Both 25-year-old Francis M. Poore and his 15-year-old brother William B. Poore fought in the battles on the second day, July 2, at Gettysburg. On this page are of some scenes from Gettysburg.
Late in the afternoon of July 2, Francis M. Poore and 1,400 fellow Mississippians in William R. Barksdale’s brigade, part of General Lafayette McLaws’ Division, stepped off toward Emmitsburg Road. The rebel yell rolled up and down the ranks.
Across the field, Union 2nd Lieutenant Frank E. Moran of the 73rd New York Infantry, known as the 2nd Fire Zouaves, observed the Mississippians. He recalled that they “came swarming up from the woods, yelling like demons.”
Francis and his fellow Mississippians, considered among the best fighters in McLaws’ Division, were the spear point of the drive to capture the Peach Orchard.
One of the Alabamians in an adjacent brigade called the scene of the Mississippians moving forward “grand beyond description.”
The fighting that followed proved to be some of the fiercest on the battlefield. But as darkness fell, Francis and his comrades, their ranks depleted by the fighting, had to pull back. Francis bedded down for the night near the Peach Orchard and could count the cost of their advance by the number of his missing comrades. The Mississippians lost about half of their men—dead, wounded, or missing. Francis likely fell asleep from exhaustion that night, no doubt grateful to still be alive.
About the time Francis advanced through the Peach Orchard, William and his comrades in General Carnot Posey’s brigade, part of General Richard Anderson’s division, had a chance to break the Union line just to the north of the Peach Orchard. The federal line in front of them had been weakened.
But Posey’s brigade wasted its strength in a confused, back-and-forth battle as troops were committed piecemeal. So as the sun set they pulled back to Seminary Ridge where they had started the day.