The Gibraltar Brigade on East Cemetery Hill: Twenty Five Minutes of Fighting-Fifty Years of Controversy

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9780935523508: The Gibraltar Brigade on East Cemetery Hill: Twenty Five Minutes of Fighting-Fifty Years of Controversy
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Gettysburg is the one Civil War battle that most Americans claim to know a lot about. But Lash's book takes place far away from the better-known contests of Little Round Top and Pickett's Charge. "Of all the different aspects of Gettysburg, East Cemetery Hill gets the least amount of attention," says Lash. It was there on July 2, 1863, that Confederate troops attacked the Army of the Potomac's 11th Corps. The most prominent members of the 11th were ethnic German or German immigrants. One regiment, the 153rd Pennsylvania, was made up largely of Pennsylvania German troops from Northampton County. The focal point of Lash's book is the performance of these ethnic German troops in battle and the aid given to them by the Second Brigade of the Second Division, Second Corps of the Army of the Potomac. It was made up of battle-tested veterans from Ohio, Indiana and West Virginia. They got the name Gibralter Brigade for their rock-like defense of the so-called "Bloody Lane" Road at the battle of Antietam in September 1862. Their commander, Col. Samuel Sprigg Carroll, was an officer who believed in seeking out the enemy and fighting him. Ethnic prejudice against the Germans was at high tide in the 1860s. Almost to a man, the Union Army officers, in many cases New England Yankees, did not like foreigners of any type. Germans were called "Dumb Dutch," who could talk a good fight but would run away if approached by the enemy. The officers had their prejudices confirmed first at the battle of Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863, and the first day of Gettysburg, when the 11th Corps retreated under heavy fire.

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