have always had an interest in the US Civil War. I collected bubble gum cards here in UK that told the story of it. There was a bit of a hue and cry because some of the artists images were quite gory.

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 

      7 years ago

      I just did a lens on collecting military correspondence, and thought I would check out some other military lenses. Very nice lens.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 

      7 years ago from Southampton, UK

      I love anything to do with the Civil War. Gettysburg was a tremendous battle. I loved reading The Killer Angels by Shaara, and the movie Gettysburg which is based on the book is one of my favorites.

    • carlajo73 profile image

      carlajo73 

      7 years ago

      Very interesting. I added you to my site "Top Reasons To Visit Gettysburg, PA" https://hubpages.com/travel/gettysburg-pa Great job!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      7 years ago

      So, you were in Desert Storm...tell me more if you will. I will be getting you posted on Support Our Troops and Veterans, and will feature this fine and very interesting lens on the Battle of Gettysburg. You have a name, when did you serve, what can I know about you?

      Thank you for serving in the armed forces!

    • profile image

      tssfacts 

      7 years ago

      Very interesting lens. Lots of information. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image

      JoyfulPamela2 

      7 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      Thanks for sharing your interesting information. I will add this to my Civil War page and use its contents next time we study the topic.

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