Cumberland Township in Adams County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Bigelow's Desperate Stand
July 2, 1863 - Second Day
"…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
Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Sickles, controversial commander of the Union Third Corps, established his headquarters beside the 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.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. A significant historical date for this entry is July 2, 1863.
Location. 39° 48.114′ N, 77° 14.573′ W. Marker is in Cumberland Township, Pennsylvania, in Adams County. Marker is on United States Avenue, on the left when traveling east. Located at the Trostle Farm 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. 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 (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). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cumberland Township.
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 . . . The Trostle Farm. Historic American Buildings Survey documentation on the farm. Includes detailed architectural diagrams of the buildings. (Submitted on March 29, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
Credits. This page was last revised on January 8, 2021. It was originally submitted on March 28, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,445 times since then and 21 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on March 28, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 2. submitted on July 7, 2014, by Henry T. McLin of Hanover, Pennsylvania. 3, 4. submitted on March 28, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 5, 6. submitted on July 7, 2014, by Henry T. McLin of Hanover, Pennsylvania. 7, 8, 9. submitted on January 6, 2021, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.