Thursday, December 11, 2008

CWL---Gettysburg Battlewalks: The 13th Vermont on July 3rd at Gettysburg

The 13th Vermont Infantry: Gettysburg Battlewalks, Scott Hartwig and the Mifflin Gaurd, Pennsylvania Cable Network, dvd, 70 minutes, 2004.

Gettysburg National Park Ranger Scott Hartwig conducts the movements of the Mifflin Guard, a Civil War reenactment unit, in the footsteps of the 13th Vermont Infantry. On July 3rd,the 13th and 16th Vermont Infantry units flanked Kemper's Brigade as to marched from the Spangler Farm, through the Cordori Farm and to the Copse of Trees at the Angle. The ranger, about 200 members of the reenactment unit and about 200 park visitors, proceed from the Vermont Brigade monument and march toward the Cordori Farm buildings and then wheel right by companies and march toward the Copse of trees.

Hartwig begins his presentation with the 4:30a Union artillery assault on the Confederates ensconced on lower Culp's Hill and the ensuing battle until 11:00a. Longstreet's troops depositions during the dawn hours are presented in light of Lee's visit to Longstreet and his dismissal of Longstreet's suggestion to move the Confederate First Corps further to the right. The Grand Assault is briefly presented by Hartwig with special attention to Kemper's Brigade.

He describes the Vermont Brigade and in particular the 13th Vermont, nine month volunteers whose only battle was Gettysburg. Hartwig relies on the words of the men of the 13th Vermont as found in letters and post-war memoirs. He imparts a sense of immediacy during the tour as the words of the soldiers are presented in the footsteps of the soldiers. The 13th Vermont was much larger than most Union Regiments on the field; the regiments 650 soldiers made it twice the size of the majority of the Federal fighting units.

This particular Battlewalk relies heavily on the the tactical movements and manual of arms that are reenacted by the Mifflin Gaurd. For those viewers who are familar with the fields covered by the Vermont Brigade, the reenactment unit's size with the addition of the park visitors, accurately show movements of a regiment. Hartwig has both the reenactors and the park visitors lie down behind the breastwork that was built by the 13th Vermont on the Cordori Knoll, then rise up, march forward and deliver several volleys toward the Cordori Farm. Overall, this Gettysburg Battlewalk is consistently interesting for the information it gives, the tactical movements that are shown, and the visuals of having a nearly accurately-sized Federal regiment in the right spot at the right time to repel The Grand Assault.

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