Updated: Oct 14, 2021
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. -Hebrews 11:1
The following is a story of an imagined participant in the Battle of Gettysburg. This battle was a turning point for the United States, and the hopes and dreams of those involved are landmarks to the heart and soul of our nation. In anticipation of our annual Gettysburg battlefield training, TJC authors have taken creative liberty to generate some of those hopes, informed by history, that resonate through generations to our present time. Our hope is that it ministers to your spirit.
Have you ever heard the expression “stall for time?” Today’s true story involves the cost paid for that time by the 6th Wisconsin under the command of Lt. Col. Rufus Dawes as told by Corporal Francis Waller.
Our commander Col. Dawes had received his orders. “go like hell!’ and that’s just what we did. We went double quick to support General Cutler’s retreat. We halted at the fence along the Chambersburg pike and all these butternut’s came yelling and charging at us. Well we had our muskets aimed and steadied because they were steadied by the fence and we opened fire and that stopped ‘em. Col. Dawes took charge and had us go over the fence and chase those Reb’s down. It was then that the 95th New York showed up and right behind them the 84th New York, Col. Dawes gave the command and we chased those Reb’s; they were the 2nd Mississippi I found out because their color bearer, a Sgt. Murphy placed their colors at the edge of the railroad cut to taunt us. Well, we moved foot by foot toward the Rebs, a couple of our guys tried to take the colors from this Sgt. Murphy and paid dearly and were unsuccessful. We were close enough and I went for it!
“…a large man made a rush for me and the flag.” recalled Sgt. Murphy. “As I tore the flag from the staff he took hold of me and the color.” I wrestled with that guy and finally grabbed their colors out of his hand and threw it to the ground and standing on their colors reloaded and kept firing. Thank God my brother Sam was with me and knocked a Reb’s rifle out of the way as it was aimed at me. I eventually gave the colors of the 2nd Mississippi to Colonel Dawes.
After that, those rebs tried to escape in the railroad cut but a cannon from the horse artillery battery had swung into position and our adjutant sent 20 men chasing down those rebs and they had no commander in charge and didn’t know what to do. We were ordered to the other side of the railroad cut and Col. Dawes ordered the Officers in charge to surrender or be fired upon like fish in a barrel.
We captured 7 officers and 225 enlisted men from Davis’s brigade, including Major John Blair of the 2nd Mississippi, the man who turned his sword over to Dawes.
Daily Battle Order:
The assault on the railroad cut had been costly for the 6th Wisconsin as well. The Badgers lost 165 men in their short fight. Most of the casualties came during the advance from the Chambersburg Pike to the cut. Late that afternoon, the Federal 1st and 11th Corps were sent streaming back through town, towards Cemetery Hill, with Confederates hot on their trail. Although the 1st Day at Gettysburg was a resounding Confederate success, those precious hours, bought so dearly on that Wednesday morning, gave the Federals time to concentrate at the small Pennsylvania town, and bring home a desperately needed victory over Lee.
Fight Like the Devil: The First Day at Gettysburg, July 1, 1863; authored by Chris Mackowski, Kristopher D. White, and Daniel T. Davis.
Buying time always has a great cost; this time it cost the lives of those from the 6th Wisconsin. The question is, Kingdom Man, when called upon to buy time in the spiritual battles we face, are you willing to pay the price?
For his actions in seizing the flag Cpl. Francis A. Waller was awarded the Medal of Honor.
SIGN UP FOR GETTYSBURG: Calling all Kingdom Men! The Joshua Commission will hold its annual Gettysburg Battlefield training 15-16 October or meet us on the battlefield on 16 October at 0830
Click the link above to sign up. Please join us in Gettysburg, experience genuine fellowship with Christian men, and equip yourself for Victory as a prince and warrior in God’s kingdom!