Map 3	 			Map 4
oward probably accompanied Barlow to the northern edge of town. Here he left the New Yorker and apparently made a brief examination of the dispositions of the 3rd Division. He did not meet with Schurz, who was up at Hagy's farm, but rode on to Robinson's Division and on down Seminary Ridge to Maj. Gen. Abner Doubleday's Corps headquarters. It was unfortunate that Howard did not make an effort to speak personally with Schurz. Being unfamiliar with the ground Schurz would have to defend and the amount of resistance he was encountering, Howard could form no opinion whether the force he had given Schurz was adequate. In fact, Schurz, from his observations on the roof of Hagy's house, had decided his force was not adequate and sent a request to Cemetery Hill for one of the reserve brigades to be placed in support of his right flank. Affairs had changed dramatically since Howard and Schurz had spoken at 12:30 p.m. The basic mission of the 11th Corps had been changed by Howard from an offensive to a defensive role. The enemy had also been substantially reinforced as indicated by their presence on Oak Hill, and Howard knew that yet another enemy force was approaching from Heidlersburg. A reappraisal of the deployment of the 11th Corps was in order. To obey Howard's orders Schurz would have to stretch his two division perilously thin on poor defensive ground. Schurz needed to either be withdrawn, in which case Doubleday would have to be withdrawn, or reinforced. For the moment, Howard did neither, choosing to husband his reserves until the enemy had displayed his force.25

If Howard seemed removed from the changing nature of the situation at the front, Schurz, in contrast, was keeping his fingers on the pulse of the battle from his rooftop perch on Mr. Hagy's farmhouse. He observed the repulse of O'Neal, which was encouraging, but observed Doles maneuvering his brigade beyond Schimmelfennig's center and right. He was particularly anxious about his right flank after Howard's warning of a reported enemy build up between the York and Harrisburg Roads. The corps was aligned to confront Rodes on Oak Hill. If an enemy force came down the Harrisburg Road they could fall upon his exposed right. Schurz wanted some insurance against such a scenario and he sent an aide galloping to Howard with a request for a brigade of the 2nd Division to be placed en echlon to Barlow, near the railroad depot. "My intention was to have that brigade in readiness to charge upon any force the enemy might move around my right," reported Schurz.26

Having completed his observations on the left, Schurz rode back to his command post on the Mummasburg Road. He was greeted with a jolt when he discovered that Barlow had pushed on with his division and lost connection with the 3rd Division. Schurz quickly sent orders to have the right wing of the 3rd Division advanced to re-establish a connection with the 1st Division and dispatched "aide after aide" to Howard repeating his request for a brigade from the 2nd Division. Meanwhile, the enemy opened again with their artillery from Oak Ridge. This fire was seconded by several batteries which suddenly opened an enfilading fire from the Harrisburg Road, in the direction from which Schurz most feared an attack .27

When Barlow arrived on the northern edge of town he found the 3rd Division massed in his front but apparently in the act of deploying. Actually, the 3rd Division was responding to the renewal of the Confederate artillery fire from Oak Ridge. Rodes had reinforced his battered batteries with Capt. W. P. Carter's battery of rifles and they opened from positions around the base of the ridge. To reply to Carter's l0 pdr. Parrotts, Hubert Dilger requested a battery of rifles and Lt. William Wheeler's 13th New York Battery (4 3-inch rifles) was sent forward. Wheeler came into action on Dilger's left and opened up on Carter. Under Wheeler's covering fire Dilger limbered and advanced his Napoleons under a "very heavy fire" several hundred yards forward. When Dilger unlimbered and be gan thundering away, Wheeler limbered and followed going into position on the Ohioans' right. To support the artillery's advanced position, Schimmelfennig pushed the 82nd Illinois and 157th New York forward as battery supports. 28

Barlow moved across the rear of Krzyzanowski's massed brigade, crossed the Carlisle Road and passed between Crawford's farm and the edge of town. At Crawford's farm they turned up the Harrisburg Road. Rodes's artillery shifted the attention of some of their guns to the big targets the 1st Division presented. "The shells were coming pretty thick before we reached the barn (Almshouse)," wrote Reuben Ruch of the 153rd Pennsylvania. One shell exploded over the 153rd causing the entire regiment to dodge but inflicting no casualties. 29

The column followed the Harrisburg Road until reached the Almshouse complex where Barlow called a halt and had his regiments mass. During this brief halt, Barlow probably studied the terrain to determine how to deploy his division. He likely presumed that the 3rd Division would extend its right across the Carlisle Road when it completed its own deployment. Barlow's eye saw little ground that could be considered good defensive ground. Only a knoll, known as Blocher's Knoll, rising up to feet, that stood perhaps 400 yards north of the Almshouse and overlooked Rock Creek, offered any promise. The summit of the knoll was clear, making it a fine platform for artillery, but part of the northern slope was covered by woods that extended down to the creek. While not a dominating position, it did command the slight ridge the Alms house was situated upon. In the hands of the Confederates combined with the strong position they already possessed upon Oak Hill, the position of the 11th Corps north of Gettysburg could be made untenable. Indeed, Confederate skirmishers were already on the knoll, concealed in Blocher's Woods. Barlow determined to occupy the knoll even though he was no doubt aware that such a move would push the right of the corps farther forward than Schurz probably desired. Col. Leopold von Gilsa, commanding the 1st Brigade, was ordered to advance and seize the knoll.30

Von Gilsa counted three regiments in his brigade; the 54th and 68th New York and a nine-month regiment, the 153rd Pennsylvania, which was due to muster out soon. The 41st New York was absent on detached duty guarding corps trains at Emmitsburg. The brigade had been severely handled at Chancellorsville and could muster only 936 officers and men on July 1. 31 After piling their knapsacks, von Gilsa's regiments deployed for the advance. The woods on Blocher's Knoll and a wheatfield west of the knoll were crawling with Black ford's sharpshooters and skirmishers of Doles's Brigade. To offer less of a target to the Southern riflemen, von Gilsa opted to deploy both the 54th and 68th New York and two companies of the 153rd Pennsylvania as skirmishers. The remaining eight companies of the 153rd would follow formed by battalion en masse. 32

As the regiments deployed into skirmish formation von Gilsa noticed the color company of the 153rd deploying to the skirmish line. The gruff German rode over to regimental commander Maj. John F. Frueauff and asked "what in hell that color division was deploying for." When the regiment had halted at the Almshouse and massed in doubled column of companies, the skirmish companies-A and F-had found themselves at the rear of the regiment, while the color company had found itself in the front division. When von Gilsa had ordered skirmishers deployed Frueauff had simply ordered the first division forward as skirmishers. The color division, being in front, assumed this meant them and they stepped off bringing the wrath of von Gilsa upon their commander. But Frueauff was spared further abuse at the hands of his brigade commander when 2nd Lt. J. Clyde Miller of A Company, who had observed the incident, alertly ordered A and F companies to clear the regiment's flanks and doublequick to the front assuming their proper place on the skirmish line. Miller executed the movement with consumate skill eliciting words of praise from 1st Lt. Benjamin Schaum of Miller's Company. Schaum's words of praise had scarcely left his mouth when he dropped, shot through the knee cap by one of Doles's or Blackford's skirmishers.33

Schaum was not the regiment's first casualty to Southern musketry. Moments before Schaum was felled, 21-year-old 1st Lt. William H. Beaver was shot through the heart as he ordered his men to advance. Shell fire from Rodes's line also searched the Federal line. One shell whipped past Miller's face, so close he thought he felt the swing of its fuse strike his face. No doubt shaken by his brush with death, Miller nevertheless pressed on with his advancing skirmish line .34

Von Gilsa posted himself in rear of his skirmish line as it advanced in the face of a sharp Confederate skirmish fire. Reuben Ruch, a private in F Company, 153rd Pennsylvania, marching with the main body of the regiment, could hear his brigade commander tell his skirmishers as he rode back and forth not to "shoot unless they saw something to shoot at, as ammunition was worth money, and they must not waste it."35

Blackford's and Doles's skirmishers slowly retired from tree-to-tree in Blocher's Woods before the approach of the cloud of blue-coated skirmishers. Skirmishers of the 68th New York soon cleared the wheatfield while the rest of the skirmish line took possession of the woods and knoll. With the knoll in his possession, von Gilsa promptly disposed his brigade to defend it. The skirmish line of the 153rd Pennsylvania remained within Blocher's Woods while the contingent from the 68th New York extended the line to the left, towards the Carlisle Road. Along the banks of Rock Creek and east of the woods, he placed the remaining men of the 68th New York and on their right, extending to the bridge over Rock Creek, the 54th New York, 189 men, went into position. Considering the ground these two regiments had to cover and their slim numbers they must have remained in skirmish formation for they could not have filled the space in line of battle. In rear of the 54th and 68th, von Gilsa placed the eight remaining companies of the 153rd Pennsylvania. The left of this regiment lay within Blocher's Woods and the right was extended across the northeastern slope of the knoll. To cover the ground the regiment deployed in a thin, single line. Exhausted by the rigors of the day, the Pennsylvanians threw them selves upon the grassy slope to snatch some rest. In front, on the skirmish line, the firing continued unabated.36

Von Gilsa's position was anything but secure. His left was largely unsupported and Ames's Brigade was several hundred yards to his right rear providing distant support. Barlow had massed his 2nd Brigade east of the Harris burg Road, behind the ridge the Almshouse was situated upon. The regiments had massed in double column of companies with the 107th Ohio, 25th Ohio, and 17th Connecticut in line from right to left and the 75th Ohio in support. Lt. Bayard Wilkeson's Company G, 4th U.S. Artillery (6 Napoleons) took position in their front along the ridge. To cover his front, Ames ordered Lt. Col. Douglas Fowler to dispatch four companies of his regiment, the 17th Connecticut, as skirmishers. Fowler called for volunteers and Companies A, B, F, and K responded and moved out under the command of Maj. Allen G. Brady. Brady deployed two companies in skirmish formation to the right of the Rock Creek bridge and kept the other two in line as a reserve. His objective was the farm of Josiah Benner, situated just north of the bridge, which would serve as an excellent strongpoint from which to harass the Confederates.37

Brady's two companies of skirmishers advanced loading and firing their Enfield rifle-muskets with rapidity, followed by the two reserve companies in line. Brady had his companies execute a left wheel as they crossed Rock Creek so his right would swing around and envelop Benner's house. The New Englanders had nearly reached Benner's farmyard when Confederate artillery, situated upon a ridge running east of the Harrisburg Road and several hundred yards north of Benner's, opened without warning with "shot, shell, grape and canister." This storm of fire checked the 17th, but Brady, a leader of men, dismounted and walked in front of his prone skirmishers and led them forward. As they neared Benner's house several Southern shells struck it setting it afire and denying its cover to Brady's men. Undaunted Brady simply disposed his men about the other cover Benner's farm offered and kept up a steady musketry fire.38

The guns that had surprised Brady belonged to the artillery battalion of Maj. Gen. Jubal Early's 5,460-man division which had arrived upon the battlefield from Heid fersburg. Early had come up around 2 p.m. By this time von Gilsa was visible and probably elements of Schimmelfennig's Division. These troops seemed to be pressing Doles's outnumbered brigade and threatening to turn Rodes's left. To offer some relief to Doles, Early summoned his artillery battalion, under the command of Lt. Col. Hilary Jones. Jones counted four batteries containing 8 Napoleons, 6 3-inch rifles, and 2 10 pdr. Parrotts. He unlimbered 12 guns on a ridge running east of the Harrisburg Road where he could bring von Gilsa under fire and enfilade Dilger's and Wheeler's batteries, who were busy with Rodes's artillery. The gun teams quickly cleared for action and shells soon were reaching out for the Federal lines.39

While Jones placed his guns, Early also brought his infantry up. The leading brigade under the fiery Brig. Gen. John B. Gordon deployed in the fields west of the Harrisburg Road. Gordon dropped the 26th Georgia off in support of Jones's guns which left him with 1,498 men in line. On his left, Brig. Gen. Harry Hays's Louisiana Brigade, 1,295 electives, came into line. Hays placed the 5th, 6th, and right wing of the 9th Louisiana west of the Harrisburg Road on Gordon's left, and the left wing of the 8th, the 7th, and 8th east of the road. Col. Isaac E. Avery's North Carolina Brigade of 1,244 men moved across Hays's rear and deployed on his left. Brig. Gen. William Smith's small Virginia brigade of 806 effectives formed in rear of Avery fronting southeastward toward the York Pike, no doubt to keep an eye on ele ments of Devin's cavalry which was operating in that direction .40

Early's ominous buildup on the right of the 11th Corps did not go unnoticed by Barlow. To answer Jones's artillery he dispatched 19-year-old Lieutenant Wilkeson with two sections of his battery to Blocher's Knoll. Lt. Col. Jeremiah Williams's 25th Ohio, 220 strong, was detached to follow Wilkeson and support his guns.41

Wilkeson unlimbered his Napoleons on the summit of Blocher's Knoll above the prone 153rd Pennsylvania and opened upon Jones's line of guns. The regulars quickly drew the fire of two of Jones's batteries thus relieving von Gilsa's infantry of some shelling, but bringing severe punishment upon themselves. Early in the duel Wilkeson went down in a heap with a terrible wound, one of his legs being smashed by a shell so that it was held together by mere pieces of flesh. In Wilkeson's stead, Lt. Eugene Bancroft assumed command and kept the men at their work despite the furious fire concentrated upon them. In the ensuing duel Bancroft lost I gun disabled, 12 horses killed, 4 men wounded, and Pvt. Charles F. Hofer killed.42

Observing the pressure upon Bancroft, but also appreciating the value of Blocher's Knoll as an artillery position, Barlow dispatched a request for additional artillery support. A battery was promised but Barlow would not be on Blocher's Knoll by the time it approached the front. 43

Before he had been felled, Wilkeson had called up his reserve section under Lt. Christopher F. Merkle. This section unlimbered some distance to the left of Wilkeson's position where it could provide support to the division's left flank. Merkle engaged a Confederate battery initially (probably one of Rodes's), but then observed a heavy body of Confederate infantry approaching the 1st Division's left and shifted his fire upon it. It was Doles's Brigade.44

The appearance of Doles's Brigade and threatening posture of Early's deployment prompted Barlow to draw Ames's entire brigade from its en echelon position to bolster the defense of Blocher's Knoll. Barlow considered the knoll an "admirable position" and he intended to fight his battle there. The 25th Ohio was moved up from its position in support of Bancroft's guns and ordered forward into Blocher's Woods on the left of von Gilsa. The regiment halted overlooking Rock Creek and covered its front with Companies A and F deployed as skirmishers. Col. Seraphim Meyer led the 107th Ohio, Ames's strongest regiment, the 107th Ohio, 458 electives, into line on the 25th's left, Meyer apparently deployed facing northwest, at an angle to the 25th, in order to face Doles's Brigade. The 75th Ohio and six companies of the 17th Connecticut were halted and massed under the crest of Blocher's Knoll, where they constituted the division reserve.45

Barlow now had his entire division, approximately 2,059 men, minus the 4 companies of the 17th Connecticut, on or near Blocher's Knoll. If he had looked to his left rear he would have seen the dense blue masses of Krzyzanowski's Brigade approaching the Carlisle Road to come to the support of his exposed left flank. His right flank was covered only by the skirmish companies of the 17th Connecticut and some squadrons of Devin's cavalry posted between the Har risburg Road and York Pike. Nevertheless, Barlow felt confident in the strength of his position and his ability to successfully defend it. It was nearly 3 P.m. 46

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