The monument to the 1st Brigade, 1st Division of the 5th Army Corps is south of Gettysburg on Sickles Avenue. (Tour map: Sickles Ave. at the Rose Woods)
The briagde was commanded at the Battle of Gettysburg by Colonel William S. Tilton of the 22nd Massachusetts Infantry, senior colonel of the brigade. Tilton had taken over from General Barnes on May 5th when Barnes was temporarily promoted to division command.
During Longstreet’s attack on the afternoon of July 2nd Tilton’s brigade was moved up to the Stony Hill area of Rose’s Woods. Assaulted by Kershaw’s South Carolina brigade, Tilton withdrew – following an order from General Barnes, according to Tilton.
The withdrawal made a gap in the Union line that was plugged by Caldwell’s Division of the Second Corps who, according to many accounts, advanced over Tilton’s prone brigade. Tilton took up a defensive position on the north side of the Wheatfield Road, refusing requests to support Caldwell without a direct order from Barnes.
The incident created controlversy and ill-feeling. Tilton returned to regimental command when Barnes was bumped back down from his temporary slot. Tilton would serve as acting brigade commander again in 1864, but was not offered a permanent promotion to brigadier general and mustered out of the army when his regiment’s enlistment was up at the end of 1864.
From the monument:
July 2. In position in column with the Division and Corps on the Baltimore Pike near Rock Creek until after 4 P. M. then moved with the Division left in front to the support of Third Corps line the Third Brigade having been detached to occupy Little Round Top. The Brigade preceded by Second Brigade crossed Plum Run and the Wheatfield and went into position on the high ground on the edge of woods facing westerly and southerly toward the Rose House Second Brigade on the left. The Brigade was sharply attacked by Brig. Gen. Kershaw’s Brigade and in compliance with orders from Brig. Gen. J. Barnes it retired to the rear and right to the woods across the Wheatfield Road and later to a line extending northerly from Little Round Top.
July 3. Relieved Third Brigade on Little Round Top.
July 4. Remained in position until close of battle except a reconnaissance in front.
Casualties Killed 2 Officers 10 Men Wounded 12 Officers 90 Men Captured or Missing 11 Men Total 125