Sunday, February 04, 2007

CWL --- Walking Gettysburg's Battlefield: The Pennsylvania Bucktail Brigade on McPherson's Farm

Gettysburg Battlewalks: The Bucktail Brigade, John Heiser, Pennsylvania Cable Network, 1 hour 35 minutes, dvd, 2005, $20.00.

Army of the Potomac, First Corps, Third Division, Second Brigade, in which 2 of every 3 soldiers are killed or wounded during the battle of Gettysburg. The Bucktail Brigade.

Like other brigades of the First Corps on July 1st, it was assigned an area too large for 1300 soldiers to cover. Assailed on both flanks by Rebel soldiers from two different divisions, this brigade of Pennsylvanians retreated to Cemetery Ridge.

The commander of this brigade, Colonel Roy Stone, orginally served with the 13th Pennsylvania Reserve, the original Bucktail Regiment. In the fall of 1862, Stone was given command of three Pennsylvania regiments un-related to the Pennsylvania Reserve division. Derisively known at the 'Bogus Bucktails' by the Pennyslvania Reserve regiments, the 143rd, 149th and the 150th Pennsylvania entered the army in late 1862 and saw their first combat at Gettysburg.

John Heiser, GNMP ranger who manages the park's library and crafts maps for Gettysburg Magazine, gives an enthusiastic tour over the McPherson Farm in the steps of the Pennsylvanians. Capturing and having their own flags captured, repulsing Daniels' CSA brigade and then being routed on two flanks, gaining a Medal of Honor and making the McPherson barn their hospital, the story of the Bucktail Brigade at Gettysburg is one of victory and defeat.

Though only about 90 minutes, this PCN tour is one of the more enjoyable. Heiser's perseverance during the July morning heat, the stories of Yankee tactics and valor are well told, and walking among the Bucktail Brigades three monuments along Chambersburg Pike, give a strong sense of place. The viewer would be well served to have a copy of the McElfresh July 1 map that shows crops, buildings, fences and woodlots while viewing the dvd. This PCN tour is recommended for both the new and more experienced Gettysburg visitors and readers.

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