The Gettysburg National Park Commission [The Commission is also referred to as the Gettysburg National Military Park Commission or the Gettysburg Park Commission], established by the United States Department of War, after they took over the administration of the park from the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association (whose funds had expired) on March 3, 1893, and whose stewardship was later transferred to the National Park Service in 1933 (SOURCE), took a pictorial inventory of many of the existing monuments in the eventual historic district (a majority of them seem to have been Pennsylvania monuments being there are over one hundred of them). I have found hundreds of these pictures on Virtual Gettysburg, a comprehensive website which pictorially inventories all the monuments and provides minor narratives as well. All the photos look the same as if they were taken by the same camera and in the same approximate time period. Even the angles are all the same, positioning the monument at a slight right angle, revealing a little of the left part of the monument. The entire park looks so young and immature when the photos were taken. After all, the Battle of Gettysburg was thirty-seven years old at the time and war veterans were only in their fifties. I have never been able to find any photo credits (I have a sneaking suspicion some of the photos may have been snapped by members of the Park Commissions and published in their annual November report to the War Department) but I know they are public domain because their copyrights have all expired. Most of my pictures I use come from a website called Virtual Gettysburg. It seems however, all the pictures of the New York monuments were either borrowed from or shared with a New York monuments website. That site, The New York State Division of Military & Naval Affairs can be found HERE. This 1900ish picture was on the Virtual Gettysburg site and can be found HERE.
Clearly it is evident, through a survey of historical pictures and other archival information (such as the annual Commission reports), much change has occurred at Gettysburg Battlefield. With the passage of legislation affording historical status to this site as well as placing it under the auspices of the National Park Service, its patrons and caretakers had to groom and prepare the area to make it more authentic as well as educational. Today the battlefield has managed to maintain an authentic 1863 feel, but back then, as evident in the many photos, it was a desolate, empty place of brown and green fields broken only by the occasional farmstead, their outbuildings and fields of crops. With the emergence and dedication of hundreds of monuments since 1900 (and many before), and the development of farmland, some change has occurred but for the most part, nothing too dramatic. I was able to match these pics up about perfect. There is only one change. There are now trees in the background. Trees always seem to be the default change in these Gettysburg Then-and-Now pics.
The 11th Pennsylvania Reserves (40th Infantry) Monument is located right off of Wheatfield Road along Ayers Avenue. The marker is on the left or southeast of the road if traveling southwest along the road. This site is also the eastern most corner of the Wheatfield, which border is defined on its east side by Ayers Road. When I visited the field was overgrown with tall grass, wildflowers and ticks making it difficult to walk inside and visit the several monuments and position markers. The monument faces northwest looking across the road, which also runs northwest. Parking is available at small, cutout shoulders along the road, some wide, some narrow. Be sure to stay off the grass or you will be tickete by park police. I visited this monument on Thursday, July 5, 2012 at 1:06 P.M. I was at an elevation of 558 feet, ASL. I used a Canon PowerShot 14.1 Megapixel, SX210 IS digital camera for the photos. The monument faces northwest and looks across the road, which also runs southwest. I faced about southeast, about 10 feet away, when I snapped my duplicating picture, facing the monument about dead on. Although I am listing the original photo date as 1900, I believe that number is conservative. I think most of these pics were taken at the time of the dedication ceremony to be included in that year's commission report.
From a previous waymark about this monument:
The 11th Pennsylvania Reserves was also known as The 40th Infantry. During the battle of Gettysburg, it served as a member of Fisher’s Brigade in Crawford’s Division of the Fifth Corps, Army of the Potomac, a Fighting 300 Regiment. The unit was commanded by Colonel Samuel M. Jackson (1833-1907), a merchant from Apollo; served post-war in the state legislature. The brigade had 392 men engaged at Gettysburg with 3 killed and 38 wounded.
The Draw the Sword site helped out by the NPS narrative and the SIRIS site offers the following description: A Celtic style monument. Monument: granite with marble tablet and bronze plaques. Monument to 11th Pennsylvania Reserves comprised of two supporting monolith piers decorated with inset Maltese crosses), topped by a pediment-shaped rock with bronze Pennsylvania state shield). Between the two piers, another rock pillar is decorated with a large palm leaf. Granite monument is composed of two, 3.3×8.2 foot supporting piers with incised Maltese Crosses, corps insignia, and gable cap set on a 4.9 foot rough hewn base. Overall height is 10.4 foot. A polished panel with incised inscriptions is located between the piers. Flanking markers are apex topped, one foot square. The location of the monument marks the general position of the 11th Reserve unit on the evening of July 2, 1863 when they counterattacked Confederates in the Valley of Death, driving westward through Wheatfield. The regiment took position in line with McCandless’ Brigade along stone wall to rear of monument.
The monument was erected on September 1, 1890 by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The monument is of granite with marble tablet and bronze plaques. Overall, the granite monument's dimensions are approximately 11 ft. 4 in. x 4 ft. 6 in. x 4 ft. 6 in. I could not find out who sculpted or fabricated the monument. There are inscription on the front and rear which read:
(Front):11th. Pennsylvania Reserves
3d. Brigade 3d. Division 5th. Corps
Mustered in May 9 - July 5. 1861
Mustered out June 13 1864
Recruited in Cambria, Indiana, Butler, Fayette
Armstrong, Westmoreland, and Jefferson Counties.
Present at Gettysburg 25 officers and 367 men.
Killed 1 officer and 4 men
Wounded 2 officers and 33 men
Total enrollment 1200
Killed and died of wounds 11 officers and 185 men
Died of disease etc. 1 officer and 113 men
Wounded 19 officers 260 men
Captured or missing 31 officers 727 men
(Totals) 61 officers and 1285 men
Total casualties 1346
(Back):July 2d. in the evening charged from
the hill in rear to this position and
held it until the afternoon of July 3rd.
when the Brigade advanced through
the woods to the front and left
driving the enemy and capturing many prisoners
Mechanicsville, Gaines' Mill, Glendale
or New Market Cross Roads, Malvern Hill,
Groveton, 2d. Bull Run, South Mountain,
Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg,
Bristoe Station, Rappahannock Station,
Mine Run, Wilderness, Spotsylvania,
North Anna, Totopotomy, Bethesda Church
The 11th Pennsylvania Reserves (40th Infantry) Monument is a contributing feature to the Gettysburg National Military Park Historic District which is nationally significant under NR Criteria A, B, C & D. Areas of Significance: Military, Politics/Government, Landscape Architecture, Conservation, Archeology-Historic. Period of Significance: 1863-1938. The original National Register Nomination was approved by the Keeper March 19, 1975. An update to this nomination was approved by the Keeper on January 23, 2004. The monument is identified as structure number MN135-B.
From the Nomination Form:
Marks general position of 11th Pennsylvania Infantry on p.m. of July 2, 1863 when they counterattacked Confederates in Valley of Death. 1 of 110 mns in Park to PA commands. Located on E side of Aryes Ave, near Wheatfield Rd.
Short Physical Description:
Mn & 2 flank markers. Rough hewn base, 4'9" w/2 supporting piers, 3'3"x8'2" w/ incised Maltese crosses, corps insignia and gable cap. All 10'4" high. Between piers polished panel w/ incised inscriptions. Flank markers, apex topped, 1'x1'x1'5".
Long Physical Description:
Monument that has two flanking markers. Granite monument is composed of two, 3.3x8.2 foot supporting piers with incised Maltese Crosses, corps insignia, and gable cap set on a 4.9 foot rough hewn base. Overall height is 10.4 foot. A polished panel with incised inscriptions is located between the piers. Flanking markers are apex topped, one foot square. Located on the east side of Ayres Avenue near Wheatfield Road.
1. NRHP Nomination Form
3. Stone Sentinels
4. Virtual Gettysburg
5. Draw the Sword
6. Historical Marker Database