As someone who has a peculiar preoccupation with the Civil War, the 150th anniversary has brought many books, magazines, pictures and stories into my life. There is something so sad and magical about this war and time in history to me, and I devour every little bit of information I can get my hands on about it. And I thought this an appropriate time to share a little of my family history.
This week marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. And today, July 3, 2013, is the 150th anniversary of Pickett’s Charge, a gruesome and bloody battle that took one of my ancestors with it into the pages of history.
These gentlemen pictured are my Great Great Great Uncles Robert and John Hutcherson, younger brothers to my Great Great Grandfather Francis Swanson Hutcherson.
This position meant that John would run head first into battle with a flag! That’s it! A FLAG! The Color Bearers of the Civil War were some of the bravest soldiers in the war. As the Color Bearer, they could not retreat from battle unless their commander told them to. They had to hold that flag and go where they were directed. That flag kept the units together; the soldiers moved where their flag moved. The flag was a symbol of home in so many ways.
On July 3, 1863, John Hutcherson alongside 12,500 other men, marched across an open field into the onslaught of Union fire. More than half of the 12,500 men marching through that field died 150 years ago today along side John Hutcherson.
The legacy of my ancestor John Hutcherson, Color Bearer for the 57th VA Infantry, has been preserved in a sense. The flag was captured that day, presumably after his death, and shows on the Captured Battle Flags list that General George Meade sent to Washington.
There is also a well-known painting of Pickett’s Charge that depicts General George Pickett on horse back and John Hutcherson and the 57th VA Infantry Flag beside Pickett. (Sorry to say I do not know what that painting’s title is at this time.) The actual flag that John Hutcherson held when he was killed in battle is on display at The Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, VA.
So there is my little piece of history, my little connection to the Civil War, the war that pulls on my heart strings. A nation divided, a nation being ripped apart, and an outcome that brought much needed change to the world. Many blessings to all the soldiers who fought and the 620,000 soldiers who died in the Civil War. -Carly