The monument to the Second Brigade, Second Division, Fifth Army Corps is south of Gettysburg in the loop of Ayers Avenue on Houck’s Ridge. (Tour map: Ayers Avenue – Loop)
The brigade was commanded at the Battle of Gettysburg by Colonel Sidney Burbank (USMA ’29) of the Second United States Infantry, a career Army officer from Massachusetts.
On the afternoon of July 2nd Burbank’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 Woffords attack and earned admiration from onlookers on Little Round Top.
From the monument:
July 2. Arrived in the morning and formed on the right of Twelfth Corps afterwards crossed Rock Creek and remained near the Baltimore Pike until late in the day then moved with the Division to the north slope of Little Round Top and soon advanced across Plum Run Valley supported by First Brigade and formed line on the hill beyond facing the Wheatfield through which First Division Second Corps was forcing the Confederate forces perpendicular to the line of the Brigade. Later advanced on the left of First Division Second Corps and the First Brigade in support when the Union forces on the right and front having been forced back by superior numbers the two Brigades retired in good order but with great loss under a heavy musketry fire on its front and flank to Little Round Top and in the evening to the woods on the other side in reserve.
July 3. Remained in the same position until the close of the battle.
Casualties Killed 7 Officers 71 Men Wounded 32 Officers 310 Men Captured or Missing 27 Men
Total 447 out of a strength of 900 muskets