The division was commanded at the Battle of Gettysburg by Major General Robert E. Rodes. He was a Virginian who had left an assitant professorship at Virginia Military Institute when the full professorship he wanted was awarded to Thomas Jackson. Rodes had then moved to Alabama where he became chief engineer of a railroad. He was the first division commander in the Army of Northern Virginia who was not a West Point graduate.
Rodes’ Division reached the battlefield at Gettysburg on July 1st at an ideal time and place, arriving at the junction of the Union First and Eleventh Corps before they could link up on Oak Hill. But his attack, although ultimately successful, was uncoordinated and costly.
In part because of its heavy losses on July 1st the division ws left in reserve on the 2nd and only part was engaged on the 3rd. In spite of only being fully engaged the first day of the battle, Rodes Division suffered the second highest losses of all Confederate divisions (see comparison).
From the monument:
Daniel’s Brigade Brig. Gen. Junius Daniel
Doles’s Brigade Brig. Gen. George Doles
Iverson’s Brigade Brig. Gen. Alfred Iverson
Ramseur’s Brigade Brig. Gen. S. D. Ramseur
O’Neal’s Brigade Col. E. A. O’Neal
Artillery Battalion Four Batteries
Lieut. Col. Thomas H. Carter
July 1. Rodes’s Division advancing by the Newville Road occupied Oak Ridge about noon. The line formed and advanced in the following order. Dole’s Brigade deployed in the valley north of town and left of Division and was opposed by troops of the Eleventh Corps. O’Neal’s and Iverson’s Brigades advanced on ridge and meeting a portion of First Union Corps were driven back with heavy loss.Daniel’s Brigade was ordered to the support of Iverson but became separated by a change of direction moved to the railroad on the right where Heth’s Division was engaged. Ramseur held in reserve. After a severe conflict the Union troops retired.
July 2. The Division occupied ground near and west of town and was not engaged.
July 3. The Brigades of Daniel and O’Neal were ordered to report to Gen. E. Johnson on the left early in the morning and joined in the attack on Culp’s Hill. The remainder of the Division held the position of day before and at night retired to Seminary Ridge.
July 4. The Division took up the line of march during the night.
Casualties Killed 421 Wounded 1728 Missing 704 Total 2853