The monument to Mahone’s Brigade of the Army of Northern Virginia is on West Confederate Avenue. (Tour map: West Confederate Avenue – Pt. 2) The brigade was commanded by Brigadier General William Mahone, a VMI graduate, railroad engineer and president.
Mahone’s Brigade saw little fighting at Gettysburg. It was positioned to join into Longstreet’s attack on July 2nd and both Wright’s and Posey’s brigades requested support from Mahone in their advance on Cemetery Ridge, but he refused, saying he had other orders.
The brigade was then planned to take part in the attack against Cemetery Hill by the Second Corps that evening, but the attack had failed before Mahone could join and they returned to their breastworks.
The fact that the relatively rested and unblooded brigade was not included in Pickett’s Charge on the 3rd when several other much more badly hurt units were shows a serious failure of Confederate staff work. The fresh and rested brigade was a front row spectator of the bloody charge.
Mahone went on in 1864 to be one of Lee’s hardest-hitting division commanders but no one could have predicted that from his performance at Gettysburg. His brigade contributed very little, and ended the battle with the lowest casualties of any Confederate brigade.
From the monument:
July 2. Arrived and took position here in the forenoon under orders to support the artillery. A strong skirmish line was sent out which was constantly engaged and did effective service.
July 3. Remained here in support of the artillery. Took no active part in the battle except by skirmishers.
July 4. In line here all day. At dark began the march to Hagerstown.
Present 1500 Killed 8 Wounded 55 Missing 39 Total 102