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Cpl. Robert Beecham, 2nd Wisconsin, fought near the Seminary during the final Confederate attack on the afternoon of July 1, 1863. He later recalled that “Seminary Ridge was a solid sheet of flame” and once “the smoke had lifted…the charging Confederates were not there, only the dead and dying.” The 2nd Wisconsin eventually lost the ground and Beecham was captured. He was later exchanged and promoted to lieutenant (and finally, captain) in the 23rd United States Colored Troops, before being wounded and taken prisoner once more in 1864. He ultimately authored two books about his wartime experiences, “Gettysburg: The Pivotal Battle of the Civil War” and “As If It Were Glory.” Beecham repeatedly promoted his antislavery convictions, and once declared, “When the Southern Confederacy died,” Union victory freed “every slave beneath the Stars and Stripes; and the God-accursed institution that…drenched the land with blood, met the death that it deserved.” He died in 1920, at age 83.


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