Monday, July 1, 2013

The Road to the Death Strewn Slope: Part Three

The third 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 men’s spirits were high and their step quickened as they crossed over into Pennsylvania the next day, July 1. They were marching through a “beautiful, big-barned country, rich with ripening grain, knee high corn and lush orchards.”* Further north, as they approached Hanover, they came across signs of rebel depredations—burned carts, wagons and dead horses. Confederate cavalry had come this way the night before. Far over the horizon, there were “disturbances in the atmosphere,” an ominous distant booming. As the evening drew near, they went searching for fence rails to fuel their campfires. News spread through the camp that the First and Eleventh Corps had collided with Lee in a crossroads town called Gettysburg, some fourteen miles to the west. * See John J. Pullen, “The Twentieth Maine” pg. 94.

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