It’s difficult to imagine what it would look like to see approximately 12,500 soldiers marching and charging across a battlefield. I got little better idea as I watched a commemorative walk of the route of Pickett’s charge the afternoon of July 3.
I’m not sure how many people participated in the walk, though I heard rumors that 10,000 had registered. Honestly, the sight wasn’t as impressive as I expected. But then, there weren’t quite enough walkers to re-create the scene, and they weren’t all carrying muskets and marching with military precision. And I wasn’t one of about 5,500 soldiers – including members of the 1st Minnesota – standing in the Union line to repel the charge.
Based on descriptions by men who were in the Union lines, the Confederate charge did impress onlookers greatly. At least seeing the July 3 walk made it easier for me to imagine what that mass of humanity moving across those fields would have looked like.