"I received an order... to move my regiment...to the front of our position...and to hold my line to the last man."
Lt. Col. Franklin Sawyer, 8th Ohio
At 4:00 p.m. on July 2nd the 209 men of the 8th Ohio were ordered to advance and hold this position. Charging across the open ground behind you, they drove out Confederate skirmishers in the Emmitsburg road and then established a skirmish line 250 yards to your front. For 24 hours, without support or relief, the regiment was constantly engaged in "murderous" skirmishing, losing 40 men.
During the great bombardment of July 3, the "missiles of both armies passed over" the regiment for nearly two hours. One wrote, "Nothing more terrific... can be imagined.... The roar of guns...the shriek of exploding shell...the groans of dying men...created a scene of absolute horror." Shortly after, Pickett's Charge began as 12,000 to 13,000 Confederate soldiers stepped off from Seminary Ridge to your front and left front, and "moved grandly ... forward." One Ohioan wrote, "Our little...regiment lay...in its track... Every man... was there, musket in hand...there was now no way of retreat - we must take our chances where we stood..."
Despite their "forlorn position," the 8th Ohio stood and delivered a "well-directed" volley at 100 yards. The Confederates in front broke, allowing the regiment to wheel to the left and fire into the flank of the Confederate line. When the Confederates failed to break the main Union line behind you and began to retreat, the 8th Ohio swept through its disorganized ranks, capturing 200 prisoners and three Confederate flags. The two days of fighting cost the regiment nearly half its men as casualties (102 killed, wounded or missing).
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