Gettysburg……..

Some might find it a little strange to draw attention to a civil war battle on the anniversary of it’s happening.

After all, there were so many battles..all great losses of life on both sides.

Why should you focus on just one?

I’ve said before that our History Classes in America are a joke. We no longer teach what actually happened. We teach what we “think” happened and then lace it with our own particular brand of “WHY IT WAS RIGHT OR WRONG” based on our holier than thou attitudes. We have murked up so much of History..and American History is the muddiest of all.

If you have never seen Gettysburg by Ronald F. Maxwell. You should. It remains the only Civil War film I have seen to date that explains the war from both sides.  With neither a biased view point from either.

The Civil War, The War of the Rebellion, was a horrific part of My Country’s past.  It should never be something that is celebrated.  But, I believe that films like this can open our eyes to the thoughts and feelings of the People who lost their lives fighting it.

Joshua Chamberlain, Colonel of the 20th Maine Infantry – Played by Jeff Daniels. An Amazing Actor!

Chamberlain was a college professor from Maine. As he was making his way to Gettysburg he was given charge of a group of men who wanted to muster out of the Union Army but who had not served out their full term yet.  He was given orders to take these men with him and that if they didn’t want to go..he could execute them for treason.

A great many of the men who fought in the civil war were not soldiers at the start. They were ordinary citizens who answered the call from their country to fight.  That is also a point left out of our History Books these days.

General Lewis Armistead, Brigade Commander, Confederate Army – Played by Richard Jordan another Amazing Actor.

Armistead was a career Soldier.  And you can hear it in the way he talks about the men under his command.  Armistead found himself on the opposite side of a war with one of his best friends, a man who as like a brother to him, Winfield Hancock.  He made no bones about that fact that he was scared to death to have to face his long time friend. That one of them would be the death of the other.

We are also allowed to forget that brother fought against brother, Families against Families. Makes for excellent room to drop in our own “reasons” for the war and demonize the men who fought on either side. Can’t really hate a family member as much as you can a total stranger, now can you?

Today was the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg.  Right about the time I’m writing this, the engagement at Little Round Top would be happening.  It was the remarkable genius of Col. Chamberlain that turned that engagement into less of a blood bath than would be what happens tomorrow…..Pickett’s Charge.  Casualties from that engagement will number 6,555 either dead, wounded, or missing.

The outcome of Gettysburg has two possibilities. Confederate Victory – The Union Army is destroyed, The South wins the war and the United States is split into two countries and God knows what else.  Union Victory – Lee is forced to retreat, the South is broken and continues to struggle until they are unable to muster enough fighting strength anymore, then the only option is surrender.

Of course the latter is what happened. But I’ll bet most Americans do not know that it was that “close”.

And another little known fact, Meade (Supreme Commander of the Entire Union Army) chose not to destroy the Confederate Forces at Gettysburg. Thus allowing the War to continue on for another 2 years!

My point in this whole post is something great and terrible happened on July 1-4th 1863.

The casualties for both sides during the entire campaign were 57,225.

That’s Dead/Wounded/Missing in Action

57 THOUSAND 2 HUNDRED and 25 lives snuffed out, torn apart, or lost to fate.

So hard to wrap your mind around those numbers.

NONE of them should be forgotten.

 

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About Eric

Writer/Plumber/Poet/Father/Gentleman/Romantic
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2 Responses to Gettysburg……..

  1. D. D. Syrdal says:

    I tried watching this movie online, and some of the acting early on is so painfully bad I couldn’t get into it. Maybe I’ll make another attempt.

    The ‘brother-against-brother’ was one of the aspects that was definitely brought up in my classes. It seems like that’s one of the things they like to highlight in a lot of movies, especially since Lee and Grant both attended West Point and ended up on opposite sides of the conflict. Didn’t the mini-series “North and South” also get into that? I’ve never seen it so I’m not sure.

    When I went to hs we had ‘mini-courses’ that we could choose to fulfill various requirements. One of my choices was a Civil War mini-course. I think it was with that class that I went on the field trip to Gettysburg, and it was in that class that they brought in Civil War re-enactors (some local brigade) to help us film a battle. That’s when I got to play dead and be immortalized on celluloid doing it.

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