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

Bigelow's Desperate Stand

July 2, 1863 - Second Day

 
 
Bigelow's Desperate Stand Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, February 21, 2009
1. Bigelow's Desperate Stand Marker
Inscription. "...horses were plunging and laying all around.... The enemy were yelling like demons, yet my men kept up a rapid fire...."
Capt. John Bigelow, U.S.A.
9th Massachusetts Artillery

Here at the farm of Abraham Trostle on the afternoon of July 2, Capt. John Bigelow positioned the six cannon of his 9th Massachusetts Battery. Attacking Confederates who had driven Bigelow back from the Peach Orchard had him backed up against the stone wall to your right.

As Bigelow prepared to "limber up" and retreat again, his superior, Lt. Col. Freeman McGilvery, rode up with the order to hold the position "at all hazards" until a Union line could be established in the rear (to your right). Bigelow's gunners would have to face the Confederate onslaught without infantry support.

The cannoneers piled ammunition beside the guns for rapid loading. Soon Mississippians and South Carolinians crowded right up to the muzzles of the Union guns, only to be "blown away." When Confederate marksmen reached the farm buildings and began shooting cannoneers and their horses, Bigelow's men made their escape. The Confederates captured four cannon, but Bigelow had bought valuable time.

Sickles' Headquarters

Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Sickles, controversial commander of the Union Third Corps, established his headquarters beside the
Bigelow's Desperate Stand Marker and Trostle Barn image. Click for full size.
By Henry T. McLin, July 6, 2014
2. Bigelow's Desperate Stand Marker and Trostle Barn
July 2014 Repairs - hole left intact.
Trostle barn here. As Sickles' line began to collapse on the afternoon of July 2, a Confederate cannonball struck the general's right leg. A stretcher-bearer slowed the bleeding with a saddle-strap tourniquet. Army surgeons amputated the leg that night.

Although many believe Sickles nearly lost Gettysburg for the Union, he helped to save it in 1895 by introducing legislation establishing Gettysburg National Military Park.
 
Erected by Gettysburg National Military Park.
 
Location. 39° 48.114′ N, 77° 14.573′ W. Marker is in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in Adams County. Marker is on United States Avenue, on the left when traveling east. Click for map. Located at the Trostle Farm in 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. 3d Corps Headquarters (a few steps from this marker); Ninth Massachusetts Battery (within shouting distance of this marker); 150th New York Infantry (within shouting distance of this marker); Major General Sickles (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Ninth Massachusetts Battery
Marker and the Trostle Barn image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, February 21, 2009
3. Marker and the Trostle Barn
The hole mentioned on the marker is seen on this side of the barn.
(approx. 0.2 miles away); 2nd Position of 118th Pennsylvania Volunteers (approx. 0.2 miles away); End of the Second Day (approx. 0.2 miles away); 7th New Jersey Volunteers (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Gettysburg.
 
More about this marker. In the upper center and right are wartime photos of the Trostle house. These photos were taken from near this point on July 6, 1863, four days after the fighting. Horses that once pulled Bigelow's cannon lie rotting in the Trostle farmyard. Forty-five horses were killed. Note also the overturned limber to the right of the house. During the battle, a Confederate shell crashed into the gable of the Trostle barn; the hole can still be seen today. In the lower center is a portrait of General Sickles.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Trostle Farm at Gettysburg - virtual tour by markers.
 
Also see . . .
1. The Trostle Farm. National Park Service virtual tour stop. (Submitted on March 28, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

2. The Trostle Farm. Historic American Buildings Survey
The Trostle House image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, February 21, 2009
4. The Trostle House
Where Bigelow's Battery made its stand.
documentation on the farm. Includes detailed architectural diagrams of the buildings. (Submitted on March 29, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Trostle barn East side getting new 1863 style roof. July 2014. image. Click for full size.
By Henry T. McLin, July 6, 2014
5. Trostle barn East side getting new 1863 style roof. July 2014.
Trostle barn West side with new 1863 style roof. image. Click for full size.
By Henry T. McLin, July 6, 2014
6. Trostle barn West side with new 1863 style roof.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,186 times since then and 151 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   2. submitted on , by Henry T. McLin of Hanover, Pennsylvania.   3, 4. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   5, 6. submitted on , by Henry T. McLin of Hanover, Pennsylvania. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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