Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Respect my brother!

The leader of the 15th Alabama, Col. William C. Oates had a brother named John who was killed during the assualt on Little Round Top. After the war, William Oates had trouble seperating himself from the loss of his loved one and he couldn't get over the Confederate loss at Gettysburg. In his 1902 memoirs Oates would write "Lieutenant John A. Oates, my dear brother, succeeded to the command of the company, but was pierced through by a number of bullets, and fell mortally wounded." In fact John was wounded by six bullets and would die soon afterwards. After the war, Oates tried in vain to get the Parks Commission and the Federal government to errect a momument to the gallentry of the 15th Alabama. At the time, the Confederates had no momuments to their efforts at Gettysburg. Oates failed in his many attempts to honor the 15th Alabama and he died in 1910. No Confederate momument honoring any Confederate unit until the Virginia momument was errected in 1917. Today, there is still no momument honoring the 15th Alabama at Gettysburg just Little Round Top that stands as a natural reminder to the loss of Lt. John Oates and many of the men of the 15th Alabama.

Oates even offered to pay for the momument in full but was refused. He did write out words to be placed on the momument. Here are the words that William C. Oates felt would best honor his comrades

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
Ge. Wm. C. Oates who was Colonel of the Regiment
The photo is William C. Oates in 1864
LaFantasie, Glenn W., Gettysburg Requiem: The Life of William C. Oates, Oxford University Press, 2005.
Oates, William C., The War Between the Union and the Confederacy (New York and Washington, D.C.: The Neale Publishing Company, 1905).

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