Cumberland Township in Adams County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Trapped in the Cut
July 1, 1863 - First Day
Lt. Col. Rufus R. Dawes, U.S.A.
6th Wisconsin Volunteers
The railroad cut visible in front of you was the scene of a dramatic engagement on the first day of the battle.
On the morning of July 1, a Confederate attack crushed the Union line here, sending the surviving Federals streaming back toward town (to your left). But shortly thereafter, Union units counterattacked, forcing a number of the Southerners to take cover in the railroad cut in front of you.
Despite deadly Confederate fire from the cut, Union infantry led by Lt. Col. Rufus R. Dawes and Col. Edward B. Fowler crossed the turnpike in front of you, climbed the fence there, and charged the cut. Although many were shot in the attempt, the charging Federals reached the edge of the cut and shouted, "Throw down your muskets!" Trapped between the steep slopes, about 230 Confederates surrendered.
Erected by Gettysburg National Military Park.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. A significant historical date for this entry is July 1, 1927.
Location. 39° 50.294′ 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. Brevet Major General James Samuel Wadsworth (here, next to this marker); Davis's Brigade (a few steps from this marker); 147th New York Infantry (a few steps from this marker); 3rd Indiana Cavalry (within shouting distance of this marker); 56th Pennsylvania Infantry (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); 95th New York Infantry (about 300 feet away); 14th Regiment New York State Militia (about 300 feet away); 6th Wisconsin Volunteers (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cumberland Township.
More about this marker. In the center of the marker is a photo of The railroad cut about 1889, looking east toward Gettysburg. The photographer was standing on the opposite side of the track. At the time of the battle the cut was new, and track had not yet been laid. According to Colonel Dawes, the field in the photo "streamed with men who had been shot."
In the upper right is a portrait of Lt. Col. Rufus R. Dawes, U.S.A., who collected an armful of swords from surrendering Confederate officers in the railroad cut. He had ordered the daring charge in which 180 of the 420 men in his regiment were shot down.
In the lower right is a photo of the Battle flag of the 2nd Mississippi Infantry surrendered in the railroad cut.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. The Railroad Cut markers and monuments.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 1, 2020. It was originally submitted on January 16, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,413 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on January 16, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 2. submitted on June 10, 2013, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. 3. submitted on August 28, 2015, by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee. 4, 5. submitted on July 17, 2016, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 6. submitted on January 16, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 7. submitted on July 17, 2016, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 8. submitted on January 16, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.