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  • The American Civil War, The Balloons with the Army of the Potomac
    more I explained to him why he had been deprived of my services which did not surprise him because be stated that everything bad been done to annoy him but that be must still perform his duty regardless of annoyances When I asked him if I should accompany him across the river in pursuit of Lee he replied that he would see that I had my supply trains immediately but that the troops after so long a march were nearly all barefoot and in no condition to proceed until they bad been properly shod and clothed Without the time and knowledge gained by the midnight observations referred to at the beginning of this chapter there would have been no battle of Williamsburg and McClellan would have lost the opportunity of gaining a victory the importance of which has never been properly appreciated The Confederates would have gotten away with all their stores and ammunition without injury It was also my night observations that gave the primary knowledge which saved the Federal army at the battle of Fair Oaks On arriving in sight of Richmond I took observations to ascertain the best location for crossing the Chickahominy River The one selected was where the Grapevine or Sumner Bridge was afterward built across that stream Mechanicsville was the point nearest to Richmond being only about four miles from the capital but there we would have bad to face the gathering army of the Confederacy at the only point properly provided with trenches and earthworks Here I established one of my aeronautic stations where I could better estimate the increase of the Confederate army and observe their various movements My main station and personal camp was on Gaines Hill overlooking the bridge where our army was to cross When this bridge was completed about half of our army crossed over on the Richmond side of the river the remainder delaying for a while to protect our transportation supplies and railway facilities In the mean time the Confederate camp in and about Richmond grew larger every day My night and day observations convinced me that with the great army then assembled in and about Richmond we were too late to gain a victory which a short time before was within our grasp In the mean time desperate efforts were made by the Confederates to destroy my balloon at Mechanicsville in order to prevent my observing their movements At one point they masked twelve of their best rifle cannon and while taking an early morning observation all the twelve guns were simultaneously discharged at short range some of the shells passing through the rigging of the balloon and nearly all bursting not more than two hundred feet beyond me showing that through spies they had gotten my base of operations and range perfectly I changed my base and they never came so near destroying the balloon or capturing me after that I felt that it was important to take thorough observations that very night at

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/Civil%20War%20ballons.htm (2016-02-11)
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  • The American Civil War, Civil War Battles
    and counterattacks swept across Miller s cornfield and fighting swirled around the Dunker Church Union assaults against the Sunken Road eventually pierced the Confederate center but the Federal advantage was not followed up Late in the day Burnside s corps finally got into action crossing the stone bridge over Antietam Creek and rolling up the Confederate right At a crucial moment A P Hill s division arrived from Harpers Ferry and counterattacked driving back Burnside and saving the day Although outnumbered two to one Lee committed his entire force while McClellan sent in less than three quarters of his army enabling Lee to fight the Federals to a standstill During the night both armies consolidated their lines In spite of crippling casualties Lee continued to skirmish with McClellan throughout the 18th while removing his wounded south of the river McClellan did not renew the assaults After dark Lee ordered the battered Army of Northern Virginia to withdraw across the Potomac into the Shenandoah Valley Fredricksburg December 11 15 1862 Casualties 17 429 On November 14 1862 Burnside now in command of the Army of the Potomac sent a corps to occupy the vicinity of Falmouth near Fredericksburg The rest of the army soon followed Lee reacted by entrenching his army on the heights behind the town On December 11 Union engineers laid five pontoon bridges across the Rappahannock under fire On the 12th the Federal army crossed over and on December 13 Burnside mounted a series of futile frontal assaults on Prospect Hill and Marye s Heights that resulted in staggering casualties Meade s division on the Union left flank briefly penetrated Jackson s line but was driven back by a counterattack Union generals C Feger Jackson and George Bayard and Confederate generals Thomas R R Cobb and Maxey Gregg were killed On December 15 Burnside called off the offensive and recrossed the river ending the campaign Burnside initiated a new offensive in January 1863 which quickly bogged down in the winter mud The abortive Mud March and other failures led to Burnside s replacement by Maj Gen Joseph Hooker in January 1863 Chancellorsville April 30 thru May 3 1862 Casualties 17 989 On April 27 Maj Gen Joseph Hooker led the V IX and XII Corps on a campaign to turn the Confederate left flank by crossing the Rappahannock and Rapidan Rivers above Fredericksburg Passing the Rapidan via Germanna and Ely s Fords the Federals concentrated near Chancellorsville on April 30 and May 1 The III Corps was ordered to join the army via United States Ford Sedgwick s VI Corps and Gibbon s division remained to demonstrate against the Confederates at Fredericksburg In the meantime Lee left a covering force under Maj Gen Jubal Early in Fredericksburg and marched with the rest of the army to confront the Federals As Hooker s army moved toward Fredericksburg on the Orange Turnpike they encountered increasing Confederate resistance Hearing reports of overwhelming Confederate force Hooker ordered his army to suspend the

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  • The Blockading of the Southern Seaports
    knowledge must be obtained on the station and neutrals have a right to sail for the port and to be warned off on their arrival Whether a blockade is initiated as a blockade by notification or as a blockade de facto the indispensable condition of its establishment is the presence of a force at the blockaded port Actual notice of the fact can never precede the existence of the fact The President s two proclamations did not therefore constitute actual notice because at the date of their issue there was not even a pretence that the blockade existed Nor do they appear to have been so intended The idea was rather to publish a manifesto declaring in a general way the intentions of the Government and then to carry them out as promptly as circumstances would permit The blockade therefore began as a blockade de facto not as a blockade by notification During the summer of 1861 vessels were stationed at different points one after another by which the blockade at those points was separately established Notices of a more or less informal character were given in some cases by the commanding officer of the blockading force but no general practice was observed When Captain Poor in the Brooklyn took his station off the Mississippi he merely informed the officer commanding the forts that New Orleans was blockaded Pendergrast the commanding officer at Hampton Roads issued a formal document on April 30 calling attention to the President s proclamation in relation to Virginia and North Carolina and giving notice that he had a sufficient force there for the purpose of carrying out the proclamation He added that vessels coming from a distance and ignorant of the proclamation would be warned off But Pendergrast s announcement though intended as a notification was marked by the same defects as the proclamation The actual blockade and the notice of it must always be commensurate At this time there were several vessels in Hampton Roads but absolutely no force on the coast of North Carolina and the declaration was open to the charge of stating what was not an existing fact The importance of these early formalities arises from the fact that the liability of neutral vessels depends on the actual existence of the blockade and upon their knowledge of it Until the establishment of the blockade is known actually or constructively all vessels have a right to be warned off When the fact has become notorious the privilege of warning ceases In the statement about warning therefore the President s proclamation said either too much or too little If it was intended as the language might seem to imply that during the continuance of the blockade which as it turned out was the same thing as during the continuance of the war all neutral vessels might approach the coast and receive individual warning and that only after such warning would they be liable to capture it conceded far more than usage required If it meant simply that the warning would be given at each point for such time after the force was posted as would enable neutrals generally to become aware of the fact it conveyed its meaning imperfectly In practice the second interpretation was adopted in spite of the remonstrance s of neutrals and the warnings given in the early days of the blockade were gradually discontinued the concessions of the proclamation to the contrary notwithstanding The time when warning should cease does not appear to have been fixed and in one instance at least on the coast of Texas it was given as late as July 1862 The fact of warning was commonly endorsed on the neutral s register In some cases the warnings had the same fault as Pendergrast s proclamation in being a little too comprehensive and including ports where an adequate force had not yet been stationed The boarding officers of the Niagara when off Charleston in May warned vessels off the whole Southern coast as being in a state of blockade though no ship of war had as yet appeared off Savannah and the Government paid a round sum to their owners in damages for the loss of a market which was caused by the official warning The concession of warning to neutrals at the port if it had continued through the war would have rendered the blockade to a great extent inoperative Vessels would have been able to approach the coast without risk of capture and to have lain about the neighborhood until a good opportunity offered for running past the squadron In other words the first risk of the blockade runner would have been a risk of warning instead of a risk of capture and the chances in his favor would have been materially increased The courts as well as the cruisers disregarded the proclamation as soon as the blockade was fairly established and held in accordance with English and American precedents that warning was unnecessary where actual knowledge could be proved It is probable that when the blockade was proclaimed it was thought that the measure could be adequately carried out by stationing a small squadron at the principal commercial ports supplemented by a force of vessels cruising up and down the coast The number of points to be covered would thus be reduced to four or five on the Atlantic and as many more on the Gulf Had this expectation been realized the blockade would have been by no means the stupendous undertaking that it seemed to observers abroad Acting upon such a belief the Government entered upon its task with confidence and proceeded with despatch The Niagara which had returned from Japan on April 24 was sent to cruise off Charleston The Brooklyn and Powhatan moved westward along the Gulf Before the 1st of May seven steamers of considerable size had been chartered in New York and Philadelphia One of these the Keystone State chartered by Lieutenant Woodhull and intended especially for use at Norfolk was at her station in Hampton Roads in forty eight hours after Woodhull had received his orders in Washington to secure a vessel The screw steamer South Carolina of eleven hundred and sixty five tons purchased in Boston on May 3 arrived off Pensacola on June 4 and the Massachusetts a similar vessel in all respects and bought at the same time was equally prompt in reaching Key West Notwithstanding these efforts the blockade can hardly be said to have been in existence until six weeks after it was declared and then only at the principal points When the Niagara arrived off Charleston on the 11th of May she remained only four days and except for the fact that the Harriet Lane was off the bar on the 19th there was no blockade whatever at that point for a fortnight afterward The British Government called attention to this fact and suggested that a new blockade required a new notification with the usual allowance of time for the departure of vessels but the State Department did not regard the blockade as having been interrupted Savannah was blockaded on the 28th of May In the Gulf Mobile and New Orleans received notice on the 26th from the Powhatan and the Brooklyn and a month later the South Carolina was at Galveston At the principal points therefore there was no blockade at all during the first month and after that time the chain of investment was far from being complete Indeed it could hardly be called a chain at all when so many links were wanting Even Wilmington which later became the most important point on the coast in the operations of the blockade runners was still open and the intermediate points were not under any effective observation As liability for breach of blockade begins with the mere act of sailing for the blockaded port the distance of this port from the point of departure becomes an important consideration to the blockade runner The longer the distance to be traversed the greater the risk and some method of breaking the voyage must be devised so that as much of it as possible may be technically innocent The principal trade of the South during the war was with England and it became an object to evade liability during the long transatlantic passage For this purpose all the available neutral ports in the neighborhood of the coast were made entrepôts for covering the illegal traffic There were four principal points which served as intermediaries for the neutral trade with the South Bermuda Nassau Havana and Matamoras Of these Nassau was the most prominent Situated on the island of New Providence in the Bahamas it is only about one hundred and eighty miles in a straight line from the coast of Florida Florida however was not the objective point of the leading blockade runners It had neither suitable harbors nor connections with the interior The chief seats of commerce on the Eastern coast were Savannah Charleston and Wilmington The run to these points from Nassau was from five hundred to six hundred miles or three days allowing for the usual delays of the passage For such trips small quantities of coal were needed which gave great room for stowage of cargo There was no great depth of water at Nassau which was an advantage to the blockade runners and the cruisers generally took their station off Abaco Light fifty miles away New Providence was surrounded by numbers of small islands over whose waters within a league of the shore the sovereignty of a great power threw a protection as complete and as effective as that of guns and fortifications A vessel bound to Nassau from one of the blockaded ports must have been hard pressed indeed if she could not find a refuge The navigation among the islands was dangerous and difficult the channels were intricate and reefs and shoals abounded but skilful pilots were always at the command of the blockade runners Nassau was a place of no special importance before the war Its inhabitants lived chiefly by fishing and wrecking But with the demands of the moment it suddenly became a commercial emporium Its harbor was crowded with shipping Its wharves were covered with cotton bales awaiting transportation to Europe and with merchandise ready to be shipped for the blockaded country Confederate agents were established here and took charge of the interests of their Government in connection with the contraband trade Money quickly earned was freely spent and the war at least while it lasted enriched the community Bermuda shared though in a less degree the profits of the blockade running traffic Its connection was closest with Wilmington which was six hundred and seventy four miles distant and which was the favorite port of the block sale runners especially in the last year of the war In the Gulf Havana had a similar importance The run to the coast of Florida was only a little over one hundred miles But Key West was inconveniently near the Gulf blockade was strict and after New Orleans was captured the trade offered no such inducements as that on the Atlantic coast Nevertheless it is stated by Admiral Bailey on the authority of intercepted correspondence of the enemy that between April 1 and July 6 1863 fifty vessels left Havana to run the blockade The situation of Matamoras was somewhat peculiar It was the only town of any importance on the single foreign frontier of the Confederacy Situated opposite the Texan town of Brownsville on the Rio Grande about forty miles from its mouth and in neutral territory it offered peculiar advantages for contraband trade The Rio Grande could not be blockaded Cargoes shipped for Matamoras were transferred to lighters at the mouth of the river On their arrival at Matamoras they were readily transported to the insurgent territory Accordingly in 1862 the place became the seat of a flourishing trade The sudden growth of the city was a notorious fact as was also the cause that led to it Yet the Government was unable to put a stop to the traffic unless evidence could be brought to show that the cargoes were really destined for the enemy Several vessels bound for Matamoras were captured and sent in but in most of the cases the prize court decreed restitution on the ground that a neutral port could not be blockaded and therefore there could be no breach of blockade in sailing for it Even in the case of the Peterhoff which was captured near St Thomas under suspicious circumstances and whose papers showed Matamoras as her destination only the contraband part of the cargo was condemned When the advantage of a neutral destination was fully understood it became the practice for all the blockade runners out of European ports to clear for one or the other of these points and upon their arrival to wait for a favorable opportunity to run over to their real destination Nobody could be deceived by this pretence of an innocent voyage and the courts looking only at the final destination condemned the vessels when there was evidence of an ultimate intention to break the blockade This decision rested upon an old principle of the English prize courts known as the doctrine of continuous voyages according to which the mere touching at an intermediate port of a vessel engaged in an illegal voyage could not break the continuity of the voyage or remove the taint of illegality Hence if a vessel cleared from Liverpool with the intention of merely touching at Nassau and then proceeding to Charleston and if this intention could be proved from the papers the character of the cargo and the examination of persons on board the two voyages were held to be one and condemnation followed In order to meet the new difficulty a new device was adopted Cargoes were sent out to Nassau and were there transshipped sometimes directly from vessel to vessel in the harbor sometimes after being landed on the wharf and thence were transported in a new conveyance to the blockaded port Return cargoes were transshipped in the same way This had a double advantage It made the continuity of the transaction much more difficult of proof and it enabled the capitalists engaged in the trade to employ two different classes of vessels for the service for which each was specially adapted For the long voyages across the Atlantic heavy freighters could be used of great capacity and stoutly built and the light swift hardly visible steamers with low hulls and twin screws or feathering paddles the typical blockade runners could be employed exclusively for the three days run on the other side of Nassau or Bermuda But here again the courts stepped in and held that though a transshipment was made even after landing the cargo and going through a form of sale the two voyages were parts of one and the same transaction and the cargo from the outset was liable to condemnation if the original intention had been to forward the goods to a blockaded port Nor did the decisions stop here As all the property both ship and cargo is confiscated upon proof of breach of blockade it was held that the ships carrying on this traffic to neutral ports were confiscable provided the ultimate destination of the cargo to a blockaded port was known to the owner In the words of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court The ships are planks of the same bridge all of the same kind and necessary for the convenient passage of persons and property from one end to the other The adoption of this rule by the highest courts in the United States raised a loud outcry on the part of those interested in the traffic trod was severely criticised by implicists abroad especially by those who favored in general the continental view of the laws of war The United States were accused of sacrificing the rights of neutrals which they had hitherto upheld to the interests of belligerents and of disregarding great principles for the sake of a momentary advantage In truth however the principle adopted by the court was not a new one though a novel application was made of it to meet a novel combination of circumstances It had formerly been applied to cases where neutrals engaged in illegal trade between two ports of a belligerent had endeavored to screen the illegality of the voyage by the interposition of a neutral port with or without the landing of goods and the employment of a new conveyance in these eases Lord Stowell held that the continuity of the voyage was not broken unless the cargo was really imported into the common stock of the neutral country That the principle had not been applied to blockades was due to the fact that circumstances had never called for it as the practice of breaking a blockade had never before been carried out on such a scale with such perfect appliances and by the use of such ingenious devices The really difficult question before the court was as to the sufficiency of the evidence in each case It was to be expected that every artifice in the nature of simulated papers pretended ownership false destination and fictitious transfers would be adopted to escape liability and it was the business of the court to penetrate all these disguises and to ascertain the real character of each transaction It is probable that in no case was injustice done in brushing aside and disregarding the various ceremonies more or less elaborate and artificial that were performed over blockade running cargoes at Nassau and Bermuda and it must often have happened that the ingenuity of shipper s was rewarded by a decree of restitution for the want of technical evidence when there was no moral doubt as to the vessel s guilt As a last

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/blockade.htm (2016-02-11)
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  • Capture of J. Wilkes Booth and David E. Herold, at Garrett's Farm, near Port Royal, Va.
    not wishing to lose time I rode ahead of the column and directed the negro to turn back and ride beside myself I learned from him that the party that we were in quest of had all returned except Capt Willie Jett rebel Proceeding along we arrived at a house seven miles from Bowling Green I learned here that some of Mosby s men had been along the day before and taken three horses from three Yankee soldiers Messrs Conger and Baker entered the house and were informed that the party who had passed there the previous day had all returned except Captain Jett The house of Mrs Clark some four miles distant was spoken of as a place where some of the party might be I determined however to push on to Bowling Green and secure the said Captain Jett Arriving within about half a mile of the town I dismounted ten men who were ordered to accompany Mr Baker into the town Mr Conger Rollins the guide and myself rode ahead and surrounded the house the dismounted men shortly afterward arrived and surrounded the house and outhouses this was about 12 o clock midnight We knocked about fifteen minutes at each door without receiving and reply at length a negro appeared on the street who showed the way to the negro house in rear and on entering I asked a negro where Willie was meaning Captain Jett he replied that he was in bed Conger inquired where the room was c In a few moments Mrs Goldman opened the door and we asked for her son she showed us up stairs and we found Jett and her son in bed partly undressed We took Jett down stairs and informed him our business telling him that if he did not forthwith inform us where the men were he should suffer that no parley would be taken c He requested that two of the party withdraw and leave him with one and he would make a full statement of what he knew of the assassin s whereabouts This was granted Mr Baker and myself had scarcely left the room when he told Mr Conger that he would show us the place On learning this I took him in my own charge His horse was got out he was mounted and we went back to the house of Mr Garrett about twelve miles from Bowling Green I ordered my command to surround the house and as a precautionary measure sent six men in rear of the barn and outbuildings While I was placing my men around the buildings the detectives knocked at the door which was opened by the elder Mr Garrett who was much excited he said the men who had been there went to the woods the previous evening While engaged in conversation the son of Mr Garrett came in advising the father to tell where they were I seized this man by the collar and pulled him out

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/Booth,%20John%20Wilkes.htm (2016-02-11)
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  • The American Civil War, The Border States
    of the Confederacy The first blood was spilled during the Baltimore Riots in March 1861 and though the state contributed substantially to the war effort with men and materiel the Federal government garrisoned troops in the state as a precautionary measure Believing Kentucky to be a buffer zone Governor Beriah Magoffin refused the call for troops and formally declared the states neutrality But the attempt proved futile both Union and Confederate recruiters operated in the state with Kentuckians serving on both sides When Confederate troops moved into western Kentucky Sept 1861 and Brig Gen U S Grant occupied Paducah the legislature officially endorsed the Union Pro South Magoffin established a provisional government at Russellville ratified the Confederate Constitution and Kentucky was admitted to the Confederacy in December The state like Missouri suffered the tragedy of a war that pitted father against son brother against brother Missouri attempted neutrality after delegates to a secession convention in February 1861 refused to secede but Federal invasion in May pushed many Unionists into the Confederate camp As in Kentucky pro Union and pro Confederate governments were established the latter run in exile by Governor Claiborne F Jackson Missouri became a Confederate state November 1861

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/border_states_in_the_civil_war.htm (2016-02-11)
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  • The American Civil War, Emancipation Proclamation
    on September 22 The Confederate states and their slaveholders paid no attention to its warning and so on Jan 1 1863 Lincoln issued the final proclamation The final proclamation did not apply to the border states which were not in rebellion against the Union and it could not be enforced in the regions held by Confederate troops But as soon as the Northern armies captured a region the slaves there were given their freedom Many of the freed slaves joined the Union Army The remaining slaves in the United States were freed by the 13th Amendment to the Constitution ratified on Dec 18 1865 which decreed that Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted shall exist within the United States or any place subject to their jurisdiction The Proclamation Whereas on the 22nd day of September A D 1862 a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States containing among other things the following to wit That on the 1st day of January A D 1863 all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then thenceforward and forever free and the executive government of the United States including the military and naval authority thereof will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons and will do no act or acts to repress such persons or any of them in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom That the executive will on the 1st day of January aforesaid by proclamation designate the States and parts of States if any in which the people thereof respectively shall then be in rebellion against the United States and the fact that any State or the people thereof shall on that day be in good faith represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such States shall have participated shall in the absence of strong countervailing testimony be deemed conclusive evidence that such State and the people thereof are not then in rebellion against the United States Now therefore I Abraham Lincoln President of the United States by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander In Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States and as a fit and necessary war measure for supressing said rebellion do on this 1st day of January A D 1863 and in accordance with my purpose so to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days from the first day above mentioned order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively are this day in rebellion against the United States the following to wit Arkansas Texas Louisiana except the parishes of

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  • The American Civil War, Firsts
    Army ambulance corps Blackouts and camouflage under aerial observation Cigarette tax Commissioned American Army chaplains Department of justice Confederate Electrically exploded bombs and torpedoes Fixed ammunition Field trenches on a grand scale Flame throwers Hospital ships Ironclad navies Land mine fields Legal voting for servicemen Long range rifles for general use Medal of Honor Military telegraph Military railroads Naval torpedoes Negro U S Army Officer Major M R Delany Organized

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  • The American Civil War, Gettysburg 1863
    began in earnest They wanted horses clothing anything and almost everything they could conveniently carry away Nor were they particular about asking Whatever suited them they took They did however make a formal demand of the town authorities for a large supply of flour meat groceries shoes hats and doubtless not least in their estimations ten barrels of whisky or in lieu of this five thousand dollars But our merchants and bankers had too often heard of their coming and had already shipped their wealth to places of safety Thus it was that a few days after the citizens of York were compelled to make up our proportion of the Rebel requisition July 1 Escape to a Safe House and the first encounter with the tragedy of war As the sounds of battle increase and the fighting nears her home Tillie joins a neighbor as she and her children flee to her father s Jacob Weikert house three miles south of town near Round Top Tillie s parents elect to stay in town At last we reached Mr Weikert s and were gladly welcomed to their home It was not long after our arrival until Union artillery came hurrying by It was indeed a thrilling sight How the men impelled their horses How the officers urged the men as they all flew past toward the sound of the battle Now the road is getting all cut up they take to the fields and all is in anxious eager hurry Shouting lashing the horses cheering the men they all rush madly on Suddenly we behold an explosion it is that of a caisson We see a man thrown high in the air and come down in a wheat field close by He is picked up and carried into the house As they pass by I see his eyes are blown out and his whole person seems to be one black mass The first words I hear him say are Oh dear I forgot to read my Bible to day What will my poor wife and children say I saw the soldiers carry him up stairs they laid him upon a bed and wrapped him in cotton How I pitied that poor man How terribly the scenes of war were being irresistibly portrayed before my vision July 2 Officer brutality During the battle s second day fighting shifts to the area around Little Round Top Tillie remains in the Weikert home carrying water to passing Union troops while others bake bread for the soldiers Towards noon she witnesses an incident at the front of the house This forenoon another incident occurred which I shall ever remember While the infantry were passing I noticed a poor worn out soldier crawling along on his hands and knees An officer yelled at him with cursing to get up and march The poor fellow said he could not whereupon the officer raising his sword struck him down three or four times The officer passed on Little

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/gettysburgs.htm (2016-02-11)
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