Walking Pickett’s Charge — The Route of the 7th Tennessee
Posted on Tuesday, July 19th, 2011
Walking Pickett’s Charge
7th Tennessee’s route
I have taken this walk to experience that ground that the men of the 7th had to cover. The weather is cool and extremely overcast. It has been raining fairly steadily for several hours. I am wearing jeans, a rubber poncho, my black hat, and shin-high mud boots. I expect to get wet. I am writing my thoughts down in a steno notebook. The pages are soaked, just as my legs and arms are.
A violent electrical storm swept over the field, catching me out in the open. I was forced to squat down and take refuge for a few moments and wait out the lightening. Once the electrical part of the storm has passed, it still raining hard. I have the field to myself.
When I look towards the ridge I can’t seem much of anything because of the (rain and clouds), the 7th’s vision would have been hampered by dust and smoke.
Big Round Top has just come into view, being screened by the tree line to the 7th’s right. I am down in a slight hollow. The distant US line is silhouetted against the skyline. The farmer’s field has lots of football sized rocks to trip over.
I am higher elevation than before. The Round Tops have dropped out of view. I am now far enough out beyond the tree line (to the south) to be able to see Pickett’s formation. This area is really flat.
I am on really high ground and can look down upon the lower elevations, both to the right and to the left. Again, where I am is very flat.
I have entered the orchard. Pickett’s men are now higher elevation than me. I have entered a shallow area. When I look backwards I can see that I am in a very sheltered little hollow that runs north-south.
I am still in the orchard. This is a high spot which protected the 400 yard location. The ground is very level. I can see the Bliss farm buildings about 75 yards to my left. That structure would have broken up some of Archer’s formation.
A stoutly built post and rail fence runs north-south. This would have to have been knocked over.
I have dropped down into another low spot. Pickett’s men are now really exposed to US artillery because of the high ground their formations cover. I can now begin to see the stone wall (where the Connecticut boys were) as it is highlighted against the skyline.
I have just crossed a small ravine which runs north-south. This ravine has a drainage ditch in it. This is the lowest spot of the journey. I cannot see any of the dangers that are ahead of me. Pickett’s men are still very exposed. This is a safe spot for the 7th.
I cannot see the US line, nor their defensive positions which are straight ahead. Pickett’s men are still out in the open. This is still a low spot and the elevation slopes uphill from here. I can just see the very tops of the “Copse of Trees”.
The last 100 yards I have been completely hidden. I can now see the post and rail fence line that borders Emmitsburg Rd. The US position is now coming back into view, but it is mostly hidden by the fence. Pickett’s men are still out in the open.
I am now high enough that the US could aim over the top of the Emmitsburg Road fence and fire upon the 7th. This is a high point here. I am approximately 325 yards from the Connecticut stonewall position. The ground is lower to the left, and to the right, Pickett’s men are lower. I can just see the Connecticut stonewall position just above the Emmitsburg Road fence. I can see the Round Tops.
I have reached the western side of the Emmitsburg Rd. fence line. This is another high point. The road is down in a depression. I am now 235 yards from the Connecticut stone wall. The road is maybe ten yards wide and has a second post and rail fence. The terrain is flat on the east side of the fence line, rising ever-so-slightly towards the east.
The Connecticut stone wall is straight-ahead, and very prominent. The ground is flat and gently sloping upwards towards the stone wall. Off to the right is the Angle. I am now 125 yards from the Connecticut stone wall.
This is the angle of “The Angle,” which is about 50 yards to the right. The Connecticut stone wall is very prominent, straight ahead, just 50 yards away. The park service has put up a fence here, and the Panorama Painting shows a slightly-built post and rail fence at this position.
This is the location of the 26th North Carolina monument. I don’t see how any of the 7th’s boys could have made it to this point. I don’t even know if any of the North Carolina boys made it here. This is right in front of the Connecticut stone wall. A very bad place to be.