Gettysburg National Military Park

Railroad Cut

Railroad Cut, looking northwest

Image 1: The Railroad Cut, looking northwest. This view shows the railroad cut looking towards the northwest. The monument is to the Union's 84th New York infantry regiment (also known as the 14th Brooklyn). The monument shows a man in the uniform of the 14th Brooklyn at the time of the battle: scarlet trousers stuffed into leggings, a short blue jacket, red vest, and red kepi.

Confederate Brig. Gen. Joseph Davis pursued the retreating men of Union Brig. Gen. Lysander Cutler north of the railroad cut. Maj. Gen. Abner Doubleday ordered the 6th Wisconsin under Lt. Col. Rufus R. Dawes to move from the left side of the Iron Brigade and attack Davis men in their left flank (meaning that the 6th WI had to march north behind the Iron Brigade to set up for the attack). Davis ordered his men back to Herr Ridge, but there was confusion in the Confederate ranks and not all of the Rebels retreated. Troops from the 2nd Mississippi, 42nd Mississippi and 55th North Carolina intermingled and took shelter in the railroad cut from the fire of the 6th Wisconsin. Two retreating regiments, the 14th Brooklyn and the 95th New York formed up on the 6th Wisconsin's left, all three regiments facing north and firing at the Confederates in the railroad bed.

The 6th Wisconsin charged the cut, suffering heavy casualties. Dawes reported that perhaps 160 men of his regiment of 450 fell in the charge. The demibrigade consisting of the two New York regiments joined in on their left. The 6th managed to get men into the cut to the south east and fire at the Confederates in enfilade. The 6th asked for the surrender of the shocked and exhausted Confederates. Two hundred Rebels were captured though others escaped to Herr Ridge.

Railroad Cut, looking southeast

Image 2: The Railroad Cut, looking southeast. This view shows the railroad cut looking towards the southeast. You can get an idea of the depth of the railroad cut from this picture. The monument on the left is for the Union's 95th New York infantry regiment, and the monument on the right is to the 6th Wisconsin regiment.

It was in the area between the two pictures (which were taken from the road that runs over the cut, so these monuments are on either side of a narrow road from each other) that the 6th Wisconsin charged the Confederates with the aid of the two NY regiments.

Compare the 14th Brooklyn's monument with the Wisconsin monument. The 6th Wisconsin is the acknowledged "heroes" of this part of the battle, but the New York regiment's monument is more impressive. The New York monuments are often the biggest, and quite often the gaudiest, of the monuments in the part (the exceptions are the large Confederate monuments on Seminary Ridge, but those commemorate all the troops from whole states, not just a single regiment).

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.