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Sculpted by Gary Casteel

 

1863 Signed and Numbered Limited Edition Monument Replicas

 

Battery B, commanded by Captain Thomas F. Brown, was attached to General Winfield Scott Hancock’s 2nd Corps and arrived in Gettysburg late on July 1, 1863.  The 2nd Corps held the center of the Union line on Cemetery Ridge.  Around 2:00 a.m. on July 2nd, Battery B was awakened with orders to take position, and advanced to a location near the Codori farm, along the Emmitsburg Road.  Placed on the far-left side of Hancock’s line, closest to General Daniel Sickles, Battery B provided necessary support to Sickles’ troops as they came under attack in the Peach Orchard. 

 

Heavy fighting erupted between Pennsylvania troops and Confederate troops just in front of Battery B.  In the unit history, Sgt. John Rhodes recounted the desperate measures the unit took: “By their exposed position the battery received the concentrated fire of the enemy, which was advancing so rapidly that our fuses were cut at three, two, and one second, and then canister at point-blank range, and, finally, double charges were used.”  At the end of the fighting on July 2nd, Battery B had suffered twenty-two casualties, including Captain Brown who was wounded and replaced by Lieutenant William S. Perrin, with three men killed.  Advancing Confederate troops forced Battery B to leave two of their six guns (12 pounder Napoleons) on the field.  Union countercharges on July 2nd recovered the guns, but only one would be restored to service for the next day.

 

During the night of July 2nd, the battery was moved to the center of Hancock’s line on Cemetery Ridge at a place which would later be known as The Angle.

 

On July 3rd, the four serviceable guns of Brown’s Battery were placed just south of the Copse of Trees under the command of Lt. Perrin.  The artillery bombardment preceding Pickett’s Charge mercilessly pounded the battery.  One gun was struck on the muzzle by a Confederate shell, killing two gunners.  As Sgt. Rhodes noted, “[Jones] was killed instantly by a fragment of the shell, which cut the top of the left side of his head completely off. He fell with his head towards the enemy, while the sponge staff was thrown two or three yards beyond him.”  Two men leapt to load the piece, but the ball jammed in the distorted muzzle.  They were about to hammer it in with an axe when another Confederate shell shattered one of the gun’s wheels and the cannon collapsed.  The barrel cooled around the ball, permanently clamping it in place.

 

When Union Artillery Chief Howard Hunt rode up he could see that Battery B was a wreck.  Only three guns were serviceable, all the officers were killed or wounded, and long-range ammunition was almost expended.  Hunt ordered the battery to the rear, an order it promptly obeyed.  Battery B brought 103 men to the field at Gettysburg serving six 12 pounder Napoleons and lost 7 killed, 19 wounded and 2 missing.

 

The damaged gun of Battery B was eventually put on display in the Statehouse in Providence, Rhode Island, where it remained until 1963 when it was decided to bring the gun back to Gettysburg for the Centennial Celebration.  Prior to this move, someone thought of asking about the powder charge still in the tube behind the stuck shell.  The 1863 powder charge was removed by drilling two holes into the back of the tube and flushing out the charge.  The “Gettysburg Gun” arrived at the Centennial and then was returned to Providence where it can be seen today resting on a rare Civil War carriage.

 

This monument was dedicated on October 12, 1886 and is located east side of Hancock Avenue across from the Copse of Trees.

1st Rhode Island Light Artillery, Battery B

SKU: 1129
$225.00Price
  • Size:  5” x 5” x 10 ½”

    Weight:  3.45lbs

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