View Full Version : Charge Down Little Round Top, June 17th

06-06-2006, 10:28 AM
Apologies for reposting this, but the original post disappeared when the entire forum went face-down on the barroom floor.

"About 4 o'clock we were hurriedly called into line, and ordered to sling knapsacks, which command to us always meant, "get ready for quick and devilish work," as "Snap" put it. We were hurried at a double quick to the extreme left, at the Round tops, to reinforce the 3rd Corps, which had met with reverses and was driven by the enemy. Gen. Sykes' Regulars had previously gone to the support of Sickles, but had also yielded the ground.

"The First Brigade, formed hurriedly in brigade front, as best they could, the nature of the ground compelling the regiments to overlap each other to some extent, on the crest of Little Round Top, facing the wheat field. As we thus formed, we looked down over the field of carnage, and could hear the victorious shouts of the enemy, and when the smoke of battle lifted momentarily, we caught glimpses of fleeing friends and hotly pursuing foes, the general outlook being anything but assuring."

On Saturday, June 17, Company K of the First Pennsylvania Reserves would like to once again invite all interested Federal infantry units and civilian "volunteers" to join us when we conduct our annual march from the Pennsylvania Monument to Little Round Top, from which location we will follow the route of the Pennsylvania Reserves, as they charged down into the Wheatfield on the second day of the battle of Gettysburg.

This will be the fifth time we have done this event. Last year, we had 30 uniformed participants (including a drummer and fifer recruited from the Second South Carolina String Band), and at least an equal number of spectators, including some extremely enthusiastic Boy Scouts. This out-of-the ordinary event is is always very popular with spectators and participants alike, and we hope you will consider joining us, for the day, for the march, or for the weekend.

Except for the march and charge itself, we will follow the time schedule of most Living History presentations at Gettysburg NMP. Below is the tentative schedule for Saturday. For those who are with us on Sunday, we expect to do presentations at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Saturday Schedule

8:00-9:30: Inspection, drill, etc. (Be there by eight if you can)
10:00: Firing demo and public drill.
12:00 p.m.: Lunch.
1:30 p.m.: Form up for second demo
2:00: p.m.: Firing demo and public drill.
3:30 p.m.: Form up near Pennsylvania Monument for march to Little Round Top.
4:00 p.m.: March to Little Round Top.
5:00 p.m.: Charge down Little Round Top.
5:07 p.m.: Fish our lieutenant out of Plum Run.
5:30 p.m.: March back to Pennsylvania Monument.
6:30 p.m. Company dismissed. Dinner on the field, for those who wish to stay and camp with us.

Here are some additional details:

On Saturday afternoon, we will gather a group of spectators, arm 24 of them with wooden muskets, and give them some rudimentary drill. Then, with our flag flying and drum/s beating, we will all march to Little Round Top, with pauses for narration on the key events of the battle from our First Sergeant, Larry Nottingham . Looking down into the Valley of Death, and accompanied by our civilian "volunteers," we will then give a cheer "particularly our own," as Lieutenant Minnigh wrote, and charge down the hill to the stone wall near the Wheatfield, as did the original Pennsylvania Reserves on that fateful day.

Every year, we have a slightly larger number of participants, and we are hoping to boost our numbers closer to the 51 men the original Company K took into the battle.If you or any of your members would like to join us for the day or for that weekend, we would be delighted to have you. Non-uniformed participants are welcome, too, as this is an interactive event, and the more the public is involved, the better. So bring your friends-- both of them!

We will be camping at the Pennsylvania Monument over the weekend. Those who wish to come only for this are more than welcome to do so, without any obligation to stay the night or the weekend.

Because we need to give the NPS a tally of expected participants, if you think you will be joining us, the sooner we know, the better.

You can find photos of previous Little Round Top events at our Web site (URL below), by going first to "The Original Company K" link, and then to the bottom of that page, and clicking on "On Home Soil."

We know all uniformed participants will come properly equipped and attired as would be representative of the Army of the Potomac in the first week of July, 1863. We are happy to answer questions about uniform guidelines, if asked.

Touch the elbow,

B.C. Milligan
Company K, First Pennsylvania Reserves

"We deliberately waited till the front was cleared of our retreating and vanquished troops, many of whom passed pell-mell through our ranks, then at the word of command, with a ringing cheer, particularly our own, we swept down the face of the hill, meeting the rebels as they came rushing forward, on the face of the hill. (I can only speak for my own regiment). There can be no doubt in any unprejudiced mind, that a few moments delay would have lost to us the position on Little Round Top, the key to the battle-field. The so-called historians of the battle-field, asserts that there were no rebels in our front when we charged forward. Nonsense! the evidence of those who were there, we think, should have more weight than that of of a mere citizen hundreds of miles away from the field of strife.

Well with a quick dash we swept down into the valley, across plum-run swamp, over the valley and up to their stone fence, across this fence and through a narrow strip of woods, (now removed), to the eastern edge of the wheat-field, where, by orders, we halted."
-- Henry Minnigh, The History of Company K

Chuck A Luck
06-08-2006, 12:54 PM
This is a very rewarding, inspiring, and memorable event. I've attended this the last two years and it can also be (depending on the water level of Plum Run) a bit challenging to keep the ol' "gunboats" dry. ;)

06-12-2006, 06:31 PM
Bruce, Mr. Kibler, and anyone else who may care to comment based on local recent rainfall...

We have been looking forward to attending this event (as "members of the public") ever since learning (the day after) that we had missed last year's edition. Since my ten-year-old will be the first in any water (intentionally) and the last out (reluctantly), I ask: are we talking about needing dry shoes and socks, or a complete change of clothes, or a swimsuit and PFD? :)

One day in early March, I escaped to Gettysburg while The Kid was otherwise occupied, to get the "lay of the land," so to speak. [I try to do at least SOME research before pestering y'all. :) ] After parking near the 1st Penna. Reserves monument, I wandered across the field in the general direction of LRT. The grass and reeds were flattened and mud-covered from then-recent flooding, and had a good bit of ice underneath. I couldn't tell where the creek actually was, so rather than find out the hard way that I had been walking ON it, I decided to retreat and return another day. [Hmmm... no delusions of divinity there, folks -- it WAS frozen, after all.] Well, time flies (whether you're having fun or not!), and life being what it is, I haven't been back yet. So...

Worst case -- how deep from the banks to the creek-bed?

And Bruce, any idea yet how large a group there will be?

Thanks for any info. See y'all then (the good Lord willin' and the creek don't rise...)

Carole & Angie
(CookieMom & The Hardtack Kid)

06-13-2006, 07:30 AM
Carole --

Thank you for your post. Last year, we had 30 in the ranks, plus an equal number of "recruits." This year, I am expecting about the same, and we will also be joined, as last year, by two members of the Second South Carolina String Band, who will don blue for the occasion, and provide us with a fifer and drummer. The weather will be good, I hope, and hopefully nobody will need their water wings.

B.C. Milligan
Company K, First Penna. Reserves

Chuck A Luck
06-13-2006, 10:12 AM
I ask: are we talking about needing dry shoes and socks, or a complete change of clothes, or a swimsuit and PFD?
Worst case -- how deep from the banks to the creek-bed?
If I were doing this event (which I will be) in civilian garb (which I won't be), I'd suggest bringing along a dry pair of shoes & socks, as the approaches to Plum Run can be a bit soft & marshy, and the creek itself can of course be quite wet -- and that depends a bit on how wet the weather is beforehand. How wet one gets depends a bit on several factors: your basic dexterity in staying upright, as well as avoiding the softest spots, not to mention the "luck" factor in where abouts you actually cross the run, as some places (if you step right in it) you may only go in a few inches, but in several places you might go in up to a foot ...or more!

So, you might also want to pack along a spare pair of pants or trowsers as well. Speaking of that, I'd strongly suggest you do the march down LRT in long pants of some type and "substantial" footwear, as the rocks & briars will otherwise play havoc on unprotected feet & legs. Consider toting along a small backpack with your items.

Hope this helps.

06-13-2006, 10:33 AM
I have found the most successful strategy for approaching Plum Run through the waist-high grass is to be in the second rank. That is the key, I think.

B.C. Milligan
Company K, First Penna. Reserves

06-13-2006, 02:37 PM
Thank you both for your very helpful responses. It seems possible that for those of us who are "vertically-challenged," this could turn into an "immersion" event after all. :)

Unless Sir Walter Raleigh unexpectedly shows up, I may appoint myself unofficial photographer and record the day from the relative safety of the bridge, and let Angie do the marsh march. We shall see...

[I'll tell her to follow you across, Mr. M. :) ]

Looking forward to meeting you on Saturday, mud and all.