Confederate Headquarters – Longstreet’s First Corps – Hood’s Division


The monument to Law’s Brigade is southwest of Gettysburg on South Confederate Avenue. (Tour map: South Confederate Avenue) A marker showing the brigade’s position on July 2nd is on Warren Avenue south of Little Round Top. (Tour maps: Big Round Top or Little Round Top)

The brigade was commanded at the Battle of Gettysburg by Brigadier General Evander Law, a South Carolina history professor who moved to Alabama in 1860 to start a military school.

Law’s Brigade arrived on the battlefield on July 2nd after a long, hot march and were assigned the right flank of Longstreet’s attack. When General Hood was wounded early in the assault Law took over the division as senior brigade commander, but the transition went poorly. It took time for Law to find out Hood was wounded, he did not notify his senior colonel to take over his brigade, and neither brigade nor division received firm direction.

The result was that the Confederate assault lacked coordination and there was no support to consolidate and exploit the initially succesful assults that overran Devil’s Den and almost took Little Round Top. Law’s Brigade had seized an advanced position but failed to deliver the knockout blow that Lee hoped for.

Lee had wished to include Hood’s Division in the great attack on July 3rd but it was decided that it had been too badly battered on the 2nd. Law’s Brigade, now under Colonel James L. Sheffield of the 48th Alabama Infantry, easily defended its position against encroaching Union skirmishers and a spectacular but hopeless cavalry charge led by Union Brigadier General Elon Farnsworth.

Monument to Law's Alabama Brigade at Gettysburg

From the monument:

C. S. A.
Army of Northern Virginia
Longstreet’s Corps Hood’s Division
Law’s Brigade
4th 15th 44th 47th 48th Alabama Infantry

July 2. Left New Guilford 25 miles distant at 3 A.M. Arrived and formed line 50 yards west of this about 4 P.M. and advanced against the Union positions. The 4th 15th and 47th Regiments attacked Little Round Top and continued the assault until dark. The 44th and 48th assisted in capturing Devil’s Den and 3 guns of the 4th New York Battery.

July 3. Occupied the breastworks on west slope of Round Top. The 4th and 15th Regiments assisted at 5 P. M. in repulsing cavalry led by Brig. Gen. E. J. Farnsworth in Plum Run Valley.

July 5. About 5 A. M. began the march to Hagerstown Md.

Present about 1500 Losses about 550

Marker to Law's Alabama Brigade at Gettysburg

From the marker:

Army of Northern Virginia
Longstreet’s Corps Hood’s Division
Law’s Brigade

4th 15th 44th 47th 48th Alabama Infantry

July 2. Arrived on the field about 4 P. M. and advanced against the Union positions. The 4th 15th and 47th Regiments attacked Little Round Top and continued the assault until dark. The 44th and 48th assisted in capturing Devil’s Den and 3 guns of Smith’s 4th New York Battery.

See more on the infantry regiments of Law’s Brigade in the Civil War:

4th Alabama – 15th Alabama – 44th Alabama – 47th Alabama – 48th Alabama

Confederate Brigadier General Evander Law

Confederate Brigadier General Evander Law