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7th South Carolina: Over 240 Miles of Marching with 20 Minutes of Combat

Discussion in 'Battle of Gettysburg' started by Tom Elmore, Nov 12, 2017.

  1. Tom Elmore

    Tom Elmore Sergeant Major

    Jan 16, 2015
    Private George Franklin Robinson of Company A, 7th South Carolina Infantry left singularly unique information in a July 18, 1863 letter to his wife, Elvira Jane Griffin (Tennessee Virtual Archive, Digital Public Library of America). In his letter, Robinson graphically listed all of the towns along his line of march and retreat, including distances in miles, as posted below. I have added a few notations in parentheses regarding dates and correct spellings.

    Fredericksburg (departure June 3)
    8 (miles to) Chanclersville (Chancellorsville)
    2 Raccoon Ford
    12 Culpeper C. H. (Court House, June 15)
    7 Stephensburg (Stevensburg)
    14 Woodville
    8 Speryville (Sperryville)
    5 Washington
    5 Gains X Roads (Gaine’s Crossroads, June 17)
    25 Oak Hill (?)
    Shenandoah R. (River, crossed three times between June 20-22)
    17 Mill Wood (Millwood)
    7 Beryville (Berryville)
    (Summit Point, June 24)
    8 Smithville (Smithfield/Middleway)
    5 Barnesville
    7 Martinsburg (June 25)
    6 Haynesville
    (Potomac River crossed at 1 p.m. on June 26)
    7 Williamsport
    6 Hagerstown (June 27)
    5 Middleburg Pa (on Pennsylvania line, crossed at 10 a.m. on June 27)
    4 Greencastle (27 June)
    11 Chambersburg (June 28)
    5 Baltimore Pike
    2 Fayettville (Fayetteville)
    7 Caledonia Mines (July 1)
    4 Cashtown (8 p.m. on July 1)
    8 Gettysburg (reached Marsh Creek near midnight on July 1, departed field late on July 4)
    14 Motery Springs (Monterrey Springs)
    8 Ridgeville (?) May. (Maryland)
    4 Litersburg (Leitersburg)
    6 Hagerstown
    7 Williamsport
    6 Haynesville (reached the night of July 14)
    (Total: 240 miles)

    I do take issue with some of Robinson’s calculations. Chancellorsville to Raccoon Ford is closer to 20 miles than 2, and I do not understand the movement from Culpeper to Stevensburg and then back in the opposite direction to Woodville. The distance from Gaine’s Crossroads to Millwood also seems excessive, although Kershaw’s brigade did add extra miles crossing back and forth over the Shenandoah to meet a potential threat that never materialized. Cashtown to Marsh Creek is only 4 miles, but Robinson does not add the distance marching and countermarching on the battlefield on July 2, followed by an advance to the west side of the Wheatfield, where they encountered a fierce attack by Kelly’s brigade, and part of Zook’s brigade, from about 6:25 to 6:45 p.m., until overwhelmed by superior numbers. With my additions and subtractions to the mileage numbers, my total comes out to around 250 miles over the period June 3 to July 14, which is still remarkably close to Private Robinson’s tally.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2017
    Wallyfish, AUG, Andy Cardinal and 4 others like this.

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  3. Longhall

    Longhall Private

    Mar 6, 2017
    Makes my feet hurt just thinking about it.
  4. ikesdad

    ikesdad Sergeant

    Aug 5, 2016
    Western Slope
    Along with other parts of the body.
    Cavalry Charger and mofederal like this.
  5. mofederal

    mofederal Captain

    Jun 27, 2017
    Southeast Missouri
    Well this is what the infantry does best, march. I have known different groups who marched the route their unit historically
    covered from Va. to Gettysburg. I knew one, and he said it was rough to do on hard pavement. I know we did a D-Day Reenactment and we were dumped in water a little too deep, then we had to walk through the water too the beach. It was very tiring.
    Tom Elmore and Cavalry Charger like this.
  6. PeterT

    PeterT 1st Lieutenant

    Mar 29, 2015
    Melbourne Australia
    Cavalry Charger likes this.
  7. Bruce Vail

    Bruce Vail 1st Lieutenant

    Jul 8, 2015
    A good illustration of why shoes were always a big problem for armies of that era. Can you imagine having to make this march with ill-fitting shoes? or, worse, barefoot?

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