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CASE HISTORICAL MUSEUM

GETTYSBURG - DOUBLE CANISTER

JULY 3, 1863 

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   Here's the center gun in the Confederate grand battery of 50 cannon which pounded the Union soldiers on Cemetary Ridge just before the start of PICKETT'S CHARGE.  Here is Lt. General James Longstreet (who organized the attack), the artillery battery commander, 3 gunners, a horse and a cannon.

DOUBLE CANISTER
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   He officer later wrote, "we were under the crest of a hill occupying a position that ought to have been held by from four to six batteries.  The only troops there were Cooke's regiment of the North Carolina Infantry, and they were without a cartridge.  As I rode along the line with my staff I saw two pieces of the Washington Artillery (Miller's Battery), but there were not men to man them.  The gunners had been either killed or wounded.  This was a fearful situation for the Confederate Center.  I put my staff officers to the guns while I held their horses.  It was easy to see that if the Federals broke through our lines there, the Confederate army would be cut in two and probably destroyed, for we were already badly whipped and were only holding our ground by sheer force of desperation.

DOUBLE CANISTER ADD-ON
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   Cooke sent me word that his ammunition was out.  I replied that he must hold his position as long as he had a man left.  He responded that he would show his colore as long as there was a man alive to hold them up.  We joaded our little guns with canister and sent a rattle of hail into the Federals as they came up over the crest of the hill.

That little battery shot harder and faster, with a sort of human energy as though it realized that it was to hold the thousand of Federals at bay or the battle was lost.  So warm was the reception we gave them they dodged back behind the crest of the hill.  We sought to  make them believe we had many batteries before them.  As the Federals would come up they would see the colors of the North Carolina regiment waving placidly and would receive a shower of canister. 

GOOD SHOT
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   We made it lively while it lasted.  In the meantime General Chilton, General Lee's chief of staff, made his way to me and asked, "where are the troops you are holding your line with?"  I pointed to my two pieces and to Coole's regiment, and replied, "there they are, but that regiment hasn't a cartridge."