While many people will be celebrating the Independence Day weekend and holiday with friends and family, a group of Seneca County residents had a much different experience in 1863.
Today marks 148 years since Pickett's Charge, an unsuccessful march by Confederate soldiers on Union troops during the Civil War's Battle of Gettysburg, which Seneca County's Company A of the 8th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, referred to as "the Seneca Sharpshooters," played a major role.
Pickett's Charge was an infantry assault ordered by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee against the Union soldiers on the last day of Gettysburg, July 3, 1863, named after Maj. Gen. George Pickett who led the assault under the charge's commander, Lt. Gen. James Longstreet. Gettysburg is a highlight of the war, and considered one of the turning points for the Union.
According to information provided by Mark Young, president of the Ohio Civil War Museum of Ohio, the group was instrumental in holding back the advances of Confederate troops by attacking the left flank of Brig. Gen. Joseph R. Davis, Brig. Gen. J. Johnston Pettigrew and Maj. Gen. Isaac R. Trimble Division of the Army of Northern Virginia.
The 8th OVI, along with other soldiers from Ohio, "bore a conspicuous part" by capturing three stands of colors and capturing about 200 Confederate prisoners at least twice their surviving numbers, Young said.
Altogether, 101 were killed and wounded and one was missing. These included six officers killed and 30 wounded and nine privates killed on the field (four later died) and 52 wounded.
In the aftermath, the 8th OVI spent several days burying dead and caring for the wounded. They left the area, one of the most preserved sites of battle in the Civil War, July 7.
The 8th OVI contained troops from across the state in 10 companies, including Cleveland, Norwalk, Sandusky and two from Fremont, according to local historian Stephen Hartzell.
Although Gettysburg, and Pickett's Charge especially, could be considered the highest point, also took up arms at the battle of Fredericksburg and Antietam and the Great Wilderness Campaign after.