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Near Gettysburg in Adams County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Second Brigade

First Division - Fifth Corps

 

—Army of the Potomac —

 
Second Brigade, First Division, Fifth Corps Tablet Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, November 11, 2008
1. Second Brigade, First Division, Fifth Corps Tablet
The tablet features the Maltese Cross of Fifth Corps at its top.
Inscription.
Army of the Potomac
Fifth Corps First Division
Second Brigade

Col. Jacob B. Sweitzer
9th. 32d. Massachusetts 4th. Michigan
62d. Pennsylvania Infantry

July 2 After 4 p.m. moved from the Baltimore Pike near Rock Creek with the Division left in front to support of Third Corps line. Third Brigade was detached to occupy Little Round Top and the Brigade crossed Plum Run followed by First Brigade and went into position on the edge of woods west of the Wheatfield facing partly toward the Rose House First Brigade on the right. Brig. Gen. Kershaw's supported by Brig. Gen. Semmes's Brigade having attacked this position and First Brigade having retired the Brigade retired across the Wheatfield Road and formed on the north side of the woods facing the road when by order of Brig. Gen. J. Barnes the Brigade advanced to the support of First Division Second Corps and engaged Brig. Gen. Anderson's Brigade at the stone wall at the south end of the Wheatfield but the supports on the right having given away the Brigade
Sweitzer's Brigade Tablet Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, November 11, 2008
2. Sweitzer's Brigade Tablet
was attacked on the right and rear and it retired under a heavy fire to a line north of Little Round Top and there remained until the close of the battle.

Casualties. Killed 6 officers 61 men. Wounded 26 officers 213 men. Captured or missing 1 officer 120 men. Total 427.
 
Erected 1912 by Gettysburg National Military Park Commission.
 
Location. 39° 47.779′ N, 77° 14.633′ W. Marker is near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in Adams County. Marker is at the intersection of DeTrobriand Avenue and Sickles Avenue, on the right when traveling east on DeTrobriand Avenue. Click for map. Located in the Wheatfield at Gettysburg National Military Park. Marker is in this post office area: Gettysburg PA 17325, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 4th Michigan Infantry (a few steps from this marker); Third Brigade (within shouting distance of this marker); The Bloody Wheatfield (within
Sweitzer's Brigade Deploys then Redeploys in the Wheatfield Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, November 11, 2008
3. Sweitzer's Brigade Deploys then Redeploys in the Wheatfield
Looking from a point south of the tablet (seen to the left) and the 4th Michigan Monument (to the right), past DeTrobriand Avenue. Sickles Avenue is to the right. The high ground beyond the open fields is the "stony hill" where now the "loop" passes. Initially Sweitzer's Brigade was posted on the hill, but was withdrawn under pressure from its right from the Peach Orchard sector. After reforming north of Wheatfield Road, the Brigade deployed forward again in support of Caldwell's Division of Second Corps. The 4th Michigan and 62nd Pennsylvania were posted on line in the foreground of this photo.
shouting distance of this marker); 62nd Pennsylvania Infantry (within shouting distance of this marker); 17th Maine Infantry (within shouting distance of this marker); 57th New York Infantry (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); 115th Pennsylvania Infantry (about 300 feet away); a different marker also named Third Brigade (about 400 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Gettysburg.
 
Also see . . .
1. The Wheatfield. National Park Service virtual tour stop. (Submitted on January 28, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

2. Reports of Col. Jacob B. Sweitzer. Col. Sweitzer offered this report of his brigade's actions on July 2:
The Second Brigade was placed in position in a wood fronting an open field, the woods bordering two sides of the field, the side in which we were
Sweitzer's Men Contest the Last Confederate Advance in the Wheatfield Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, November 11, 2008
4. Sweitzer's Men Contest the Last Confederate Advance in the Wheatfield
Looking from the tablet location toward the west down DeTrobriand Avenue. As Semmes', Kershaw's, and Anderson's Brigades collapsed the Federal positions gained by Caldwell's Division at around 7 p.m. on July 2, Sweitzer's Brigade became a shield. With the 62nd Pennsylvania and 4th Michigan formed near the stone wall (seen on the left), the brigade fought bitterly, but in vain, to halt the Confederate advance. Much like the 17th Maine an hour before, Sweitzer's men formed a refused line to the west, with the main line parallel to the wall. Overwhelmed, the survivors of the Brigade pulled back to the Wheatfield Road.
and also that extending at right angles from our left toward the enemy, and in the last-mentioned wood the First Brigade was posted, connecting with our left....

We had not remained long in this position before an attack commenced by the enemy in front of the First Brigade and Thirty-second Massachusetts. As there was no appearance of the enemy in front of the line formed by the Sixty-second Pennsylvania and Fourth Michigan, I directed them to change front to the left, and form lines in rear of the Thirty-second Massachusetts, to strengthen that position. During the execution of this order, the attack continued; the firing was very severe, and we lost many brave officers and men.

Some time after that, word was sent that the First Brigade was retiring, and General Barnes sent me word to fall back also, which I did in perfect good order, the regiments retaining their alignments and halting and firing as they came back. Having arrived at the road leading along the rear of the wheat-field, the brigade was formed in line in the woods in rear of the road and parallel to it, the right resting at the corner of the woods toward the front. We had not remained here more than, say, fifteen minutes, when a general officer I had never seen before rode up to me, and said his command was driving the enemy in the woods in front of the wheat-field; that he needed the support of a brigade, and desired to know if I would give him mine....

We had scarcely got to this position before I noticed regiments retiring from the woods on our right, which I supposed were relieved by others who had taken their places, and would protect us in that direction. I observed also that there was considerable firing diagonally toward our rear from these woods, which I then thought were shots from our troops aimed over us at the enemy in the woods beyond and falling short. They were, however, much too frequent to be pleasant, and my color-bearer, Ed. Martin, remarked, "Colonel, I'll be -- if I don't think we are faced the wrong way; the rebs are up there in the woods behind us, on the right."...

About this time, too, word was brought me from the Fourth Michigan and Sixty-second Pennsylvania that the enemy were getting into our rear in the woods on the right. I directed those regiments to change front, to face in that direction and meet them, which they did, the firing in the meanwhile being rapid and severe....

Finding that we were surrounded--that our enemy was under cover, while we were in the open field exposed to their fire--I directed the command to fall back. This was done in order, the command halting and firing as it retired.
(Submitted on January 28, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 927 times since then and 87 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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