A monument to Wilcox’s Brigade is southwest of Gettysburg is on West Confederate Avenue. (West Confederate Ave. – Pt. 3 tour map) A marker is south of town on Sickles Avenue. (Emmitsburg Rd. & Sickles Ave. tour map)
The brigade was commanded at the Battle of Gettysburg by Brigadier General Cadmus WIlcox (USMA ’46), who was born in North Carolina but grew up in Tennessee before becoming a career Army officer.
During Longstreet’s attack on July 2nd Wilcox’s Brigade successfully advanced to Plum Run before being stopped by the sacrificial charge of the First Minnesota Infantry. Confederate troops on his left flank failed to advance, and Wilcox puled back. His success may have been a factor in deciding Lee to launch Pickett’s Charge across the same ground the next day.
Wilcox’s Brigade was to have supported that attack as well, but poor communications and visibility caused it and Perry’s Florida Brigade to move forward too late and in the wrong direction to help Pickett.
From the monument:
July 2. Formed line here in forenoon. The 10th and 11th Regiments taking position on the right after a severe skirmish with the Union outpost. Advanced at 6 P. M. and broke the Union line on Emmitsburg Road capturing two guns and pursuing rapidly took many prisoners and six more guns. At Plum Run was met by a heavy fire of artillery and fresh infantry and being unsupported after severe losses fell back without being able to bring off the captured guns.
July 3. Took position west of Emmitsburg Road in support of artillery. Soon after Longstreet’s column started an order was received to advance and support it but smoke hiding the oblique course of Pickett’s Division the Brigade moving straight forward found itself engaged in a separate and useless conflict and was promptly withdrawn.
July 4. In line here all day and at dark began the march to Hagerstown.
Present 1777 Killed 51 Wounded 469 Missing 261 Total 781
From the marker on Sickles Avenue:
Army of Northern Virginia
Hill’s Corps Anderson’s Division
8th 9th 10th 11th 14th Alabama Infantry
July 2. Formed line in forenoon the 10th and 11th Regiments taking position on the right after a severe skirmish with a Union outpost. Advanced at 6 P. M. and broke the Union line on Emmitsburg Road capturing two guns and pursuing rapidly took many prisoners and six guns. At Plum Run was met by a heavy fire of artillery and infantry and being unsupported after severe loss fell back without being able to bring off the captured guns.
See more on the regiments of Wilcox’s Brigade in the Civil War: