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The year was 1863 and the US Civil War was in its second year. Historians tell us that at that point if you were keeping score the Confederate Army was ahead.
The War had shifted its focus from the Southern States and General Robert E Lee was embarking on his second Invasion of the North marching into Pennsylvania. The hope being, that if the South could penetrate as far as Harrisburg or even Philadelphia that the North would call an end to the war that had divided a nation. The Battle began at Gettysburg Pennsylvania on July 1 and the Confederate forces quickly took the advantage. By the second day the Rebel forces are preparing for the push that would assure them the victory.
One of the vital positions being held was a hill called “Little Round Top” and it was held by the “20th Maine”, a volunteer unit in the Union army. The unit’s commander was Colonel Joshua Chamberlain a 34 year old professor of rhetoric from Bangor Maine.
Just a year before we are told there had been over a 1000 men under Chamberlain’s command when they left Bangor. However by 1863 the numbers had been reduced to a few hundred who had been commanded to hold the line at Little Round Top against the advancing 15th & 47th Alabama regiments.
After the third advance of the confederate forces the men of the 20th Maine were out of ammunition and the command was given to gather the ammunition from the dead and the wounded. The men were able to gather enough ammunition to hold off another attack from the Alabamians one more time. But only one more time. The Southerners gathered at the bottom of the hill, preparing to attack again, knowing that the small group of union soldiers couldn’t hold on forever. And they were right.
Chamberlain was left with fewer than 100 men facing a force many time their size. Without ammunition and no chance of reinforcements it was apparent that their brave efforts had failed and the line would be breached.
They had tried their best, no one could fault the men of the 20th Maine or their commander, but it was apparent to all with the sense that God gave them that they were finished I’m sure this wasn’t how Joshua Chamberlain pictured his military career ending when he took a leave of absence from Bowdoin College.
Have you ever been in that position? At your own “Little Round Top”? You’ve tried, you’ve really tried you’ve given it everything you have but it just hasn’t seemed to work. Perhaps it was in your work, maybe a passion in your life or a relationship or maybe as part of your commitment to follow Christ. But now your resources are spent, you are tired and you can’t imagine going on. In the eyes of the world, in the eyes of your friends and in the eyes of yourself you are a failure.
This is week three of our “QR Codes for your life series”. QRCs or Quick Retrieval Codes are those square bar codes you see everywhere you go these days. They are in magazine, newspapers, on billboards and signs in restaurants.
And with the proper app you can scan them with your iPhone; BlackBerry or Smart Phone and they will take you to a website with more information on the topic at hand.
If you scan the QRC on the back of our bulletin it will take you to Cornerstone’
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