Way back on the 10th of June, Esquire introduced military historian Lt. Col. Robert Bateman to readers in advance of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. Bateman has been walking readers through the manuevers and decisions that led the military leaders of the North and South on paths to the small town in rural Pennsylvania that eventually served as the largest battle on this continent and the pivotal point in America's Civil War.
Now, Bateman's on the ground in the Pennsylvania college town where some 15,000 people are expected to participate in the 150th anniversary reenactment of the epic, bloody turning point of the Civil War. He's dispatching blog posts (expect one long post per day) to cover the course of the three-day battle. July 1, 1863, marked the start of the major engagements of the Battle of Gettysburg. Rebel forces attacked and soon learned that they were dealing with Union cavalry, not just local militia.
What they do not know is that Mike, I mean US Army Major General John Reynolds, has already arrived on that ridge they are looking to attack and he has sent word back for his own infantry to haul ass to this position. It is a race, but it is a race the Confederates do not know they are engaged in yet.
They deploy, with two entire huge brigades side-by-side, and methodically prepare to attack down the road. They launch forward, but just as they are getting closer, suddenly there are a whole lot more American soldiers firing at them down the road than there had been just minutes before. This time, it was not the cavalry that rode to the rescue. It was the infantry who marched their sweet asses off to get there in time and save the cavalry. Still, the rebel attack has more force, and it rumbles forward. From the southern point-of-view, the "right" side of their attack (which would be the Union "left") is doing well. That brigade crosses a stream and starts climbing the small ridge in the cover of some woods. From the outside it looks like this attack might succeed. [Esquire]