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Old October 26, 2005, 07:35 PM   #117
4V50 Gary
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Join Date: November 2, 1998
Location: Colorado
Posts: 17,071
Give them the axe!

Lt. Stephen F. Brown of the 13th Vermont Infantry got himself into trouble before the battle of Gettysburg and was placed under arrest. Before the battle, time was of the essence and the order came out that the men were not to stop for water. Lt. Brown allowed his men to fill their canteens and was told by a superior to desist. He defiantly replied, "Damn your orders." Arrested, he wasn't turned over to the Provost Marshal and marched to the battle with his regiment anyway. To show the men that he had no authority, his sword was taken from him and placed with the regimental wagon (which was in back of the convoy). On the day of Pickett's charge, Brown was restored to command (every man was needed) but there was no time to retrieve his sword. Being a pragmatic Yankee, Brown picked up a camp axe and swinging it over his head, led his men in the repulse of Pickett's Charge. His ferocity so frightened a Confederate officer (who was probably demoralized by the losses they suffered in the charge), that he surrendered himself to Lt. Brown immediately. Brown accepted his counterpart's sword and continued fighting.

When it came time to put up a monument, the 13th Vermont Association wanted a statute of Lt. Brown with his hatchet. However, higher powers nixed that as it would be a bad example to others. As a compromise, a hatchet was placed at the feet of the statute of Brown and Brown is shown wearing a sword.
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