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Pickett's Charge - Cannonade
Pictures taken July 5, 1998 at the 135th Reenactment of the Battle of Gettysburg.




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For two days (July 1 & 2, 1863) the Confederate Army battered the ends of the Union line trying to collapse it. Despite suffering severely, it held strong. General R. E. Lee then decided to attempt to break through the middle of the Union ranks. Beginning just after 1:00pm on July 3rd, 1863, over 100 Confederate cannon opened fire on the Federals who returned fire with 80 guns of their own.
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Gunpowder fills the air as 135 full size artillery pieces at the 135th anniversary reenactment blaze away. Their sounds of war were so loud that it set off car alarms. In 1863 the cannonade was heard in Baltimore, MD and Pittsburgh, PA.
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Here's a sight worth the trip to the reenactment - a field cannon carriage and limber led by six horses. Imagine the hundreds of these that were in both armies at the Battle of Gettysburg.
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The one-half mile long line of Confederate artillery await the command to fire.
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With the infantry waiting in the woods just as they did 135 years ago, Confederate artillery speaks with fury to the Federal line.   To fire a cannon is an art in itself. There were many types of artillery used in the Civil War, each with it's own characteristics and procedures. Every gun was assigned a crew where each man had a specific job to perform.
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The cannonade lasted for two hours, until 3:00 p.m. The silence of the big guns signaled the beginning of the most famous charge in American history.


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