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Gettysburg National Military Park

Pickett's Charge (Longstreet's Assault)

The following sequence of pictures was taken while walking along part of the route taken by the Confederates during Pickett's Charge (also known as Longstreet's Assault). This route was intended to follow the one taken by the men of Brigadier General James Pettigrew's division (he took control of Heth's division after Heth was wounded on July 1, 1863). More specifically, it was intended to follow the route taken by the 26th North Carolina infantry regiment, one of the most direct routes taken during the assault. This was mostly followed, though we got off course a bit when we got to the Bliss farm. This suggests the difficulty the troops had in following the assault route, given that we were not taking artillery and musket fire during the walk.

North Carolina Monument

Image 1: North Carolina monument. The assault began on Seminary Ridge, near the present day location of the North Carolina monument. The Angle is roughly straight ahead from this point. You can see the copse of trees on the horizon. There appears to be an optical illusion due to the lay of the land, for both myself and my friend Michael Skeet believed that the attack looked feasible from this position. The route looks a lot shorter from this position than it really is.

The Charge Begins

Image 2: The Charge Begins. This photograph was taken from a position near where Pettigrew's troops formed up and began their march towards the Union lines. From this point, the men in the attack started to take heavy artillery fire from well placed Union batteries. The stone wall doesn't look much closer than it did in the previous picture. The participants are, from left to right, Lorna Toolis, her husband Michael Skeet, Jill Lum, and her husband Do-Ming Lum.

Bliss Farm

Image 3: Bliss Farm. The tall grass and orchard is the present day location of the Bliss orchard. This area is still cultivated by park personnel, but the farm houses are no longer in existence. This is roughly the half way mark from Seminary Ridge to Cemetery Ridge.

12th New Jersey Monument

Image 4: 12th New Jersey Monument. My friend Michael Skeet stands beside the 12th New Jersey monument in the area of the Bliss farm. The 12th New Jersey skirmished in this area between the Union line on Cemetery Ridge and the Confederate line on Seminary Ridge. They pulled back ahead of the advancing Confederates during Pickett's Charge. The regiment pulled back to an area near the Bryan farm. The original farm buildings were destroyed during the battle.

Cleared Emmitsburg Road

Image 5: Just cleared Emmitsburg Road. This picture was taken after we had crossed Emmitsburg Road. Many men didn't make it this far, having been killed or wounded by artillery, dropped from the fierce summer heat, or having taken cover along the road. From this point on they took musket fire as well as artillery fire. There is still a fair distance left to go.

Almost there

Image 6: Almost there. We near the stone wall on Cemetery Ridge. We shifted south when we got to the Orchard (so as not to have to climb over the fences; the Confederate troops had no such option). As such we are now approaching The Angle almost head on. The tree on the left indicates the "point" of The Angle, and the clump on the right are the famous copse of trees. At this point the troops would have been taking musket and cannister fire.

26th North Carolina Monument

Image 7: 26th North Carolina Monument. The monument in the foreground is to the 26th North Carolina, indicating the closest the regiment came to the stone wall on Cemetery Ridge. By the time the troops got to this point, there weren't enough of them to punch through the Union line.

Seminary Ridge from Cemetery Ridge

Image 8: Seminary Ridge from Cemetery Ridge. This picture was taken just north of the North Carolina monument, south of the Bryan barn. The route we took, if followed back, would go from the left of this picture, down to the large clearing in the background on the right. While the charge looks feasible from Seminary Ridge, it looks positively suicidal from Cemetery Ridge.

Virginian's Route

Image 9: Virginian's Route. This picture was taken in the area near The Angle, looking back towards Seminary Ridge. The large monument barely seen in the background to the right of centre is the Virginia state monument. Drawing a line from here back to the monument would follow the route taken by Pickett's division during Longstreet's Assault.

These photographs were taken with a Nikon F-601 autofocus SLR, using a Nikkor 24mm - 50mm f2.8 wide angle zoom lens or with a Sigma 150mm - 300mm telephoto zoom lens. The images were captured on Kodak Gold 200 and Kodak Royal Gold film.