Greetings Cosmic Americans!
As I continue to read about Gettysburg I keep finding little snippets of interest - various writings by the participants that help bring the battle to life. There is of course no way we can recreate the felt experiences shared by the soldiers who fought at Gettysburg, but through recorded testimony, we can get a glimpse of what veterans tried to impart about battle - about what it must have felt like to march into a fight, charge the enemy, or simply wait for orders to advance forward.
This short piece is courtesy of Decimus et Ultimus Barziza (my favorite name of any Civil War soldier on either side), captain and commander of Company C, 4th Texas Infantry, as he waited with his men to attack the Union III Corps at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863. Barziza and his men were by now hardened veterans, so they knew what they were in for. Nevertheless, the anticipation of battle must have been troubling...to say the least.
"The enemy's shells screamed and bursted around us, inflicting considerable damage. It is very trying upon men to remain still and in ranks under a severe cannonading. One has time to reflect upon the danger, and there being no wild excitement as in a charge, he is more reminded of the utter helplessness of his present condition. The men are all flat on the ground, keeping their places in ranks, and as a shell is heard, generally try to sink themselves into the earth. Nearly every face is overspread with a serious, thoughtful air, and what thoughts, vivid and burning, come trooping up from the inner chambers of memory, the soldier can only realize."
Barziza survived the battle and the war and in 1865 returned to Huston Texas where he headed a successful law practice until his death - after a long illness - in 1882.