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A sultry summer's evening in Pennsylvania. Soldiers of the 26th North Carolina stand watch on the Cashtown Pike between Gettysburg and the encampment of Hill's Corps near Cashtown. After a warm June day on the dusty roads, the cooling waters of Marsh Creek provide some relief to the North Carolinians camped along its banks. The peaceful quiet is broken only by low voices around the campfires, an occasional laugh, and the gentle splashing of horse's hooves in the clear waters. Moonlight reflects over the lush countryside, an apparition very different form the ravaged farms and fields of Northern Virginia. For these men so far from home, the campaign into "Yankeedom" has been a boon; the North has provided food and supplies not made available to them for months. The marches have been easy jaunts with very few enemy encounters, only frightened civilians and curious farmers. It's no wonder that the Confederates speak with an attitude of conquest.
The 26th North Carolina is a veteran regiment, commanded by 21 year-old Henry King Burgwyn Jr., a brilliant student before the war and now an amiable and courageous colonel. Exhausted from the day's march, Burgwyn rests while his second in command rides the picket line. The moon reflects the beauty of the countryside. Likewise, Lt. Colonel John Randolph Lane reflects the identical dash and decisive command of his young colonel. Lane began his military service as captain of O company before his promotion to Lt. Colonel in 1862. In his post he has distinguished himself with coolness under fire. He is the perfect compliment to the young Burgwyn. Both are intelligent, useful, and not afraid to accept responsibility such as when the two officers sought out and paid a Pennsylvania farmer whose beehives were raided by some of their men.
Placed at Marsh Creek on the advanced picket line, Lane is entrusted with the important duty of guarding Hill's Corps form a surprise. There was a near brush that day with Union troops near Gettysburg. Everyone knows that there will be an advance toward Gettysburg tomorrow to find out whether those troops to the east belong to the Army of the Potomac or just another Pennsylvania militia unit. If Lane anticipates any trouble, it will not be along his picket line. The colonel's pocket watch ticks away the hours until dawn and the new day, when the 26th North Carolina will take up their arms and march toward a deadly rendezvous on July 1st at Gettysburg. By day's end, Colonel Burgwyn will be dying beside hundreds of his men. Colonel Lane will be critically wounded but continue to serve his regiment and his state until the end of the war. In the days to come, the 26th North Carolina will make their unit a moment in history, experience tragedy and success, and advance further than any other Confederate regiment in Longstreet's Assault. But at this moment, the stillness of the night and a soldier's rest is more welcome than a call to battle.