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Fredericksburg: A Gettysburg for the Other Side

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  • thomasdledward
    Fredericksburg: A Gettysburg for the Other Side http://tinyurl.com/753hd or
    Message 1 of 5 , Dec 14, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      Fredericksburg: A Gettysburg for the Other Side

      http://tinyurl.com/753hd

      or

      http://www.americanheritage.com/places/articles/web/20051213-civil-war-antietam-robert-mcclellan-gettysburg-fredericksburg-ambrose-burnside-joseph-hooker-marye-heights-edwin-sumner-abraham-lincoln.shtml

      Some of the Rebels in Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863,
      may have heard the voice of Sgt. Benjamin Hearst before they met the
      withering Union fire at the stone wall on Cemetery Ridge. Hearst, a
      veteran with the 14th Connecticut, yelled at the advancing mass, "Now
      we've got you! Sock it to the Blasted Rebels. Fredericksburg's on the
      other leg!" And as the doomed men fell, the Federals behind the low
      stone wall shouted, "Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg!"

      Why did an engagement fought seven months earlier, on December 13,
      1862, become a battle cry? Because only now, with the tables so
      perfectly turned, was the Union avenging its own dead thousands,
      struck down in front of a different stone wall in what turned out to
      be the nadir of the war for the North.

      A year before Gettysburg, each side thought the war would be a rout in
      its favor. The events of the summer and fall of 1862 disabused both of
      that notion. The Rebels invaded Maryland and had a string of victories
      in Virginia, and Northerners began to doubt Lincoln's abilities as a
      commander. Then in September the Union turned back the invasion at
      Antietam, Maryland, and Lincoln issued his Preliminary Emancipation
      Proclamation. But in the midterm elections, Republicans took a
      beating, and to make matters worse the army seemed to squander the
      momentum it had gained with its victory at Antietam. Lincoln
      repeatedly tried to stir the commander of the Army of the Potomac,
      George McClellan, into action, but to no avail. His patience worn
      thin, Lincoln replaced McClellan with Ambrose Burnside on November 7.



      Best regards,

      David
    • richard@rcroker.com
      My next book is on Fredericksburg and, interestingly, Hirst plays a role. I note the difference in spelling, but there was a lot of that going on in those
      Message 2 of 5 , Dec 14, 2005
      • 0 Attachment
        My next book is on Fredericksburg and, interestingly, Hirst plays a role. I
        note the difference in spelling, but there was a lot of that going on in
        those days. Assuming it's the same guy, he had reason to demand revenge for
        Fredericksurg...

        For those of you who take offense at "history as fiction," read no further,
        but if you want to capture agony of the moment, read on. This is taken from
        Hirst's own account as are the words contained in the quotation marks...
        Enjoy,
        Richard

        Some of the men of the 14th Connecticut fought to preserve the
        Union and a few fought to free the slaves. But while marching up Marye's
        Heights into the face of the enemy, those huge issues became very small.
        Today they all agreed about why they were there, facing death and glory
        together. Today they fought for each other - and for their big, blue,
        beautiful flag. Not so much for the Stars and Stripes, though she was
        beautiful too, but for the blue flag with the grape vines, the eagle, and
        the words scrolled in gold across the bottom - "The Fourteenth Regiment."
        Every man in Perkins's little regiment would give his life to keep her
        flying and out of the hands of the enemy.

        The Rebels knew this. They loved their flags too. And in the
        absence of a nicely mounted general or colonel to shoot at, the standard
        bearer was the next best thing.

        They were never armed, these men who bore the pride of their
        regiments into battle. If one went down, or more precisely when one went
        down, the closest man would abandon his rifle, pick up the flag, and
        continue forward. And so it was with the men of the Fighting Fourteenth,
        and now it was their turn to storm the wall.

        Augustus Foote and Benjamin Hirst were two ranks back, marching
        side-by-side as always, as they had in a thousand drills over the months.
        As they had at Antietam when they marched over Roulette's Swale and into the
        Bloody Lane.

        The ground was still wet and slippery and it was now cluttered
        with the bodies of dead and wounded men. They came to the remnants of a
        fence that had surrounded the Fredericksburg Fairgrounds. It had been an
        obstacle for the 24th New Jersey, but they had managed to take most of it
        down. The Connecticut color guard stepped over the remaining rails and the
        blue flag kept moving forward. Foote was jealous of the man who carried the
        colors, Color Sergeant Charles Dart. What an incredible honor to stand so
        well forward - to be the man Connecticut followed into the worthy fight.
        But Dart had earned the job at Antietam and was doing it well today.

        When Colonel Oliver gave the order to charge, Dart glanced back
        at his comrades and waved them forward. "Follow me boys!" he yelled as he
        broke into a run. Foote and Hirst and all of the men of Oliver's brigade
        growled and screamed and stepped over the fence rails and the Washington
        Artillery fired all four cannons in the same instant - all double-packed
        with canister - and over two hundred of the heavy iron pellets ripped
        through the ranks of the Fighting Fourteenth.

        Foote and Hirst had been in the second rank, but the first rank
        was gone and the rest of the Fourteenth fell to the ground. Foote saw
        Sergeant Dart go down and was amazed that the horribly wounded man managed
        to plant the flag as he fell. He speared the staff into the soft earth and
        leaned it against one of the remaining fence posts. The courageous color
        sergeant writhed on the ground for only a moment before his body went
        perfectly still. All of the men of the color guard were down, but the flag
        remained standing proudly, but alone and defenseless.

        Foote couldn't tolerate the sight. He had to rescue her. He
        was just about to stand up and rush forward when a thousand muskets appeared
        over the top of the stone wall and Cobb's Rebels began to unload on the
        prostrate Yanks. Foote couldn't stand and charge now, but he could crawl,
        by God. He had only ten feet to go, but it would be a hellish ten feet.

        Hirst tried to stop him. "Augie - don't go!"

        He grabbed the sergeant's leg, but Foote yanked it away and continued
        forward. He made it to within inches of the staff when one bullet struck
        him in the hip and another in the face.

        Hirst saw his friend's body shutter with each blow.

        "NOOOOOOO!"

        He couldn't control his fury, but he knew it would be suicide to try to save
        him - or the flag. He aimed his rifle at the wall and sent a shot forward,
        knowing that it would do no good. The Rebels were just too well-protected,
        but he fired anyway. And so did everybody else, but all they did was take
        small chips out of the thick rocks of Cobb's stone wall. He tried to hurry
        himself through the agonizingly slow procedure of reloading. While standing
        he could do the job in under a half a minute, but reloading under fire while
        lying down was awkward and dangerous and seemed to take forever. When he
        finally finished he brought the weapon to the firing position, pulled the
        hammer back to full cock, and before he fired he heard his friend lying just
        ten feet ahead.

        "Oh, God! For the love of God. Please, somebody kill me.
        Somebody kill me! Please."

        Hirst began to weep. His friend's agony tortured his soul. He
        couldn't save him and he couldn't kill him. All he had to do was pull the
        trigger, but he couldn't do it. He couldn't put his best friend in the
        world out of his misery.

        He just couldn't do it.





        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "thomasdledward" <nmtdet@...>
        To: <TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Wednesday, December 14, 2005 8:45 PM
        Subject: [TalkAntietam] Fredericksburg: A Gettysburg for the Other Side


        > Fredericksburg: A Gettysburg for the Other Side
        >
        > http://tinyurl.com/753hd
        >
        > or
        >
        >
        http://www.americanheritage.com/places/articles/web/20051213-civil-war-antietam-robert-mcclellan-gettysburg-fredericksburg-ambrose-burnside-joseph-hooker-marye-heights-edwin-sumner-abraham-lincoln.shtml
        >
        > Some of the Rebels in Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863,
        > may have heard the voice of Sgt. Benjamin Hearst before they met the
        > withering Union fire at the stone wall on Cemetery Ridge. Hearst, a
        > veteran with the 14th Connecticut, yelled at the advancing mass, "Now
        > we've got you! Sock it to the Blasted Rebels. Fredericksburg's on the
        > other leg!" And as the doomed men fell, the Federals behind the low
        > stone wall shouted, "Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg!"
        >
        > Why did an engagement fought seven months earlier, on December 13,
        > 1862, become a battle cry? Because only now, with the tables so
        > perfectly turned, was the Union avenging its own dead thousands,
        > struck down in front of a different stone wall in what turned out to
        > be the nadir of the war for the North.
        >
        > A year before Gettysburg, each side thought the war would be a rout in
        > its favor. The events of the summer and fall of 1862 disabused both of
        > that notion. The Rebels invaded Maryland and had a string of victories
        > in Virginia, and Northerners began to doubt Lincoln's abilities as a
        > commander. Then in September the Union turned back the invasion at
        > Antietam, Maryland, and Lincoln issued his Preliminary Emancipation
        > Proclamation. But in the midterm elections, Republicans took a
        > beating, and to make matters worse the army seemed to squander the
        > momentum it had gained with its victory at Antietam. Lincoln
        > repeatedly tried to stir the commander of the Army of the Potomac,
        > George McClellan, into action, but to no avail. His patience worn
        > thin, Lincoln replaced McClellan with Ambrose Burnside on November 7.
        >
        >
        >
        > Best regards,
        >
        > David
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
      • richard@rcroker.com
        Excuse if this is a copy ------ My next book is about Fredericksburg and Hirst plays a role -- I note the different spelling, but there was a lot of that going
        Message 3 of 5 , Dec 14, 2005
        • 0 Attachment
          Excuse if this is a copy ------

          My next book is about Fredericksburg and Hirst plays a role -- I note the
          different spelling, but there was a lot of that going on in those days.

          For those you you who may take offense at "history as fiction," read no
          further," but if you want to know the reason for Hirst's outrage, read on.
          This is from his own accounts and the words in quotation marks are his...

          Enjoy,
          Richard

          Some of the men of the 14th Connecticut fought to preserve the Union and
          a few fought to free the slaves. But while marching up Marye's Heights into
          the face of the enemy, those huge issues became very small. Today they all
          agreed about why they were there, facing death and glory together. Today
          they fought for each other - and for their big, blue, beautiful flag. Not
          so much for the Stars and Stripes, though she was beautiful too, but for the
          blue flag with the grape vines, the eagle, and the words scrolled in gold
          across the bottom - "The Fourteenth Regiment." Every man in Perkins's
          little regiment would give his life to keep her flying and out of the hands
          of the enemy.

          The Rebels knew this. They loved their flags too. And in the
          absence of a nicely mounted general or colonel to shoot at, the standard
          bearer was the next best thing.

          They were never armed, these men who bore the pride of their
          regiments into battle. If one went down, or more precisely when one went
          down, the closest man would abandon his rifle, pick up the flag, and
          continue forward. And so it was with the men of the Fighting Fourteenth,
          and now it was their turn to storm the wall.

          Augustus Foote and Benjamin Hirst were two ranks back, marching
          side-by-side as always, as they had in a thousand drills over the months.
          As they had at Antietam when they marched over Roulette's Swale and into the
          Bloody Lane.

          The ground was still wet and slippery and it was now cluttered
          with the bodies of dead and wounded men. They came to the remnants of a
          fence that had surrounded the Fredericksburg Fairgrounds. It had been an
          obstacle for the 24th New Jersey, but they had managed to take most of it
          down. The Connecticut color guard stepped over the remaining rails and the
          blue flag kept moving forward. Foote was jealous of the man who carried the
          colors, Color Sergeant Charles Dart. What an incredible honor to stand so
          well forward - to be the man Connecticut followed into the worthy fight.
          But Dart had earned the job at Antietam and was doing it well today.

          When Colonel Oliver gave the order to charge, Dart glanced back
          at his comrades and waved them forward. "Follow me boys!" he yelled as he
          broke into a run. Foote and Hirst and all of the men of Oliver's brigade
          growled and screamed and stepped over the fence rails and the Washington
          Artillery fired all four cannons in the same instant - all double-packed
          with canister - and over two hundred of the heavy iron pellets ripped
          through the ranks of the Fighting Fourteenth.

          Foote and Hirst had been in the second rank, but the first rank
          was gone and the rest of the Fourteenth fell to the ground. Foote saw
          Sergeant Dart go down and was amazed that the horribly wounded man managed
          to plant the flag as he fell. He speared the staff into the soft earth and
          leaned it against one of the remaining fence posts. The courageous color
          sergeant writhed on the ground for only a moment before his body went
          perfectly still. All of the men of the color guard were down, but the flag
          remained standing proudly, but alone and defenseless.

          Foote couldn't tolerate the sight. He had to rescue her. He
          was just about to stand up and rush forward when a thousand muskets appeared
          over the top of the stone wall and Cobb's Rebels began to unload on the
          prostrate Yanks. Foote couldn't stand and charge now, but he could crawl,
          by God. He had only ten feet to go, but it would be a hellish ten feet.

          Hirst tried to stop him. "Augie - don't go!"

          He grabbed the sergeant's leg, but Foote yanked it away and continued
          forward. He made it to within inches of the staff when one bullet struck
          him in the hip and another in the face.

          Hirst saw his friend's body shudder with each blow.

          "NOOOOOOO!"

          He couldn't control his fury, but he knew it would be suicide to try to save
          him - or the flag. He aimed his rifle at the wall and sent a shot forward,
          knowing that it would do no good. The Rebels were just too well-protected,
          but he fired anyway. And so did everybody else, but all they did was take
          small chips out of the thick rocks of Cobb's stone wall. He tried to hurry
          himself through the agonizingly slow procedure of reloading. While standing
          he could do the job in under a half a minute, but reloading under fire while
          lying down was awkward and dangerous and seemed to take forever. When he
          finally finished he brought the weapon to the firing position, pulled the
          hammer back to full cock and before he fired he heard his friend lying just
          ten feet ahead.

          "Oh, God! For the love of God. Please, somebody kill me.
          Somebody kill me! Please."

          Hirst began to weep. His friend's agony tortured his soul. He
          couldn't save him and he couldn't kill him. All he had to do was pull the
          trigger, but he couldn't do it. He couldn't put his best friend in the
          world out of his misery.

          He just couldn't do it.

          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "thomasdledward" <nmtdet@...>
          To: <TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Wednesday, December 14, 2005 8:45 PM
          Subject: [TalkAntietam] Fredericksburg: A Gettysburg for the Other Side


          > Fredericksburg: A Gettysburg for the Other Side
          >
          > http://tinyurl.com/753hd
          >
          > or
          >
          >
          http://www.americanheritage.com/places/articles/web/20051213-civil-war-antietam-robert-mcclellan-gettysburg-fredericksburg-ambrose-burnside-joseph-hooker-marye-heights-edwin-sumner-abraham-lincoln.shtml
          >
          > Some of the Rebels in Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863,
          > may have heard the voice of Sgt. Benjamin Hearst before they met the
          > withering Union fire at the stone wall on Cemetery Ridge. Hearst, a
          > veteran with the 14th Connecticut, yelled at the advancing mass, "Now
          > we've got you! Sock it to the Blasted Rebels. Fredericksburg's on the
          > other leg!" And as the doomed men fell, the Federals behind the low
          > stone wall shouted, "Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg!"
          >
          > Why did an engagement fought seven months earlier, on December 13,
          > 1862, become a battle cry? Because only now, with the tables so
          > perfectly turned, was the Union avenging its own dead thousands,
          > struck down in front of a different stone wall in what turned out to
          > be the nadir of the war for the North.
          >
          > A year before Gettysburg, each side thought the war would be a rout in
          > its favor. The events of the summer and fall of 1862 disabused both of
          > that notion. The Rebels invaded Maryland and had a string of victories
          > in Virginia, and Northerners began to doubt Lincoln's abilities as a
          > commander. Then in September the Union turned back the invasion at
          > Antietam, Maryland, and Lincoln issued his Preliminary Emancipation
          > Proclamation. But in the midterm elections, Republicans took a
          > beating, and to make matters worse the army seemed to squander the
          > momentum it had gained with its victory at Antietam. Lincoln
          > repeatedly tried to stir the commander of the Army of the Potomac,
          > George McClellan, into action, but to no avail. His patience worn
          > thin, Lincoln replaced McClellan with Ambrose Burnside on November 7.
          >
          >
          >
          > Best regards,
          >
          > David
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
        • G E Mayers
          Dear Richard, Oh my god...........It sent a shiver through my spine as I read this........very well written.......could mentally see Hirst s friend lying
          Message 4 of 5 , Dec 15, 2005
          • 0 Attachment
            Dear Richard,

            Oh my god...........It sent a shiver through my spine as I read
            this........very well written.......could mentally see Hirst's friend lying
            there, horribly wounded, begging for someone to put an end to his misery.

            Very respectfully,
            G E "Gerry" Mayers

            "As an American citizen I prize the Union very highly
            and know of no personal sacrifice that I would not make
            to preserve it, save that of honour."
            --Robt. E. Lee, Letter to Rooney Lee, 3 December 1860

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: <richard@...>
            To: <TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Wednesday, December 14, 2005 9:16 PM
            Subject: Re: [TalkAntietam] Fredericksburg: A Gettysburg for the Other Side


            > My next book is on Fredericksburg and, interestingly, Hirst plays a role.
            > I
            > note the difference in spelling, but there was a lot of that going on in
            > those days. Assuming it's the same guy, he had reason to demand revenge
            > for
            > Fredericksurg...
            >
            > For those of you who take offense at "history as fiction," read no
            > further,
            > but if you want to capture agony of the moment, read on. This is taken
            > from
            > Hirst's own account as are the words contained in the quotation marks...
            > Enjoy,
            > Richard
            >
            > Some of the men of the 14th Connecticut fought to preserve the
            > Union and a few fought to free the slaves. But while marching up Marye's
            > Heights into the face of the enemy, those huge issues became very small.
            > Today they all agreed about why they were there, facing death and glory
            > together. Today they fought for each other - and for their big, blue,
            > beautiful flag. Not so much for the Stars and Stripes, though she was
            > beautiful too, but for the blue flag with the grape vines, the eagle, and
            > the words scrolled in gold across the bottom - "The Fourteenth Regiment."
            > Every man in Perkins's little regiment would give his life to keep her
            > flying and out of the hands of the enemy.
            >
            > The Rebels knew this. They loved their flags too. And in the
            > absence of a nicely mounted general or colonel to shoot at, the standard
            > bearer was the next best thing.
            >
            > They were never armed, these men who bore the pride of their
            > regiments into battle. If one went down, or more precisely when one went
            > down, the closest man would abandon his rifle, pick up the flag, and
            > continue forward. And so it was with the men of the Fighting Fourteenth,
            > and now it was their turn to storm the wall.
            >
            > Augustus Foote and Benjamin Hirst were two ranks back, marching
            > side-by-side as always, as they had in a thousand drills over the months.
            > As they had at Antietam when they marched over Roulette's Swale and into
            > the
            > Bloody Lane.
            >
            > The ground was still wet and slippery and it was now cluttered
            > with the bodies of dead and wounded men. They came to the remnants of a
            > fence that had surrounded the Fredericksburg Fairgrounds. It had been an
            > obstacle for the 24th New Jersey, but they had managed to take most of it
            > down. The Connecticut color guard stepped over the remaining rails and
            > the
            > blue flag kept moving forward. Foote was jealous of the man who carried
            > the
            > colors, Color Sergeant Charles Dart. What an incredible honor to stand so
            > well forward - to be the man Connecticut followed into the worthy fight.
            > But Dart had earned the job at Antietam and was doing it well today.
            >
            > When Colonel Oliver gave the order to charge, Dart glanced back
            > at his comrades and waved them forward. "Follow me boys!" he yelled as he
            > broke into a run. Foote and Hirst and all of the men of Oliver's brigade
            > growled and screamed and stepped over the fence rails and the Washington
            > Artillery fired all four cannons in the same instant - all double-packed
            > with canister - and over two hundred of the heavy iron pellets ripped
            > through the ranks of the Fighting Fourteenth.
            >
            > Foote and Hirst had been in the second rank, but the first rank
            > was gone and the rest of the Fourteenth fell to the ground. Foote saw
            > Sergeant Dart go down and was amazed that the horribly wounded man managed
            > to plant the flag as he fell. He speared the staff into the soft earth
            > and
            > leaned it against one of the remaining fence posts. The courageous color
            > sergeant writhed on the ground for only a moment before his body went
            > perfectly still. All of the men of the color guard were down, but the
            > flag
            > remained standing proudly, but alone and defenseless.
            >
            > Foote couldn't tolerate the sight. He had to rescue her. He
            > was just about to stand up and rush forward when a thousand muskets
            > appeared
            > over the top of the stone wall and Cobb's Rebels began to unload on the
            > prostrate Yanks. Foote couldn't stand and charge now, but he could crawl,
            > by God. He had only ten feet to go, but it would be a hellish ten feet.
            >
            > Hirst tried to stop him. "Augie - don't go!"
            >
            > He grabbed the sergeant's leg, but Foote yanked it away and continued
            > forward. He made it to within inches of the staff when one bullet struck
            > him in the hip and another in the face.
            >
            > Hirst saw his friend's body shutter with each blow.
            >
            > "NOOOOOOO!"
            >
            > He couldn't control his fury, but he knew it would be suicide to try to
            > save
            > him - or the flag. He aimed his rifle at the wall and sent a shot
            > forward,
            > knowing that it would do no good. The Rebels were just too
            > well-protected,
            > but he fired anyway. And so did everybody else, but all they did was take
            > small chips out of the thick rocks of Cobb's stone wall. He tried to
            > hurry
            > himself through the agonizingly slow procedure of reloading. While
            > standing
            > he could do the job in under a half a minute, but reloading under fire
            > while
            > lying down was awkward and dangerous and seemed to take forever. When he
            > finally finished he brought the weapon to the firing position, pulled the
            > hammer back to full cock, and before he fired he heard his friend lying
            > just
            > ten feet ahead.
            >
            > "Oh, God! For the love of God. Please, somebody kill me.
            > Somebody kill me! Please."
            >
            > Hirst began to weep. His friend's agony tortured his soul. He
            > couldn't save him and he couldn't kill him. All he had to do was pull the
            > trigger, but he couldn't do it. He couldn't put his best friend in the
            > world out of his misery.
            >
            > He just couldn't do it.
            >
            >
            >
            >
          • richard@rcroker.com
            Why thank you kind sir -- You are most generous! R. ... From: G E Mayers To: Sent: Thursday, December
            Message 5 of 5 , Dec 15, 2005
            • 0 Attachment
              Why thank you kind sir -- You are most generous!

              R.
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "G E Mayers" <gerry1952@...>
              To: <TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Thursday, December 15, 2005 8:11 AM
              Subject: Re: [TalkAntietam] Fredericksburg: A Gettysburg for the Other Side


              > Dear Richard,
              >
              > Oh my god...........It sent a shiver through my spine as I read
              > this........very well written.......could mentally see Hirst's friend
              lying
              > there, horribly wounded, begging for someone to put an end to his misery.
              >
              > Very respectfully,
              > G E "Gerry" Mayers
              >
              > "As an American citizen I prize the Union very highly
              > and know of no personal sacrifice that I would not make
              > to preserve it, save that of honour."
              > --Robt. E. Lee, Letter to Rooney Lee, 3 December 1860
              >
              > ----- Original Message -----
              > From: <richard@...>
              > To: <TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com>
              > Sent: Wednesday, December 14, 2005 9:16 PM
              > Subject: Re: [TalkAntietam] Fredericksburg: A Gettysburg for the Other
              Side
              >
              >
              > > My next book is on Fredericksburg and, interestingly, Hirst plays a
              role.
              > > I
              > > note the difference in spelling, but there was a lot of that going on in
              > > those days. Assuming it's the same guy, he had reason to demand revenge
              > > for
              > > Fredericksurg...
              > >
              > > For those of you who take offense at "history as fiction," read no
              > > further,
              > > but if you want to capture agony of the moment, read on. This is taken
              > > from
              > > Hirst's own account as are the words contained in the quotation marks...
              > > Enjoy,
              > > Richard
              > >
              > > Some of the men of the 14th Connecticut fought to preserve
              the
              > > Union and a few fought to free the slaves. But while marching up
              Marye's
              > > Heights into the face of the enemy, those huge issues became very small.
              > > Today they all agreed about why they were there, facing death and glory
              > > together. Today they fought for each other - and for their big, blue,
              > > beautiful flag. Not so much for the Stars and Stripes, though she was
              > > beautiful too, but for the blue flag with the grape vines, the eagle,
              and
              > > the words scrolled in gold across the bottom - "The Fourteenth
              Regiment."
              > > Every man in Perkins's little regiment would give his life to keep her
              > > flying and out of the hands of the enemy.
              > >
              > > The Rebels knew this. They loved their flags too. And in
              the
              > > absence of a nicely mounted general or colonel to shoot at, the standard
              > > bearer was the next best thing.
              > >
              > > They were never armed, these men who bore the pride of their
              > > regiments into battle. If one went down, or more precisely when one
              went
              > > down, the closest man would abandon his rifle, pick up the flag, and
              > > continue forward. And so it was with the men of the Fighting
              Fourteenth,
              > > and now it was their turn to storm the wall.
              > >
              > > Augustus Foote and Benjamin Hirst were two ranks back,
              marching
              > > side-by-side as always, as they had in a thousand drills over the
              months.
              > > As they had at Antietam when they marched over Roulette's Swale and into
              > > the
              > > Bloody Lane.
              > >
              > > The ground was still wet and slippery and it was now
              cluttered
              > > with the bodies of dead and wounded men. They came to the remnants of a
              > > fence that had surrounded the Fredericksburg Fairgrounds. It had been
              an
              > > obstacle for the 24th New Jersey, but they had managed to take most of
              it
              > > down. The Connecticut color guard stepped over the remaining rails and
              > > the
              > > blue flag kept moving forward. Foote was jealous of the man who carried
              > > the
              > > colors, Color Sergeant Charles Dart. What an incredible honor to stand
              so
              > > well forward - to be the man Connecticut followed into the worthy fight.
              > > But Dart had earned the job at Antietam and was doing it well today.
              > >
              > > When Colonel Oliver gave the order to charge, Dart glanced
              back
              > > at his comrades and waved them forward. "Follow me boys!" he yelled as
              he
              > > broke into a run. Foote and Hirst and all of the men of Oliver's
              brigade
              > > growled and screamed and stepped over the fence rails and the Washington
              > > Artillery fired all four cannons in the same instant - all double-packed
              > > with canister - and over two hundred of the heavy iron pellets ripped
              > > through the ranks of the Fighting Fourteenth.
              > >
              > > Foote and Hirst had been in the second rank, but the first
              rank
              > > was gone and the rest of the Fourteenth fell to the ground. Foote saw
              > > Sergeant Dart go down and was amazed that the horribly wounded man
              managed
              > > to plant the flag as he fell. He speared the staff into the soft earth
              > > and
              > > leaned it against one of the remaining fence posts. The courageous
              color
              > > sergeant writhed on the ground for only a moment before his body went
              > > perfectly still. All of the men of the color guard were down, but the
              > > flag
              > > remained standing proudly, but alone and defenseless.
              > >
              > > Foote couldn't tolerate the sight. He had to rescue her. He
              > > was just about to stand up and rush forward when a thousand muskets
              > > appeared
              > > over the top of the stone wall and Cobb's Rebels began to unload on the
              > > prostrate Yanks. Foote couldn't stand and charge now, but he could
              crawl,
              > > by God. He had only ten feet to go, but it would be a hellish ten feet.
              > >
              > > Hirst tried to stop him. "Augie - don't go!"
              > >
              > > He grabbed the sergeant's leg, but Foote yanked it away and continued
              > > forward. He made it to within inches of the staff when one bullet
              struck
              > > him in the hip and another in the face.
              > >
              > > Hirst saw his friend's body shutter with each blow.
              > >
              > > "NOOOOOOO!"
              > >
              > > He couldn't control his fury, but he knew it would be suicide to try to
              > > save
              > > him - or the flag. He aimed his rifle at the wall and sent a shot
              > > forward,
              > > knowing that it would do no good. The Rebels were just too
              > > well-protected,
              > > but he fired anyway. And so did everybody else, but all they did was
              take
              > > small chips out of the thick rocks of Cobb's stone wall. He tried to
              > > hurry
              > > himself through the agonizingly slow procedure of reloading. While
              > > standing
              > > he could do the job in under a half a minute, but reloading under fire
              > > while
              > > lying down was awkward and dangerous and seemed to take forever. When
              he
              > > finally finished he brought the weapon to the firing position, pulled
              the
              > > hammer back to full cock, and before he fired he heard his friend lying
              > > just
              > > ten feet ahead.
              > >
              > > "Oh, God! For the love of God. Please, somebody kill me.
              > > Somebody kill me! Please."
              > >
              > > Hirst began to weep. His friend's agony tortured his soul.
              He
              > > couldn't save him and he couldn't kill him. All he had to do was pull
              the
              > > trigger, but he couldn't do it. He couldn't put his best friend in the
              > > world out of his misery.
              > >
              > > He just couldn't do it.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
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