Sacrifice of the 1st Minnesota Infantry at Gettysburg

Discussion in 'Civil War' started by Kate, Jun 18, 2014.

  1. Kate

    Kate Active Member

    Location: Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg
    When: The afternoon of July 2, 1863
    Who: General Hancock's 2nd Corps... 1st Minnesota Regiment

    Hancock's dilemma: He saw a line of Confederates approaching. He knew he didn't have enough troops and had been waiting for reinforcements.

    Even bigger dilemma: Sending in troops as a sacrificial diversion would buy him some time until the reinforcements arrived.

    (Now digressing for a moment... who would EVER want to have to make that kind of decision?!)

    Hancock's decision: Ordered the 1st Minnesota to charge to buy some time.

    1st Minnesota Troops: They knew they were being sacrificed. They had no complaints about it and went willingly. They knew their lives would be traded to hopefully save the Union line.

    Bottom Line: It worked... but what a high cost.
  2. Interrogator#6

    Interrogator#6 Active Member

    The feat was the 1st Minnesota though is suffered tremendous casualties, they STOOD. Yes, they turned the first wave of attack all by themselves. Alas, there would be a second charge, and the 1st Minn.'s was little noticed outside Minnesota.
  3. Kate

    Kate Active Member

    Some of them remained "standing," yes... long enough to be sent in to help with the Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble charge the next day. You're right, so many of the sacrifices were totally overshadowed by that one.

    I stood there yesterday morning. And last night... walked part of the charge route across the field. There's a certain feeling on that site that never goes away. You been there, Interrogator#6?
  4. Interrogator#6

    Interrogator#6 Active Member

    The main reason why any of the 1st Minn. were available on 3 July was their detachment on the 2nd for Provost duties.

    No, I have never traveled much, so have never been to ANY CW battlesites.

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