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3:30am

Near Emmitsburg, Maryland.  Nine miles south of Gettysburg.
Union General, Eleventh Corps commander, Oliver O. Howard
      shaken from damp sleep
  to half consciousness.
         He was handed marching orders by
                an aide on General Meade’s staff.
   Reads them, 
         or does not. 
                     (too early for this German)
   Eyes closed for a few more hours of sleep.


4:30am

Moritz Tavern, South of Greenmont, Pennsylvania.  7 miles south of Gettysburg.
Dawn also came early for John Reynolds.
    Wing commander, First Corps General
           austerely sleeping in full uniform
       on the wooden tavern floor
   as discovered by his aide, 
       like ants crawling around this morning.
Returning from General Meade’s Headquarters:
         Marching orders, like morning ritual.
    Where today?
 The aide reads them to the groggy general
               three times.


Reynold’s Wing
        -First Corps to Gettysburg
	-Eleventh Corps to Gettysburg
                      or “supporting distance”
	-Third Corps to Emmitsburg

  He could work out the details as needed
        in the long day ahead.


Cashtown, Pennsylvania.  9 miles west of Gettysburg.
Half-hour before dawn
      sacred time,
  the world is asleep
      but somehow everything is alive.
 The blackest sky before sunrise
            yet another light illuminates.

Confederate General Henry Heth, a division commander of Hill’s Corps, 
      eager, anxious for Gettysburg
                 anxious to “feel the enemy”
 woke with specific orders from Confederate commander, 
             General Robert E. Lee,
      to report back if he should wander across
   anything bigger than militia
         or cavalry
  but not infantry

“do not force an engagement.” 

    It was clear:  no battle today.

The rest of Hill’s Corps was a few miles back along the Chambersburg Pike
Ewell’s Corps was to the north
Longstreet’s miles away, behind Heth
     Stuart’s dashing cavalry God knows where
                    (Dover, 25 miles away.  He was looking for Ewell).
Even though Heth’s hands were obviously tied, 
       today was important.
   Shoes, mostly
           horses, provisions
  and high holy food
 much more scarce here than in Virginia.

All in Gettysburg
       like Canaan to these
   two year worn and barefooted Israelites.

                      ____________________
                                

Pettigrew’s Brigade, also of Heth’s Division of Hill’s Corps,
     lay bivouacked five miles west of Gettysburg
  Sleepy pickets like feelers extended, 
          campfires like a million demon eyes.


5:00am 

(a little later)
Heth’s Division, in traditional hurry up and wait fashion
      started off late.
  East on Chambersburg Pike towards 
           dimly misted peeking sunrise.

Leading the newly formed, yet lovingly familiar brown and gray column
        were Pegram’s Five Batteries 
                     (twenty guns, 400 men)
   swiftly followed by Archer’s 1,200 from Tennessee and Alabama, 
       three regiments of Davis’ Brigade, 
               1,700 from Mississippi and North Carolina.
They were deeply Southern men.  


5:30am

General John Buford’s Union Cavalry Division was arrayed in a semi-circle
      around the northern and western outskirts of Gettysburg.
  To the north, they waited for Ewell.
  To the west, the skirmishers and pickets posted west of town, 
         near Marsh Creek, were lying in wait to receive
     the nearly unaware men of Heth’s Division.


Geography
To the west of Gettysburg, five ridges rise from the rolling fields.
    
McPhearsons Ridge, closest to the town, and now
         headquarters for Buford and his cavalry
     was the largest and best defendable of the five.  
  A creek named Willoughby Run 
          separated this ridge from Herr Ridge.
    Hardly discernable from the former, 
            was Belmont School House Ridge, 
        rising just westerly.
  Whisler’s Ridge, often called Knoxlyn Ridge, 
                   follows after a gulf of gentler swells.
      Finally, Lohr Ridge rises just beyond Marsh Creek.

From McPhearsons Ridge, these features are plainly seen.


Tree line between Chambersburg Pike and Mummasburg Road
A picket from the 6th New York Cavalry
     posted for hours now near Willoughby Run
         even rusty coffee couldn’t keep away
   damned jittery images

    Something was coming.  
              What?
           A gray form?
           Fog?  Mist?
       An animal?
   
          Dear God,   a reb!

He leveled his rifle at this shifting mass, 
         aimed, as best he could.
   Fired.
	Did it fall?
	Dissipate?
  Die?
             Maybe he rubbed his eyes.
      Undoubtedly he cursed.
	Dreaming?

He had fired at nothing.


Three miles north of Gettysburg
Major Anderson’s detachment of the 17th Pennsylvania Cavalry
     were posted on the Carlisle Road
 Unlike his comrade from the 6th New York
                they waited until these gray
      possible forms took true shapes.
They became men.

Skirmishers of Ewell’s Corps,
     probably cavalrymen of the 1st Maryland Battalion, 
        advancing south towards them
    
Here they come.

Anderson’s men did not fire.
     Instead, they fell back two miles
              and called for support, 
    also sent word to headquarters.

They were quickly joined by reserves who took cover
           behind a stonewall.


Fifteen minutes later
Rebel skirmishers approached them from 
       their left flank and front.
  Men from the 6th and 9th New York Cavalry
    joined them.

The Rebs were held up at the Hoffman and Forney Farms
         on both sides of the Mummasburg Road.
  At the Forney Farm, Union men from the 9th New York
     with but a few shots
             drove the enemy from their front.
This Union detachment then withdrew
     returning to their squadron.




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