Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Unfinished Railroad Cut At Gettysburg

  At the time of the battle of Gettysburg there was an unfinished railroad cut along the Chambersburg Pike that was the scene of vicious fighting. Buford's Cavalry held off the Confederate army until the Iron Brigade of Reynolds Corps pushed the Confederates back. It was called a "stand up and knock down fight". Many Confederates were captured. After a two hour delay the Confederates counterattacked driving the Union Army off of McPherson's Ridge and out of the railroad cut. One Union veteran named Private James Patrick "Mickey" Sullivan of the 6th Wisconsin who was wounded in the left shoulder "blood was running down inside my clothes and dropping from my pants leg and my shoe was full and running over " slowly walked over to help his comrades guard the more than 200 Johnnies captured in the railroad cut. Sullivan was weak and faint, his left arm almost useless. As he struggled with the strap of his canteen trying to get a drink, a Johnny stepped forward without a word and held the canteen so Sullivan could get " a big swig". Then they nodded at each other, one in thanks and the other in acknowledgement. It was a kindness done and a kindness accepted by two soldiers who respected each other. One was Confederate. The other was Union. Both were American.

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