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Sculpted by Gary Casteel

 

1863 Signed and Numbered Limited Edition Monument Replicas

 

After falling back through the town on the afternoon of July 1, 1863, what was left of the 153rd Pennsylvania from Colonel Leopold Von Gilsa’s brigade arrived on Cemetery Hill and stretched out to the right of the Baltimore Pike, behind a low stone wall “facing the town,” with Battery I, 1st New York Artillery in their front, and Battery B, 1st Pennsylvania and a battery of Regulars (B, 4th U.S.) behind them. 

 

The 153rd spent July 2nd quietly until about 4pm, when their position came under fire from Confederate batteries located on Benner's Hill, a few miles from their left front.  The regiment lost a number of men to this fire.  The Union batteries on East Cemetery Hill responded and, after a time, silenced the enemy's cannon.  However, the artillery duel was not the end of the action for the day.

 

Sometime after sunset, the Confederates began their attack.  The 153rd was not in a good position for infantry and was subjected to an enfilade attack.  A rise in the ground blocked the view of the Confederate’s approach.  While out as skirmishers, the 153rd Pennsylvania initially replaced the 41st New York at the wall before they were sent out as skirmishers to see what was on the other side of the rise of ground.  As the 153rd fell back from the advancing Confederates, in the darkness, their brigade commander, Colonel Leopold von Gilsa, ordered his men to cease firing at the Confederates because he thought they were Union skirmishers returning to the lines.  Officers were trying to convince von Gilsa that they were Confederates, when finally, the 153rd opened on Avery’s North Carolinians with a volley.  But it was too late, and hand to hand fighting began at the wall…with the Tarheels streaming over the wall.

 

Lieutenant J. Clyde Miller of the 153rd Pennsylvania said that “the fight was on in all its fierceness, muskets being handled as clubs; rocks torn from the wall in front and thrown, fist and bayonets used, so close was the fighting. I remember distinctly of seeing a Rebel color bearer, with his musket in one hand and flag in the other, with outspread arms jump upon the little wall, shouting, ‘surrender, you damned Yankees.’ In an instant a Company A or F man, I could not tell which, as the smoke was commencing to get heavy, — ran his bayonet through the man’s chest and firing at the same time. I can still see in my mind’s eye how the shot tore into shreds the back of his blouse.”

 

The North Carolinians broke through and continued towards the top of the hill until stopped by reinforcements, including the 4th Ohio Infantry whose gray monument is located just to the left of the red brick Evergreen Cemetery Gatehouse.

 

“Here our reverses ended. Determined to conquer or die in the attempt, our men now threw themselves upon the enemy with a resolution and a fury that soon compelled them to retire. The batteries were saved, the day ours. Chancellorsville redeemed!" 

--From the "History of the 153rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry"; 1909

 

The monument was dedicated in 1884 and is located south of Gettysburg on Wainwright Avenue at the foot of East Cemetery Hill.  The monument had a time capsule underneath containing articles placed by veterans of the regiment, but it was broken into and looted in 1997, and was vandalized again in 2009.

153rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry (Secondary Marker)

SKU: 1142
$115.00Price
  • Size: 3 ½” x 2 ½” x 6 ¾”

    Weight:  .85lbs

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