Gettysburg in Adams County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
"The Isolated and Advanced Position" of the 8th Ohio Infantry
Lt. Col. Franklin Sawyer, 8th Ohio
At 4:00 p.m. on July 2nd the 209 men of the 8th Ohio were ordered to advance and hold this position. Charging across the open ground behind you, they drove out Confederate skirmishers in the Emmitsburg road and then established a skirmish line 250 yards to your front. For 24 hours, without support or relief, the regiment was constantly engaged in "murderous" skirmishing, losing 40 men.
During the great bombardment of July 3, the "missiles of both armies passed over" the regiment for nearly two hours. One wrote, "Nothing more terrific... can be imagined.... The roar of guns...the shriek of exploding shell...the groans of dying men...created a scene of absolute horror." Shortly after, Pickett's Charge began as 12,000 to 13,000 Confederate soldiers stepped off from Seminary Ridge to your front and left front, and "moved grandly ... forward." One Ohioan wrote, "Our little...regiment lay...in its track... Every man... was there, musket in hand...there was now no way of retreat - we must
Despite their "forlorn position," the 8th Ohio stood and delivered a "well-directed" volley at 100 yards. The Confederates in front broke, allowing the regiment to wheel to the left and fire into the flank of the Confederate line. When the Confederates failed to break the main Union line behind you and began to retreat, the 8th Ohio swept through its disorganized ranks, capturing 200 prisoners and three Confederate flags. The two days of fighting cost the regiment nearly half its men as casualties (102 killed, wounded or missing).
Erected by Gettysburg National Military Park, National Park Service, U.S. Dept. of the Interior.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil.
Location. 39° 48.982′ N, 77° 14.209′ W. Marker is in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in Adams County. Marker is at the intersection of Emmitsburg Road (Business U.S. 15) and Long Lane, on the right when traveling south on Emmitsburg Road. Located in front of Cemetery Ridge in Gettysburg National Military Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Gettysburg PA 17325, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Medal of Honor at Gettysburg (here, next to this marker); Camp Colt (here, next to this marker); 8th Ohio Infantry Companies G and I, 4th Ohio Infantry (within shouting distance of this marker); 107th Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); 11th Mississippi Infantry Regiment (about 500 feet away); 111th New York Infantry (about 500 feet away); Battery I First U.S. Artillery (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Gettysburg.
More about this marker. In the right center is a painting depicting the 8th Ohio in action. The 8th Ohio fires into the flank of the advancing Confederate line on July 3. "[O]ur blood was up," wrote Sawyer, "the men loaded and fired and yelled and howled at the passing column." Image courtesy of Gallon Historical Art, Inc. Gettysburg, PA.
In the lower left is a portrait of Lt. Col. Franklin Sawyer, who at 37, held the respect and "unbounded" popularity of his men, while "his absolute bravery in battle [was] unquestioned." He received an "ugly wound" on July 3 when he was struck in the head by a bullet, yet continued to lead his command throughout the rest of the battle.
On the lower right is a photo of veterans visiting the monument. The 8th Ohio monument, to your left, was dedicated on September 14, 1887. In this 1913 photograph, veterans recount their experiences during the battle.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Markers, Tablets and Monuments for the Bliss Farm Skirmish Line.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 24, 2020. It was originally submitted on January 8, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,898 times since then and 45 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on January 8, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.