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Question: Oak Hill/Iverson's Pits

Discussion in 'Battle of Gettysburg' started by Colonial, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. Colonial

    Colonial Cadet

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    Nov 14, 2017
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    Hi Everyone.
    I'm trying to understand the above battle from the point of view of Cutler's brigade, at least two regiments of which (56th Penn and 147th NY) formed a line facing Oak Hill (and Iverson's advancing NC brigade). My question is this: What role did Cutler's brigade (especially the aforementioned regiments) play in the deadly firefight which resulted in the destruction of Iverson's NC brigade?
     

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  3. Tom Elmore

    Tom Elmore First Sergeant

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    My understanding is that three of Cutler's regiments, the 56th Pennsylvania, 76th New York and 147th New York (left to right) were in Shead's wood facing west, about 300 yards south of where Iverson initially clashed with Baxter, at around 2:10 p.m. on July 1. They were quickly wheeled to the right and advanced through the woods directly towards the fighting. Within five minutes these three small regiments had halted at the northern edge of the woods (at a fence), facing generally north, and poured in a left oblique fire against (mainly) the 23rd North Carolina. After just a few minutes they had to cease firing when Baxter charged into the field from right to left just in front of them (in particular the 11th Pennsylvania, closest to them).

    Meanwhile, the left of the 56th Pennsylvania was likely refused to face toward the west to deal with pressure from that direction, coming from the 12th North Carolina and 3rd Alabama, which was a little further to the right (south) of the 12th North Carolina. The 95th New York and 14th Brooklyn soon came up and joined the left of the 56th Pennsylvania at right angles, to help confront the threat from the west. Incidentally, the 12th North Carolina was somewhat protected by a slight rise, which spared them the catastrophe befalling the rest of Iverson's brigade.

    The 53rd North Carolina was briefly sent in between the 12th North Carolina and 3rd Alabama, but the gap not being large enough, soon moved to the right of the 3rd Alabama. Cutler was only in this position for about a half hour, when they were relieved by the 16th Maine (facing north) and 94th New York (facing west) from Paul's (succeeded by Root) brigade. At that moment the 94th New York was nearly as large as Cutler's entire brigade.

    Cutler was still not done. His regiments regrouped to the east and a half hour later (by 3:15 p.m.) moved south toward the Chambersburg/Cashtown Pike. The 14th Brooklyn, 147th New York and 76th New York soon moved up to support the left half-battery of B/4th U.S. against the final Confederate assault. The 76th New York would have been on the left, its left touching the pike, just a few yards east of the Thompson place, which in a few short hours would become a meeting spot adjacent to Lee's headquarters. Cutler's brigade had fought hard for the better part of six hours, and more fighting was in store for them on the north end of Culp's Hill on July 2 and 3.
     
  4. Colonial

    Colonial Cadet

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    Nov 14, 2017
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    Thank you Tom. Awesome answer. Most of the accounts I have read focussed on Baxter's brigade. But from maps of the battle it seemed to me that Cutler's regiments were equally involved, albeit in not quite so dramatic a fashion. You mention in your reply that Cutler's troops were not involved in the 'initial clash' between Iverson and Baxter's brigades. I take this to mean that they arrived shortly after the deadly outpouring of fire from behind the stone wall?

    This complements the account offered by Bradley M. Gottfried in his description of the battle: 'Brigades of Gettysburg: The Union and Confederate Brigades at the Battle of Gettysburg'

    Before long Cutler's men could see the long, well-dressed lines of Iverson's NC brigade advancing toward them from Oak Hill to the north. The 56th and 147th, already facing this direction, opened fire while Cutler wheeled his other regiments to face Iverson's doomed brigade. They all poured a destructive fire into the approaching enemy. Baxter's men had already risen up from their position behind a stone wall and decimated Iverson's men. p. 53

    Thanks again for the detailed reply.​
     
  5. JohnW.

    JohnW. Sergeant Major

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  6. Colonial

    Colonial Cadet

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    Thanks, JohnW. I had already bookmarked the discussion. And you are right, it is a brilliant summation of the fighting. In spite of the grim events I could not help but smile at the description of the inebriated subaltern having to be hauled away from giving a speech. O humanity!
     
    22ndGa, Andy Cardinal and JohnW. like this.

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