2nd Manassas - Aug. 1862
The Battle of Gettysburg - Friday July 3, 1863
The Fighting Men of North Carolina

North Carolina monument at Gettysburg Battlefield
When you walk over the battlegrounds in Gettysburg, you're held by the unspoiled beauty of the wide rolling landscape, the gently undulating fields, and the compelling majesty of the monuments and statues intended to honor eternally the brave who gave so much to their causes. Within the enormity of this place and all of the many compiled statistics and numbers are sometimes lost the individual lives of each soldier who risked everything to be here. This monument depicting a brief moment during the July 3rd 1863 charge honors the many men from North Carolina who sacrificed everything on these now hallowed grounds. Despite previously taking severe punishment two days earlier, during the Pickett / Pettigrew Charge, 15 North Carolina regiments participated in the valorous but tragic assault. Somewhere between 12,000 and 13,000 men charged Cemetery Hill on this day. Only about half of those men returned to their lines having escaped wounds or death. Of the estimated 23,000 to 28,000 Confederate casualties for this colossal three day battle, one in four was from the great state of North Carolina [C].

As the wave of Pickett's Charge crested just feet from The Angle, the men from North Carolina advanced to the ground noted by the small marker just to the left of the Union cannon barrel (pictured). One of those soldiers, Third Lieutenant William B. Taylor, left this account of the devastation. "Our company went into the fight on the third day with 30 men rank and file...Our company came out with 8 men and myself." Looking at the fence line in the distance (just to the right of the barrel) you can see how the gently undulating terrain may have permitted an occasional respite from the watchful eyes of the waiting Federals. The oft spoken of courage shown by these men was not just that which was necessary to emerge from the protection of the woods in the distance and advance towards this position. The North Carolinians, along with their comrades, also needed to return to the shelter of their lines, withstanding the same fire they braved as they approached.

26th North Carolina MarkerIn a different view to the right, you can again see the location reached by the men of the 26th North Carolina during the Pickett / Pettigrew Charge. Words prove inadequate to describe the courage needed to walk from the distant tree line into the face of thousands of Union guns just behind the stone row in the foreground. Some Union soldiers felt similarly and held their fire as a few Confederates neared the wall. One man in gray came forward still carrying the 26th's flag. Holding their fire out of respect for their bravery, one man in blue instead extended a hand saying, "Come over to this side of the Lord." Those left standing were then taken prisoner. [2,L]

Confederate Major General Isaac Trimble, who would lose a leg in this charge, said of his men and the Union line on Cemetery Hill, "If the troops I had the honor to command today for the first time cannot take that position, all hell cannot take it." [6]

Click here for another view of the monument on Seminary Ridge honoring the bravery of the men from North Carolina.