Battle Of Gettysburg 150th Anniversary: Awesome Animated Video And More

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Jul 01, 2013

The Battle of Gettysburg began 150 years ago today, on July 1, 1863. It was the turning point of the Civil War and remains the largest battle in the history of the Western Hemisphere.

If you've never been to the small Pennsylvania town, consider making a visit. The thing that jumped out to me were the thousands of monuments all around the battlefield, most of them put there soon after the war and even after the battle by individual states, local communities and veterans groups.

Some of the monuments are grand and majestic, like the Pennsylvania memorial in the middle of the rather massive, miles-long battlefield. It lists every man who was killed from the state that suffered the most. Some monuments are nothing more than simple small stone markers identifying the location of individual units during the batle.

There is even one monument that shows the farthest reaches of Pickett's Charge, literally and symbolically the highwater mark of the Confederacy. The South was turned back from that spot and that moment, never again to threaten the North.

All the monuments to speak to how powerfully the battle impacted the country 150 years ago.

In any case, a few words here won't do it justice. But this impressive animated video tutorial from the Civil War Trust that a friend just sent along does a much better job.

Check it out here.

By the way, my personal hero of the battle is Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, the leader of the 20th Maine and the man who earned the Medal of Honor for holding the Union line at Little Round Top on the second day of the battle.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning book "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara is a novelized version of the battle, with Chamberlain one of the star characters. The passage in which Chamberlain orders his men, out of ammunition, to mount bayonets, leave their defensive positions and charge the Rebels (pictured above) will quite literally give you gooesbumps.

Chamberlain himself wrote the book "The Passing of the Armies" later in life about the Union siege of Petersburg, Virginia in 1865 that effectively ended the war. 

It's a beautifully written and brilliant piece of personal, military and political history. Some breathtaking lines in the book:

"We had more men killed and wounded in the first six months of Grant's campaign than Lee had at any one period of it in his whole army. The hammering business had been hard on the hammer." 

I bought my copy of the book at the Chamberlain home and museum in Brunswick, Maine, near Bowdoin College. Cool place to visit.

He lived an amazing life after the battle and also after the war. Among many other accomplishments, Chamberlain was chosen by U.S. Grant to accept Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox.

Chamberlain has been referenced on the pages of CHFF many times over the years. We even wrote about him here several years ago in our piece "Bad-Ass American Mo-Fos."

In any case, enjoy the video.

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