Location of Bigelow's Battery

infomanpa

Sergeant Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Location
Pennsylvania
By special request, I am including a few of my images to document my research into where Bigelow's battery was located when it made its last stand near the Trostle farm on July 2.

First is a locator map showing the highest point on a knoll, just south of the farm buildings:
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The next 3 images are overlapping views from the camera looking west in the direction of the Rebel charge as seen from Bigelow's location. They are in the order from south to north.
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Capture1.JPG
Capture2.JPG
 

Gettysburg Guide #154

Corporal
Member of the Month
Joined
Dec 30, 2019
I love the photos. If you are on the high point of ground, then this would be ground across which Bigelow's men and guns retreated. According to Bigelow, "I say my battery retired by prolonged, I should perhaps more properly say by the recoil of its guns, . . ." Bigelow tells us that he was already near the corner of the field and preparing to exit onto the lane when Col. McGilvery ordered him to " . . . hold that line [meaning the Confederate line] in check at all hazards . . . ." The position described at that point is a poor one for artillery in that the horizon to the front (i.e. southwest) was only about 50 yards away. Bigelow describes using solid shot to fire a ricochet over the crest, and then hitting the attackers with double shotted canister and solid shot as soon as they were breast high appearing over the crest. Although Bigelow misidentified the Confederate units who were his antagonists, it would appear the the 21st Mississippi was attacking the battery head on, while skirmishers of Kershaw's South Carolina Brigade sniped away from the battery's left flank. (See The Bachelor Papers, edited by Ladd & Ladd, Vol 1, pp.173-174)
 

infomanpa

Sergeant Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Location
Pennsylvania
I love the photos. If you are on the high point of ground, then this would be ground across which Bigelow's men and guns retreated. According to Bigelow, "I say my battery retired by prolonged, I should perhaps more properly say by the recoil of its guns, . . ." Bigelow tells us that he was already near the corner of the field and preparing to exit onto the lane when Col. McGilvery ordered him to " . . . hold that line [meaning the Confederate line] in check at all hazards . . . ." The position described at that point is a poor one for artillery in that the horizon to the front (i.e. southwest) was only about 50 yards away. Bigelow describes using solid shot to fire a ricochet over the crest, and then hitting the attackers with double shotted canister and solid shot as soon as they were breast high appearing over the crest. Although Bigelow misidentified the Confederate units who were his antagonists, it would appear the the 21st Mississippi was attacking the battery head on, while skirmishers of Kershaw's South Carolina Brigade sniped away from the battery's left flank. (See The Bachelor Papers, edited by Ladd & Ladd, Vol 1, pp.173-174)
If the guns were 50 yards closer to the house than the high ground then that really does change things. As you said, Bigelow would have been shooting blindly! I wonder if he would at least had a spotter lay down on the crest and help direct the fire.
 

Gettysburg Guide #154

Corporal
Member of the Month
Joined
Dec 30, 2019
If the guns were 50 yards closer to the house than the high ground then that really does change things. As you said, Bigelow would have been shooting blindly! I wonder if he would at least had a spotter lay down on the crest and help direct the fire.
He does not mention a spotter of any kind. He does talk about being in a crowded space.
 

infomanpa

Sergeant Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Location
Pennsylvania
He does not mention a spotter of any kind. He does talk about being in a crowded space.
I checked out the full account in the Bachelder Papers and I came to realize that Bigelow didn't even see and begin firing until the Rebels were coming over the crest where the camera is located in my picture. That would mean that the last of my images is the view that the Confederates would have seen looking towards the guns of the battery. Only 50 yards! Thanks for helping to clear that up. I had always believed that Bigelow had a much larger field of fire in front of him.
 

111thNYSV

Private
Joined
Jul 23, 2019
Location
Rochester NY
Very cool. I spent some time here last month. First time I noticed the small marker for the 150th NY by the Trostle farm, walked by that one I don't know how many times. Why I keep going back, so much to see.
 

infomanpa

Sergeant Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Location
Pennsylvania
Very cool. I spent some time here last month. First time I noticed the small marker for the 150th NY by the Trostle farm, walked by that one I don't know how many times. Why I keep going back, so much to see.
I also noticed that for the first time this year! It's no wonder that it's missed because from the road the description is on the reverse side of the monument.
 

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