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Read Thread: My God, is this all of the men?

My God, is this all of the men?
Board: History is Alive
Jul 3, 2018 12:04pm
Here is a little remembered story from the second day at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Major General Winfield Hancock exclaimed, "My God, is this all of the men we have here?" "Yes", replied Colonel Colvill of the First Minnesota. Hancock pointed to a Confederate battle line not 200 yards way and ordered, "Advance, Colonel and take those colors." Hancock needed time - 5 maybe 10 minutes - enough to bring up more troops. He knew that he had just ordered a suicide attack, so did the men of the First Minnesota. Known as a regiment that never faltered in its duty, the 1st Minnesota Volunteers were severely tested during the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg. Arriving there with 262 men of the original 1,000, they had already shown their undaunted courage on several previous battlefields.

Without any hesitation, the regiment leaped into a battle line with bayonets fixed and advanced at a "double-quick" towards the 1,600 Alabamans led by Confederate General Wilcox. Luckily for the Minnesotans, Wilcox's men were slowed by thickets in Plum Run and had lost some of their organization. Nonetheless the First advanced under galling fire, while still maintaining tight order. As they drew near to the confederates, the Minnesotans broke into a run, straight into the enemy.

The sight of a well-disciplined line with bayonets leveled, approaching almost relentlessly, was more than Wilcox's front line could bear and they broke for the rear. This in turn disrupted Wilcox's second line. Soon though, the 1st Minnesotans were overwhelmed and ordered to retreat back to the ridge where they'd begun. Fifteen minutes after the attack order, it was over, but only 47 men rallied around their flag. The rest lay in the field between them and Plum Run. They proudly had done their duty again and gave Winfield Hancock the 10 minutes needed to bring up more troops.

The Union line held. Submitted for your consideration,

Old Blue
Re: My God, is this all of the men?
Board: History is Alive
Reply to: #962001 by DoubleSaj and Old Blue
Jul 3, 2018 12:08pm
Mae West is also credited with the quotation with a slightly different connotation.