Brev. Brig. Gen'l
- Feb 14, 2012
- Central Pennsylvania
Artillery General Edward Porter Alexander had a fierce battle in Pennsylvania. Battles. We owe his engineer's eye for detail some of the best accounts from July, 1863. Sketch is entitled " Porter Alexander's artillery charge ", now history. Despite those savage 3 days in Adams County Porter took the time to record an encounter with Peace.
Came across this and was tickled. These personal encounters are like time-outs during an appallingly brutal war. Alexander tends to be vastly interesting anyway, his writings devoid of ego or that mid-Victorian, adjective strewn romanticism. He does seem an acute observer; Pickett's Charge through Porter's pen may seem brief. It's as horrifying as if we were there anyway.
Snipped this from an account by Porter of the Confederate army's retreat from Gettysburg, July 1863. No need for a back story in a forum composed of those of us who can't stay away from all-things-1861 - 1865.
Backstory needed is on the Dunkards. Dunk- baptized by immersion. A religious sect whose Pennsylvania roots helps explain this encounter. Putting their lives where their Bible was, Dunkards were remarkable. Truly, remarkable. A church member once armed himself after his business had been raided by Native American three times. Kicked out of the church. You didn't slide by the rules, that was it- no guns meant no guns. No violence. No false piety about this sect, no burning witches while elders played, no lies, drinking, tobacco, cruelty- you can fill in the blanks. German-Swiss, which probably means Alsace- a lot of them in Pennsylvania's history of immigration.
It gets better.
Imboden's 17 mile train of wounded alone was enough to make the retreat unendurable for both wounded and those who managed to leave with a whole skin. That Porter could find time or energy, or have the inclination to take his hat off to a good man is as remarkable as the man with one horse.