Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Why won't the voices stop!

I know that the the name of this blog might scare a few people. Believe me it relates to the story that I am about to unfold. I don't know why a small hill in Pennsylvania holds such a magicial hold on me. Those who have read my blogs from the beginning know this. If you've just stumbled upon it or have just arrived please to a blogger search and you'll find it referenced in most of my blogs.

Little Round Top was the site of an unsuccessful assault by Confederate troops against the Union left flank on July 2, 1863, the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg. Considered by many historians to be the key point in the Union Army's defensive line that day, Little Round Top was defended successfully by the 20th Maine, 16th Michigan, 44th New York, 83rd Pennsylvania and later the 140th New York. The Confederate attack consisted of regiments from both Evander Law's and Jerome Robertson's brigades. These regiments are the 4th Alabama, 15th Alabama, 4th Texas, 5th Texas, 47th Alabama and later the 48th Alabama.

The study of the fight on Little Round Top has occurred since I was eight years old. All the time I want to find out more and I am always looking for the next book or article on the subject. That part of the battle is unique because it involves both sides overcoming the heat, the exhaustion of that day. The lost of John Oates who was the brother of the 15th Alabama's colonel William Oates. The pain that Will must have felt and the way he had to carry that with him for the rest of his life. The courage of the 20th Maine and the 140th NY as they held key parts of the Union line on Little Round Top. It just all seem to come together in a brilliant package that makes history so interesting to me.

The story of Little Round Top is overshadowed by the films and documentaries that have made it larger than life. I am happy to say that before the film Gettysburg (1993) Ken Burns The Civil War (1990) came out I was already a Little Round Top fan. I personally believe that the Union was saved on that small hill and I'll never doubt that....ever! It still amazes me that some historians dispute the importance of the struggle for Little Round Top. They say that had Lee's men secured the hill that it couldn't have been used for artillery. I find it interesting that Little Round Top never seemed to be an objective for the Confederates. Robert E. Lee even states this in his official battle report on the battle. "General Longstreet was delayed by a force occupying the high, rocky hills on the enemy's extreme left." This statement backs up the premise that Lee's true objective was to turn the Federal flank and not occupy Little Round Top. Still the possession of the hill would have put Lee in a position to reevaluate his decision made to keep the town of Gettysburg within his armies possession. Lee would not have used the word "delayed" if the true assault objective was Little Round Top.

If Little Round Top was an objective for the Confederates or not. Whether or not Little Round Top was the key to the battle is pointless. I highly doubt that my interest in the struggle for Little Round Top will ever leave me. I visited that rocky hill twice in my lifetime in 1986 and again in 1989. I cannot wait to visit it again and so my fiancee Megan how much the battle has become a part of me. If you haven't visited Gettysburg yet, if you haven't been on Little Round Top than plan a trip as soon as possible.

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