"Boys, remember Haymarket!"
The following is an excerpt from the 8th Virginia Infantry,
2nd Edition, by John E. Divine.
|On July1, as the great battle began at Gettysburg, Garnett's
brigade was busily engaged in destroying railroad property and
government supplies. Major Edmund Berkeley was ordered to destroy
the shops of the Cumberland Valley Railroad. Using heavy iron
rails as battering rams, holes were punched through the walls
of the principal buildings. "Boys, remember Haymarket"
was shouted each time a rail would pierce that wall. Many of
these men had come from Haymarket, Virginia, a town that had
fallen victim to burning and looting by Union General Blenker's
men the year before. A large turntable withstood repeated attempts
at destruction until practical farmer Berkeley used cordwood
to build a fire on it; then as it cooled it warped and cracked.
(Aside) The 8th Virginia Infantry was under General Garnett's brigade
that was under General Pickett's Division. To read more on General
Pickett, visit the following link:
Pickett's Division left its camp at Chambersburg and headed east
to Gettysburg on July 2. The next day they had reached Gettysburg
at Seminary Ridge. The 8th Virginia Infantry, participated in the
ill-fated "Pickett's Charge" the next day. With Colonel
Eppa Hunton leading the charge the 8th proceeded across Emittsburg
Pike (Rt. 15). Colonel Hunton's was riding immediately behind the
8th when he was struck in the leg about 100 yards before reaching
the Codori (red house). The bullet that went through Hunton's leg
penetrated his horse causing a mortal wound to his horse. Hunton
made it safely back to the aid station.
Lt. Col. Norborne Berkeley and his brother, Capt William Berkeley
of Company D, went to the right of the Codori house and suffered
wounds as they ascended the slope. Major Edmund Berkeley, leading
a battalion around the left side of the house, suffered a serious
leg wound. Still the momentum of the charge carried many of the
men on toward the Union defensive line. The flag of the 8th Virginia
Regiment went down several times, but each time there was someone
to pick it up; finally it lay when there were no hands left to carry
Six of men of the 8th reached the wall in front of the "copse
of trees" including Lt. Charles Berkeley but shortly thereafter
surrendered to Union forces. Lt. Col. Norborne and Capt. William
Berkeley were also captured as prisoners. Major Edmund Berkeley,
though wounded, made it back to safety.
Approximately 200 men from the 8th Virginia Infantry made the charge
at Gettysburg on July 3, 1963. Approximately 39 died, 79 were wounded,
and 60 or so were missing. General Garnett was killed. Eppa Hunton
would be promoted to replace him.
The 8th Virginia Infantry Regiment suffered a near fatal blow that
day. Only the character and strong will of Eppa Hunton and the Berkeleys
would keep it alive...