The monument to the First Brigade of the Second Division, Fifith Army Corps is south of Gettysburg on Houck’s Ridge along Ayers Avenue. (Tour map: Ayers Avenue – Loop)
The brigade was commanded at the Battle of Gettysburg by Colonel Hanibal Day (USMA ’23) of the 6th United States Infantry, a career Army officer from Vermont. Colonel Day commanded one of two brigades of U.S. Regular infantry in the Army of the Potomac.
On the afternoon of July 2nd Day’s regulars moved west from Little Round Top across Plum Run and into the Wheatfield as Caldwell’s Second Corps Division was being pushed out.
They came under heavy attack from Wofford’s Georgia Brigade and were forced to pull back. The brigade suffered 50% casualties, but its disciplined, fighting withdrawal back to Little Round Top took the momentum out of Wofford’s attack and earned admiration from onlookers on Little Round Top.
From the monument:
July 2. Moved left in front with the Division late in the day from the Baltimore Pike near Rock Creek to Little Round Top and Third Corps line. Halted on north slope of Little Round Top. Third Brigade in advance went to the support of Third Brigade First Division. The Brigade preceded by Second Brigade advanced across Plum Run Valley and on to the hill beyond and formed line in rear of Second Brigade facing the Wheatfield through which First Division Second Corps was advancing perpendicular to the line of the Brigade. Later advanced supporting Second Brigade towards left when Union forces on the right and front having been driven back by superior numbers the Brigade retired under a heavy musketry fire on its front and flank to Little Round Top and at night to the woods on the east side.
July 3. Remained in same position.
July 4. Made a reconnaissance to the front supported by Second Brigade First Division Sixth Corps forcing in the Confederate pickets and drawing the fire of artillery.
Casualties Killed 1 Officer 45 Men
Wounded 13 Officers 305 Men
Captured or Missing 18 Men Total 382