McGilvery's Brigade - US Brigade Tablet - Gettysburg, PA
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
N 39° 48.238 W 077° 14.076
18S E 308702 N 4408388
Quick Description: This monument represents 1 of 75 Civil War US Brigade Tablets @ Gettysburg and records the movement & itinerary of McGilvery's 1st Volunteer Reserve Brigade during the Battle of Gettyburg, July 1-3, 1863.
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Date Posted: 8/21/2012 8:23:51 PM
Waymark Code: WMF4H9
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member iconions
Views: 4

Long Description:

The First Volunteer Brigade was also known as McGilvery’s Brigade. During the battle of Gettysburg, it served as a member of the Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac. The brigade is honored by two monuments, one on the Wheatfield Road and one on South Hancock Avenue. The brigade was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Freeman McGilvery (October 17, 1823 – September 3, 1864) who was a United States Army artillery officer during the American Civil War. He gained fame at the Battle of Gettysburg for taking the initiative to piece together a line of guns that greatly contributed to the Union victory. At the Battle of Deep Bottom, he was slightly wounded in a finger. The wound did not heal properly, and surgeons performed an amputation, during which McGilvery died from an overdose of chloroform being used as an anesthesia. His body was returned to his native Maine and buried in the Village Cemetery in Searsport.

The McGilvery's Brigade - US Brigade Tablet is located on the very southern end of Hancock Avenue, an exciting place if you are a monument enthusiast. The monument is on the left or west side of the road if traveling north; the monument faces the east. This part of Hancock Avenue emerges from Sedgwick Avenue, after the United States Avenue Intersection. I am not sure why the road suddenly has a name change, but here it is Hancock Avenue. All along both sides of the road are these types of tablets, volunteer monuments and all manner of marker and cannon. The place is a history lesson! Parking is available at enlarged shoulder cutouts on the right side of the road, directly across from the various monuments. Be sure to keep vehicles off the grass or you will be ticketed by park police. I visited this monument on Thursday, July 5, 2012 at 5:42 P.M. I was at an elevation of 604 feet, ASL. I used a Canon PowerShot 14.1 Megapixel, SX210 IS digital camera for the photos.

The monument work was done under the direction of the Gettysburg National 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 then transferred to the National Park Service in 1933) SOURCE. According to the NRHP narrative, this monument was built in 1911 but finished in 1912, which according to my experience is questionable. I can't resolve if the 1912 date represents a completion of the physical construction of the tablet or an installation date. Other sources have it at 1910 & 1912. I don't know if anyone actually kept exact records of when these things were installed.

Draw the Sword, with descriptive help from the NPS site, offers the following description: One of 74 (or 75 depending who you listen to) brigade monuments erected at Gettysburg by the War Department to describe the movements and itinerary of each Union brigade of the Army of the Potomac. The pedestals consist of sea-green granite with a square 36” x 36” base; they weigh 3500 pounds. On each pedestal is mounted a bronze tablet with rounded corners weighing 300 pounds. Bronze inscription tablet, 4”0’ x 3’8”, attached to slant face of polished sea green granite monolith. 3’0” squared base of monument tapers to a smaller dimension at the tablet. All 5’4” H. The monuments were designed by E.B. Cope. Many of the inscription tablets were made of bronze melted down from Civil War cannons. A set of crossed cannons, the symbol of the various Federal artillery units at Gettysburg, is at the top of the tablet, just above the main inscription. The inscription on this tablet reads:

Army of the Potomac
Artillery Reserve
First Volunteer Brigade

Lieut. Col. Freeman McGilvery

5th Mass. Battery E (10th New York Attached)
Capt. Charles A. Phillips
July 2d Engaged on Third Corps line on the Wheatfield Road.

9th Mass. Battery
Capt. John Bigelow, Lieut. Richard S. Milton
July 2d Engaged on Third Corps line on the Wheatfield Road.
July 3d in Ziegler's Grove.

15th New York Battery
Capt. Patrick Hart
July 2d Engaged on Third Corps line on the Wheatfield Road.
July 3d On Second Corps line south of Pleasonton Avenue.

Penna. Batteries C and F
Capt. James Thompson
July 2d Engaged in Peach Orchard.
July 3d On line with Battery K 4th U.S. on right and Hart's Battery on left.

Casualties. Killed 1 officer 16 men. Wounded 10 officers 61 men. Captured or missing 5 men. Total 93.

There are hundreds of non-sculpted monumentation for the various Confederate States & Union units which fought at Gettysburg. There are about 10 different variations of tablets, markers & monoliths by my reckoning. Six designs represent brigade (2), division (2), corps (2), & army headquarters (2), each different in a subtle way so as to distinguish between armies. Battalion/battery/advance position markers & regimental monuments for U.S. Regulars & Confederate have their own distinct design (2), bringing the total to 10 designs at the battlefield. The bronze tablets were created by Albert Russell & Sons Co. of Newburyport, Mass. The granite bases which accompany the various tablets were created by the Van Amringe Company from Boston, Mass. The cast iron tablets were manufactured by Calvin Gilbert. The 1910 Gettysburg Commission report lists the awarded contracts to these companies (not Gilbert) for the tablets. All of these tablets were designed by architect Colonel Emmor Bradley Cope (July 23, 1834 - May 28, 1927). He designed pretty much every tablet for both the Union & Rebel armies, each one distinct, w/ several different varieties. He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Gettysburg, as well he should be as this park and most of the things seen here today were designed by him and as such, are his legacy. These monuments were erected just after the turn of the century during the first & beginning of the second decade of the 20th century. Each one has since been preserved or restored at least twice since the turn of the 21st century. The plaques & tablets were erected by the Gettysburg Park Commission (established by the War Dept.). The Gettysburg Park Commission is also referred to as the Gettysburg National Military Park Commission or the Gettysburg National Park Commission, to clear up any confusions, especially my own.

On October 1, 1898, the Gettysburg National Park Commission in a letter to the Secretary of War set gave recommendations for continuing the task of organizing & progressing the work of the Gettysburg National Military Park. Every November they wrote their annual report which outlined the work of the GNPC for that year. The following is an excerpt from that report relevant to this waymark. The link at the end of the paragraph will take you to the entire report. The method of marking the positions of troops on this field, as approved by the War Department, is to place the principal tablet or monument of each command at the position occupied by the command in the main line of battle, and to mark the several important positions subsequently reached by each command in the course of the battle by subordinate and ancillary tablets, with appropriate brief inscriptions giving interesting details and occurrences and noting the day and hour as nearly as possible. SOURCE

Most of the Commission reports have been digitized and can be found HERE. The initial 1893 report up to & including 1921 can be found here. 1922 to 1926 are missing & have yet to be discovered. The years 1927 to 1933 were discovered in 1996 and are also included. To my knowledge this is the most comprehensive list of documents that illustrated the development and formation of the park.

Information about these specific types of monuments:
BRIGADE HEADQUARTERS MARKERS (FOR UNION & CONFEDERATE TABLETS)
Brigade Headquarters (and Confederate artillery battalions, equivalent to Union artillery brigades) are bronze tablets mounted at an angle on a stone pedestal. They are the most numerous headquarters at Gettysburg, with over 70 Union and over 60 Confederate examples on the field. Union headquarters are marked with their corps or service branch symbol (like a cross, clover or crescent moon), while Confederate headquarters are simply labeled "C.S.A.". There are seventy-four brigade markers at Gettysburg honoring the AOP’s various brigades. (Other sources say there are 75). They were built by Albert Russell & Sons Co. of Newburyport, Massachusetts and Charles Kappes. The pedestals consist of sea-green granite with a square 36” x 36” base; they weigh 3500 pounds. On each pedestal is mounted a bronze tablet with rounded corners weighing 300 pounds. There are sixty-four brigade markers honoring the Army of North Virginia's various brigades. They were built by Van Amringe Granite Company (pedestals), Albert Russell & Sons Co., Newburyport, Mass (tablets) and Charles Kappes (foundations). The last was completed in December 1910. The 1910 date is disputed by other sites listing the end dates as 1912. The monuments consist of red circular Maine granite bases 34 1/2 inches diameter and weighing 3,000 pounds. On each base is mounted a 300 pound bronze tablet. SOURCE & SOURCE


The McGilvery's Brigade - US Brigade Tablet is a contributing feature to the Gettysburg Nat'l Military Park H.D. which is nationally significant under NR Criteria A, B, C & D. Areas of Significance: Military, Politics/Gov't, Landscape Architecture, Conservation, Archeology-Historic. Period of Significance: 1863-1938. The monument is designated as structure no. MN532.

From the Nomination Form:
1 of 75 Civil War US Brigade Tablets in Park, 1 of 2 to McGilvery's Reserve. Records movement & itinerary of McGilvery's 1st Volunteer Reserve Brig during Battle of Gettysburg, July 1-3, 1863.

Short Physical Description:
Bronze inscription tablet, 4”0’ x 3’8”, attached to slant face of polished sea green granite monolith. 3’0” squared base of monument tapers to a smaller dimension at the tablet. All 5’4” H.

Long Physical Description:
Located W side of Hancock Ave near United States Ave.

My Sources
1. NRHP Nomination Form
2. Stone Sentinels
3. Virtual Gettysburg
4. Draw the Sword
5. Historical Marker Database
6. Wikipedia

Date Installed or Dedicated: 7/1/1912

Name of Government Entity or Private Organization that built the monument: Gettysburg National Military Park Commission

Union, Confederate or Other Monument: Union

Rating (1-5):

Related Website: [Web Link]

Photo or photos will be uploaded.: yes

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