Saturday, February 18, 2017

Gettysburg panorama: Benner's Hill, where 'Boy Major' fell

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ABOUT THIS PLACE:  This is a view of town from Benner's Hill, where five batteries of Confederate artillery commanded by 19-year-old Major Joseph Latimer were positioned on the afternoon of July 2, 1863. Union counter-battery fire from East Cemetery Hill and Culp's Hill, both at higher elevations than Benner's Hill, decimated this position. Latimer, "The Boy Major," was mortally wounded here by an exploding artillery shell as he was astride his horse, which was killed in the attack. Latimer's men had to remove him from under the dying animal. Many more trees are here now than in 1863. Gettysburg can barely be seen through the trees in the middle distance.

Joseph Latimer
NOTABLE: A Virginia Military Institute cadet, Latimer studied artillery tactics at the school in Lexington, Va., under Professor Thomas Jackson, well before the general had earned his famous nickname. Wounded as he ordered cannon to be pulled from this position, Latimer was taken to the nearby Daniel Lady farm, where he had his right arm amputated. He died of gangrene in the Warren-Sipe House in Harrisonburg, Va., on Aug. 1, 1863, 26 days before his 20th birthday. He's buried there in Woodbine Cemetery.

QUOTABLE: "Major Latimer among others was brought to Harrisonburg and was then taken to the home of Mrs Harriet Warren, where he received every attention and kindness which she and her family could bestow, but in spite of all their care, he grew worse. The anxiety and suspense which overshadowed the country after the retreat from Gettysburg and the fall of Vicksburg and also the separation from his mother, who was unable to come to him, added to the sadness of those weary days."
 -- Confederate Veteran, Vol. 23,  January 1915

For more battlefield panoramas, visit my Civil War 180 blog.

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