War on Two Fronts: Shiloh to Gettysburg

By John Cannan | Go to book overview

VAL C. GILES


"Both sides were whipped ..."

Another member of the Texas Brigade to view the combat was private Val C. Giles who, in a selection also taken from Polley's Hood's Texas Brigade, presents a lighter side to Little Round Top.

It was near 5 o'clock when we began the assault against an enemy strongly fortified behind logs and stones on the crest of a mountain, in many places perpendicular. It was more than half a mile from our starting point to the edge of the timber at the base of the ridge, comparatively open ground all the way. We started off at quick time, the officers keeping the column in pretty good line until we passed through the peach orchard and reached the level ground beyond. We were now about four hundred yards from the timber and the fire from the enemy, both artillery and musketry, was fearful. In making that long charge our brigade got 'jammed.' Regiments overlapped each other and when we reached the woods and climbed the mountains as far as we could go, we were a badly mixed crowd.

Confusion reigned supreme everywhere. Nearly all our field officers were gone. Hood, our major general, had been shot from his horse. Robertson, our brigadier, had been carried from the field. Colonel Powell of the Fifth Texas was riddled with bullets. Colonel Van Manning of the Third Arkansas was disabled and Colonel Carter of my regiment lay dying at the foot of the mountain.

The sides of the mountain were heavily timbered and covered with great boulders, that had tumbled from the cliffs above years before, which afforded great protection to the men.

Every tree, rock and stump that gave any protection from the rain of minie-balls, that was poured down upon us from the crest above us, were soon appropriated. John Griffith and myself pre-empted behind a moss‐ covered old boulder about the size of a 500-pound cotton bale.

-371-

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