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This Is Why We Stand: Battle Of Gettysburg, Rufus Dawes At The Railroad Cut


From a very young age I have understood that my place in this world is because of the sacrifices made by others. Men like Lieutenant Colonel Rufus Dawes who fought for the Union during the Civil War epitomize that sacrifice I describe. Dawes led the 6th Wisconsin Infantry of the Iron Brigade. His regiment was composed of 420 volunteers from the western frontier. These men were some of the greatest fighters of the war and fought in countless major battles. On the first day of Gettysburg, Dawes regiment faced a a Confederate regiment positioned in what is known as the Railroad Cut. Dawes men were outnumbered 2 to 1 against their well protected enemy. The 6th Wisconsin Infantry would have to advance 175 yards to the Confederate position. It cost Dawes 1 man for every yard they advanced. Dawes himself had written that, "Men were being shot by the 20's and 30's but the boys crowded in right and left towards the colors and went forward". The fighting was so fierce that Dawes lost 10 men in a matter of minutes carrying the America flag. That means that 10 men one after the other were willing to pick up the flag when it went down. A man does not risk his life in the face of certain death unless he truly believes in the cause he is sacrificing for. Sacrifices were made and someone was always willing to pick up the flag. After an arduous 20 minutes Dawes men had reached the Railroad Cut claiming victory. 600 Confederate soldiers were either killed, wounded, or missing. The price was just as costly for Dawes who lost half his men in the fighting. You might be asking, why the story? What is the point? My point is simple. It only takes a quick history lesson to understand why we stand for that flag. The flag is something bigger then you and I could ever imagine. Think of those 10 men who fell one after the other so that the flag would be upright. Keep in mind the union soldier who fell yard after yard in an effort to preserve a just cause for a just nation. Most importantly, remember that the pages of our history books are filled with examples of these men and so many more. This is why we stand. Never forget it.

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