Post cards from Little Round Top

Dear Joshua, Sorry to hear you missed all the excitement over here on the West Side of Little Round Top yesterday. While you and the 20th Maine boys were entertaining all those Alabama and Texas lads on the East Side, me and the gang were mighty busy over here where the views are a lot better. You may have met this officer sometime in your travels in Virginia. Calls himself Gouverneur K. Warren; the K stands for Kemble, they tell me, but that sounds a lot like Kemper, that Rebel general hiding with his boys in those woods at the far edge of the fields. Warren’s been standing up here a long time, keeping watch after we saw them Rebs off our property last night. Mighty good views from up here; see that pretty little farm in the distance? Named for a guy named Codori.

Dear Joshua, How do you like this rock wall we threw up yesterday afternoon, about the time them Johnny Rebs came screaming across those fields around all those farm buildings in the distance? We piled these rocks like we was building stone walls around a pasture back in Montville; got ’em stacked up pretty fast, we did. We was tucked up here nice and snug behind these rocks while the 4th Maine boys and their colonel, guy by the name of Elijah Walker, was fighting with half the Rebel army over those rocks you can see down there in the valley. Our boys were hiding in the rocks and shooting it out with the Rebs and fighting ’em real hard before they got chased off. Then the Rebs tried to come up here, but you can see it’s a long climb. You couldn’t miss a porcupine charging you at this distance.

Dear Joshua, This here’s a better view of the rocks where the 4th Maine boys and the Rebs played hide ‘n seek ‘n “tag, your it” late yesterday. The local folk call this place the Devil’s Den; say the Devil lives in the rocks and comes out at night to cause trouble. Superstitious German farmers: I s’pect they all see ghosts all around this town. Place has got the funny name of Gettysburg; sounds real German, like that place called Dresden back home. I bet the Germans there are as scared of their shadows as the Germans are here. How’s everything on the other side of Little Round Top?

Dear Joshua, me and some of the boys snuck down early this morning and got a look at our side of Little Round Top from where the Rebs saw it yesterday. Looks like an easy climb back home, kind a like climbing up Frye Mountain. You can’t see ’em in this picture, but there’s dead Rebs all over the place. We shot ’em to pieces late yesterday. We found a few wounded Rebs this morning and took ’em prisoner. Gave ’em some water before we hauled them back to our lines. I asked one what he thought this place was. “Valley of Death,” he called it. Reckon he’s right.

Dear Joshua, getting to be early afternoon now, and the Rebs are making noise over in those trees just beyond all them fields way over to the west. We can see ’em bringing all sorts of cannons out of the woods, and we can hear ’em banging real hard on their drums. The lieutenant just came by and said the general s’pects the Rebs are gonna attack across those fields and right at the center of our line, on a hill they call Cemetery Ridge. The lieutenant is in charge of the regiment today. The colonel get hisself shot on Thursday, the major got hisself shot right after he took over from the colonel, and the captain got hisself shot while the Rebs was attacking us yesterday, which was Friday. That leaves the lieutenant, but he don’t have many of us to boss around. There was about 220 of us when we started fighting Thursday afternoon; I counted noses a while ago, and I came up with 60 or so. Danny’s still with us, but Luther – he went to Bowdoin like you did – he got left behind after they shot him over by the place where Reynolds got hisself shot.

We can see the Rebs coming out of the woods now. The lieutenant says we got to go north to Cemetery Ridge and back up our boys up there. I’ll write you soon.

Your friend, Darien

P.S. There’s thousands of ’em comin’ out of the woods, and we’re just leavin’ to fight them. This looks bad, real bad.

Brian Swartz can be contacted at

Brian Swartz

About Brian Swartz

Welcome to "Maine at War," the blog about the roles played by Maine and her sons and daughters in the Civil War. I am a Civil War buff and a newspaper editor recently retired from the Bangor Daily News. Maine sent hero upon hero — soldiers, nurses, sailors, chaplains, physicians — south to preserve their country in the 1860s. “Maine at War” introduces these heroes and heroines, who, for the most part, upheld the state's honor during that terrible conflict. We tour the battlefields where they fought, and we learn about the Civil War by focusing on Maine’s involvement with it. Be prepared: As I discover to this very day, the facts taught in American classrooms don’t always jibe with Civil War reality. I can be reached at