The 2nd Division flag is the corps symbol, a Maltese Cross, in white on a blue background.
The monument to the Second Division of the Fifith Corps is south of Gettysburg on Houck’s Ridge off Ayers Avenue. The division consisted entirely of United States Regular Infantry. (Tour map: Ayers Avenue – Loop)
The division was commanded at the Battle of Gettysburg by Brigadier General Romeyn B. Ayers (USMA ’47), a career Army officer from upstate New York. Ayers commanded artillery from Bull Run until Fredericksburg, then made the change to command of a brigade of regular infantry at Chancellorsville. Meade’s promotion to army commander moved Sykes to command of the Fifth Corps and Ayers to command of the Regular Division.
The Regular Division took heavy casualties at Gettysburg. They advanced to the Wheatfield on the afternoon of July 2nd as Caldwell’s Second Corps Division was being pushed out, then they themselves were forced to withdraw under a deadly fire from front and flank.
But the withdrawal was disciplined, with the men turning to fire volleys at their pursuers. One onlooker wrote, “For two years the U.S. Regulars taught us how to be soldiers; in the Wheatfield at Gettysburg they taught us how to die like soldiers.”
From the monument:
July 2. Moved from the Baltimore Pike near Rock Creek about 3 P. M. left in front to the support of theThird Corps line preceded by the First Division. TheThird Brigade halted at Little Round Top and occupied the summit and north slope just in time to repel an attack on the right of the Third Brigade First Division. Here Gen. Weed fell mortally wounded. The First and Second Brigades crossed Plum Run to the hill beyond and formed in two lines. The First Brigade in rear fronting the Wheatfield through which the First Division Second Corps was advancing at right angle. About sunset the troops in front and on the right retired before a fierce assault on the front and flank and these two Brigades were compelled to retire with heavy losses to Little Round Top pursued by Wofford’s Georgia Brigade and portions of Semmes’ Kershaw’s and Anderson’s Brigades. Later the First and Second Brigades took position in the woods in rear of the Third Brigade.
July 3. Remained in same position.
July 4. The First Brigade made a successful reconnaissance.
Casualties Killed 10 Officers 154 Men Wounded 56 Officers 746 Men Captured or Missing 63 Men Total 1029