Jan 15



In July 1862, because of the excellent record of the 13th Pennsylvania Reserves (42nd Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, the original “Bucktails,”) Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton ordered an additional brigade of Bucktails to be recruited. From the 150th Pennsylvania regimental history: “to further the work of obtaining men… A huge furniture car… was hired… placarded with appeals to “Enlist in The Bucktail Brigade!”  The wagon was pulled through the streets of Philadelphia, hanging from the wagon were poles with bucktails “to be bestowed upon the expected recruits” Apparently this wagon brought in enough recruits to fill two companies of men (Cos. E & F). Twenty companies of recruits were raised by the end of August, 1862 to send to Harrisburg for official organization into the 149th and 150th Pennsylvania regiments. This view, courtesy of Rich Kohr, was drawn for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, July, 1862.

The original “Bucktails” were the 13th Pennsylvania Reserves Regiment (42nd Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment). They were so named because of the regiment’s custom of having each man wear on his hat the tail of a deer he had shot. The Bucktails were said to be all superior marksmen, and during the first year of the war they distinguished themselves as skirmishers and sharpshooters.

In July 1862, because of this excellent record, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton directed Roy Stone, a major in the 13th Pennsylvania Reserves, to enlist an additional brigade of Bucktails. Stone raised 20 companies of recruits by the end of August to send to Harrisburg for official organization into the 149th and 150th Pennsylvania regiments. The new volunteers, having proudly adopted the distinctive badge of the earlier group, also called themselves the “Bucktails” or sometimes the “New Bucktails.” The 143rd Pennsylvania would join the brigade in February, 1863.

At the beginning of the war, most of this brigade’s time had been spent within the fortifications of Washington, D.C. They were not significantly engaged at Chancellorsville, so Gettysburg would be their first major battle. Their most important contribution to the Battle of Gettysburg occurred on McPherson’s Ridge on July 1, 1863.

In our first Bucktails’ post Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Rich Kohr showed us the positions and actions of the Bucktails around the McPherson Farm and the Railroad Cut on July 1, 1863.

In today’s post, Licensed Battlefield Guide Rich Kohr shows how the 149th and 150th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiments reformed on the western arm of McPherson’s Ridge to face Brockenbrough’s Virginia Brigade.



Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Rich Kohr is standing near the monument to the 150th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment on the “west arm” of McPherson’s Ridge. Part of the McPherson Barn is visible in the left background. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 1:30 PM on Sunday, January 10, 2010.



This map shows the locations where our videos were recorded. The number in the star matches the number of the video listed on this post. Video #10 was taken by the monument to the 150th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment. Video #11 was taken farther down the slope of McPherson’s Ridge overlooking Willoughby Run and the Willoughby Run Quarry. Video #12 was taken between the monument to the 150th Pennsylvania and the McPherson Barn. This map was made facing north at approximately 7:00 PM on Tuesday, January 12, 2010.

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In Video #10 (Videos #1-#9 were shown in our previous Bucktail post) Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Rich Kohr reminds us that the last time we were here, he finished discussing the counterattack by the 150th Pennsylvania on the 32nd North Carolina. He also shows us the final line on the “west arm” of McPherson’s Ridge formed by the 149th Pennsylvania and the 150th Pennsylvania infantry regiments to defend themselves against an attack from Brockenbrough’s Virginia Brigade. This view was taken facing northeast to northwest to southeast at approximately 1:30 PM on Sunday, January 10, 2010.



Licensed Battlefield Guide Rich Kohr has now moved down the west slope, of the west arm of McPherson’s Ridge. The trees at the bottom of the slope grow along Willoughby Run. The snow on the “other” side of the trees is on the east slope of Herr’s Ridge. The trees in the distant background also grow on Herr’s Ridge. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 1:30 PM on Sunday, January 10, 2010.

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In Video #11 Licensed Battlefield Guide Rich Kohr has moved west towards a position overlooking Willoughby Run and the Willoughby Run Quarry. He explains why Brockenbrough’s Virginia Brigade avoided this area and did not make a frontal assault on the 149th and the 150th Pennsylvania. This view was taken facing southeast to northwest to south at approximately 1:30 PM on Sunday, January 10, 2010.


Rich Kohr is standing on the crest of the “west arm” of McPherson’s Ridge. The McPherson Barn is in the background. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 1:30 PM on Sunday, January 10, 2010.

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In Video #12 Rich Kohr has moved back to the crest of the west arm of McPherson’s Ridge. He explains that as the Union’s Iron Brigade fell back from Herbst Woods, and Confederates threatened to outflank the Bucktails, Stone’s Brigade was ordered to the “east arm” of McPherson’s Ridge. There the 143rd, the 149th and the 150th Pennsylvania all faced west. This view was taken facing northwest to south to southeast at approximately 1:30 PM on Sunday, January 10, 2010.



The “west arm” of McPherson’s Ridge circa 1903. The focal point is the recently erected statue of John Burns. Stone Avenue/Meredith Avenue is on the left. To the right of Stone Avenue is the light colored monument to the 150th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment. Among other items in the background along the Chambersburg Pike is the equestrian statue of Major General John F. Reynolds. The McPherson Barn is to the right of the John Burns statue. The postwar wagon shed is to the right of the barn. The small building to the right of the wagon shed also did not exist in 1863. This view was taken facing northeast circa 1903.

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