Pickett's Charge. That is all. No Farnsworth and no Culp's Hill.
They just never really happened. Much more than over shadowed
by the slain near the angle.
-1-"Let's keep together and maybe we'll make it through this." But never all of us. Slouched against a fence post along the Emmitsburg Road a boy: "Tell my mother I died a christian death." The water from the captain's canteen Leaked through the hole in his guts He gave the boy his coat "Tell my mother..." it was a small town The captain knew the boy's mother it was a small house After the charge After the war The captain sat down on the porch with his wife And told her the last words of their son "Tell my mother I died a Christian death." (written in New Berlin, PA about Co. C 28th VA)
-2-when you see your best friend's face shot off lying there before you charge a stonewall you have second thoughts No matter the cause but to think too long standing in meditation Would bring the same fate There is duty and then thought This day duty came high (written in New Berlin, PA about Pickett's Charge)
-3-Upon looking up to where 200 charged you After firing double canister and seeing red rain fall On red arms and legs On red grass and mud You understand eternity (written in Northumberland, PA, Summer '97)
-4-"We gained nothing but glory, and lost our bravest men." When giving praise to a slaughter It is necessary to lay blame Where blame can be laid To take it off the men who died and suffered And the man who demanded the attack be made. In fact, Let us blame the only one Who wanted no fight at all. In a world of absurdities, let this one stand out. (written in Northumberland, PA, Summer '97)
-5-1. half-past (one) Miller's first echoed split silence of Napoleonic sprang 'there she goes!' must have been like a first rain dr-op before a hail storm doubtless, it hung in the air a lofty suspension to a deadly speck 2. while hanging time exaggerate extended and enveloped armies if it caught you blind your ears turned to front because this was not silence you knew it had begun, but could not tell what 3. to a gunner, the waiting the lanyardtaughtt in white sweaty hands gripping wood and leaning, just slightly waiting the motion for the second - order ,maybe nod or intuition but you knew now pulling to nothing anti- climax pulling to misfire 4. to take up slack only off by splitting hairs: number three 5. the line then exploded --- the only one left riding- his horse was mortally wounded but faithful even so Haskell, mounted, was wounded -but slightly- the 71st Pennsylvania was reforming or at least regrouping, remobbing on the relatively safe side of Cemetery Ridge behind the 72nd Haskell rode towards these boys from his mount he could see the stone wall vacated they were the first to retreat they should be the first to charge speaking, 'Major, lead your men over the crest, they will follow' was it cowardice? after all, these boys bore more than black eyes and bloody noses or was it exhaustion? whichever, he could do little more, 'by tactics,' the Major reasoned, 'i understand my place is in the rear of the men' Haskell's frustration leaked well through sarcasm: 'your pardon, sir; i see your place is in the rear of the men. i thought you were fit to lead.' this was second nature, instinct now dictated through Haskell: 'Captain Suplee, come on with your men.' and now was it cowardice for Suplee to be mindful of friendly fire from the rear? 'we shall be hit by our own men' again, instinct, piercing with the need for those poor leaderless boys growing with every passing pounding heartbeat there was no time now for courtesy of compliments but without blood rising, 'Let us take care of this in front first' Haskell, running out of officers turned to the color bearer, a sergeant of the 72nd also stunned by the force of the rebel charge six men before this sergeant had fallen baring the colors the flag staff itself was but a splintered stump a bullet had smashed its way through it enroute to one of the six 'Sergeant, forward with your color! let the rebels see it close once more before they die!' the color sergeant, gripping to the smashed stump of the national colors with his life both hands now, madly waving taunting ran wildly charging toward the wall maybe he shouted, screamed blood curdling hot rage this one man assault Haskell must have been touched such valor! one man but he would not plead 'Will you let your color storm the wall alone?' what should have happened upon the regimental heart took place individually one man, rifle at the ready bolted towards the wall following his color it would not storm alone! how absurd this must have looked the colors charging smoke and bullets and blood and men dying, screaming and one man faithfully following a shot, but indistinguishable from any of the countless others and the colors fall the brave sergeant with them staining the ground and bringing a deeper red to his flag regimentally it was time something snapped up and without orders the once statue like soldiers spring in a spontaneous forward! 'a strange resistless impulse' charging endlessly to meet the enemy to flash, hot so close even burning clothes, hair, bodies degenerating into a bloody street brawl when bullets were not enough rocks and rifle butts clubbing and stabbing to bare-fisted pounding it seemed to hang in the beating sun a constant storm amalgamation churning to hold one stone wall