Battle of Gettysburg: The First Day – Essay – frankinlaken
Battle of Gettysburg: The First Day
Franklin W. Konarik IVProfessor KeislingHistory 201November 18, 2015Battle of Gettysburg: The First Day The Battle of Gettysburg began on July 1st of 1863. This battle is known as the turning point of the civil war. This battle is the second invasion of the North made by the Confederacy. This is invasion was made by General Robert E. Lee and the battle was forged in Gettysburg with General Meade. A three day long battle lasting from July 1st to July 3rd of 1863. In the end the battle was won by the Union. This battle had the most casualties of the war. On July 1st, the Confederacy was on its march to Gettysburg, to take Gettysburg. The first of the Confederate to arrive was BG James Archer’s Brigade and BG Joseph Davis’ Brigade of MG Heth’s Division. The only Union standing in the way of the Confederate soldiers was Brig. Gen. John Buford’s Calvary and two brigades. BG Meredith’s Brigade and BG Cutler’s Brigade were on the march to Gettysburg to support. At 8 A.M. the Confederates arrived, Gamble’s and Devin’s Brigades deployed east of Willoughty Run, northwest of the town, and supported by Lt. John Calef’s horse artillery. Heth ordered Archer to south of Chambersburg Pike and Davis north of Chambersburg Pike. The battle begins with an attack on Gamble’s dismounted skirmishers by Archer’s infantry Brigade. The battle lasted a little over an hour before Buford was forced to retreat. The sustained hour of fighting was just enough time for BG Meredith’s Brigade and Cutler’s Brigade to arrive and relieve Buford’s forces. Meredith’s Brigade takes position at McPherson Ridge and prepares. General Reynolds, the commander of I Corps, was the senior officer on the field. Reynold takes note of the Confederate troops and immediately send word to the nearest Corps, XI Corps and III Corps, to reinforce Gettysburg. While positioning Cutler’s Brigade and Meredith’s Brigade on horseback, Reynolds was shot and killed off of his horse. The next senior officer on the field was Abner Doubleday. During this time, Archer’s Brigade proceed to attack crossing Willoughty Run and up McPherson Ridge. Unknowingly Archer marched straight into the fresh infantry of Meredith’s Brigade. Meredith’s Brigade capture Archer and most of his brigade while the rest retreated. On Cutler’s side, Cutler’s Brigade was attacked heavily by Davis’ Brigade. Cutler’s Brigade was in the process of positioning themselves along the Chambersburg Pike and the railroad cut. Davis’ Brigade began to outflank Cutler’s Brigade. The Division Commander, Wadsworth, realized they were being outflanked on the right side and ordered Cutler’s three regiments north of the piketo retreat and take position at Seminary Ridge. The message was never delivered because the runner was killed. Cutler’s right flank eventually collapsed from heavy lost and was forced to retreat. Davis’ Brigade broke ranks in pursuit, but was stopped suddenly. Doubleday had sent the 6th Wisconsin Regiment to counter Davis’ Brigade. The 6th Wisconsin Regiment is the only regiment made of only westerns. The regiment became known as the “Iron Brigade” after the Second Battle of Bull Run. The 6th Wisconsin Regiment positioned almost directly on the flank of the pursuing enemy. Position on the fence line to rest their barrels, they “fired by file”. Quickly Davis’ Brigade retreated to the railroad cut, which was at least five foot deep. With Davis’ Brigade in such a defensive position, the 6th Wisconsin Regiment climbed the fence and took position at the second fence line closer. Meeting together with the 95th NY, they charged together over the 175 yard opening field to the railroad cut. The confederate troops laid down devastating volley, each hitting twenty to thirty men at a time. But the charge did not stop until they surrounded Davis’ Brigade. Dawes ordered the colonial to surrender. Major Blair without a word handed his sword over to Dawes and his men threw down their muskets. The small Wisconsin regiment of about 340 men captured about 230 Confederates. The 6th Wisconsin Regiment suffered about 160 casualties and the Brigade Guard suffered about 30 to 40 casualties out of 100 men. The rest of Davis’ Brigade retreated to Herr Ridge to where the rest of Archer’s Brigade retreated to earlier.After Heth’s failed attack, Rodes division had arrived from the northeast along the Harrisburg Road. Rodes headed to Oak Ridge where he saw Cutler’s Brigade preparing for an attack on Heth’s position. Placing 16 guns of LtC. Thomas Carter’s artillery battalion on Oak Ridge, they began bombing Cutler’s Brigade.About the same time Howard’s XI Corps arrived from the south and were deploying east. Baxter’s Brigade took position north against Rodes arriving divisions. Rodes immediately decided to attack to prevent from being surrounded at a disadvantage. Sending Iverson’s Brigade and O’Neal’s Brigade to attack on Baxter’s position. The attack was, however, uncoordinated and Iverson delayed his attack on Baxter’s position, trying to let the artillery do more damage. This delay left O’Neal’s Brigade on their own in this attack. Baxter’s Brigade took post behind a stone wall and concentrated on O’Neal’s Brigade. O’Neal’s Brigade suffered over 40% casualties before retreating. Iverson’s Brigade began his attack right after and Baxter concentrated all on Iverson’s Brigade. About 70% of Iverson’s Brigade was a casualty or captured by Baxter’s Brigade.
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(2017, 04). Battle of Gettysburg: The First Day. EssaysForStudent.com. Retrieved 04, 2017, from