On the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, there took place one of the most suicidal actions in the whole war – the assault that cost the Old Soldier his leg.

At ten minutes past three on that hot and humid afternoon, almost 14,000 Confederate soldiers, a battle line of almost a mile, started marching in perfect order with their rifle muskets over their shoulders up a mile of open ground towards 6000 Union soldiers and 122 Union cannon arranged along a ridge for 300 yards. They took fire every step of the way from cannonballs, musket balls and finally deadly canister shot as they approached the Union line. By the time the remnants arrived, the blood was ankle deep in some places.

It took them 20 minutes to reach the Union lines and after just 50 minutes the ‘charge’ was over by which time 1,123 “Johnny Rebs” were dead, over 4000 wounded and 3,750 captured, in other words more than 8890 Confederate casualties – greater than 50% of their number!!

All weapons used “black powder” – gunpowder – in those days which generated vast amounts of smoke. A survey was done in 1939 at Gettysburg as to how much smoke was actually generated during the battle and, unbelievably, they came to the conclusion that 93% of everything you were looking at was obliterated by smoke! Only 7% could be seen and only in silhouette! Once you started firing, you couldn’t see anything. Smoke was called “the great equaliser”.

The extraordinary re-enactment of Picket’s Charge in the feature film Gettysburg (Double sided DVD) [1993] is as accurate as they could get it and was filmed with special permission at the actual place itself.

If you watch nothing else, PLEASE watch this to give you an idea of the horrors of the American Civil War.


Meanwhile, I have just found this extraordinary movie shot with a high quality “head cam” on a Johnny Reb as he takes part in a re-enactment of Pickets Charge! You really get the feel of what it must have been like minus the oncoming cannoballs and body parts flying everywhere, Extraordinary!!



Remember these awesome statistics:

American deaths in World War I = 116,516

American deaths in World War II = 405,399

American deaths in the Korean War = 43,891

American deaths in the Vietnam War = 58,167

American deaths in the Civil War = 624,511

(Visited 81 time, 2 visit today)

Please check in regularly – especially the Rehearsal Schedule – to keep up with any changes.

Look below to see my latest website modifications.