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Gettysburg National Military Park

Herbst's Woods

2nd Wisconsin Monument

Image 1: 2nd Wisconsin Monument. The monument is located in the middle of the woods, on the east side of Meredith Avenue, due east of the Reynolds monument (found about a quarter of a mile east on Reynolds Avenue). This picture is taken facing east with the setting sun behind me.

The 2nd Wisconsin was part of the famed Iron Brigade of Wadsworth's Division of Reynold's I Union Corps. The Iron Brigade consisted of the 24th Michigan, 19th Indiana, 7th Wisconsin and 2nd Wisconsin regiments. During the attack on Herbst Woods, against Archer's Brigade of Heth's Division (Hill's Confederate Corps), the 2nd Wisconsin held the brigade's right flank, with the 7th Wisconsin to its left. On it's right was the 14th Brooklyn regiment of Cutler's Brigade.

The 2nd saw heavy fighting against Archer's brigade. They were well disciplined in their advance toward the Confederates, moving, stopping, firing, and moving once more against an enemy who used the trees to their advantage. Along with the regiments on its left, the 2nd Wisconsin pushed the Confederates out of the woods and back to Willoughby Run.

When the 7th Wisconsin, 19th Indiana and 24th Michigan charged Archer's brigade from the left, the 2nd Wisconsin and two of Cutler's regiments advanced from the right, surrounding and capturing many of Archer's men. During the fighting, Private Patrick Maloney of Company G, 2nd Wisconsin, saw Brigadier General James J. Archer in his splendid grey uniform surrounded by some Rebel soldiers. Maloney rushed forward and captured the general. Maloney would die in the fighting later that day, but for capturing Archer he posthumously received the Medal of Honor.

The 2nd Wisconsin lost 238 men killed or mortally wounded throughout the Civil War. This was the highest percentage of men killed in any Union regiment in the war, at 19.7%.

Special thanks to Ron Hollingsworth for informing me that this photograph was that of the 2nd Wisconsin monument, not the 19th Indiana monument.

24th Michigan Monument

Image 2: 24th Michigan Monument. Located a short distance south of the 2nd Wisconsin Monument is the monument to the 24th Michigan regiment. This monument faces into the setting sun amongst the trees of McPherson's Woods.

During the attack on Archer's brigade, the 19th Indiana and the 24th Michigan regiments fired into the flank of Confederate brigade, halting Archer's advance in the late morning of July 1, 1863. The fighting occurred in the part of the woods occupied by this monument. The two brigades exchanged fire before the Iron Brigade advanced, pushing Archer out of the woods. The regiment took heavy casualties, the regiment's standard falling 14 times.

The 24th Michigan lost 94 men killed or mortally wounded at Gettysburg. This was the highest number of deaths of any Union regiment in the battle.

7th Wisconsin Monument

Image 3: 7th Wisconsin Monument. The photograph of the monument and my friend, writer Michael Skeet, looks north out of the edge of McPherson's Woods. The 7th Wisconsin monument is a short distance north of the 2nd Wisconsin monument, but on the other side of Meredith Avenue.

Located on the north edge of McPherson's Woods, the 7th Wisconsin regiment held the right centre of the Iron Brigade, with the 19th Indiana to its left and the 2nd Wisconsin to its right. The collapse of Archer's brigade occured when the 7th Wisconsin, the 19th Indiana, and the 24th Michigan advanced on the Tenneseans of Archer's brigade from the left, while the 2nd Wisconsin of the Iron Brigade and Cutler's 14th Brooklyn (later 84th New York) and 95th New York closed on the right.

During the Civil War, the 7th Wisconsin regiment lost 281 men killed or mortally wounded, putting it third on the list of Union infantry regiments (and sixth when heavy artillery units are taken into account). This amounted to 17.2% of those enrolled in the regiment and does not include those who were wounded but survived the war.

26th North Carolina Monument

Image 4: 26th North Carolina Monument. Located between the previous two monuments, and further west, this somewhat understated monument details the position of the 26th North Carolina regiment of Pettigrew's Confederate Brigade.

The Iron Brigade forced Archer's men out of the woods. Early in the afternoon of July 1, 1863, Pettigrew's Brigade of Heth's Confederate Division moved into the woods. The Iron Brigade took heavy casualties but withstood Pettigrew's attack. It wasn't until Brockenborough's Brigade pushed back units supporting the Iron Brigade that it finally withdrew to Seminary Ridge. The monument is located at the point where the 26th NC's advance was stalled by the Iron Brigade.

These photographs were taken with a Nikon F-601 autofocus SLR, using a Nikkor 24mm - 50mm f2.8 wide angle zoom lens or with a Sigma 150mm - 300mm telephoto zoom lens. The images were captured on Kodak Gold 200 film.