July 4, 1863
Dead Confederate Soldier At Devil's Den
Exactly two days ago dozens of soldiers, the majority Confederates were found dead in "The Valley of Death." These men died in the Battle of Devil's Den, which took place July 2, 1863 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Many of the men were hit with cannonballs, one after another, and the amount of casualties was too much to comprehend.
Twenty-seven thousand Confederate casualties were recognized, but one man stood apart from the others, said the photographer Alexander Gardner. This Confederate soldier was killed in "The Valley of Death", which was the stream flowing next to his death spot. "The Valley of Death" was red during the battle, flowing with blood.
This Confederate soldier was one of Hood's troops, and probably died at the very beginning of the battle. The soldier never made it up the hill, and was shot next to the creek. The creek was almost the farthest the Confederates made it up the hill.
The land the Confederates fought on was a steep and rocky piece of land. Many soldiers died in Devil's Den, although the soldiers were on their way to Little Round Top to fight there. The Confederates had come marching to the foot of Devil's Den while they had occupied the land also.
As the Confederates occupied Devil's Den, they shot across Plum Creek to Little Round Top, where the Union troops were. Many men, including the man in the photograph died in The Valley of Death. The main reason for this was because the Union soldiers were shooting from the top of Little Round Top and The Valley of Death was at the bottom of the hill.
During the battle of Devil's Den the Union soldiers were also trying to take control of The Mississippi River in The Battle of Vicksburg. At the end of the battle the Confederates lost 27,000 men and the Union lost 23,000 men. The Union soldiers were then trying to take control of the Mississippi River after they had won the battle.
The Battle of Vicksburg and The Battle of Gettysburg were going on at the same time as this battle. This made it more difficult for both troops. The general for the Union was General Meade and the general for the Confederates was General Lee.
The battle mainly took place at the bottom of a hill. The Confederates charged to the bottom of the hill, then there was a creek right before the hill. The hill was called Little Round Top, and the creek was previously known as Plum Creek, but when so many people died there it became known as "The Valley of Death".
The man in the photograph was charging up the hill when he died. The Confederates then got no further than Plum Creek. The happened because the Union kept on firing and firing, until "The Valley of Death" was flowing red with blood.
This battle tallied 50,000 casualties, and the man in the photograph was only one example of the tremendous amount of lives lost there. So many loved ones and young soldiers died in this brutal battle. The image of the creek flowing with blood and area littered with bodies is unforgettable.
Catton, Bruce. The Civil War. New Jersey: Wing Books, 1982.
Murphy, Jim. The Long Road to Gettysburg. New York: Clarion Books, 1992.