Eleventh Corps at Gettysburg Part 35 With Licensed Battlefield Guide Stuart Dempsey
February 22, 2011
The area of Smith’s Ridge as seen from the National Cemetery on Cemetery Hill. This image by Tipton and Myers, taken facing northwest circa 1869, is courtesy of Stuart Dempsey.
Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Stuart Dempsey is our host for a series on the Eleventh Army Corps during the Battle of Gettysburg. Stuart had two relatives in the Eleventh Corps (73rd Ohio Infantry Regiment) and both were killed/mortally wounded at Gettysburg. They are both buried in the National Cemetery. Stuart has been a Licensed Battlefield Guide since 2004.
In today’s Eleventh Corps post, Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Stuart Dempsey continues to show positions occupied by soldiers from Orland Smith’s Brigade in and around an area Stuart has designated as “Smith’s Ridge.”
This map shows the location of where our Eleventh Corps at Gettysburg videos were produced. Videos #1-#95 were shown on other maps on our previous posts. Video #96 was taken at the site of the Dobbin Barn. Video #97 was taken at the Barberhein House. Video #98 was taken near the Stock/Stuch House. Video #99 was taken near the intersection of Gettys Street and South Washington Street. Video #100 was taken on the property of the Gettysburg Hospital on the crest of Smith’s Ridge. Video #101 was taken on Long Lane. Video #102 was taken at the junction of Gettys Street and Fairview Avenue. Video #s 103-104 were taken at the intersection of Fairview Avenue and Queen Street. This map was created facing north at approximately 6:30 PM on Friday, February 18, 2011.
Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Stuart Dempsey is the host for our Eleventh Corps series. He is standing at the junction of Gettys Street (right to left behind Stuart) and Fairview Avenue (out of sight on the right). He is on the summit of Smith’s Ridge. The buildings of Gettysburg Hospital are in the background. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 4:15 PM on Friday, December 31, 2010.
In Video #102 (Videos #1-#101 were shown in our previous Eleventh Corps posts) Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Stuart Dempsey is standing on the summit of Smith Ridge near the junction of Gettys Street and Fairview Avenue. He describes the action of the 55th Ohio Infantry and how one of their members was awarded the Medal of Honor for his fighting in this area. This view was taken facing east to northwest to northeast at approximately 4:15 PM on Friday, December 31, 2010.
Licensed Battlefield Guide Stuart Dempsey is standing at the intersection of Fairview Avenue left to right and Queen Street running away from the camera towards Cemetery Hill (the tallest trees in the background). The building at the end of Queen Street is located on the east side of Steinwehr Avenue. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 4:15 PM on Friday, December 31, 2010.
In Video #103 Licensed Battlefield Guide Stuart Dempsey is standing on the summit of Smith’s Ridge at the intersection of Fairview Avenue and Queen Street. He describes some action by the 73rd Ohio Infantry Regiment. This view was taken facing northeast to northwest to southwest to southeast at approximately 4:15 PM on Friday, December 31, 2010.
A Confederate view from halfway up the slope of Smith’s Ridge near Sunset Avenue (on the left). We are looking up the slope along Queen Street. Stuart Dempsey is at the top of the ridge on Fairview Avenue. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 4:15 PM on Friday, December 31, 2010.
In Video #104 Stuart Dempsey still standing at the intersection of Fairview Avenue and Queen Street. He describes an incident related by George Metcalf of the 136th New York somewhere in this area. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 4:15 PM on Friday, December 31, 2010.
This post-war photograph is of Private George Metcalf of the 136th New York. The following is his account of his action on Smith’s Ridge: “The order was renewed and we again started [forward]. This time with a full realization that danger was ahead in the shape of a strong skirmish line of rebels. We started for them on a run, yelling at the top of our voices. I remember placing the butt of my gun in front of my face and holding my trusty old frying pan and knapsack up, so as to stop any unfriendly bullet that might be calling my way. I ran down the line of a board fence, or rather what had been a board fence, for nothing but the posts stood now. As I hurried along I heard the rifle balls strike these posts and expected every second to be taken for a post and killed. We ran about sixty rods forward, but before we had gone half that distance, the first line of rebel skirmishers broke and ran before us. I saw about ten rods ahead of me, a rail pile made into a sort of breastwork. I made up my mind to reach this pile and stop whether the rest of the company did or not, for the bullets came too thick to expect to escape for much longer. I ran or tried to run as I never ran before. It seemed I would never reach the place, and in my anxiety to get there, my head wanted to go faster than my feet could carry it. As a result, I fell forward when within ten feet of the rail-pile. As I fell, my cheek struck the leg of a dead man who had been stripped of his clothes … I was going so fast that when I fell on my face I slid the whole length of this dead body, and a sort of slimy matter peeled off and stuck to my face. I found myself now with two other comrades who put in their appearance at about the same time I did, and three dead men behind this pile of rails, which was about two feet high. … I counted out fifty-four [percussion] caps and laid them on a rail, so as to be handy when loading, for I did not dare rise over the top of the rail-breastwork to load, so loaded my gun lying on my back. … … I began to load and shoot, and the two comrades with me did the same. I took deliberate aim and discharged my gum 53 times – at a rebel every time. We three would shoot together, often by calling “One, Two – fire,” and watch for the result. Whether we actually hit anyone or not, we could not tell.”The image and account are courtesy of Stuart Dempsey.
To see other posts by Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guides,click here.