Behind The Stonewall

General Doubleday And The Iron Brigade's Line -- Gettysburg Pennsylvania



About what you are looking at...

Using the Doubleday Monument (the statue of the General) as a reference point, the scan is looking east behind Doubleday toward the Lutheran Seminary on the next ridge over (Seminary Ridge). As the camera pans to the right you look south along South Reynolds Avenue toward the Fairfield (Hagerstown) Road. Those woods on the left, behind the cross-shaped monument are the direction from which the Ist Corps, Army of the Potomac came. Ist Corps lined up along this line (generally the road marks the line) to repel the men of Archer's Brigade. As the pan continues to the west you can see the woods along McPherson's Ridge, from which the Confederates emerged on the morning of July 1st. Continuing around to the northwest, the nearer woods (Herbst Woods) mark where the Iron Brigade entered the fight, urged on by Major General John Fulton Reynolds, commander of the left wing of the Army of the Potomac. As the men entered the woods, Reynolds was shot from his horse, killed almost instantly by a sniper. The Iron Brigade went on to capture a large portion of Archer's Brigade, including General Archer. Archer is said to have been a pre-war acquaintance of Doubleday, so when Archer was brought to Doubleday, he warmly greeted him by saying, " Good morning Archer! How are you? I am glad to see you!"

The disgruntled Archer retorted, "Well, I am not glad to see you, by a damn sight!" He was taken to the rear. (Archer survived a year of confinement on Johnson's Island, to be exchanged in the late summer of 1864. The confinement took its toll, however, and Archer, never in the best of health to begin with, died in October of that year, only a few months after being placed in command of two brigades.

Continuing the pan to the north, along Reynolds Avenue, in the direction of the Chambersburg Pike (modern day US Route 30), which Reynolds Avenue crosses, we see where Cutler's Brigade formed for their attack later in the morning on Davis's Mississippi Brigade in the Unfinished Railroad Cut, another disaster for the Army of Northern Virginia. The Unfinished Railroad Cut (since finished) is about 100 yards further north than the Chambersburg Pike. Panning further to the right, the area in the distance, between the rear of the vehicle and the Doubleday statue shows the corner of the field as it reaches Seminary Ridge. It was here that General Robert E. Lee later placed his Headquarters for the battle, with his tent pitched in the field, he made use of a small stone farmhouse directly across the Chambersburg Pike during the day as his Headquarters.

W. G. Davis


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