Thousands take part in Pickett’s Charge in Gettysburg

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One of the high points for many of the visitors in Gettysburg happened Wednesday with the commemoration of “Pickett’s Charge,” and thousands of them got to take part.

It happened 150 years ago on the final day of the Battle of Gettysburg, a particularly bloody point in the war that marked a turning point after which the South struggled to recover from defeat. Maj. Gen. George Pickett was among the Confederate generals who led the attack.

Many of the people who took part in Wednesday’s commemoration have ancestors who were part of “Pickett’s Charge.”

“It touches the heart. It does. So many people here today, I know they must feel the same way as myself. They must be here to honor their relatives. Most of all, we’re here to honor Americans,” said Joseph DeWald, who was in Gettysburg to honor his family’s ancestor, Wilson Hardy Magaha.

People were able to meet up and march with one of 12 national park rangers, nine of which lead groups representing the Confederate assaulting brigades and three of which lead groups representing the Union divisions awaiting the attack.

Wednesday’s commemoration ended peacefully, with handshakes among the reenactors representing the military leaders involved.

“My great-great-grandfather was here. He was also in Pickett’s division…He survived, or I wouldn’t be here talking to you today,” said Joe Shelton, of Berlin, Maryland.

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