Attached to the 3rd Corps of the Army of the Potomac
The division was commanded at the Battle of Gettysburg by Major General David B. Birney, a Philadelphia attorney and the son of an abolitionist newspaper editor. Birney took command of the remnants of the Third Corps after Sickles was wounded in spite of receiving two minor wounds himself. Brigadier General J. H. Hobart Ward of the division’s Second Brigade then took over the division.
From the monument:
Army of the Potomac
Major General David B. Birney
Brigadier General J. H. Hobart Ward
July 1. This Division was at Emmitsburg covering roads from Fairfield and Gettysburg. Shortly after 3 p.m. marched to Gettysburg leaving De Trobriand’s Brigade.
July 2. This Brigade rejoined. At about 7 a.m. Birney relieved Geary’s 2d Division 12th Corps, his left resting near Little Round Top, his right joining Humphreys on Cemetery Ridge. Picket line holding Emmitsburg road. Shortly after 2 p.m. Division wheeled to the left occupying high ground from Plum Run to Peach Orchard and thence along Emmitsburg Road to the Sherfy House, Ward’s Brigade on the left, De Trobriand’s in the centre, and Graham’s on the right. Burling’s Brigade Humphreys’ Division in reserve near Birney’s centre.
Confederate artillery opened at 3 o’clock. Soon after, three brigades of Hood’s Division attacked Ward on Birney’s left, extending later to De Trobriand. These attacks were successfully resisted.
At 5:30 p.m. two brigades of McLaw’s [sic] Division attacked Birney’s right and centre. Two brigades of 5th Corps advanced to the rocky knoll at De Trobriand’s right but withdrew after a brief contest. Here occurred the first break in Birney’s line. Movement against south face of the Peach Orchard checked by batteries in Birney’s right centre.
The Confederates renewed their attack on Birney’s centre.
Caldwell’s Division 2d Corps now arrived, and, with troops from the 5th Corps, relieved Birney except at the Peach Orchard. About 6:30 p.m. Birney’s right at the Peach Orchard was attacked on both fronts and broken opposite Sherfy House after stubborn resistance. Through this gap the Confederates swept forward crushing Birney’s right which rejoined its Division.
July 3. The Division was held in reserve and detachments moved to threatened points.
Casualties: Killed 22 Officers, 249 Men; Wounded 106 Officers, 1278 Men; Captured or Missing 12 Officers, 344 Men; Total 2011