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Confederate Flags

Our confederate flags pictured are made using 100% Dupont nylon or Best Cotton.  The confederate battle flag is available in various sizes and materials please call for specifics.   We also have the confederate battle flag in an authentic cotton and sewn together.  But be forewarned the flag is expensive. All Flags made in the United States

Included on this page is some Civil War history.  I hope you find this information useful and entertaining. Click here for US Historical Flags

Amputations | Unofficial
Truces | CSS H. L. Hunley | Battle of Fredericksburg |
Letters Home | CSS Alabama | Johnny Clem | Robert E. Lee | 54th Massachusetts Regiment
 |
Fort Sumter |Bonnie Blue Flag | Battle of Gettysburg |

Bonnie Blue Flag  |  First National Flag  |  Second National Flag  |  Third National Flag



C.S.A. Jack "Battle Flag"

The "Battle Jack" is available in cotton, dyed nylon and appliquéd in various flag sizes - please call for specifics.  We also have an inexpensive version for promotions.

More flags below

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Confederate Bonnie Blue Flag
 
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Confederate 1st National Flag
 
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Confederate 2nd National Flag

 
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Confederate 3RD National Flag


 
   

AMPUTATIONS

SAVED BY THE SAW

The trademark of Civil War surgery, amputations accounted for 75 percent of all operations performed by Civil War doctors. More arms and legs were chopped off in this war than in any other fought by this country. Three out of every four wounded soldiers were hit in the extremities, and at that time, amputation was the only proper medical treatment for a compound fracture or severe laceration of a limb.

Surgery had not yet progressed to an understanding of antiseptic conditions. A doctor would use the same knife and saw all day, wiping his hands and instruments on his apron when they became too slimy. Most surgery was performed outside on operating tables made of doors laid upon boxes, with tubs underneath to catch the blood. An experienced surgeon could remove a limb in a few minutes; some surgeons at Gettysburg did nothing for an entire week but cut off arms and legs from dawn until twilight.

Ether and chloroform were commonly used as anesthetics, but supplies could not keep up with demand. Surgery was but a prelude to the horrors a soldier would face. Gangrene and other little-understood infections swept through hospitals with deadly results. Surgical fevers (infections), routinely treated with yeast poultices and charcoal dressings, were responsible for most of the deaths of amputees. Primitive as the conditions were, it is likely that the majority of amputees were saved by the saw. Amputations performed within 48 hours of a wound were twice as likely to be successful as those performed after that length of time.


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Fascinating Fact: The governor of Louisiana, Gen. Francis R. T. Nicholls, lost one arm, one leg, and one eye during the war.

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Wounded During Wilderness Campaign; courtesy Library of Congress
Written by Stephen T. Foster

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UNOFFICIAL TRUCES

FRATERNIZATION WITH THE ENEMY

A Confederate picket shouted to his Union counterparts across the Rappahannock River, “Say, Yanks, there are some fools shooting across the river up above, but we won’t shoot if you don’t.” Such unofficial temporary truces were not uncommon during the Civil War. Despite the brutality of the battlefield, many soldiers felt a certain brotherhood and respect for their enemies. They endured the same long marches, foul weather, and homesickness. Thus, it was not surprising when soldiers, out on the picket line for a week at a time and out of sight of high-ranking officers, sometimes established communications with opposing pickets.

Union solders always had an abundance of coffee and sugar, while Confederate soldiers lacked these supplies but had surplus tobacco. Thus, trades would be established. Newspapers were especially popular to trade, as it was interesting to read the war news from the enemy’s standpoint. Although the Rebs had little to trade except tobacco, it was always in demand and could be exchanged for nearly an Union item.

Once relations were established, it was a point of honor that the trust not be broken. Confederate Gen. John B. Gordon tells the story of preparations for the surprise attack on Fort Stedman at Petersburg, VA During the night Confederate soldiers had advanced into a cornfield between the lines to clear obstructions when they heard a Union picket call, “What are you doing over there, Johnny? Answer quick, or I’ll shoot.” A quick-thinking Rebel answered, “Never mind, Yank! Lie down and go to sleep. We are just gathering a little corn.

The preparations for the surprise assault being completed, General Gordon ordered that the signal gun be fired to start the charge. The soldier raised his gun but hesitated to fire. His sense of honor and fair play caused him to shout: “Hello, Yank! Wake up. Look out, we are coming!” He then fired the signal and the assault began.

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Fascinating fact: When stationed at Fredericksburg in the winter of 1862, pickets across the Rappahannock River from each other made little sailboats that they floated back and forth with items to trade.
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Union pickets launch a shingle sailboat laden with coffee, while Confederates wait to return the vessel with tobacco; courtesy Library of Congress
Written by Stephen T. Foster

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CSS H. L. HUNLEY

FIRST TRUE SUBMARINE

In August 1863, a train from Mobile, AL, arrived in Charleston, SC, with two of its flatcars loaded with a disassembled cigar-shaped metal vessel. When reassembled in Charleston Harbor, the propeller-driven H.L. Hunley was about 30 feet long, 5 feet high, and 4 feet wide. She had no engine but was powered instead by an eight-man crew that turned cranks positioned along the drive shaft, which extended most of the length of the vessel.

Because earlier cylindrical vessels of this design had been powered by steam engines, they had to be operated at the surface. The Hunley was the world’s first true submarine in that she was able to completely submerge during operations. Ballast tanks filled with water lowered the Hunley to just below the surface, and horizontal fins on the sides of the vessel were adjusted to lower or raise her when in motion. Trial dives in Mobile Bay had shown that she could stay under water for up to two hours before the crew ran out of air.

She was designed to tow a percussion-fused bomb at the end of a 200-foot rope, pass completely underneath an enemy vessel, and continue moving until the bomb made contact with the ship and exploded. During trial runs, the Hunley sank several times. Each time she was salvaged, but the loss of life caused Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard, commanding at Charleston, to order the vessel to operate only at the surface. The bow of the Hunley was then fitted with a 20-foot spar, with a torpedo containing 90 pounds of gunpowder at the end. Thus the Hunley could sink enemy ships by ramming them with her spar torpedo.

At 9:00 p.m. on February 17, 1864, the blockader USS Houston - 200 feet long with nine guns - was struck by an explosion that destroyed her entire stern. The Hunley was the first submarine ever to sink an enemy ship, but she had also made her last attack. The submarine and all her crew went down with the Housatonic, either because the spar did not disengage or because she came apart in the explosion.

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Fascinating Fact: At least 32 crewmen lost their lives during the trial runs of the Hunley. One of them was Horace L. Hunley, the builder.

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Illustration courtesy The Museum of the Confederacy
Written By Stephen T. Foster

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BATTLE OF FREDERICKSBURG

ACTION AT THE STONE WALL

DECEMBER 13, 1862

“A chicken could not live on that field when we open on it.” So reported Confederate Col. E. Porter Alexander to Gen. James Longstreet describing the position of his Confederate First Corps’ artillery on Marye’s Heights overlooking the town of Fredericksburg, VA Six hundred yards of open field stretched between his position and the town, which was overflowing with Yankee soldiers. Gen. Robert E. Lee would like nothing better than for the Union Army of the Potomac to attack his Army of Northern Virginia in the position he had been strengthening for weeks.

The left side of Lee’s line was anchored on Marye’s Heights and on a 1,200 foot-long stone wall at the base of the heights. The retaining wall was built alongside the main road to Richmond, which had been cut away and sunken by years of use. Shoulder high, the stone wall was an ideal position to defend. Div. Comdr. Gen. Lafayette McLaws had stationed his Georgia Brigade. Commanded by Gen. Thomas R. R. Cobb, in the sunken road. The Confederate soldiers were packed two ranks deep behind the wall and had a clear field of fire to their front.

Around noon on December 13, 1862, a brigade of blue-coated men filed out of Fredericksburg, formed their battle lines, and charged toward the stone wall. They were cut to pieces by Confederate artillery and fell back before the Georgians behind the wall fired a single volley. Two more brigades charged in quick succession with the same result. McLaws ordered Gen. Joseph B. Kershaw’s South Carolina Brigade to join Cobb’s men behind the stone wall, making that line four ranks deep. Stepping back from the wall to reload and back up to the wall to fire, the Rebel defenders were able to lay down a rapid and continuous storm of lead. Throughout the afternoon, Union Gen. Ambrose Burnside sent wave after wave of his infantry to the slaughter. Darkness finally brought an end to the butchery, but not before seven Union divisions had dashed themselves against the wall in 14 charges. No Union soldier ever reached the stone wall; few got within 50 yards.

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Fascinating Fact: Burnside lost 7,000 men attacking the stone wall and Marye's Heights; The Confederate defenders lost only 1,200 men.

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Illustration courtesy Library of Congress
Written By Stephen T. Foster

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LETTERS HOME

CURE FOR HOMESICKNESS

Most Civil War soldiers were not widely traveled before they joined the army. Leaving their families behind, they entered a strange new life far from home and loved ones. Homesickness was a common ailment for blue and gray soldiers throughout the war, and the only direct contact with home available to most men was through letter writing. Because of the limited educational standards of the time, letters usually contained crude handwriting and phonetic spelling. Most letters were written with pencil because pen and ink were seldom available. “A lead pencil is a poor thing to write with,” wrote an Illinois private, “but you must try and figer it out.” An Illinois drummer boy wrote his sister: “I rote you a letter the other day in answer to the one that Ulysses coppyed for you, but last Sunday evening I received an other from you in your own hand wrighting whitch was the best of all. I could read every word except one. If you will keep trying you will soon get so as to wright first rate. You must learn to spell, to.”

The Civil War caused the largest outpouring of letter writing in American history. Each day, 90,000 letters passed through Washington, with twice that number going through Louisville, KY, for the Union armies in the West. The newly formed Confederate postal service appropriated existing federal routes and offices and utilized many of the same postmasters. The first Confederate postage stamps were even printed in the North. As the Confederate economy and the value of Confederate money plummeted, postage stamps became a more stable medium of exchange and were freely used as currency.

Service was uncertain in the North as well as in the South, but grew especially bad in the South near the end of the war. Stationery also became scarce in the South, and soldiers wrote letters on almost any type of paper, but they preferred proper writing paper. Many varieties of stationery were marketed to the Union and Confederate soldiers; most were decorated with eagles, flags, or other patriotic symbols.

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Fascinating Fact: Confederate stamps had portraits of only three people: President Jefferson Davis, gen. stonewall Jackson, and Sen John C. Calhoun.

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Letters courtesy Janice Conard Underwood
Written by Stephen T. Foster

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CSS ALABAMA

SCOURGE OF THE SEAS

AUGUST 24, 1862 - JUNE 19, 1864

Shortly after the start of the war, Confederate commerce raiders began roaming the seas to prey on Union merchants ships. The most famous of these raider was the CSS Alabama, which was built for the federate government by the Laird shipyard of Liverpool, England, and commissioned off the Azores on August 24, 1862. She was 220 feet long with a beam of 32 feet, was powered by two 300-horsepower engines that operated her double wheel, and also had a full complement of sails. Under full power, she could travel at a 110 pound rifled gun, an 8-inch solid-shot gun, and six 32 pounders. The Alabama had a crew of 120 men and 24 officers, commanded by Capt. Raphael Semmes.

The Alabama began her career by decimating the Yankee whaling fleet in the Azores, destroying 10 ships in two weeks. Next she sailed for Newfoundland and the coast of New England, where she captured 11 more ships. Most of the captured ships were burned after the crew and any needed provisions had been removed. The Alabama hunted down the East Coast of the United States and in the Caribbean, and then, in January 1863, sailed the Gulf of Mexico toward Galveston, TX, where she attacked and sank a blockading Union warship, the USS Hatteras. To prevent capture by pursuing Union warships, the Alabama sailed down the coast of South American and, after burning a few more Yankee ships, crossed the Atlantic to the Cape of Good Hope. Sailing across the Indian Ocean to Singapore, the Alabama paralyzed Union trade in that area to such an extent that U.S. ships would not leave port. The Alabama sailed to India, then down the east coast of Africa, and back across the Atlantic to South America.

By now the ship was badly in need of repair, and Semmes sailed to France for a thorough overhaul, arriving at the port of Cherbourg on June 11, 1864. During the 22 months since her commissioning, the Alabama had traveled 75,000 miles and captured 66 Union merchant ships worth more than $6.5 million.

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Fascinating Fact: During her lifetime, the CSS Alabama never entered a single Confederate port.

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Illustration courtesy Culver Pictures, Inc.
Written by Stephen T. Foster

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JOHNNY CLEM

DRUMMER BOY OF CHICKAMAUGA

AUGUST 13, 1851 - MAY 13, 1937

John Joseph Clem ran away from home to join the Union army in the spring of 1861, when he was not yet 10 years old. He was turned down because of his age by a couple of the regiments passing through his Newark, Ohio, hometown before he tagged along with the 22d Massachusetts, which eventually adopted him as their mascot and drummer boy. Officers of the unit reportedly chipped in on this $13 monthly salary, and fellow soldiers were said to have provided him with a shortened rifle and a uniform in his size. He officially enlisted in the 22d Massachusetts in May 1863 and received his own pay thereafter.

On September 20, 1863 many members of the 22d were captured in the Battle of Chickamauga, but Johnny made his escape after shooting a Rebel officer who was trying to capture him. Union Gen. George H. Thomas promoted Johnny to lance corporal. When the newspapers picked up his story, little Johnny became a celebrity in the North and was known as the “drummer boy of Chickamauga,” and also as “Johnny Shiloh,” since he was alleged to have had his drum smashed by cannon fire in the Battle of Shiloh in 1862. At some time during this period he changed his name and its spelling to John Lincoln Clem.

In October 1863, John Clem was captured by Confederate cavalry while detailed as a train guard. He was exchanged a short time later, but the Confederacy used his captivity to show “what sore strait’s the Yankees are driven, when they have to send their babies to fight us.” In January 1864, General Thomas assigned Johnny to his staff as a mounted orderly, and on September 19, 1864, Johnny was discharged from the army. President Grant appointed Johnny to West Point, but he failed several times to pass the entrance exam. In 1871, when Grant made him a 2d lieutenant, Johnny began a second army term that did not end until he retired in 1915 with the rank of brigadier general. He was the last Civil War veteran on the army rolls at the time of his retirement. He died at the age of 85 in San Antonio, TX, and was buried at Arlington national Cemetery.

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Fascinating Fact: More than 10,000 soldiers under the age of 18 served in the Union armies

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John L. Clem at age 10 courtesy Culver Pictures, Inc.
Written by Stephen T. Foster

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ROBERT EDWARD LEE

THE KING OF SPADES

JANUARY 19, 1807-OCTOBER 12, 1870

It seemed an odd choice, on May 31, 1862, for President Jefferson Davis to appoint Gen. Robert E. Lee to command the 50,000-man Confederate army that was trying to protect Richmond from the 100,000 Union troops on its outskirts. Lee was to take the place of wounded Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, but he had never commanded an army in any battle and had been under fire only twice.

At the start of the war, Lee had failed miserably at the impossible task of retaining pro-Union western Virginia for the Confederacy and had been dubbed “Evacuating Lee.” since then, Lee had been a valuable advisor to president Davis, and his brilliant instructions has started Gen. Stonewall Jackson on his Shenandoah Valley campaign. But generals in the field knew nothing of Lee’s talents; to them, he was a fussy staff officer and they nicknamed him “Granny Lee.” Lee’s lackluster reputation was soon to change, however, for he was about to command one of the greatest fighting armies of all time, and he would prove to be one of the finest military commanders in history.

Lee order his soldiers, whom he named the Army of Northern Virginia, to build earthwork fortifications to protect Richmond from McClellan’s Union army. All along the 16-mile line, Lee’s troops complained that they had not joined up to fight with picks and spades. Finding little glory in their service, they nicknamed their new commander “The King of Spades.”

Lee wrote to President Davis: “I am preparing a line that I can hold with part of our forces in front, while with the rest I will endeavor to make a diversion to bring McClellan out.” In a few weeks, no one would ever again refer to him as “Granny Lee,” and the name “Evacuating Lee” would seem utterly ridiculous. The “King of Spades” and his Army of Northern Virginia were setting out on a long journey that would shroud them all in a mantle of glory.(1)

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Fascinating Fact: During the height of the war, Lee traveled with a pet hen who laid an egg under his cot every morning.
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Painting: Mort Kunstler
Written by Stephen T. Foster

 

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54th MASSACHUSETTS REGIMENT

Northern Black Troops

In January 1864, Secretary of War Stanton finally gave John A. Andrew, the abolitionist governor of Massachusetts, authorization to form regiments that could “include persons of African descent…..” The governor had long been an advocate of raising black regiments from the free black population. Like most abolitionists, he felt the surest path to citizenship for black Americans was for them to be allowed to fight and die for their freedom and their country.

Andrew chose the white officers for the new black regiment from wealthy families prominent in the abolition movement in his state. The families could also be counted on to help finance the enlistment and outfitting of the troops. He solicited the aid of Frederick Douglass and other well-known black abolitionists in attracting the cream of the black population for the new regiment. Two of Douglass’s sons joined the regiment. Given the considerable opposition in the North to the idea of making soldiers of blacks, the new regiment was seen as a good test of the fitness of black men as soldiers and citizens. Supporters of the regiments spared no expense in their effort to prove that blacks were equal to the test.

The 54th Massachusetts Regiment was the first black regiment recruited in the North. Col. Robert Gould Shaw, the 25 year-old son of very wealthy abolitionist parents, was chosen to command. On May 28, the well-equipped and drilled 54th paraded through the streets of Boston and then boarded ships bound for the coast of South Carolina. Their first conflict with Confederate soldiers came on July 16, when the regiment repelled an attack on James Island. But on July 18 came the supreme test of the courage and valor of the black soldiers: they were chosen to lead the assault on Battery Wagner, a Confederate fort on Morris Island at Charleston. In addressing his soldiers before leading them in the charge across the beach, Colonel Shaw said, “I want you to prove yourselves. The eyes of thousands will look on what you do tonight.”
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Fascinating Fact: Black soldiers were paid $10.00 per month, $3 less than white soldiers.
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54th Mass. Regiment charging Fort Wagner; courtesy Library of Congress
Written by Stephen T. Foster

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FORT SUMTER

THE WAR BEGINS

APRIL 12, 1861

On March 5, 1861, the day after his inauguration as president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln received a message from Major Robert Anderson, commander of the U.S. troops holding Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. The message stated that there was less than a six week supply of food left in the fort.

Attempts by the Confederate government to settle its differences with the Union were spurned by Lincoln, and the Confederacy felt it could no longer tolerate the presence of a foreign force in its territory. Believing a conflict to be inevitable, Lincoln ingeniously devised a plan that would cause the Confederates to fire the first shot and thus, he hoped, inspire the states that had not yet seceded to unite in the effort to restore the Union.

On April 8, Lincoln notified Gov. Francis Pickens of South Carolina that he would attempt to resupply the fort. The Confederate commander at Charleston, Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, was ordered by the Confederate government to demand the evacuation of the fort and if refused, to force its evacuation. On April 11, General Beauregard delivered the ultimatum to Anderson, who replied, “Gentlemen, if you do not batter the fort to pieces about us, we shall be starved out in a few days.” On direction of the Confederate government in Montgomery, Beauregard notified Anderson that if he would state the time of his evacuation, the Southern forces would hold their fire. Anderson replied that he would evacuate by noon on April 1 5 unless he received other instructions or additional supplies from his government. (The supply ships were expected before that time.) Told that his answer was unacceptable and that Beauregard would open fire in one hour, Anderson shook the hands of the messengers and said in parting, “If we do not meet again in this world, I hope we may meet in the better one.” At 4:30 a.m. on April 12, 1861, 43 Confederate guns in a ring around Fort Sumter began the bombardment that initiated the bloodiest war in American history.

Ft. Sumter Flag

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Fascinating Fact: General Beauregard and Major Anderson were old friends Beauregard having been Anderson's artillery student at west Point.

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Bombardment of fort Sumter: Courtesy Culver Pictures, Inc
Written by Stephen T. Foster

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BONNIE BLUE FLAG

Flag of Secession

As the secession crisis intensified, the Bonnie Blue flag gradually became the unofficial banner of independence and self-government for the Southern states. It waved prominently at political rallies and parades and flew in Montgomery, Ala., while the first Confederate Congress was in session.

The designer of the blue flag with the single white star in the center is unknown, but the banner is believed to have been modeled after the flag of South Carolina and the Lone Star flag of Texas. The single star represented secession, the removal of a star from the Stars and Stripes, and independence in that it stood alone on its field of blue. Sometimes an additional star would be added to the flag for each seceding state. In January 1861, the Bonnie Blue Flag was incorporated as a canton in the flag of the new Republic of Mississippi. The Committee on Flag and Seal of the Confederacy’s Provisional Congress passed over the Bonnie Blue Flag and another designs to select instead a flag based on the old Stars and Stripes, a flag that would become famous as the “Stars and Bars.”

In the spring of 1861, Harry McCarthy, a variety entertainer and comedian, wrote the stirring marching song “The Bonnie Blue Flag.” The lyrics recounted when the South found it necessary to break away from the Union and described each stat joining the Confederacy. The song was extremely popular in the South, rivaling “Dixie” as the unofficial Confederate anthem. Union authorities in occupied New Orleans outlawed playing the music or singing the song. Eleven editions of “The Bonnie Blue Flag” had been printed by the end of the war, each with slightly different lyrics. The song lost some of its popularity when, late in the war, Harry McCarthy abandoned the South and went to Philadelphia.

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Fascinating Fact: The tune for "The Bonnie Blue Flag" was borrowed from the old song " the Irish Jaunting Car." the tune is still heard today as the fight song for Georgia tech.

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Under the Bonnie Blue flag; painting by Bruce Marshall
Written by Stephen T. Foster

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BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG

PICKETT’S CHARGE

JULY 1-3, 1863

At 3:00 p.m. on July 3, 1863, 11,000 steady and disciplined Confederate soldiers emerged from the trees on Seminary Ridge and formed perfectly aligned battle ranks facing the Union position a mile away on Cemetery Ridge. For two days, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia had bested Maj. Gen. George G. Meade’s Union Army of the Potomac in heavy fighting in and around Gettysburg, PA But Meade’s troops still occupied a defensive position south of town, and Lee was determined to attack him there.

Three of the nine brigades in the attacking Confederate force were commanded by Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett, a 38-year-old career soldier from Virginia. Pickett’s division spearheaded the assault, advancing with parade precision. Almost immediately, gaps were blown in the Confederate lines from Union artillery positions. Under orders not to fire and not to let loose their Rebel Yell, the Confederates closed the gaps in their lines and kept advancing. Union artillery changed from shells to canister-tin cans packed with iron balls that made giant shotguns of the cannon-and mowed great swaths through the Confederate ranks. As the attackers continued to close, Union infantry sent volleys of minie’ balls into the still-ordered Southern troops.

Surviving Rebels returned fire and charged the Union line. Desperate hand-to-hand fighting ensured as the Union line was penetrated, but there were not enough Confederates left after the charge to hold the line. The Confederates’ only choice was to surrender or to go back across the mile of open ground.

Almost 4,000 Confederate soldiers were captured. General Pickett’s division lost 75% of its men. The Union forces, just half as numerous as the Rebel attackers, suffered only 1,500 casualties - only one-fifth of the number they inflicted. Gen. Robert E. Lee had thought his army was invincible. The proof to the contrary was a blow from which it would never recover.

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Fascinating Fact: The artillery exchange preceding Pickett’s charge was heard 140 miles away in Pittsburgh, making it one of the loudest noises on the North American continent up to that time.

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Painting: Mort Kunstler
Written by Stephen T. Foster

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