Favorites from The Battle of Gettysburg


Forum Host
Dec 28, 2008
What stories or anecdotes about the three days of the Battle of Gettysburg are your favorites? Stories about parts of the battle, places on the battlefield, people (military or civilian) or animals in the battle, etc.? They could be well-worn tales, proven facts, or things handed down from relatives. What are your favorite tales, quotes, or lessons?


Sergeant Major
Honored Fallen Comrade
Nov 26, 2015
Greensburg, Pa
I have read a lot of very poignant stories about my beloved Gettysburg. The soldiers who fought there had uncommon courage and left their home lives to fight for their cause. There were ~160,000 stories to be told on those fateful days in July 1863. But there is simply nothing that can come close to telling the poignant story like Lincoln's Gettysburg address.

"But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground".

While the entire speech is marvelously written, those 16 words sum up the 160,000 stories from the battlefield. If I could go back in time, I would travel back to Nov 19, 1863 to hear those words first hand.

In terms of battlefield places, I have many that simply connect me to the battle. The remoteness of the Henry Fuller marker has always been a comforting place for me. Likewise, the David Acheson rock carving as well as the Split Rock area brings great reverence to me. The area around the 19th Indiana, 24th Michigan and 26th NC is likewise a special spot to me. Walking The Wheatfield in early morning with no one in sight is an incredible experience. Picking a special spot is like picking your favorite child, they are all great with something to offer.

I retired from almost 40 years in the Steel Business last April. As a senior manager in a difficult industry, I had to capture my personal courage on many days as I struggled with the issues at hand. When times were stressful, I ALWAYS thought about the personal struggles and courage of those who fought at Gettysburg. It always brought focus, clarity and a calmness (well I thought so anyway) to my problems. At least no one was shooting at me from 50 yards. What better lesson could be learned. Thank you Gettysburg!


2nd Lieutenant
Feb 8, 2017
Monterey, CA
I couldn't agree more....there is no shortage of inspiring moments and courage. Two images always give me the chills - the picture of Benjamin Crippen shaking his fist at the Confederates, and the monument of the 72nd PA on Cemetery Ridge.

Probably my favorite quote from the battle is from James Smith: "Give them shell! Give them solid shot! **** them, give them anything!"

Burning Billy

Jul 6, 2016
"At this moment, and just
as I was about to move off to the left with my regiment, Major Speer of
the division staff, rode up and said, "Colonel Jackson, General Crawford
directs that you remain in position and hold this hill at all hazards."

In obedience to this order I faced my regiment to the front and moved
forward to the position just vacated by the Twelfth Regiment, and ordered
the men to lie down and withhold their fire until I would give the com-
mand. This very trying order was most heroically obeyed as we were
wholly exposed to the galling fire of the enemy from the direction of Devil's
Den, and quite a number of my officers and men were here killed and
wounded. Our position gave us a complete view of much of the day's
battle-field, including the wheat-field and part of the peach orchard be-
yond, together with the woods on the right and left of the wheat-field
and the greater portion of Devil's Den, that stronghold so tenaciously held
by the foe.

A discouraging, yet sublime view it was about 6 o'clock, that hot July
afternoon. The enemy forcing back foot by foot the struggling heroes of
the Third Corps and the First Division of the Fifth Corps, down through
the wheat-field and the woods on the right and left of the wheat-field,
while the artillery to our right and left were playing upon them with
shot and shell. Still on they came, a seeming irresistible mass of living
gray. The First Ohio Battery, commanded by a German captain, had

gone into action on my left-front, and when it seemed that nothing could
stop the onward progress of the enemy, this gallant officer became very
much exercised over the safety of his guns and loudly announced that he
would be compelled to limber to the rear to save his pieces from capture.
I told him to double-shot his guns, hold his position, and we would see to
their safety.

The boys along the line of the regiment hearing this colloquy between
the German captain and myself, holloed out, "Stand by your guns, Dutchy,

and we will stand by you." This seemed to put new confidence in the cap-
tain, who returned to his guns and served them most heroically, inflicting
frightful execution upon the foe, as he poured the shot and shell into their
very faces.

All this time my regiment remained quiet and motionless save in carrying
back our killed and wounded. The men hugged the ground closely, which,
by the help of a scrubby growth of pine which stood along the western slope
of the hill, screened them pretty effectually from the enemy's view. The
smoke by this time had literally filled the valley in our front, and it was
almost impossible to even see the troops. It was a trying moment. We
could with difflculty see a column commencing to ascend the slope, but
could not tell whether it was our troops retreating, or the enemy advancing.
Finally two men came up the hill and as they approached us, I inquired
if the front was clear of our men. They replied, "Yes; those fellows
(pointing to the line moving up the hill a few rods in our front) are John-
nies." I immediately gave the command to fire, which was obeyed with
alacrity, and we poured a terrible volley into the very faces of the enemy.
This evidently was a surprise, for they faltered in the onward march and
began to collect in groups. Their galling fire, however, was kept up on our
line, particularly from Devil's Den, and I soon realized the fact that the
only way to hold the hill was to charge forward. Therefore, I gave the
command to fix bayonets and charge. This order was obeyed with a will
and, with that familiar yell peculiar to the Pennsylvania Reserves, we
rushed upon the foe with a determination to either drive the invaders back
or sacrifice ourselves on our native soil. Our fondest hopes were realized.
The tide was turned, the enemy broke and fell back in much disorder."

Pennsylvania At Gettysburg...
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Andy Cardinal

2nd Lieutenant
Forum Host
Feb 27, 2017
The 114th Pennsylvania (Collis'Zouaves) defended the Emmitsburg Road near the Sherfy farm when Barksdale's Mississippians attacked on July 2. The regimental colors were posted just to the south of the house. Sgt. H.H. Snyder, of the color guard, was standing next to Corporal Robert Kenderdine, a Quaker who had enlisted to defend the Union despite his parents opposition. Snyder saw a Mississippian taking aim from the corner of the barn. The southerner fired and the twenty-three year-old Kenderdine fell seriously wounded. Snyder returned fire but missed; the Mississippian fell moments later, “apparently dead.” Kenderdine “was left lying in the road close to where the monument now is,” Captain A. W. Givin recalled. He “called to one of his comrades, but he had gone. Sergeant Snyder answered for him, and bidding him good-bye, retreated with the rest.” The young corporal lay in agony until the morning of July 4, when his comrades returned to the Peach Orchard. Givin saw Kenderdine as he has being carried away on a stretcher and wrote: "He looked badly and was suffering much from his wound. His clothing was torn, and he seemed to have no care taken of him since the battle, near two days before. I asked him if he was wounded badly. He said, “Oh yes; I am very badly wounded.” That was all he said; for they were carrying him off, and I was busy with my awful duties [burying the dead]; but the look he gave me I will never forget, it was so sad." Kenderdine lingered in a field hospital near Little Round Top where, on the morning of July 10th, his father arrived. Passing into and out of delirium, Kenderdine revived sufficiently enough to recognize his father before dying. Kenderdine’s body was transported to his home, where he was buried at the Quaker meetinghouse in Solebury. Givin would eulogize Kenderdine: "Robert was a man who was much liked and respected; very kind and always willing to do a good act; to sacrifice himself for the good of others. I have always looked upon him as an ideal American soldier, brave, intelligent, and a gentleman in word and deed; ready to fight for his country without hope or reward, save the consciousness of having done his duty." Quotes from Givin's speech dedicating the regiment's monument in Pennsylvania at Gettysburg and also from Thaddeus S. Kenderdine, A California Tramp. Thaddeus Kenderdine travelled from Philadelphia to California and back to New York in 1858-59. The book is an account of his adventures, and also includes an account of his brother Robert and the Battle of Gettysburg.

Don't remember where or when I first heard about Robert Kenderdine, but the story stuck with me and I did some internet research of my own to find out more about him.

There are so many examples from the battle that it is hard to pick just one.


Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Retired Moderator
Dec 31, 2009
Smack dab in the heart of Texas
It's like the old "Which child do you. love the most?"

Obviously Buford and Stuart, and my Barbee guy with the Texans who got wounded 3 times and fell in the rocks of Devil's DEN...and cussed his companions who wouldn't give his rifle back.

And MS PAM knows about Lo...and my obsession. Give him another pat.for me!
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JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Feb 14, 2012
Central Pennsylvania
Goodness Pam. It can't be done. You just started this thread to keep us busy so the new moderators had nothing to do.

I mean wow. The big and small- stories you don't hear much and stories deeply carved in Time- how do you pick? From Farnsworth, knowing what a tool ordered him to make that ridiculous charge and doing it anyway to Mary Virginia Wade's sister, Georgiana McClellan burying her sister, handing that famous baby to her mother and heading off to the hospitals to help glue together shattered men- how do you pick?

Well, you can't beat Buford's unmatchable story, that's just one of the big ones. " ...they will come 'booming'--skirmishers three deep. " You can't make that stuff up.

Harriet Bayle's Confederate waife, knocking on their door, having quit the war. He bought a farm, raised a family post war.

Aunt Becky Palmer, kidnapped along with a vast amount of Gettysburg's black citizens, escaping on the way out of town and hiding in the church belfry for hungry days and nights as the battle raged.

I'll have to come back. Far too many.


1st Lieutenant
Mar 29, 2015
Melbourne Australia
Some from me ...

Culp's Hill ... the efforts of those involved here were incredible. I'll never forget the atmosphere up there (... paging @Bee)
East Cavalry Field ... I have just finished @Eric Wittenberg's fine book on this subject. So good, I'm thinking of reading it again right away. This work, and the tour we did with Eric in September gave me a new appreciation of this part of the Gettysburg battle.

Oh ... I didn't want to forget the Cupola at the seminary. It was great to go up there! Felt like I was with Buford.

Ok ... so I'm doing a 3rd edit now. The walk up Big Round Top was both fascinating and exhilarating. This was the end of the line.
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Buckeye Bill

Forum Host
Annual Winner
Jul 29, 2013

My favorite spot at Gettysburg is the Rose Farm and pasture. Most individuals which tour the Gettysburg National Military Park never explore this area of the battlefield. In my opinion, it is a shame the National Park Service does not include this bloody Hallowed Ground on its official tour. I became fascinated with this farm and pasture after reading books by William Frassanito and after viewing Civil War Trust videos. Timmy Smith and Garry Adelman do a fantastic job bringing this area to light for the student/visitor! I will be leading a family/friend tour of the Gettysburg National Military Park in mid-April. I will take them on the official NPS tour but we will be spending more time exploring the off-the-beaten-path sites. I will definitely bring my books and vintage photos to enlighten my tour.



Semper Fi,
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First Sergeant
Annual Winner
Dec 16, 2015
Twin Cities Metro, MN
Gotta go with my handle-sake: the 1st Minnesota on day 2. Here is a little blurb from one of our local papers from a few years ago:


The regiment arrived outside Gettysburg exhausted on the eve of the second day of battle after marching an average of 14 miles a day for two weeks, according to Moe, following Lee’s army north from Virginia. They were roused early July 2 and assigned to protect an artillery unit on what’s known as Cemetery Ridge, back from the fighting. The Union army had claimed the high ground, and Confederates attacked in the afternoon.

Toward evening, the Confederate attack rolled north and forced the portion of the Union line directly in front of the Minnesotans into a chaotic retreat. The Minnesotans stood on their low ridge as panicked Union soldiers ran back toward them and through their ranks. Then the Minnesotans saw a hazy line of Confederate troops coming down the opposite low ridge into the rocky creek bed right below.

Gen. Winfield Hancock was surveying the disintegrating line from horseback and, according to one account, came up to the well-ordered Minnesotans and asked Colvill, “What regiment is this?”

Hancock ordered the Minnesotans to charge down the slope and take the Confederate’s colors.

Brian Leehan’s book “Pale Horse at Plum Run” quotes Hancock’s later reflection: “Reinforcements were coming on the run, but I knew that before they could reach the threatened point the Confederates, unless checked, would seize the position. I would have ordered that regiment in if I had known every man would be killed. It had to be done.”

Lt. William Lochran, an Irish-born lawyer from St. Anthony, later wrote, “Every man realized in an instant what that order meant — death or wounds to us all; the sacrifice of the regiment to gain a few minutes’ time and save the position, and probably the battlefield.”

The men ran in formation down the slope through the stubble of a wheat field to the dry creek known as Plum Run, where they faced 1,300 to 1,500 Alabamans.

“This absolutely stunned the Alabamans because it was the last thing they expected,” Moe said.

“Hancock was trying to buy time through this tactic, and it worked. They stopped the advance of the Alabamans, but in the course of it, they suffered tremendous casualties. It’s incredible because they never hesitated. They knew what was going to happen to them and they went and did it anyway. And they played a decisive role in the battle.”

“Bullets whistled past us, shells screeched over us; canister and grape fell about us,” wrote Sgt. Alfred Carpenter, who survived Gettysburg only to die of yellow fever a year later. “Comrade after comrade dropped from the ranks; but on the line went. No one took a second look at his fallen companion. We had no time to weep.”

The regiment was nearly demolished before the order came to retreat.


Sergeant Major
Feb 18, 2017
Gotta go with my handle-sake: the 1st Minnesota on day 2. .

Yes, no surprise 1stMN, that they would be your choice.:wink:
I wanted to emphasize that the 1st Minnesota, a single regiment, was ordered to charge a whole brigade, led by General Cadmus Wilcox (yes, you have the numbers listed). The Minnesotans were significantly outnumbered. It also helped that it was getting dark and with the large amount of gun smoke, the Confederates had no idea what hit them.

War Horse

Member of the Year
Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2017
Sep 4, 2014
Lexington, SC
Sorry guys couldn't resist...it may not be historically accurate, it is a great scene though. :smile:
@PeterT re-enacted this scene for a small group of us in September. It was special, all the emotion was there, the dialogue matched exactly right down to the facial expressions. A true Oscar worthy performance. Even the Australian accent made it better. :smile:


Jun 2, 2016
Soldiers that fought at Gettysburg and their little known stories. Just recently I read about Pvt. Wilson J. Barbee Co L 1st Texas Infantry Regt "Lone Star Rifles" . At the time of the battle he had been detailed as a courier to his division commander. He rejoined his regiment during the fighting at Devil's Den where he climbed up on a high rock exposing himself to the enemy and opened fire. Wounded comrades kept passing him loaded muskets. He was wounded 3 times before the last wound caused him to fall from his perch. Pvt. Barbee was killed in the skirmish at Daindridge Farm Tn. He was awarded the Confederate Medal of Honor many years after his death. These stories I find interesting.

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