July 1, 1863
The First and Eleventh Corps of the Union Army Begin Their
March Towards Gettysburg
-Wadsworth’s 1st Division, 3,400 men,
from Greenmont, via the Emmitsburg Road.
-Robinson’s 2nd Division, 3,000 men,
from north of Emmitsburg, via the Emmitsburg Road.
-Rowley’s 3rd Division, 2,700 men (Stannard’s Brigade stayed behind),
was spread out.
Biddle’s and Stone’s Brigades encamped the night before
between Bull Frog Road and Marsh Creek, south east of Gettysburg,
guarding the roads around Fairfield,
just in case.
(Rumor had it that 6,000 Rebs were wandering
around those parts. Nothing of the sort.)
These two brigades would continue on Bull Frog Road
until it met up with a smaller road crossing Sach’s Bridge.
They then would connect with the Fairfield Road,
providing some protection to the left flank
of the columns marching up the Emmitsburg Road.
It would be an hour until every man in every division got moving.
From the east of Emmitsburg, following the First Corps.
They would later choose an alternate route
as to not be held up on the on the already clogged
The marching order was:
-Barlow’s Division, 2,400 men
-Schurz’s Division, 3,000 men
-Von Steinwehr’s Division, 2,800
General Pender’s Confederate Division of
Hill’s Corps, 6,300 men, who camped just
west of Cashtown,
had formed up
and were now on their way to Gettysburg
Heth’s thin line of skirmishers,
formed now for fifteen minutes,
Jones’ Company E and the
rest of the Union Cavalry.
Archer’s and Davis’s main bodies were still waiting
in columns on the Chambersburg Pike
It did not take long for Lt. Jones to call
How could he even think about holding otherwise?
Dana was asked to bring up the other company
in the squadron.
Captain Dana arrives with 100 men
with nearly a quarter of that number
left to hold the horses
they were all cavalry men fighting
They formed a thin skirmish line a little behind
Jones’ position on Whisler’s Ridge
taking shelter of a rail fence with 10 yard
intervals between each new man.
And now they waited.
In the woods just to their front
the brigades of Archer and Davis were
forming into line of battle.
Archer taking the south side of the road
Davis, the north.
The Rebel skirmishers, now within range
begin to fire
here and there
mostly to say “we’re here.”
The Union Cavalry soldiers returned their message,
though not as generously, but heartbreakingly,
the first Confederate casualty, the 5th Alabama Battalion’s pet mascot,
innocent and oblivious to either the “Greater Union”
or “The Cause,”
fell, never to lead the Battalion again.
Dim figures to the morning eyes
Corporal Hodges of the 9th New York Cavalry.
He was posted on the east bank of Willoughby Run
near a railroad bed on the northern side of
the Chambersburg Pike
Rebs coming here too?
or returning Union patrols?
Better send word anyway.
Hodges himself rode to Herr Ridge
following the Chambersburg Pike.
Clear now. Rebels.
A few bullets whizzed by his head.
He turned his mount around
and retraced his steps, faster now.
Crossed the bridge at Willoughby Run,
dismounted and grabbed a carbine.
Kneeling behind the bridge,
he fired several shots in anger.
Rebs were all over the place now
so difficult to tell what
was coming at you
or what was going on around you,
even 500 yards off.
Across the pike from Corporal Hodges,
also out of site, and somehow out
of conscious remembered earshot,
the oncoming Rebel skirmishers out-numbered
Captain Dana’s 100 men,
compelling them to fall back several
firing at will.
Colonels Gamble and Devin, with the bulk of
form defensive lines on the
western slope of
Their skirmishers advancing towards
There was no digging in.
Take shelter behind what you’ve got now
“They will come booming.
Skirmishers three deep.”
Nothing to stop them now.
This new defensive line, waiting
assured that “they” were indeed coming.
As Major John Beveridge of the 8th Illinois Cavalry
was joined by another squadron,
he sent men to inform all in this line,
all of Buford’s Division.
The time has come.
The advance pickets of Devin’s Brigade were
still falling back.
A squadron of the 6th New York
narrowly escaped capture
enveloped and realizing nearly too late.
In short and ingloriously,
they ran for it.
This gray Rebel skirmish line advance towards
Belmont Schoolhouse Ridge,
ascended and rested upon reaching the top
Two 3" rifled guns of Marye’s Battery were rushed forward
to Herr Ridge,
firing a few shots into the woods
on McPherson’s Ridge.
They were not provided with a Union reply.
The skirmishers then resumed their sluggish
march towards Herr Ridge
towards the enemy.
Lt. John Calef’s Union Battery was
unlimbering their guns
as shots, though scarce,
All six guns in battery
along side the Chambersburg Pike.
But did not return fire.
Reaching the top of Herr Ridge, Heth’s skirmishers
halted at its crest.
Archer’s Brigade followed,
halting behind the skirmishers.
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