The Gettysburg Diographs by Dennis Morris
Historical Prints
2008 Portfolio

--------Our 2008 Selections--------


114th Pa. Countercharges
Gettysburg - July 2, 1863

The 114th Pennsylvania Regiment was one of several units at Gettysburg to utilize a variation of the Zouave uniform. Sometimes know as Collis’s Zouaves, they were formed by a Philadelphia lawyer, who started the war as a volunteer private.

The 114th came to Gettysburg as part of Charles Graham’s Brigade of Sickles’ III corps. After Grahams Brigade was ordered to the Peach Orchard area the 114th spent several hours near the Wentz house on the west side of the Emmitsburg Road. From 3:30 on they were subject to the artillery attack against the Union Batteries nearby. Just after 6:00 PM when Barksdale’s brigade emerged out the wood to the west Captain George Randolph of Sickles’ Artillery Corps came up to Captain Bowen. Lt. Colonel Cavada and General Graham were not available, and Randolph asked Bowen if the 114th could move to protect the several Union batteries, which were highly vulnerable to Barksdale’s attack. Bowen agreed and ordered the 114th forward across the Emmitsburg road and into the field south of the Sherfy Barn.

In any event this was an aggressive move. Barksdale had 1600 men moving briskly toward the Peach Orchard and the 114th had only started the day with 259 men. The encounter was brief and bloody. The 114th lost 95 men killed or wounded and due to their forward exposure 60 men were captured. One result of the 114th’s action is clear. Not one of the 40 federal cannon in the Peach Orchard area was captured there.

The scene above is the left flank of the 114th at their furthest advance. The Millerstown crossroad is on the left and the Wentz House is just visible on the right. The mounted General Barksdale is visible in the center. He would later pay for his prominent exhortations, struck from his horse near Plum Run.

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The Magnificent Charge
Gettysburg - July 2, 1863

General William Barksdale was a Lawyer/Congressman from Mississippi who rose quickly in the Southern Army to the rank of Brigadier. On the Second day at Gettysburg, Barksdale’s four Mississippi Regiments endured splinters and shot for several hours in Pitzer’s Wood. They emerged from the Wood following a spirited exhortation from Barksdale and made one of the most effective brigade attacks of the entire war.

Here we see the opening of the attack from an elevated position near Lane’s Battery. With fewer than 500 yards to reach the Union lines Barksdale’s Brigade was in close combat in less than five minutes. Trying to stop the attack are the 105th Pa. to the left of the brick Sherfy House, the 57th Pa. in the Farmyard and the 114th Pa. (Collis’s Zouaves) to the right. The Mississippi Regiments are the 18th directly to the front and then the 13th and 17th. The 21st Mississippi is out of sight to the right. Barksdale is hatless on his horse with his white hair flowing. Behind the Zouaves is the small log house of John Wentz. Wentz refused to leave his home when it became the center of nearly 40 Union Cannons. He remained there during 3 ½ hours of constant shelling. Amazingly the Ordnance Sergeant of one of the Confederate batteries focused directly on the area, was Henry Wentz, son of John Wentz. When the battle ended Henry ran into the house and found his father sleeping in the cellar.

Barksdale’s Brigade swept over two full Union Brigades and almost a mile of contested terrain, breaking the Union line in half. Only timely reinforcements and sheer exhaustion stopped the Brigade. As Barksdale attempted to rally his men further he was shot from his horse near Plum Run and died the next day in a Union Hospital.

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  Brooke's Charge
 Gettysburg- July 2, 1863

At about 5:15 PM Anderson and Kershaw’s Brigade had cleared all Union Troops and Artillery from the Wheatfield. As General Kershaw looked over the crest of the field toward Trostle Woods he could see fresh Union troops ready to attack. These were the Brigades of Caldwell’s division, part of the II corps brought south from Cemetery Ridge to help fill the gap that was opening in the Union line between Little Round Top and the Peach Orchard. Cross and Zook's’ Brigades moved forward on the East and West edges, respectively, of the Wheatfield, though both commanders would be mortally wounded. The Irish Brigade went third but it was too small to fill the gap between Zook and Cross. John R. Brooke’s Brigade of 850 men in 5 small regiments was supposed to be in reserve but Caldwell ordered them to attack. They moved to the crest of the field and exchanged volleys with the Confederates in the lower part of the field and Rose Woods. After several minutes Brooke gave the order to fix bayonets and charge. They did and the enemy gave way. In perhaps the most effective Union Brigade attack of the Battle, Brooke’s Brigade pushed the Confederates out of the Wheatfield into Rose Wood and then completely out of the Woods. Critics have stated that Brooke overreached, but this attack was the only time in 3 days that a Union force took ground that it did not hold prior to the battle.

In the view above Brooke’s Brigade is just starting the charge down the slope of the Wheatfield. The Irish Brigade is visible at right battling Kershaw in the woods on Stoney Hill. Brooke’s Brigade held the ground at the edge of Rose Woods until they ran low on ammunition.

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Red Diamonds in the Wheatfield
Gettysburg - July 2, 1863

While another regiment from Maine commands the lion’s share of public awareness, it can be argued that the 17th Maine fought the hardest of the Down Easters. At Gettysburg the 17th was in DeTrobriand’s Brigade, assigned the unenviable task of holding the gap between Ward’s Brigade on Devil’s Den and the Peach Orchard, a huge distance with few natural defensive positions. As it became clear that Longstreet was attacking from the southwest, the 17th was moved to a low stone wall on the southern part of George Rose’s Wheatfield. A more claustrophobic position could not be imagined. The wall was in a natural basin hemmed in on the left and rear by the extension of Houck’s Ridge and the right by Stoney Hill and a grove of alders. In the immediate front was Rose Woods. The enemy could emerge from any or all of the three directions. If that was not disconcerting enough, immediately to their rear Winslow’s Battery of 6 Napoleons was firing over their heads into Rose Woods, presumably at the Confederates.

For the next 2 hours the 17th fought against elements of 3 Southern Brigades holding a weak defensive position against heavy odds. After finally being ordered to pull back, and out of ammunition, they set bayonets and charged back down the slope of the Wheatfield when Winslow’s Battery was threatened, allowing Winslow to withdraw.

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Fall of the Peach Orchard
Gettysburg - July 2, 1863

Soon after Barksdale’s Brigade emerged from Pitzer Woods it became clear that the Peach Orchard salient was untenable. The battery commanders ordered their men to "limber up" and try to move out before they were overrun.

The view above is from treetop level in the Cordori thicket near Plum Run. At this moment General Graham’s line is starting to crumble. Thompson’s Battery (Pa. Light) is moving out briskly down Trostle lane. Parts of Bucklyn’s battery (1st Rhode Island) are retiring by recoil across the fields behind the Peach Orchard. With many horses killed in the hours of bombardment human strength and the power of physics were necessary to move the heavy cannon out of harm’s way. Other batteries from Wheatfield lane are also leaving. This caused a traffic jam at the Trostle farm with only a single gate opening to the escape route.

Just moments earlier General Sickles was wounded by an artillery shell. In the foreground in the face of the impending storm, General Birney has ordered the Excelsior Brigade to set up a new line running diagonally to the Round Tops. Too little--too late, they will be overrun by Barksdale within half an hour. On the right Seeley’s Battery (4th US) holds its position just south of the Rogers House, but soon enough Wilcox’s Brigade will emerge from the trees on the right horizon and put the rest of the Federal Emmitsburg Road line to rout.  

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Anderson Enters the Wheatfield
Gettysburg - July 2, 1863

General George T. Anderson’s Brigade was the last of Hood’s Division to attack. After initially suffering losses from Union Artillery crossing Emmitsburg Road and the open fields nearby, the five Georgia regiments moved through Rose Woods until making contact with Union forces. For almost an hour they fought with elements of four Union Brigades without breaking clear of the Woods. Finally, pulling back to regroup they joined in with Semmes and Kershaw’s Brigade in clearing the Federals out Stoney Hill and the Wheatfield.

The diograph shows the 11th and 8th Georgia Regiments finally moving across the Wheatfield after the 1 ½ hour struggle to make it out of Rose Woods. The 17th Maine, now out of ammunition, has given Winslow’s Battery time to withdraw and now itself cedes the field it had held so dearly. At this point the Southerners have no way of knowing that the first of General William Caldwell’s four Union brigades was lining up just over the crest of the field ready to commence another one of the Wheatfield’s six changes of possession for that day.

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Salient in Jeopardy
Gettysburg - July 2, 1863

From this panoramic viewpoint, centered above the tree line of Warfield’s Ridge opposite the Rose Farm, it is easy to see why the Peach Orchard fell so fast. The 68th Pa. (Center) on the tip of the salient is facing a destructive crossfire from Barksdale’s 21st Mississippi and Kershaw’s left wing. As if the 68th needed any encouragement to withdraw the sight of Wofford’s brigade coming on (foreground) must have been decisive.

Once the corner collapsed, the flanks of both the 114th Pa. (just below the red Sherfy barn) and 73rd NY(in front of the Wentz log house) became exposed and they had to withdraw to escape destruction. The 21st Mississippi continued directly west driving in the rest of Graham’s Brigade and capturing General Graham himself.

Shortly thereafter, following the direct instructions of General Longstreet, Wofford’s Brigade moved down the Wheatfield road and across Stoney Hill(far right) to surprise the Federal forces in the Wheatfield and nearly annihilate them. Barksdale’s remaining three regiments wheeled left up the Emmitsburg Road, routing the 57th and 105th Pa. Upon crossing Trostle Lane they turned right pushing back The Excelsior Brigade, and were not stopped until they reached the low wooded ground of Plum Run (visible behind the Wentz house).

Federal forces on Cemetery ridge (Background) can be seen shifting their position in attempt to stop the Confederate attack. At dusk the Confederate tide crested just below Cemetery Ridge following heroic stands by Willard’s Brigade, the 1st Minnesota, and other Union units directed by General Winfield Scott Hancock.

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Kershaw Resurgent 6:30 PM
Gettysburg - July 2, 1863

General Joseph Kershaw’s Brigade took a heavy beating early in their attack when they first charged the massed artillery batteries at the Peach Orchard and the federal infantry on Stoney Hill. After being pushed off Stoney Hill by the counterattacks of Zook’s Brigade and the Irish Brigade the Confederate’s resistance stiffened. With help from the 50th Georgia from General Paul Semmes’ Brigade, the Union advance was stopped.

This scene is located just Northwest of the Rose farmhouse where a small creek flows toward Rose Woods. In the foreground troops of the 2nd South Carolina Brigade volley into the 116th Pennsylvania of the Irish Brigade. The Union forces were trying to hold an extension of Rose woods known as the "thumb." At this moment William Barksdale’s Brigade of Mississippians have unleashed their attack on the west side of the Peach Orchard just over the center horizon. With the advance of Kershaw’s 3rd South Carolina Battalion and 8th South Carolina regiment against the south of the Peach Orchard (upper left and center) Sickles’ salient will fall precipitously.

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Struggle in Sherfy’s Barnyard
Gettysburg - July 2, 1863

When General William Barksdale’s four Mississippi regiments emerged from the woods 500 yards to the west of the Emmitsburg Road, Captain George Randolph of the III Corps Artillery came to Captain Edward Bowen of 114th Pa. Regiment, (the Lt. Colonel not then present) and implored him to save his batteries. Bowen ordered his men to advance across the Emmitsburg road and out into the fields to meet the enemy. The encounter was brief, and decisive. The fiery drive that Barksdale’s regiments had taken from their Commander was more than the Pennsylvanians could stop. The 114th suffered 155 casualties out of 259 soldiers.

In the view above the men of the 17th and 21st Mississippi close in on the 114th Pa. On the far left is the flank of the 57th Pa. who fought near the Sherfy house and barn. Just behind the red panted Zouaves of the 114th Pa. is another Zouave unit, the 73rd NY. They were brought in to try to plug the gap near the Wentz House (center) but they found themselves screened by the 114th and had to hold their fire. As the 114th moved out the 73rd was also dispatched quickly by onrushing Confederates, who would continue a half mile farther with the wreckage of General Sickles’ III Corps in its wake.

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