Independent Action of Company G, 148th Pennsylvania Near the Wheatfield

Tom Elmore

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#1
The 148th Pennsylvania, part of Col. Edward Cross’ brigade, fought in the Wheatfield on July 2. The four companies on the right (facing south) fought in the field itself, while the six companies on the left fought in the woods bordering the eastern and southern edges of the field. After the rest of the brigade had been relieved and fallen back, the six companies in the woods remained behind, fighting alongside the 5th New Hampshire on their left. Company G of the 148th, under Captain James J. Patterson, was on the far left of the regiment, presumably quite close to the right of the 5th New Hampshire. Just before Col. Cross received his mortal wound, he had stopped at Company G and enjoined Capt. Patterson not to let the enemy gain lodgment among some rocks in their front. As a result, Company G would exercise some independence from the regiment. As the battle progressed, to prevent a flank move and save itself from a flank fire, Company G was compelled to either fall back or detach itself. It chose the latter and by a sharp left oblique fire followed by a charge of the company, dislodged some enemy soldiers who had reached those rocks. After the enemy fell back before the charge, the company retired again and took up position a little farther to the left and oblique to its former line, thus extending the gap between itself and the rest of the regiment.

This information, found in Adjutant Muffly’s regimental history, from a description prepared by Capt. Patterson himself, was intriguing and prompted an investigation to try to determine the location of the aforementioned rocks (photographs below). Proceeding southward from the monument to the 148th in the Wheatfield, the only likely candidate that I could identify on the west side of Sickles Avenue was a group of small rocks located just a few yards behind (north of) the 20th Indiana monument. I have not yet explored the east side of Sickles Avenue, north of the 5th New Hampshire monument, to locate any candidate outcroppings there, but will post my findings (unless someone else gets there first).

Sources:
-The Story of Our Regiment, A History of the 148th Pennsylvania Vols., ed. by Adjt. J. W. Muffly (Des Moines, IA: The Kenyon Printing and Mfg. Co., 1904), pp. 703-704.
-History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5, by Samuel P. Bates, Vol. IV (Harrisburg, PA: B. Singerly, State Printer, 1869-1871), p. 578
 
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#4
Thanks very informative. I need to explore this area more. I have walked from the 5th NH monument to the Wheeler Rock many times but I was never looking for rock outcroppings. After Devil's Den, most people have had their fill of rocks. Below is a photo of the back side of theWheeler Rock taken from Cross Avenue looking up Sickle's Avenue, note the rocks in the background.

There are small rocks in this area. Could these be in the running for the subject Rocks? I am going out within the next 60 days and will also look for possible rocks.


0D592E55DCA1414B9A6CEE00BC008858.jpg
 

Tom Elmore

Sergeant Major
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#5
Possibly. I also noticed and considered those rocks, which are roughly opposite (south of) the 20th Indiana's monument. However, they would be a little further distant from the 148th and the position more exposed to enemy fire.
 



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