We know that during the important three day Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, (July 1 – 3, 1863) the greatest number of casualties occurred on both Union and Confederate sides.
Just south of Gettysburg were two hills. The smaller, Little Round Top, was the spot where the most famous fight of the battle took place. The Confederate’s 5th Texas regiments of Maj. Gen. John B. Hood’s division were fully involved in a fierce fight for the Hill.
John Stevens, a corporal fighting with the 5th Texas Infantry Regiment later wrote:
As I now remember the only fear I felt was that our men…might begin firing too soon and shoot us in the back. Somehow I never thought of being hit by the enemy in the front, yet they were not over 25 or 30 paces from us and the balls were flying thick as hair.”
“It had never occurred to me that there was any danger of being captured, or that we would not whip the fight…”
The Federals of the 20th Maine under Chamberlain secured the hill that day, but those Texas Rebels didn’t make it easy for them. They kept on moving forward and kicking up quite a storm.
Stevens describes what happened next:
“…Just then a slap on my back with a sword and an order to throw down my gun and BEHAVE MYSELF, came like a sudden clap of thunder. As I looked around, the woods behind me were full of Yankees.”
Now surrounded and captured, Stevens could do nothing but take off his cartridge belt and join the other boys in gray in the charge of the Federals. Stevens later wrote what the officer who took charge of the men had to say:
“Gentlemen, if you had on the proper uniform and organized into a regiment and I had command of you, I should feel that I was in command of a body of men that I could depend on anywhere.”
Well, this is not news to a Confederate Rebel, is it?