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Col. Oates' Route to Little Round Top


A few years ago, I read an article in Blue & Gray Magazine that discussed the exact route that Col. Oates and the 15th Alabama took to engage the 20th Maine. This is also described in Col. Oates memoirs of the battle. Basically, up and over Big Round Top after marching 17 miles, plus the 6 miles of Longstreet's countermarch, AND without water. So I tried it too. Granted, I drove (didn't march 23 miles) to the Alabama Monument, it was a cool early spring day with temps around 65 degrees (not a hot july day with temps into the upper 80's) and i was wearing shorts and a tshirt (not layers of wool). Evenso, it was tough. These pics really can't do it justice.


Where it all started, the Alabama State monument on Confederate Ave.



And where they were headed, up the western slope of Big Round Top. This is a view of the Round Tops from the step off point of the Alabama boys.



"In places the men had to climb up, catching to the rocks and bushes and crawling over the boulders in the face of the fire of the enemy, who kept retreating, taking shelter and fireing down on us from behind the rocks and crags which covered the side of the mountain thicker than grave-stones in a city cemetery.".
-Col. William C. Oates



Looking down Big Round Top from where the 15th Alabama rested or fainted for five minutes before moving on, down the north slope of the "mountain".



Another view down the western slope of Big Round Top. Note the ligher colored field nearly dead center that was the step off point for the Alabama troops.



Breastworks by the position of the 20th Maine, the regiment the 15th and 47th Alabama attacked on Little Round Top.



"I, with my regiment, made a rush forward from the ledge. About forty steps up the slope there is a large boulder... my regimental colors [were planted] just a step or two to the right of that boulder and I was within ten feet."
-Col. William C. Oates



A close up of the Oates boulder.

To the memory of Lt. John A. Oates
and his gallant comrades
who fell here July 2nd, 1863.
The 15th Ala. Regt., over 400 strong,
reached this spot, but for
lack of support had to retreat.
Lt. Col. Feagin lost a leg
Capts. Brainard and Ellison
Lts. Oates and Cody and
33 men were killed, 76 wounded
and 84 captured
by
Ge. Wm. C. Oates who was Colonel of the Regiment





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