The 157th New York

infomanpa

Sergeant Major
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Feb 18, 2017
Location
Pennsylvania
As many of you know, on July 1, 1863, the 157th NY (of Schimmelfennig's Brigade) were sent to support Barlow's division, who had extended themselves north of Gettysburg and were under heavy attack. The New Yorkers were stopped in their tracks by the Georgians of Doles' Brigade. So where did this conflict take place? There is a marker along Carlisle St. that supposedly locates the position of the 157th, but I found it helpful to actually visit the ground and take into account the terrain. Recently this area was covered by a corn field, but now that the ground is cleared, I noticed that there is a defined ridge where the 157th would have had to have been initially positioned in order to have been able to engage the Confederates. My picture is where I believe that they were located as they began to engage the Georgians. The inset map shows the location of the camera and the direction of view.
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infomanpa

Sergeant Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Location
Pennsylvania
But only if you believe the stone marker to the 157th is accurately placed, which I don't:

Post #23,
The 157th was also reportedly screened by a field of wheat that reached to their shoulders.

Yes, I remember that thread, since I started it. I also remember your references. I agree that the 157th was never as far north as the marker. I'm not sure if you can tell by the angle of my above picture, but the 157th marker is at least 150 feet north of the ridge. You mentioned a member of the 4th GA recalling that the 157th approached in low ground near a creek. I think that explains why some have mistakenly located the regiment near Blocher's Run, which is the tree-covered line at the very top of my inset map.

So, I'm wondering whether the creek referred to by the 4th GA soldier was the tree lined swale that run's perpendicular into Blocher's Run from the south that is also clearly visible in my inset. The 157th must have crossed this stream as they approached from the southwest. I'm thinking that it's also possible that the fence line that the 21st GA fell across as they engaged the 157th, was further north than shown on your map, like the fence that was east of Carlisle Rd where Doles brigade engaged Krzyzanowski's brigade. Also, my proposed position of the 157th would have it connecting nicely with Krzyzanowski's battle line, which could have been on the defined ridge that is also visible in my main picture above.
 

Tom Elmore

2nd Lieutenant
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Jan 16, 2015
A major feature that impacts where to fix the 157th approaching the Carlisle Road is the knoll on the west side of the road that was used as an artillery platform by the 13th New York and Battery I, 1st Ohio. I think it constrains the 157th to an approach south of the knoll, and, given the possible fence positions for the 21st Georgia, it appears we are left with a rather narrow choice: the 157th came in along the creek, or else no further than 150 yards north of the creek. Because beyond 150 yards would have the 157th, or at least a part of it, approaching at an elevation several feet higher than the road and ground eastward and thus they should have been readily detected. The frontage of the 157th New York was about 100 yards. Into that narrow low ground or trough is where I placed the 157th on my map for 3:28 p.m. (1528). I'm not even sure if that low ground would have been visible from the fence further north.
 

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infomanpa

Sergeant Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Location
Pennsylvania
A major feature that impacts where to fix the 157th approaching the Carlisle Road is the knoll on the west side of the road that was used as an artillery platform by the 13th New York and Battery I, 1st Ohio. I think it constrains the 157th to an approach south of the knoll, and, given the possible fence positions for the 21st Georgia, it appears we are left with a rather narrow choice: the 157th came in along the creek, or else no further than 150 yards north of the creek. Because beyond 150 yards would have the 157th, or at least a part of it, approaching at an elevation several feet higher than the road and ground eastward and thus they should have been readily detected. The frontage of the 157th New York was about 100 yards. Into that narrow low ground or trough is where I placed the 157th on my map for 3:28 p.m. (1528). I'm not even sure if that low ground would have been visible from the fence further north.

You logic makes sense. Still, even though I understand the common problem of inaccurately placed markers, it is hard for me to reconcile that the 157th's marker was placed more than a quarter of a mile from where you are claiming that they were located.
 

Tom Elmore

2nd Lieutenant
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Jan 16, 2015
Granted. Also hard to reconcile is a statement made in, Reminiscences and Letters of George Arrowsmith of New Jersey, by John S. Applegate. Arrowsmith was lieutenant colonel of the 157th. "The enemy was seen advancing towards the town by the right flank, driving the Second Brigade" [under Kryzanowski]. There was no reported hesitation in Doles' advance, so I am wondering how the 157th reached a point at least 300 yards north of Kryzanowski's original position (as indicated by markers/monuments), or roughly 640 yards from their starting point, and were able to pitch into Doles' flank. Even at the double quick on even ground without obstacles it would take nearly six minutes to cover that distance (109 yards per minute) - my guess would be no sooner than eight minutes, and that does not include the time needed to issue the orders and have the men turned around and moving. I had calculated that Kryz.' brigade just started to break at about 3:18 p.m.
 
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Tom Elmore

2nd Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
I have calculated the 157th's first position as being about 100 yards west of the Carlisle Road and 440 yards south of the creek. However, they may actually have been east of the Kitzmiller place, which would put them about 240 yards south of the creek. Their second position I figure was just north of the David Heagy place; there they collected prisoners from O'Neal's brigade that had been taken moments before by the 45th New York in their front from around the McClean buildings - I would guess the Rebel prisoners were headed in a southeasterly direction toward the Federal rear. That would put the 157th north of the creek in their second position.

We can also examine Captain William Wheeler's account, his 13th New York battery being, I figure, about 140 yards to the east-northeast of Battery I, 1st Ohio's second position on the knoll (where their monuments are located): "We held our position until the rebs had got almost in our rear, when we withdrew with our batteries to another position on the [Carlisle] road, where we fired a few more canisters and then retired into town." If Doles had already advanced to nearly east of Wheeler's position before the 157th came up (which would be nearly the original position held by Kryz.' brigade), we could exclude the 157th meeting Doles anywhere north of Kryz.'s position; in fact, we should expect Doles to be south of where Kryz.' men had originally stood by the time the 157th arrived on the scene.
 

Gettysburg Guide #154

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Dec 30, 2019
This is an interesting conversation. Here is another piece of evidence (albeit an imprecise one) for you guys to consider. The Elliott Burial Map shows 4 trenches of Union graves, with the center of that grouping about 300 yards south of Blocher's Run on the west side of what is designated on the Elliott Map as Newville Road. That is roughly the position of the advance marker for the 157th. Now to be fair there are too many graves in those 4 trenches (71 in all) to be all 157th KIA's. The 157th only reports 27 KIA for the entire battle, and even if we allow that some portion of those reported missing are in fact KIA, it can account for only about half of the graves. Still, we usually expect to find the largest concentration of graves in the areas that saw the most severe combat. Certainly, the pounding taken by the 157th at the hands of the 21st and 12th GA was one of the intense combat episodes on the north side of town. Perhaps the veterans (and the Park Committee) consulted the Elliott Map in deciding on the placement of the advance marker. If so, it might explain why it is where it is today.
 

Tom Elmore

2nd Lieutenant
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Joined
Jan 16, 2015
Some sources from Doles' brigade that may shed some light on the subject:

-Official Report of Major W. H. Peebles, 44th Georgia: "After advancing to within half a mile of the town, we discovered the enemy on our right flank, and within a short distance of the right of this regiment, the Twenty-first Georgia Regiment being considerably behind, it having been on our right."

-History of the Doles-Cook Brigade, by Henry W. Thomas: p. 9, "The Yankees soon broke and fled in wild confusion, pursued by our shouting, exultant men. In doing so, we came upon a fresh force of the enemy who had lain down in the growing wheat through which we were advancing, who suddenly poured a volley into our line ..." p. 475 (44th Georgia) "We charged the first one [enemy line], and it fell back on the second; we charged it and it gave way. Over the ground were some lime-sinks, and many of the Federals threw down their arms and took shelter in them, and we charged over them. By this time we were in the edge of the city ... and we were in the act of entering Gettysburg, when suddenly a large body of the enemy were discovered advancing towards us on our right flank."

-Major James W. Beck, 44th Georgia, The Southern Record, Milledgeville, Georgia, September 15, 1863: "We hear the command 'charge,' and with a yell and a bound we rush to meet our foe and force him back until he reaches the rising ground near the town where he has the advantage of us in position, and a battery ready to deal death to everyone that comes before it. We do not halt, however, but re-echo the yell that now bursts from the forces on our left, where Gordon has reached the enemy ... Soon but few blue coats can be seen in front, except those that lie bleeding and mangled. We actually cleared the field. For the time, we think our day's work is ended; that we have but to pursue the fleeing foe. We are now pressing forward towards the town, the battery still playing on us. The cry, 'by the right flank,' is shouted. Looking on our right, just across the turnpike ... the old stars and stripes close to us."
 
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