(October 8, 2017) Last Thursday evening I spoke to the Cobb County (Georgia) Civil War Roundtable and visited the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park earlier in the day. Since my annotated and illustrated version of Confederate Private Sam Watkins’s Co. Aytch was my first Civil War book I was especially interested in visiting the battlefield’s Dead Angle. It was the Union army’s chief attack point and Sam’s was one of two defending regiments, assaulted from three sides.
For about ninety minutes on the morning of June 25, 1864 about 5,000 (mostly Illinois) Yankees attacked 1,000 Rebels at a defense line salient. Despite enduring murderous fire a minority of the attackers reached the opposing entrenchments where the fighting devolved into hand-to-hand struggles. Notwithstanding undeniable bravery, the attackers could not dislodge the defenders who were too well entrenched. Casualties totaled 825 Federals as compared to 170 Confederates.
Sam Watkins described the fighting as follows:
It seemed that the archangel of Death stood and looked on with outstretched wings, while all the earth was silent, when all at once a hundred guns from the Federal line opened upon us, and…poured their…shot, grape and shrapnel right upon [us] when, all of a sudden,
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