Tilton/Sweitzer/Anderson - What Happened?

Tom Elmore

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Both Captains Winslow and Smith reported on the direction Ward's retreating regiments:

Captain Winslow reported, "...Having been just directed by General Birney, through an aide, to closely watch the movements and look for a route upon which I might withdraw in case it became necessary, I rode through the woods on my left, perhaps 200 yards in width, and found our line formed perpendicular to my own, instead of parallel, as I had supposed, facing from me and closely pressed by the enemy. This line soon fell back irregularly, but slowly, passing in front of and masking my guns.”

Captain Smith, 4th New York, states in his “A Famous Battery” that, “…After the ridge was under control of the Confederate infantry, the Federal infantry, which had formed the defense to this part of the line, instead of retiring in the direction of Little Round Top, naturally fell back into the woods occupied by the balance of Ward’s brigade.”

Colonel Egan, 40th New York, had been fighting on the left of Ward's brigade in the valley when his attempt to rescue Smith's abandoned three guns proved futile. He reported, "...discovering that they had gained ground upon my right, which threatened a flank movement, the regiments on my right having fallen to the rear and exposed us to a crossfire, I was compelled to fall back...and made a stand near the position occupied by Captain Winslow's battery...".

Jim
When Devil's Den was finally taken by the Confederates, Ward's line facing westward was flanked and they were compelled to fall back in a generally northerly direction, the only route still open to them. Based on Col. Egan's report, we know the 40th New York moved in a north-northwesterly direction to join onto the left of Winslow's Battery D, 1st New York in the Wheatfield. We also know that the bulk of the 20th Indiana, then on Ward's right, fell back toward the northeast corner of the Wheatfield, based on an account by Lt. Erasmus C. Gilbreath, who wrote that they met the 5th New Hampshire of Cross' brigade there. The attached map shows my interpretation of the rest of Ward's brigade (with the 6th New Jersey) moving to the rear (between the 20th Indiana and 40th New York), and I recall that the 86th claimed that that they retained some cohesion while falling back. We may also deduce that the 20th Indiana must have held up long enough to enable the 40th New York to pass behind them into the Wheatfield. Cross' brigade was just about to show up and file into line along the Wheatfield road, while Burbank and Day's Regulars were about to advance as well.
 

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GAH

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Since some of this discussion centers around deTrobriand’s brigade, I would like to provide a comment but more importantly ask a couple of questions.

First it appears that deTrobriand painted what he wrote about in his memoirs (and battle report). In his Gettysburg painting (in miniature), which represents a view looking toward the stony hill (i.e., a Confederate perspective) he shows two regiments on the hill- denoted by two Union battle flags. These are presumably the 110th​ PA on the left (after being chased up the hill from a more disastrous position below) and the 5th​ MI on the right. Interesting, if one looks closely at the area of the 5th​ MI one sees two officers on horseback. I have always wondered if he painted himself in the picture with the Michigan Colonel- given that in his memoirs he states he was with the MI regiment.

Does anyone in the group know when deTrobriand produced this painting? Did he ever write about the painting in any notes or letters? Also, if he returned to Gettysburg after the battle- when [we know he served on the western frontier for years after the war]? Thanks for any comments.
 

dennmorr

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Here is the deTrobriand painting. (I think)
Stoney hill.jpg
 

Gettysburg Guide #154

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That's it. Iirc, the painting was done many years after the war. I don't recall him ever mentioning it in his writings, and I don't recall anything that points to a post war visit.

As an aside, I always figured those were Confederate battleflags.
Scott, As noted in post #22, the painting is from the Confederate perspective, which is interesting because of course it was not DeTrobriand's perspective. I think you were right that the flags in the foreground are Confederate flags. The Union flags are barely visible up in the woods on the hill.
 
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GAH

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Yes, this is the painting I am referring to... I have always had an interest in the Wheatfield action because of my interest in ancestors in the 110th PA

A friend and I waited years for the painting to be finally displayed at Gettysburg Museum... I photographed the painting in RAW format and then "digitally" restored it as best I could {version attached}... but I have always wanted to know more about the when and where of deTrobriand's painting...

DeTrobiand Miniature 12x4 300ppi.jpg
 

Scott Brown

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Scott, As noted in post #22, the painting is from the Confederate perspective, which is interesting because of course it was not DeTrobriand's perspective. I think you were right that the flags in the foreground are confederate flags. The Union flags are barely visible up in the woods on the hill.
Several other questions arise here....who are the Union troops portrayed as firing from the north side of the Wheatfield?

17th Me in their fallback position? Kelly? Or Brooke? The answer to that would tell us whether it was Barnes, or Kelly on the Stony Hill.
 

Scott Brown

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Several other questions arise here....who are the Union troops portrayed as firing from the north side of the Wheatfield?

17th Me in their fallback position? Kelly? Or Brooke? The answer to that would tell us whether it was Barnes, or Kelly on the Stony Hill.
Upon closer inspection, it appears the 17th Me is still at the wall, which probably means Tilton and Sweitzer are still on the Stony Hill and that is Kelly depicted as coming southeast through the Wheatfield?
 

jameswoods

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Tom,

You wrote that, "We also know that the bulk of the 20th Indiana, then on Ward's right, fell back toward the northeast corner of the Wheatfield, based on an account by Lt. Erasmus C. Gilbreath, who wrote that they met the 5th New Hampshire of Cross' brigade there."

Did he provide any more details regarding this meeting?

According to Colonel Hapgood, 5th New Hampshire, the 5th had, "...remained with the brigade till 3:30, then went on picket on the Taneytown road, near Round Top mountain. At 4:30 was ordered to call in my outposts and rejoin the brigade as it was 'going in' . I did not wait for my outpost to come in but marched at once at double quick...and joined the left of the brigade about 5 o' clock, and at once engaged the enemy in the woods to the left of the Wheatfield."

William Child, the regiment's historian, places the summons to rejoin the brigade an hour and a half later, "...The regiment was detached from the brigade for a short time, but rejoined it at 6 p.m....".

I interpreted Hapgood's reference to "near Round Top mountain" as being in position just east of Big Round Top (close by the Weikert farm) as opposed to being where the Wheatfield road and Taneytown road intersect (where I imagine such a meeting would have happened). Also, marching at the double quick would not have been necessary if already near the intersection.

Is it possible Gilbreath could have confused the single digit northeastern 6th NJ for 5th NH?


Jim
 

Tom Elmore

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Tom,

You wrote that, "We also know that the bulk of the 20th Indiana, then on Ward's right, fell back toward the northeast corner of the Wheatfield, based on an account by Lt. Erasmus C. Gilbreath, who wrote that they met the 5th New Hampshire of Cross' brigade there."

Did he provide any more details regarding this meeting?

According to Colonel Hapgood, 5th New Hampshire, the 5th had, "...remained with the brigade till 3:30, then went on picket on the Taneytown road, near Round Top mountain. At 4:30 was ordered to call in my outposts and rejoin the brigade as it was 'going in' . I did not wait for my outpost to come in but marched at once at double quick...and joined the left of the brigade about 5 o' clock, and at once engaged the enemy in the woods to the left of the Wheatfield."

William Child, the regiment's historian, places the summons to rejoin the brigade an hour and a half later, "...The regiment was detached from the brigade for a short time, but rejoined it at 6 p.m....".

I interpreted Hapgood's reference to "near Round Top mountain" as being in position just east of Big Round Top (close by the Weikert farm) as opposed to being where the Wheatfield road and Taneytown road intersect (where I imagine such a meeting would have happened). Also, marching at the double quick would not have been necessary if already near the intersection.

Is it possible Gilbreath could have confused the single digit northeastern 6th NJ for 5th NH?


Jim
Gilbreath wrote: "Sgt. William I. Horine, the color-bearer, was shot through the right leg and fell. As he did so, the flag went down, when it was seized by a boyish Corporal who carried it to the rear. As the flag fell, the Rebels laughed out again and thought they had it, but we soon met the 5th New Hampshire Regiment and the Regulars and stopped behind their line to collect our men. The Rebels advanced no further then." (Facing Pickett's Charge, by Erasmus C. Gilbreath, Military History Quarterly, Summer 2015, p. 26).

Attached is my draft map for 6:15 p.m., which shows the 20th Indiana reforming behind the 5th New Hampshire.
 

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jameswoods

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Tom,

Thanks. However, I'm inclined to think the sighting of the 5th NH and the Regulars (Burbank's brigade) by Gilbreath and his collecting the 20th's lame and winded happened a little farther to the rear. The Regulars' initial line stretched from the northern base of LRT to and across the western slope of Munshower's Hill and a temporary halt (out of the range of small arms fire) by Ward's retreating regiments behind that line makes sense.

The memoir is also helpful in that it locates the detached 5th NH and leading elements of Sykes' Division at a particular moment in time and place, i.e., 6:05 PM - 6:10 PM at the intersection of the Taneytown road and Wheatfield roads. The 5th NH had been on picket duty just east of Round Top on the Taneytown road when it was notified that Cross' brigade was "going in". Colonel Hapgood marched up the road at the doublequick in time to connect with the brigade as it formed to advance into the Wheatfield (6:15 PM). Burbank's brigade was arriving at the intersection at about the same time and by 6:18 PM was in line across the Wheatfield road.

Jim
 

Tom Elmore

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Jim, your explanation is based on sound research and something I had not considered before. Since the 5th New Hampshire went immediately into action, Gilbreath must have meant that the men of the 20th Indiana formed behind the Regulars, then on the north slope of Little Round Top. The timeline fits as well. I will have to reassess my previous analysis; good work!
 

Tom Elmore

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Jim,
Attached draft map shows a possible scenario, in which the retiring members of the 20th Indiana encounter the 5th New Hampshire on the Wheatfield road, as the latter moved to join the rest of their brigade (Cross). It's a rather tight schedule, because the U.S. Regulars were in place along the eastern edge of the Wheatfield before Cross advanced southward just in front of them. In that case, the 20th Indiana must have reformed behind the Regulars immediately prior to their advance across Plum Run valley.
 

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bfletch

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Hi, I'm new to this site and one of the things that I'm most curious about is the withdrawal of Barnes' division from the Stony Hill. I hope it is okay to raise a related question here? My question concerns the division's statement that it withdrew to the Trostle Woods, which doesn't seem (to me) to square with subsequent events--as they don't seem to support Bigelow, and as McGilvery couldn't find infantry supports as he set up his gun line, and didn't Wofford's (?) men advance beyond that point a short while later?
 
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neyankee61

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Oct 30, 2018
It seems that the 6th NJ was ordered to support Ward and moved from its position along the Wheatfield stone wall to it's left. It's commander Gilkyson was never given clear instructions so he sent back to Burling. Burling left the 8th NJ and 115th PA and went to the 6th. He found it along the northern portion of Houck Ridge. 2 guns of Smith guns were posted to the 6th left in open ground. Burling returned to the Wheatfield and found someone moved the 8th NJ from the wall. At this point Burling never realized that the 6th NJ was not with Ward as he thought. Burling reported to Gen Humphreys for instructions.
Gilkyson wrote "Advancing promptly through the woods we came to a fence. Having no one to guide me and not knowing the position the regiment was to occupy, I formed line, and opened fire on the enemy directly in our front."
According to this the only Confederate force to front would be those across the valley on the slopes of Little Round Top.
 
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