Friday, June 17, 2011

Neat coincidences...
There are so many amazing coincidences out there, it's hard not to believe that there is a higher power controlling the strings that are our lives. of the guys I was hired with 20 years ago was in boot camp at Great Lakes the same time I was. We never met, but told several of the same stories.  Coincidence?  Probably.

Last night at the station, this same guy saw me studying info on Gettysburg, he told me that he had just done some family research and his great-great-great? grandfather fought for the 11th Pennsylvania Infantry during the Civil War.

The 11th Pa has one of my favorite monuments at Gettysburg...Sallie the pit bull is featured on their monument.  So obviously I had to find as much information as I could.

So here is a bit of what I have found and what Dave was able to tell me.

John B. McGrew (M'Grew)...Captain, Company G, 11th Pa, from West Elizabeth Pa, was 36 when he joined up on August 28, 1862, was wounded at Fredericksburg (I believe in the area of The Slaughter Pen Farm), and was discharged on March 15, 1865 on a surgeon's certificate.  Prior to the war he was a medical doctor, but wasn't used as one during the war, rather he was a company commander for an infantry unit.

The unit was engaged at the West Woods at Antietam, although I'm still trying to find muster rolls for the battle, I'm not sure if Capt. McGrew was with the regiment at that time as he had only joined a few weeks before.  From the time of his joining the regiment the 11th fought at 2nd Bull Run, Chantilly, South Mountain, Antietam and Fredericksburg where Capt. McGrew was wounded.  Again, I'm not sure which battles he may have fought in prior to Fredericksburg (but as I find out more info, I'll add it)

The 11th Pa Regiment had the distinction of being the oldest continuously serving regiment in the state at the time of the Civil War (serving since the American Revolution) first formed in Philadelphia on 10/25/1776.

This is a picture of the 1910 reunion of the 11th Pa at Gettysburg.  I'm not sure if Capt. McGrew was present here or if he fought at Gettysburg.  To be sure he knew of Sallie the regimental mascot.

11th Pennsylvania Regiment, 1910 reunion at Gettysburg

I'll keep on my buddy Dave, and keep doing research on Captain McGrew.  If you have anything that may help in my search, I'd be appreciative.

The picture of the 11th Pa Reunion was taken from the following website:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A new week is upon me...
I started this week's study with the order of battle for the 3rd Corps of the Union Army.  I also downloaded a ton of maps from to help better understand the timing of events in the battle.  For the record is the site of The Civil War Trust, their main purpose is battlefield preservation.  This is a fine organization to belong to, and a fine charity to donate to as well.

Did anybody happen to see Gettysburg on the History Channel on Memorial Day?  It's been widely panned by many in the Civil War community.  My opinion is the cinematography was great, I liked the fact that Culp's Hill got mentioned, and for somebody with little knowledge or with a passing knowledge of the battle, it wasn't bad.  For anybody with an interest in the battle...there were many issues with this television show, things that were incorrect, or omitted outright to name a few.  But I won't get into that here.

I'm doing a lot of study of the first day of the battle right now, so for the next couple posts, I will post pix from that area of the battlefield.  Today we start with the First Shot Marker, and the Iron Brigade...enjoy

The first shot marker is located on US Rt 30 just a few miles west of Herr's Ridge (on the right as you travel west on Rt 30)
Fired by Cap Jones with Sergt Shafers Carbine, CO E 8th Ill Cavalary

First Shot, Gettysburg, July 1st 1863, 730 A.M.

7th Wisconsin, 1st Corps, 1st Division, 1st Brigade AOP
 McPherson's Ridge (on Stone Avenue), this monument was dedicated in 1888, they went into action with 370 men and lost 194 as casualties at Gettysburg.  Their war record listed on the other side of this monument shows they fought in 25 battles including Antietam, Gettysburg, Spottsylvania, The Wilderness, Cold Harbor and more, suffering 1157 casualties for the duration of the war.

2nd Wisconsin, 1st Corps, 1st Division, 1st Brigade, AOP
2nd Wisconsin, also dedicated in 1888.  They went into battle with 302 men and suffered 233 casualties.  In 1864 they were merged with the 6th Wisconsin as Companies G and H.  Located on Meredith Avenue on McPherson's Ridge.

24th Michigan, 1st Corps, 1st Division, 1st Brigade, AOP
Dedicated in 1889 and located on Meredith Avenue, McPherson's Ridge.  Went into battle with 496 men, suffered 323 casualties.  Served in AOP throughout the war fought in same battles as 2nd Wisconsin.  Was chosen as escort for funeral of President Abraham Lincoln.


19th Indiana, 1st Corps, 1st Division, 1st Brigade AOP
Dedicated 1885, 339 men engaged in battle, 210 casualties suffered.  Fought most of the same battles as the rest of the 1st Brigade, eventually consolidated with the 20th Indiana in October 1864.  Also located on Meredith Avenue, McPherson's Ridge.

6th Wisconsin, 1st Corps, 1st Division, 1st Brigade, AOP
Dedicated 1888, located on Reynolds Avenue by the Railroad Cut.  340 men engaged in battle, 168 casualties suffered.  Served throughout the war, and was present at Lee's surrender at Appomattox.  

Other notes on the Iron Brigade Monuments
Notice that most of them have the 5 pointed star like shape on top that was the symbol of the Iron Brigade.  If you notice on each there is a red circle (except the 24th Michigan where it is just a grey circle) that was the symbol of the 1st Division of the 1st Corps of the Union Army.  The 2nd Wisconsin and 24th Michigan also have a Hardee hat which was unique to the Iron Brigade (they were known as the black hats).

Iron Brigade Medals of Honor at Gettysburg

Sergeant Jefferson Coates, Company H, 7th Wisconsin.  For unsurpassed courage in battle on 7/1/63 where he had both eyes shot out.  He received a brevet promotion to Captain for his actions as well.

Corporal Francis A .Waller, Company I, 6th Wisconsin.  For capture of the flag of the 2nd Mississippi Infantry on 7/1/1863.

The pictures of Sgt Coates and the 2nd Mississippi battle flag are not mine, I have taken them from the following web sites..
Sgt Coates:
2nd Mississippi Battle Flag:

I hope you enjoyed this installment, please feel free to leave comments.  Until next time...