Addendum to

"The Supreme Event in its Existence: The 140th N.Y. on Little Round Top"

Gettysburg Magazine No. 3

By Brian A. Bennett

In this addendum to my 1990 article examining the tactics taken by the 140th N.Y. Infantry on Little Round Top, I hope to address the following relevant issues:

1. Source Material for the Article

The most common and comprehensive source for the 140th New York at Gettysburg comes from Porter Farley. Farley was a lieutenant in the 140th N.Y., and at Gettysburg, the acting adjutant. In the 1870s he began writing a regimental history of the 140th, based on a diary of the time, as well as letters sent home. It was subsequently published in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle in 17 installments. His chapters were untitled, and since his Gettysburg chapter was the ninth in the series, it has been since known as Farley's "No. 9." His Reminiscences of the 140th Regiment New York State Volunteers, as the series was known, was never completely published in book form. In 1944 the Rochester Historical Society published Rochester in the Civil War, the 22nd volume of their on-going publication series. A heavily-edited version of Farley's Reminiscences was included; the parts that remained dealt mainly with his writings about the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and the Wilderness. "No. 9" was published in its entirety in Oliver Norton's Attack and Defense of Little Round Top (1913) and also in the May 3, 1883 issue of The National Tribune, as "Bloody Round Top."

Farley was also the keynote speaker at the dedication of the 140th's Gettysburg monument in 1889. His speech is printed in its entirety in New York at Gettysburg, as well as the Sept. 18, 1889 issue of the Democrat & Chronicle. Other Farley source material is discussed under "New Findings."

The city of Rochester had three newspapers operating at the time of the Civil War: the Daily Union and Advertiser, the Democrat & American, and the Evening Express. Each paper apparently arranged for a member of the 140th (as well as other units with Rochester ties) to act as a regimental correspondent to the paper, sending along letters regarding the activities of the unit. The Daily Union and Advertiser was indexed for Civil War material in the Rochester Rundel Library. A search of the microfilm for this newspaper yielded over 100 stories regarding the 140th, almost 30 of those letters from soldiers.

The other two newspapers were not indexed, so a tedious microfilm search of all issues of both newspapers from August 1862 to July 1865 was done. Both newspapers yielded much more information on the 140th: the Democrat & American had 311 articles, 76 being soldier's letters; the Evening Express contained 451 articles, 85 of which were soldiers' letters.

The Daily Union and Advertiser and Democrat and American were the first two newspapers I searched and transcribed and neither had any letters dealing with Gettysburg. The Evening Express was the last to be searched, and to my pleasant surprise, contained four letters dealing with the 140th's action at Gettysburg. Three were written during the battle (on the morning of July 3) or immediately after; the fourth just one month later. (The authors and dates of publication are included in the original article.)

In terms of source material, these four articles are of premium value due to the fact they were written so soon after the battle, and because all deal primarily with what each soldier actually eyewitnessed.

Other source materials used for the article include The Military Memoirs of Capt. Henry Cribben, a compilation of Cribben's talks for the veterans' groups of which he was a member, published post-humously by his widow. Also viewed were a pair of letters written by members of the 140th which appeared in the National Tribune, a national veterans' newspaper. All were afforded lesser status as source materials, due to obvious mis-statements, as well as the number of years that had passed since the actual battle. (One article, by Joseph Leeper, contained the false information that the 140th was in Zouave garb at the battle, while in actuality the unit received those uniforms in January 1864. Leeper also makes the following outlandish claim: "When our men poured down over the rocks in their jaunty but tattered Zouave uniforms, with their untarnished bannerets bearing the white Maltese cross, the pure emblem of the vigilant and sturdy Fifth Corps, the enemy, apparently horror-stricken, began throwing down their arms and cried out, 'the Fifth Corps, Army of the Potomac.'")

Most of the information in the four new articles, all never before published or cited in any 140th or Gettysburg study, basically corroborate Farley. Yet there are some contradictions with Farley's widely-accepted account of the 140th on Little Round Top, primarily his description of the movement up the hill and the charge down the opposite slope as a continuous movement.

As the new materials were written so immediately after the battle, they assumed great weight in analyzing the accounts. So the Gettysburg Magazine article became a way to:

2. Corrections to the Original Article

A. Rank of James Rennick Campbell

In the original article I wrote that one of the letter writers, James Campbell, was a corporal in Co. D. This was based on his service record as recorded in the New York State Adjutant General's Report for the 140th N.Y., which states that he was promoted to sergeant-major in Sept. of 1863. In further research for the 140th regimental history I examined Campbell's National Archives' military file, which notes that he was actually promoted to that rank in January of 1863. Farley, in further writings (see below) identified Campbell as the sergeant major to whom O'Rorke tossed the reins to his horse when he dismounted.

The identification of Campbell as the letter writer "J.R.C." is not completely assured. The assumption was made on a number of points:

The inconsistency in assuming that Campbell was indeed "J.R.C." is due to the fact that actions Farley ascribes to Campbell are not referred to by "J.R.C." There are no inconsistencies between Farley's account and that of "J.R.C.," yet one would assume that if Campbell was indeed the man to whom O'Rorke tossed the reins of his horse, that he would have mentioned it in his letter.

A more logical explanation is that Farley erred in identifying Campbell as the aide that attended to O'Rorke's horse. In his proper position as sergeant major, Campbell would have been serving as the regiment's left guide, which would have placed him at the far end of the column, not at the front, with O'Rorke and Farley. It may have been another NCO that handled O'Rorke's horse.

Farley, whose writings are highly accurate and remarkably free of hyperbole and exaggeration that tinged many post-war chronicles, is not infallible. The issue of the pause at the top of Little Round Top is one example. I have transcribed and compared his entire Reminiscences and there are other minor discrepancies in his work, although certainly nothing of major issue. (Another possible disparity is noted below in the controversy as to the 140th's position in the brigade column.)

B. Location of O'Rorke/Warren Meeting

The location of where Warren intercepted and diverted the 140th is based on a comment from Porter Farley in his 1889 speech at the dedication of the regiment's Gettysburg monument. He stated that the "brigade was crossing the ridge, and we ourselves had about reached the point where the railroad now crosses the road...." when Warren appeared.

At the time I consulted a map of Gettysburg, circa 1904, from Pennsylvania at Gettysburg, which showed the existence of park roads and the Gettysburg Electric Railway. For some now unknown reason, I was fixed on the Electric Railway as the tracks to which Farley was referring and I made the erroneous assumption that Farley fixed the point as to where the trolley route crossed Sykes Avenue, the latter road crossing over and bisecting Little Round Top as it does today. This intersection was very near the Wheatfield Rd./Sykes Ave. intersection of today.

However, as I later learned, the Electric Railway did not begin operation until 1893, four years after Farley made the comment. That same map also shows a spur of the Gettysburg and Harrisburg Railroad which ends behind Little Round Top. A station was situated near the intersection of the Wheatfield and Taneytown Roads, and operated between 1884 and 1916. The track crossed the Wheatfield Road about 280 feet from the Taneytown Road and some 560 feet from Sykes Ave.

Also in re-reading Farley, he notes that the head of the brigade column was crossing the northern swell at the base of Little Round Top (which is near the Wheatfield Rd./Sykes Ave. intersection), not the head of the 140th. If the 140th was at the end of the brigade column, they would have been a good distance behind.

According to Gettysburg National Park Service ranger and GDG member Tom Desjardin, there is still evidence of the railbed today. In response to my recent inquiry, Tom writes: "The 'Round Top Spur' railbed is still somewhat visible today. There is a line of rocks on the eastern edge of the bed which probably acted as a retainer for the bed."

There are a couple of issues related to this point being the place where Warren gave O'Rorke his instructions. If this was the spot, the 140th traversed more of the eastern slope of the hill on its ascent (as Farley does describe), which seemingly would have taken it possibly within hearing range of the 20th Maine's position, if it was engaged at the time. Yet Farley writes of an acoustic shadow which prevented the troops from hearing the firing on the western and southern slope of Little Round Top. This may reinforce the argument that the 20th Maine was not yet engaged when the 140th came up the hill; otherwise absent any specific instructions other than the guide services of Washington Roebling, Warren's aide, O'Rorke may have marched to the sound of the firing, i.e. the position of the 20th Maine.

The second issue is one that is difficult to answer, because it is dependent on conditions that cannot be replicated - that is, how heavily wooded was the eastern slope of Little Round Top. Warren writes of spotting troops on the Wheatfield Rd. and riding down to intersect them. He does not, however, write as to which direction he was looking. For Warren to intersect the column where Farley describes, Warren seemingly took a route more down the eastern slope of the hill, instead of directly down the northern slope. It may have dependent on the easiest route down the hill; Strong Vincent when he brought up his brigade found this section of the hill too difficult for horses and went around the eastern base.

The scenario that fits Farley's estimate: Warren glances off the northeast (the direction from which most Federal reinforcements were coming) and spots the head of Weed's Brigade at some point on the Wheatfield Rd. east of Little Round Top. By the time he and Roebling pick their way down the boulder-studded slope of Little Round Top (this descent would not seemingly be something they could do at a full gallop), the head of the brigade column had passed by and Warren struck the column at the head of the 140th.

This scenario loses credibility if the eastern slope of Little Round Top was so heavily wooded as to prevent Warren from seeing a column on the Wheatfield Rd. until directly north of Little Round Top.

3. Some Additional Information

Since the publication of the article, I have come across two additional letters by Farley which further explains his role in the action. In the original article I was unable to advance a specific theory as to how the remaining eight companies of the 140th made their way down the hill. In a June 1911 letter to Oliver Norton Farley writes:

"The instant he was rid of his horse O'Rorke drew his sword and called, 'Down this way boys.' There was no time for any formal order. He led the men just as they came over the ridge and without a gun loaded. We had no idea we were so close to a fight. I had been riding on the Colonel's right side and when I jumped off my horse and tried to put him in [Sgt. Major] Campbell's charge I was obstructed by the men who were rushing after the Colonel and by the uneasiness of my horse and when I got through to where Campbell had been he had got some yards away with the other horse, so that when I got rid of my horse I found myself among the men of the second company and I busied myself working the men off toward the right (north), so as to form some kind of a line instead of allowing them to rush on after the Colonel and form a huddled crowd down toward the foot of the hill."
(Note: this Farley letter was published as part of a new appendix to the 1990 Morningside reprint of Norton's Army Letters. It was not available in earlier additions.)

In a letter to the editor, published in the April 22, 1899 Army and Navy Journal, Farley describes what happened to the other eight companies left above the shelf. "The other companies, by a sort of hustling movement, which propagated itself from left to right, formed a line to the right of Co. A, and among the rocks on the eastern slope of the ridge. The brunt of the battle was borne by the three or four companies which first went over the ridge. They were those belonging to the right wing of the regiment, but as the regiment got into line of battle, faced to the rear, the right companies of the regiment were on the left of the line."

This would fit the scenario I suggested in the article, although at that time I was unable to provide any such supporting evidence. Companies A and G rushed down the hill, forming a battle front by going "by company into line." This would place Company G on the left of Company A. Farley then indicates that the eight companies he halted and kept above the shelf on which the 16th Maine was position, faced to the rear, and then obliqued or "hustled" down the hill, forming on the right of Co. A and facing west. This formation would match the company position map I had created for the article.

Other interesting information from the two letters:

From a letter I either did not have at the time, or did not use because it did not specifically deal with tactics, comes an interesting tidbit about members of the 140th being barefoot prior to and during the battle. The letter was written by Assistant Surgeon Mathias Lord to his sister on July 12, 1863. He writes
"Many of them [men of the regiment] marched their shoes and boots out long ago and have been hopping and hobbling along over all variety of roads since. Some - in fact - most of them, without a murmuring word. Our battleground at Gettysburg was covered with sharp flinty rocks - wild blackberry biers, poison ivy, and brambles of every kind, and to see how our brave, yet sore and bare-footed boys rushed over them and into the very ranks of the enemy with deafening yells..., was a sight that made even the poor wounded fellows we were dressing ask us to help them on their feet, leaving their wounds undressed sometimes, and indulge in long and hearty cheers for 'the old glory, the Constitution and the laws.'"
4. The Mini-Controversy as the Position of the 140th in the Brigade Column of March

In the 1870s Porter Farley started to put together his history of the 140th. He began corresponding with Gouverneur Warren on his role at Gettysburg. Farley actually went as far as sending drafts of the Gettysburg section to Warren. Warren's letters of response are part of the appendix of letters in Oliver Norton's Attack and Defense of Little Round Top.

Here is what Farley wrote concerning the brigade line of march in "No. 9," first published in the Democrat and Chronicle, Dec. 3, 1877:

"We soon reached the sloping ground where the ascent began on our side up the ridge, beyond which the battle at that time was raging.... The First division of our corps, commanded by Brigadier-General Barnes, had preceded us. Our division, the Second, under Brigadier-General R.B. Ayres, followed it. Our brigade, under Brigadier-General Stephen H. Weed, led the division, and though my recollection of the order in which the regiments were marching does not agree with that of other officers present, I think that our regiment was the rear one of the brigade, and that the leading regiments of our brigade were just passing over that slightly elevated ground north of Little Round Top when down its slope on our left, accompanied by a single mounted officer and an orderly, rode General G.K. Warren.... Warren straight toward the head of the regiment, where I was riding with the colonel.... We turned off the road to our left and rushed along the wooded, rocky eastern slope of Little Round Top, ascending it while at the same time moving toward its southern extremity."

Farley also quotes a sizeable chunk from Warren's letter of July 13, 1872, including the following passage, which does not specifically address the position issue, but does tell what Warren saw:

"Seeing troops going out on the peach orchard road, I rode down the hill and fortunately met my old brigade. General Weed, commanding it, had already passed the point, and I took the responsibility to detach Colonel O'Rorke, the head of whose regiment I struck...,"

Farley's slight disclaimer on the brigade's order of march ("though my recollection... does not agree with that of other officers present) was due to an exchange with Warren on the subject prior to the publication of the article. Responding to a draft of the article, Warren wrote in a letter of Oct. 23, 1877:

"You say, 'When we reached the beginning of the rising ground at the northern extremity of Little Round Top, we being the rear regiment of our brigade, and our brigade the rear brigade of the division, General Warren,' etc. This order of movement does not agree with my impression, nor with that of my brother, who was there and on General Weed's staff. I am making further inquiries about it. Are you sure of what you say, or do you derive it from someone else?"

Warren did indeed do some checking on the subject, writing to some other officers and historians. In his letter of Oct. 26, 1877 to Farley, he writes:

"I have a letter from John Bachelder which states that Weed's brigade was leading, as shown by his notes made in the winter following, but that your regiment was in rear of the brigade. It is not an important matter in itself, but becomes interesting as illustrative of the different impressions preserved by different persons, of occurrences in exciting moments of battles, when there could be no motive for differing. Have you consulted official reports for your order of march?"

An excerpt from a letter by 1st. Lt. Azor S. Marvin, Jr. to Warren, Oct. 29, 1877, apparently in response to Warren's inquiry. At Gettysburg he was the adjutant of Weed's Brigade. Reprinted in Bachelder's Papers, Vol. I:

"I recollect the circumstances of our brigade's approach to Gettysburg. Gen. Weed and one of his staff had gone ahead towards Gen. Sickles' corps, leaving orders with me to have the brigade follow him. The 140th N.Y. Vols. was in front with Col. O'Rourke in charge of the brigade, 91st Penn. Vols. next and 146th N.Y. and 155th Pa. I well remember your riding rapidly down from Little Round Top as we approached it and inquiring of me what troops ours were and where Gen. Weed was; then saying that a part of the brigade should be detached immediately and taken up the hill as it was very important it should be held against the enemy, or we might lose the day. You assumed the responsibility of taking away one regiment 140th and I went on with the other two and met Gen. Weed who acquiesced in what you had done and he brought the rest of the command to Little Round Top where we remained till all the battle was over."

Marvin then quotes directly from his journal, which, however, does not specifically refer to the order of march:

"...moved out by flank and approached the field of battle, met Gen. Warren who in the absence of Gen. Weed ordered us to the left to take position on a hill (Little Round Top) to keep it. The 140th were left there and the 91st Pa., and 155th and 146th N.Y. moved on up towards Sickles' Head Quarters...."

After recounting this from his journal, Marvin writes

"As by my journal you took only the 140th N.Y. away it occurs to me now that you started the whole brigade up the hill and in a few minutes told me I had better take the three regiments on to General Weed and you would go on with Col. O'Rorke's regiment."

In an Oct. 31, 1877 letter to Farley, Warren mentions the recent receipt of the letter from Capt. Marvin and quotes from it extensively. Afterward, Warren continues (to Farley):

"My brother [Edgar] was the staff officer that went with General Weed, and his recollection is the same as Marvin's. Marvin kept a journal. This recollection corresponds exactly with mine.

"In view of all this, do you think still that you were the rear regiment of the brigade? I was in such anxiety to get troops that it seems to me impossible that I would have allowed a regiment even to pass me."

Letter of Kenner Garrard dated Oct. 31, 1877, again in response to Warren's request (printed in Bachelder Papers, Vol I:

"O'Rourke's regiment, 140th N.Y., was in the rear of our brigade. You first asked as we were passing the line of Round Top for the whole brigade, but Weed declined that and upon your urgent solicitation, he ordered O'Rourke to go with you and he turned off, the rest of us keeping ahead at a rapid pace."

This is in direct contradiction to Garrard's Official Report for Gettysburg, in which he wrote: "At this point the leading regiment, under the direction of General Warren, chief engineer Army of the Potomac, was led to the left, upon on what is known as Round Top ridge."

Warren must have also contacted his brother, Lt. Edgar Warren, because the Bachelder Papers, Vol. I, contain a statement from him dated Nov. 15, 1877. He was the Commissary of Subsistence of Weed's Brigade at Gettysburg and claimed to be with Weed that day.

He writes:

"... Gen. Weed concluded that he would ride on ahead and find Gen. Sickles, leaving directions for the brigade to keep on moving and following the direction he had taken. His Adjutant Capt. Marvin remained at the head of his troops. I as an officer on his staff accompanied Gen. Sickles [Weed?] without any delay and after a moments conversation with him he [Weed] sent me back to show the brigade the route he had taken, he remaining with Gen. Sickles.

"I rode back at a canter and found the head of the brigade just going up on Little Round Top. I said that the orders from Gen. Weed were to have the brigade come where he was. My brother Gen. Warren, Chief Engineer of the Army, had turned the brigade up the hill and Col. O'Rourke's regiment the leading one of the brigade being so far up the hill as to be off the road, Gen. Warren said he would keep that one anyhow and to take the rest."

Attack and Defense does not, unfortunately, include transcripts of Farley's letters to Warren, but Farley must have defended his recollections, for Warren responds in his next letter, dated Nov. 17, 1877:

"I think your remarks about Marvin's statement are reasonable, but of course not conclusive. According to my ideas, Marvin's expression, 'leaving O'Rorke in charge,' expresses more than he meant. You know a General often leaves his command and goes ahead to learn about the use he is to make of his command, leaving some staff officer like Marvin to represent him, with the instruction that if any important emergency arises in his absence, to consider the next ranking officer in command. Such an idea of 'in charge' might exist in Marvin's mind at the time without his communicating it to Colonel O'Rorke, and even if he did communicate it it was of such a temporary nature that O'Rorke would not disarrange his regimental organization on account of it, preferring, as I always did, to hold the double charge until permanently assigned to the higher.

"There is no reliance, however, to be placed on our memories, when their record is made to tally with our reason, based upon collateral experience; for instance, as when I wrote to you, as you quote, that my anxiety was too great for me to have allowed any troops to pass me. That is my impression now, and I was filled with restless activity at that time, so that I think no accidents of ground would have prevented my seeing, as your last letter suggests.

"Let all those things go. My memory is supported by Marvin's statement and my brother's, both on Weed's staff. Your memory is sustained by General Garrard's and Mr. Bachelder's notes, so I see no reason why should not hold to your impressions, but give them the weight of the doubt which other memories cause. That is what I do. There is no special importance attached to the matter, that I know of...."

Warren also kept in touch with Lt. Washington Roebling, who was one of his aides at Gettysburg. Roebling also married Warren's sister. In a Dec. 13, 1877 letter to Warren, Roebling states that he read Farley's No. 9. Roebling does not address the order of line of march issue directly, but states: "So far as my memory serves me, your account is accurate in every respect, even down to very minute details which could only have been seen by two or three persons."

In 1913, Roebling responded to an article in The New York Times, apparently regarding Gettysburg. The following is an excerpt from "Wash Roebling's War - a selection of unpublished letters of Washington Augustus Roebling" courtesy of GDG member Gordon Dudley:

"Arriving at the foot of the rugged little Knob (Little Round Top) I ran up to the top while Warren stopped to speak to General (Stephen Hinsdale) Weed. One glance sufficed to note the head of (General John Bell) Hood's Texans coming up the rocky raving which separates Little and Big Round Top. I ran down, told General Warren, he came up with me and saw the necessity of immediate action.

"Fortunately he was an old friend of General Weed's, and Colonel (Patrick H.) O'Rorke had been his favorite pupil at West Point. Without waiting for General (George) Sykes' approval, who was some distance ahead, Warren ordered these troops to face about and get into line, covering Little Round Top and the adjacent ground. Firing began at once. It was deemed very important to get a section of artillery up there."

Farley's rebuttal of those who questioned his recollection, as included in Attack and Defense:

"Marvin is all wrong in stating that the One Hundred and Fortieth Regiment led the brigade, and that O'Rorke was in temporary command of the same. On the face of it he is mistaken. If O'Rorke had been in command he would have been at the head of the brigade and would consequently have gone out to or near the Trostle House; whereas he and his regiment never crossed the northern end of Little Round Top by the roadway, but were deflected from it by Warren in person (to my certain knowledge), who then followed the balance of the brigade till he reached its head and halted it. Warren left Lieutenant Roebling with us, who accompanied our regiment to the crest at southern end of Little Round Top. See Lieutenant Roebling's letter. See statement of Lieutenant A.P. Case, One Hundred and Forty-sixth New York. If O'Rorke had been at the head of the brigade, and in command of it, would Warren, when he met him as he did on the eastern slope have ever allowed the balance of the brigade to pass out in the road to the Trostle House?"

Farley refers to the statement of Lt. A.P. Case, 146th N.Y., who was acting as an aide on the staff of Gen. Weed at Gettysburg. Paper read at dedication of 146th monument, included in both New York at Gettysburg and Attack and Defense, titled "Notes on the Taking and Holding of Little Round Top, Gettysburg."

"About 3 p.m. the Fifth corps was ordered in to support General Sickles.... General Sykes himself took in Barnes' first division, going by the Peach Orchard cross-road. General Ayres' Second division followed, General Weed's Third brigade leading, the other two brigades following at quite a distance.... When the head of General Weed's column had reached the woods south of Trostles' house..., the smoke of the battle was so dense that General Weed rode ahead to see where he was wanted, and he told his staff to bring the column along very slowly until he returned..... At this time the rear of the column, the One Hundred and Fortieth New York, has just passed the foot of Little Round Top.... There is some uncertainty as to which of the regiments first followed the One Hundred and Fortieth, but the writer thinks it was the One Hundred and Forty-sixth."

The notable and frustrating aspect of all of these accounts is that they differ not just in the brigade order of march, but also other details. There are inconsistencies and inaccuracies in all of the accounts.

Marvin writes of talking with Warren, whereas Warren and Farley remember no one other than Roebling and another unnamed aide that accompanied Warren being present. Marvin's recollections are all from memory, as the journal from which he quotes does not specifically mention either this, or the order of march. After recounting all of that, Marvin then states that the three other regiments of Weed's Brigade started up the hill until Warren told Marvin to take them to Weed and he (Warren) would accompany the 140th up to Little Round Top. This flies in the face of all other versions.

In Garrard's 1877 letter, he places the 140th at the rear of the column, but then writes that as the brigade passed Warren asked Weed for the whole brigade, but Weed refused, and only upon Warren's insistence did he allow the 140th to go. This makes no sense; for if Weed was at the head of the column, why would he detach the last regiment? Would he send an orderly that distance or ride back there himself? And where was Garrard in a position to see this? Garrard mentioned none of this in his Official Report, and in that document, had the 140th as the lead regiment of the brigade.

A.P. Case of the 146th does err in placing the 44th N.Y., the 140th and the 146th all next to each other. The 16th Michigan was between the 44th and 140th, and the 91st Pa. was between the 140th and 146th.

Edgar Warren is fairly believable in his details, but it seems unlikely that G.K. Warren would forget seeing his brother and not mention that fact in his recollections. Roebling has Warren and Weed meeting, while Warren, in his account, specifically mentions that Weed had already passed by. All other staff officers state that Weed went ahead to confer with Sickles. Nor, by any means, is Farley infallible. In a May 8, 1878 letter to John Bachelder, he writes that the 140th was marching "left in front," whereas in all other accounts he has them marching "right in front." And, as I mentioned previously, I have found minor discrepancies in his work.

Warren refers to the judgement of John Bachelder at one point. Coddington, who used Bachelder's papers heavily, addressed the dispute in footnote 59 of Chapter 15 in The Gettysburg Campaign. Coddington writes:

"There was a dispute over whether O'Rorke's regiment led the brigade or brought up the rear. In spite of Warren's statement to the contrary, Bachelder, who made a careful study of the matter, came to the conclusion that the 140th N.Y. regiment was in the rear when it was 'broken off' to the left and taken to Little Round Top."
This is apparently discussed in Bachelder's unpublished manuscript on the battle and as I have not viewed it, I cannot say what Bachelder's logic on the matter is. Bachelder did visit the Army of the Potomac and interview many of the officers in the winter of 1863-64, so other than Garrard's report, his sources (if they were indeed culled during those interview) would be the most recent.

Pfanz does not address the matter of order in his narrative. He does not cite any source other than what is discussed here.

So there is truly no way to today look at all of these accounts and try to judge which is the most accurate. The deaths of O'Rorke and Weed are obviously the most damaging in terms of missing information. In defense of Farley, no part of his account can be disproved in terms of what Warren said. Warren remembered no other officers being with O'Rorke, and Farley was, at all times, next to O'Rorke at the head of the regimental column.

Also, in my opinion, it is perhaps most easiest to remember if you were at the head, or the tail of a brigade column. Being at the front would have brigade staff in the lead, and no troops in front of you, especially in this case, as Weed's Brigade led Ayres' Division on to the field. At the end of column, or in any other position except lead, you would have troops in front of you, unless the column was strung out, which was not likely in this case, as the regiments were all veteran units, and O'Rorke the disciplinarian, would have not allowed a sizeable gap to develop between he and the regiment in front. Being confused about being second or third in line is reasonable; being unsure about first or last is less likely.

The only likely reason Farley would consciously lie about the position of the regiment, would be to enhance the idea that O'Rorke made the determination to go to Little Round Top on his own. The presence of Weed's staff officers, or the suggestion that they had a part in the discussion would lessen the impact of O'Rorke's decision. Yet Farley always attacked exaggerations - in one case complaining in print about an author who placed the regimental colors in O'Rorke's hands when he was shot.

Perhaps it all comes back to the earlier question about where Warren intercepted the 140th and how much he could see from Little Round Top, and how difficult the terrain was for Warren to traverse. If the 140th was at the head of the column and that was what Warren spotted, it would be difficult for him to ride down that rocky slope of the hill and manage to intercept the column at the very head. Remember that Vincent had been on this ground earlier and skirted it, because he found it too difficult to travel on horseback. It would not seem unreasonable that if Warren spotted Weed's Brigade, that by the time he came down the hill, part of it would have passed him by.

Another issue, brought up by Bill Cameron, is in questioning the assumed belief that the troops Warren saw were Weed's Brigade. Weed's Brigade did lead Ayres' Division. Barnes' Division (which included Vincent) was the first Fifth Corps division on the field and came into the area via the Granite School House Lane and was in the vicinity of the George Weikert house when one of Sykes' aides came upon Vincent. This would suggest that none of Barnes' troops used the Wheatfield Road to enter the field. There would seem to be no organized body of troops that would have immediately preceded Weed's Brigade on the Wheatfield Rd.

The best way to handle this matter (as well as many of the debates into which we enter) may be to repeat and follow the words of G. K. Warren, written perhaps to calm down his friend Farley, when he found his account being doubted. Warren wrote:

"Let all those things go. My memory is supported by Marvin's statement and my brother's, both on Weed's staff. Your memory is sustained by General Garrard's and Mr. Bachelder's notes, so I see no reason why should not hold to your impressions, but give them the weight of the doubt which other memories cause. That is what I do. There is no special importance attached to the matter, that I know of...."

Brian Bennett
March 1996