Statue of limitations

Col. Henry King Burgwyn Jr. – photo University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The basics of the story were chiselled into the brass plaque in front of us. It described the heroic advance of a young colonel in the Civil War. More important, beside the plaque, in this little gulley known as Willoughby Run in the middle of Gettysburg National Military Park, one of my dearest historian friends, Paul Van Nest, described the final charge of an officer with the 26th North Carolina Regiment on July 1, 1863.

“His name was Henry King Burgwyn Jr.,” Van Nest said. “He was just 21 years of age, the youngest colonel in the Confederate Army. It was his last charge.”

Four score and seven years ago

This painting entitled “Confederate Standard Bearer” (by Don Trolani) is the emblem for the 10th Louisiana Regiment re-enactors of Canada. Their members joined the re-enactment of the Battle of Gettysburg on the 150th anniversary.

They wore uniforms highlighted in grey, and broad-brimmed army slouch hats. They carried tents, kit sacks, ammunition and Enfield rifles considered state-of-the-art during the American Civil War. They were troops of the Confederate Army of General Robert E. Lee. And last weekend they were defeated by the Federal Army of General George G. Meade in a re-enactment of the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg. To my surprise, several Canadians were among the Confederate re-enactors, including Lesley Peplinski, of Paris, Ontario.

“I am the colour sergeant for the 10th Louisiana Regiment,” she told me between re-enactment stages of the famous battle. “And it’s historically accurate.”