GDG- skirmish line vs line of battle

Charles T. Joyce CTJoyce at
Wed Jan 11 12:39:49 CST 2012

According to Hartwig's series, Major Biddle of the 121st PA reported
that his regiment received "a crushing fire" from the 52d NC of
Pettigrew's Brigade, and lost 14 KIA on July 1 on East McPherson Ridge.
The 20th NYSM, on the immediate left, lost 24 KIA, most, again, in the
fight on the Ridge.

I would submit that description and those numbers are consistent with
what we see in these photographs.

Note also that 121st "changed front to the left", and it also appears
that the bodies in the far distance are facing in that direction.

-----Original Message-----
From: gettysburg-bounces at
[mailto:gettysburg-bounces at] On Behalf Of John Lawrence
Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 10:19 AM
Subject: Re: GDG- skirmish line vs line of battle

Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
Given the concentration of the bodies, it could have been shell also,
perhaps among stragglers.

cameron2 at wrote:

>Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
><<  OK, I understood the principle, a little dim on the mechanics but
both explanations cannot fail to help achieve a greater understanding.
Now, In (both)you're considered opinion, are the bodies in the "Harvest
of Death" (HoD, for future ref) more likely indicative of a line of
battle, or a skirmish line? the spacing between the bodies may not prove
anything, but does it disprove anything?  >>
>I'm inclined to think that the number and concentration of bodies is
more indicative of casualties sustained by a heavily engaged line of
battle.  But there are so many unknowns that it's difficult to say with
any certainty.
>Jim Cameron
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