William H. P. Ivey, a poor Alabama farmer from Radfordsville, joined the 8th Alabama with his brother in the spring of 1861. Like many southern soldiers, Ivey and his brother owned no slaves but fought to preserve their stake in the “peculiar” institution as well as to protect their home and family. Ivey spent time in Union hospitals after being wounded in the Battle of Williamsburg on May 5th, 1862, but returned to the 8th Alabama in time to fight at the Battle of Antietam. Ivey would not be fortunate enough to survive his second wounding at Gettysburg. Although his brother, who was also wounded at Gettysburg, would ultimately survive. In many ways, William’s story is that of the common southern soldier.
A deeply religious soldier who enlisted in April 1861 and wrote more than 90 letters home throughout the war describing his experiences, Philip Hamlin deeply believed in the ordained success of the Union cause. He bore witness to his comrades’ famed heroic charge on July 2nd , and was tasked with reporting their sacrifice to his command. A well respected and beloved comrade, his death during Pickett’s charge reverberated deeply within the hearts of family and friends alike.
Born into a prominent family with a long and distinguished, military history, Philip John Kearny received a captain’s commission in the 11th NJ Volunteer Infantry in early 1861. His early struggles as a junior officer were not dissimilar from those of other young officers, and the challenges the 11th faced on the battlefields of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville further tested Kearny’s martial prowess. However, on July 2, 1863, Kearny would receive a mortal wound while leading his men in some of the most vicious fighting that afternoon—fighting which would earn both the 11th and Major Kearny an enduring place of honor on the fields of Gettysburg.
The son of Irish immigrants who moved to Boston, John Mahoney adopted the alias William Jones when he enlisted in the army in 1861. He joined Battery B of the 1st Rhode Island Light Artillery and saw action at battles such as Ball’s Bluff and Fredericksburg. In the artillery barrage that preceded Pickett’s Charge, Jones was decapitated by a Confederate shell.
Richard Townsend’s first military experience was provost duty in Washington City with the 10th New Jersey. He joined Company C of the 12th New Jersey just days before the Battle of Chancellorsville—his trial by fire. The regiment fought hard at the Bliss Barn in July 1863, but it was during the repulse of Pickett’s Charge that Townsend went down. In his absence, his young wife struggled to support a son who would never know his father.