Where was Geary's Division the late night July 1st/early morning of July 2nd?

MichaelWinicki

Private
Joined
Jul 23, 2020
As brought up in the most recent Sickle's thread, one of the questions brought up was "Where was Geary's division deployed the night of the 1st/early morning of the 2nd?"

Meade's order for Sickles was to replace Geary's division. Sickles response was that Geary had no position.

The below map come from the John Tiller game "Campaign Gettysburg" and represents the July 2nd Historical scenario (5AM):

Union Left Flank-5AM July 2nd.JPG
I have labeled:
-Little Round Top
-George Weikert farm
-Cemetery Ridge
-Geary's division as of 5AM

Interestingly the game publisher places Geary's division BEHIND Cemetery Ridge... Not on Little Round Top nor on Cemetery Ridge itself.

I'm not saying this setup is exactly as it was but it merits discussion.
 

trice

Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
As brought up in the most recent Sickle's thread, one of the questions brought up was "Where was Geary's division deployed the night of the 1st/early morning of the 2nd?"

Meade's order for Sickles was to replace Geary's division. Sickles response was that Geary had no position.

The below map come from the John Tiller game "Campaign Gettysburg" and represents the July 2nd Historical scenario (5AM):

View attachment 409840I have labeled:
-Little Round Top
-George Weikert farm
-Cemetery Ridge
-Geary's division as of 5AM

Interestingly the game publisher places Geary's division BEHIND Cemetery Ridge... Not on Little Round Top nor on Cemetery Ridge itself.

I'm not saying this setup is exactly as it was but it merits discussion.
From
O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XXVII/1 [S# 43] -- Gettysburg Campaign
No. 293. -- Report of Brig. Gen. John W. Geary,
U.S. Army, commanding Second Division.

On July 1, we moved from camp at 5 a.m., and reached Two Taverns at 11 a.m., where we halted to await further orders. The distance marched from the 28th to this time was 52 miles.
At Two Taverns I received orders to forward the command in the direction of Gettysburg, on the turnpike leading from Baltimore to that place, and, accordingly, at about 2 p.m. advanced rapidly on the road to the town. I received instructions from you while on the march to leave one brigade with a section of artillery in reserve, and with the balance of my command to report to Major-General Howard, whom I should have found at a point some mile and a half east of the town, where an engagement with the right wing of the enemy's forces was then in progress; but not finding General Howard, I reported to Major-General Hancock, commanding Second Corps, who reformed me that the right could maintain itself, and the immediate need of a division on the left was imperative. By his direction, upon this threatening emergency, I took up a position on the extreme left of the line of battle, as the enemy was reported to be attempting to flank it, and cavalry were already skirmishing in front of that position.
At 5 p.m. this movement was consummated, and my line extended at that time from about half a mile west of the Baltimore turnpike to the left of the First Army Corps, to a range of hills south and west of the town, which I occupied with two regiments of the First Brigade. These hills I regarded as of the utmost importance, since their possession by the enemy would give him an opportunity of enfilading our entire left wing and center with a fire which could not fail to dislodge us from our position. This line was held by the First and Third Brigades.
The Second Brigade, with two pieces of Battery K, Fifth U.S. Artillery, pursuant to orders from Major-General Slocum, was detached during the march to take position in reserve on the immediate left of the turnpike, about 2 miles from Gettysburg. No attack was made upon me at either point, the speedy formation of the line on the left frustrating the enemy's design, which would, if successful, have proved disastrous to the entire position. The command rested on their arms during the night.
At 5 a.m. on the 2d, having been relieved by the Third Army Corps, in obedience to orders from Major-General Slocum, the division was placed on the right of the center of the main line of battle, east of the turnpike. General Williams' division, commanded by Brigadier-General Ruger, joined ours, forming the extreme right, and extending toward the Bonaughtown turnpike and at right angles to it. Here I had formed a double line of battle, fronting Rock Creek, and about 400 yards from it, along a rocky, thickly wooded ridge which sloped eastwardly to the creek. The Third Brigade (Greene's) occupied our extreme left, joining the right of the First Corps on a steep, rocky mount, which was a continuation of Cemetery Hill. Our line was nearly at a right angle with that of the First <ar43_826> Corps. The Second Brigade (Kane's) extended from the right of Greene's brigade at an angle of about 45 degrees forward, conforming its line to the crest of the ridge. The First Brigade (Candy's) was formed in rear of the Third in line of battalions, in double column, as a support to the other two brigades.
Breastworks were immediately thrown up along our entire line, unusual facilities being afforded by the wood and rock and nature of the soil. Skirmishers were thrown out to the creek, where they encountered the enemy's pickets. I ordered the Twenty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers forward as a support to the skirmishers of the Third Brigade. They deployed in a heavy line in rear of the advance skirmishers, and remained until withdrawn in the evening.
 

MichaelWinicki

Private
Joined
Jul 23, 2020
From
O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XXVII/1 [S# 43] -- Gettysburg Campaign
No. 293. -- Report of Brig. Gen. John W. Geary,
U.S. Army, commanding Second Division.

On July 1, we moved from camp at 5 a.m., and reached Two Taverns at 11 a.m., where we halted to await further orders. The distance marched from the 28th to this time was 52 miles.
At Two Taverns I received orders to forward the command in the direction of Gettysburg, on the turnpike leading from Baltimore to that place, and, accordingly, at about 2 p.m. advanced rapidly on the road to the town. I received instructions from you while on the march to leave one brigade with a section of artillery in reserve, and with the balance of my command to report to Major-General Howard, whom I should have found at a point some mile and a half east of the town, where an engagement with the right wing of the enemy's forces was then in progress; but not finding General Howard, I reported to Major-General Hancock, commanding Second Corps, who reformed me that the right could maintain itself, and the immediate need of a division on the left was imperative. By his direction, upon this threatening emergency, I took up a position on the extreme left of the line of battle, as the enemy was reported to be attempting to flank it, and cavalry were already skirmishing in front of that position.
At 5 p.m. this movement was consummated, and my line extended at that time from about half a mile west of the Baltimore turnpike to the left of the First Army Corps, to a range of hills south and west of the town, which I occupied with two regiments of the First Brigade. These hills I regarded as of the utmost importance, since their possession by the enemy would give him an opportunity of enfilading our entire left wing and center with a fire which could not fail to dislodge us from our position. This line was held by the First and Third Brigades.
The Second Brigade, with two pieces of Battery K, Fifth U.S. Artillery, pursuant to orders from Major-General Slocum, was detached during the march to take position in reserve on the immediate left of the turnpike, about 2 miles from Gettysburg. No attack was made upon me at either point, the speedy formation of the line on the left frustrating the enemy's design, which would, if successful, have proved disastrous to the entire position. The command rested on their arms during the night.
At 5 a.m. on the 2d, having been relieved by the Third Army Corps, in obedience to orders from Major-General Slocum, the division was placed on the right of the center of the main line of battle, east of the turnpike. General Williams' division, commanded by Brigadier-General Ruger, joined ours, forming the extreme right, and extending toward the Bonaughtown turnpike and at right angles to it. Here I had formed a double line of battle, fronting Rock Creek, and about 400 yards from it, along a rocky, thickly wooded ridge which sloped eastwardly to the creek. The Third Brigade (Greene's) occupied our extreme left, joining the right of the First Corps on a steep, rocky mount, which was a continuation of Cemetery Hill. Our line was nearly at a right angle with that of the First <ar43_826> Corps. The Second Brigade (Kane's) extended from the right of Greene's brigade at an angle of about 45 degrees forward, conforming its line to the crest of the ridge. The First Brigade (Candy's) was formed in rear of the Third in line of battalions, in double column, as a support to the other two brigades.
Breastworks were immediately thrown up along our entire line, unusual facilities being afforded by the wood and rock and nature of the soil. Skirmishers were thrown out to the creek, where they encountered the enemy's pickets. I ordered the Twenty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers forward as a support to the skirmishers of the Third Brigade. They deployed in a heavy line in rear of the advance skirmishers, and remained until withdrawn in the evening.

I wanted to take some time and review Geary's in full and then try to figure out the what he's really saying as far as the exact location of his division.

Fortunately I came across an essay by Troy D Harman titled, "In Defense of Henry Slocum on July 1st"...

http://npshistory.com/series/symposia/gettysburg_seminars/9/essay3.pdf

This essay focuses mostly on Slocum's deployment of Williams' division on the late afternoon of July 1st and why he (Slocum) deployed Williams division as he did.

But it does delve into how/where Geary deployed his division (in Mr. Harman's opinion based on sources he was able to come up with).

This is the "nutshell" of how Geary deployed his division on the late afternoon of July 1st until the early morning hours of July 2nd:


"So one might say that Geary's division was more spread out than is sometimes imagined, with the right
of his division anchored on Powers Hill and the left upon the northern slope of Little Round Top. Late
that afternoon Lieutenant Charles A. Atwell's (Knapp's) Pennsylvania Battery was situated on a knoll near
Round Top supporting Geary's left, while two pieces of Lieutenant David H. Kinzie's Battery K, 5th U.S.
Artillery did the same on the right at Powers Hill."

Needless to say from Powers Hill to the northern slope of Little Round Top is quite the distance.

Harman also supplied a map of showing what he believes are the positions of Geary's brigades:

Gearys Position July 1.jpg
 

trice

Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
I wanted to take some time and review Geary's in full and then try to figure out the what he's really saying as far as the exact location of his division.

Fortunately I came across an essay by Troy D Harman titled, "In Defense of Henry Slocum on July 1st"...

http://npshistory.com/series/symposia/gettysburg_seminars/9/essay3.pdf

This essay focuses mostly on Slocum's deployment of Williams' division on the late afternoon of July 1st and why he (Slocum) deployed Williams division as he did.

But it does delve into how/where Geary deployed his division (in Mr. Harman's opinion based on sources he was able to come up with).

This is the "nutshell" of how Geary deployed his division on the late afternoon of July 1st until the early morning hours of July 2nd:


"So one might say that Geary's division was more spread out than is sometimes imagined, with the right
of his division anchored on Powers Hill and the left upon the northern slope of Little Round Top. Late
that afternoon Lieutenant Charles A. Atwell's (Knapp's) Pennsylvania Battery was situated on a knoll near
Round Top supporting Geary's left, while two pieces of Lieutenant David H. Kinzie's Battery K, 5th U.S.
Artillery did the same on the right at Powers Hill."

Needless to say from Powers Hill to the northern slope of Little Round Top is quite the distance.

Harman also supplied a map of showing what he believes are the positions of Geary's brigades:

View attachment 410186
Just in case it helps, here are the relevant sections of the reports of Geary's brigades:
  • No. 294. -- Reports of Col. Charles Candy, Sixty-sixth Ohio Infantry, commanding First Brigade.
    • On the morning of July 1, received orders to join the division, and proceeded with the other brigades in the direction of Two Taverns. Arrived at the Two Taverns; remained there for an hour or two, and marched in the direction of Gettysburg, Pa. Arrived in the vicinity of the latter place, and ordered to form line in the rear of the Third Brigade, and then double column on the center. Moved to the front and left of the hills surrounding Gettysburg, and halted for the night, the command bivouacking. Near about dark was ordered to throw forward two regiments to the left, and occupy a high range of hills overlooking the surrounding country, and watch for any attempted advance of the enemy on the left of the army. This order was executed, and the Fifth Ohio and One hundred and forty-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers occupied the above position during the night of July 1.
      On the morning of the 2d, the brigade was ordered to the front and to take position with the rest of the Second Division on the left of the First Division, Twelfth Corps, and right of the First Corps. The brigade took position on the right of the Third Brigade, Second Division, Twelfth Army Corps.
      After taking position, it was ordered to form line in rear of the Third Brigade, and double column on the center. A regiment of this brigade, the Twenty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, was ordered to the front as a support to the skirmishers of the Third Brigade, under the command of Lieut. Col. O. J. Crane, Seventh Ohio Volunteers, he having been assigned to this duty.
      The brigade remained in this position until about 7 p.m. the 2d instant, when the brigade was ordered to the right, for the purpose of supporting a corps, supposed to be General Hancock's. Arrived on the east bank of Rock Creek, and halted, with instructions to picket well the banks (east) of the creek and hold the position.
  • No. 303. -- Report of Col. George A. Cobham, jr., One hundred and eleventh Pennsylvania Infantry, commanding Second Brigade.
    • July 1, marched by the Baltimore turnpike to Two Taverns, and from there to within about 2 miles from Gettysburg, when the brigade was placed in position, by direction of Brigadier-General Geary, commanding division, on the crest of a hill overlooking part of the battle-field, and in support of a battery stationed on the hill. Here the troops lay on their arms during the night.
      About 6 o'clock on the morning of July 2, Brigadier-General Kane arrived on the field in an ambulance of the Second Army Corps, and assumed command of the brigade. I then took command of my own regiment, the One hundred and eleventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, but in a few minutes General Kane sent me an order by one of his aides (Lieutenant Leiper) to resume the command of the brigade. I reported to the general, when he repeated the order to me. I accordingly turned over the command of my regiment to Lieutenant-Colonel Walker, and resumed the command, General Kane being too much prostrated to continue it. However, he gallantly remained on the field, although too feeble to resume the arduous duties of his post.
      Orders were then received to move forward into line with the rest of the division. An excellent position was chosen for us by General Geary, connecting on the left with the Third Brigade, on a heavy wooded hill, where we threw up a breastwork of logs, stone, and earth, running at right angles to those of the Third Brigade. The position was a strong one, and admirably located to command the approaches by Rock Creek.
      Here we remained till evening, when we were ordered to the support of the Third Corps; but before marching a mile this order was countermanded, and I was directed to return to our former position. On the head of the column entering the woods, they were fired upon from behind a stone wall in the rear of our breastworks, which the enemy had taken possession of during our absence. Not being certain whether the fire came from the enemy or our own division (it being dark), I withdrew the brigade to the pike, and marched farther up the road, and, entering the woods in the rear of the Third Brigade, took a position in line nearly at a right angle with our breastworks, sheltered in a great part of the line by a ledge of rocks, and connecting on the left with the Third Brigade, thus partially enfilading the enemy's position. The One hundred and forty-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, of the First Brigade, which arrived soon after, took position on our right, which position they resolutely held during the heavy attack next morning.
  • No. 307. -- Reports of Brig. Gen. George S. Greene, U. S. Army, commanding Third Brigade.
    • Arriving from Littlestown on the field of battle, we were posted with the division on the left, on the right of the division, about half a mile to the right of Sugar Loaf Mountain, in front of the Taneytown road. There were no incidents to note on this day.
      On the 2d, we took position at about 6 a.m. on the right of the First Corps, on the crest of the steep and rocky hill, being thrown back nearly at right angles with the line of the First Corps, Rock Creek running past our front at the distance of 200 to 400 yards Our position and the front were covered with a heavy growth of timber, free from undergrowth, with large ledges of rock projecting above the surface. These rocks and trees offered good cover for marksmen. The surface was very steep on our left, diminishing to a gentle slope on our right. The Second Brigade was on our right, thrown forward at a right angle to conform to the crest of the hill. On the right of this brigade was the First (Williams') Division, his right resting on an impassable mill-pond on Rock Creek. As soon as we were in position, we began to intrench ourselves and throw up breastworks of the covering height, of logs, cord-wood, stones, and earth. The same was done by the troops on my right.
      By 12 o'clock we had a good cover for the men. The value of this defense was shown in our subsequent operations by our small loss compared with that of the enemy during the continuous attacks by a vastly superior force. Our skirmishers were thrown out immediately on taking position, and moved toward the creek in our front, when they came to the enemy's pickets.
      We remained in this position, with occasional firing of the pickets, until 6.30 p.m., when the First (Williams') Division and the First and Second Brigades of the Second Division were ordered from my right, leaving the intrenchments of Kane's brigade and Williams' division unoccupied on the withdrawal of the troops.
 
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