Licensed Battlefield Guide Rich Kohr: The Bucktails on McPherson’s Ridge Part 3
January 25, 2010
A postcard showing the attack of the 55th Virginia Infantry, of Brockenbrough’s Confederate Brigade, attacking the Pennsylvania Bucktails in the McPherson Barn. As Rich will explain later in the post, this is not the direction from which the Virginians attacked the Bucktails. In the postcard, the Virginians are attacking the west side of the barn while facing east. McPherson’s Woods/Herbst’s Woods/Reynolds’ Woods are in the background. In actuality, the Virginians attacked the east side of the barn by facing west. This view, courtesy of Rich Kohr, is facing southeast.
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 our second post, Licensed Battlefield Guide Rich Kohr showed how the 149th and 150th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiments reformed on the western arm of McPherson’s Ridge to face Brockenbrough’s Virginia Brigade.
In today’s post, Rich Kohr shows us how the McPherson Barn was attacked, some rock carvings, and revisits the story of the flags of the 149th Pennsylvania.
The color postcard was probably based on this drawing from Battles and Leaders, Retreat from Gettysburg, (Volume III), page 278. The caption reads: “Assault of Brockenbrough’s Confederate Brigade (Heth’s Division) Upon the Stone Barn of the McPherson Farm. The line of the stone barn was held by Stone’s brigade, Pennsylvania Bucktails (Doubleday’s division), its right resting on the Chambersburg pike (the left of the picture) and its left on the McPherson woods, where a part of Archer’s Confederate brigade of Heth’s division was captured by Meredith’s brigade.” Allen C. Redwood was an artist for the Century Magazine/Battles and Leaders series, and a member of the 55th Virginia Infantry Regiment. He was wounded in his right arm during the Battle of Gettysburg. The records do not show on which day he was wounded. It is speculated that he placed himself in this picture, in the front left, walking off the battlefield, towards the Confederate lines on Herr’s Ridge while holding his right arm. This view was drawn facing southeast circa 1887.
Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Rich Kohr is standing in the McPherson Lane. The McPherson Barn is background. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 2:00 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. Video #13 was taken east of the McPherson Barn. Video #14 was taken at the south side of the McPherson Barn. Video #15 was taken on the south side of the Chambersburg Pike. This map was made facing north at approximately 7:15 PM on Tuesday, January 19, 2010.
In Video #13 (Videos #1-#12 were shown in our previous Bucktail posts) Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Rich Kohr reminds us how the 55th Virginia Infantry Regiment of Brockenbrough’s Brigade attacked the McPherson Barn. This view was taken facing northwest to northeast to southwest to northwest to southwest to south to southeast to northwest at approximately 2:00 PM on Sunday, January 10, 2010.
Licensed Battlefield Guide Rich Kohr is standing on the south side of the McPherson’s Barn, pointing out some rock carvings left by veterans of the 143rd Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment during a reunion/dedication in 1889. This view was taken facing east at approximately 2:00 PM on Sunday, January 10, 2010.
In Video #14 Licensed Battlefield Guide Rich Kohr is standing by the south side of the McPherson Barn, and shows some rock carvings made by veterans of the 143rd Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment. The carvings were discovered by Jesse Richards, son of Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Dave Richards. This view was taken facing east at approximately 2:00 PM on Sunday, January 10, 2010.
The first line reads, “JCT 143rd P.V.” The second line reads, “SMG Sept 12 1889. “JCT” was Jonas C. Tubbs. “SMG was Singleton M. Goss.” They were both in Company F of the 143rd Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, and they were both present at the dedication of the 143rd’s monument on September 11, 1889. This view was taken facing east at approximately 2:00 PM on Sunday, January 10, 2010.
Rich Kohr has now moved closer to the Chambersburg Pike. The equestrian monument is that of Major General John F. Reynolds. The granite monument below Reynolds Statue is the monument to the 149th Pennsylvania. To the left of Reynolds Statue is the monument to Hall’s Battery B, 2nd Maine Artillery. The bronze statue to the left of Hall’s monument is Brigadier General John Buford. To the left of the Buford statue are the marker and guns for Calef’s Battery A, 2nd U.S. Horse Artillery. To the left of Calef’s Battery is a Pennsylvania State Historic Marker. This view was taken facing north at approximately 2:00 PM on Sunday, January 10, 2010.
In Video #15 Rich Kohr is standing near the Chambersburg Pike. He revisits the position of the flags for the 149th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment. This view was taken facing north at approximately 2:00 PM on Sunday, January 10, 2010.