A monument to General Gibbon and four other Pennsylvania generals was originally proposed in the early 1900’s. While monuments to Humphreys, Hays, and Geary were placed, Crawford’s and Gibbon’s were not.
In the 1980’s a movement began to create a monument to Gibbon on his most famous battlefield. Sculptor Terry Jones created the statue that was dedicated on July 3, 1988, the 125th anniversary of the battle.
From the tablets on the front of the monument:
1827 – 1898
July 2-3, 1863
At Gettysburg commanded the 2nd Division II Corps on July 3, 1863 serving with “conspicuous gallantry and distinction” in the repulse of Longstreet’s Assault until he was wounded and carried away from the battlefield.
At the beginning of the Civil War, John Gibbon was a captain in the 4th Artillery serving in the Utah Territory. Assigned as Chief of Artillery in McDowell’s Division, he participated in the advance on Fredericksburg during the Peninsula Campaign. He was promoted to brigadier general May 2, 1862 thereafter taking command of the IRON BRIGADE which participated in the battles of Second Bull Run, South Mountain and Antietam. In November 1862, he took command of the 2nd Division, I Corps. He was wounded in the wrist during the battle of Fredericksburg, II Corps. He was wounded in the left arm and shoulder at the battle of Gettysburg. In charge of draft deposits in Cleveland and Philadelphia until March 1864, he returned to the 2nd Division, II Corps participating in the battles of Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor and the investment of Petersburg. Gibbon was promoted to major general effective June 7, 1864. He was in temporary command of the XVIII Corps before being placed in command of the XXIV Corps, Army of the James in January, 1865. General Gibbon was in charge of the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox, April 1865.
“He has a keen eye and is as bold as a lion.”
From the tablet on the rear:
John Gibbon was born April 20, 1827 in the Holmesburg section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At the age of ten he moved with his family to North Carolina where he remained until he entered the United States Military Academy at West Point. Gibbon graduated from the Academy in 1847, 20th in a class of 38, becoming an artillery officer. He served in the Mexican War fighting at Mexico City and Toluca. After serving in the Seminole Wars he spent five years as an instructor then quartermaster at the Military Academy. Gibbon authored, THE ARTILLERIST’S MANUAL, which was published by the War Department in 1860. After the Civil War, he was appointed colonel of the 36th U.S. Infantry and then in 1869 the 7th U.S. Infantry. Commanding several posts in the West, much of Gibbon’s duties were against the Indians. His troops took part in the 1876 campaign in which Custer was defeated at the Little Big Horn. Gibbon’s troops arrived on the field in time to rescue the survivors and bury the dead. In 1877 he took part in the campaign against the Nez Percés during which he was seriously wounded. On July 10, 1885, Gibbon was promoted to brigadier-general in the regular army. He transferred to the Department of Columbia in 1885, then served in the Department of the Pacific until his retirement. General Gibbon retired in 1891, thereafter residing in Baltimore, Maryland. He served as Commander-in-Chief of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States 1895-1896. General John Gibbon died on February 6, 1896 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Three of Gibbon’s brothers joined the Confederate army. In 1885 he wrote Personal Recollections of the Civil War, although it was not published until 32 years after his death.