Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Road to the Death Strewn Slope: Part Six

The sixth of a nine-part series about the journey of Benjamin Franklin Heald and Llewellyn Heald to Gettysburg with the Twentieth Maine Regiment, June 29-July 2, 1863.

The brigade climbed the hill by way of an old logging trail. Shells exploded around them severing tree branches and shattering the rocks. Luther French, the regiment’s chaplain, was undone when a shell hit nearby his mount, killing the horse of a brigade officer. French rode over to Capt. “Pap” Clark, gesticulating wildly, trying to describe the unfortunate event. Pap, known for colorful language, cut him off and shouted: “For Christ’s sake, Chaplain, if you have any business attend to it!”* Reaching the crest of the hill, the four regiments of the brigade formed line of battle around its southern facing height, with the Twentieth Maine on the far left. In front and to it’s left there were only oak scrub and bushes, the ground sloping away, the men’s vision almost wholly obscured by the dense foliage. Ten minutes later the shelling stopped. And then the eerie sound of a peculiar yelling as scores of gray clad men emerged from among the trees below them, firing as they came on. *Thomas A. Desjardin “Stand Firm Ye Boys From Maine” pg. 37

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