The monument to the 19th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment is south of Gettysburg on Hancock Avenue near the United States Regulars monument. (39.81106° N, 77.23612° W; Google map; Tour map: Hancock Avenue Part 3)
About the monument to the 19th Maine
The monument is a granite square capped by a pyramid, with a total height of 12′ 7″. The front has incised text on a polished surface set into the rough cut finish, and both sides have the trefoil symbol of the Second Corps and the date, “1863.” The monument was dedicated by the State of Maine on October 3rd, 1889.
The 19th Maine at Gettysburg
The 19th Maine was commanded at the Battle of Gettysburg by Colonel Francis E. Heath, a clerk from Waterville. He was wounded on July 3, and Lieutenant Colonel Henry Whitman took over the regiment.
As Sickles’ Third Corps was overrun on the afternoon of July 2nd Hancock led the 19th Maine from their position on Cemetery Ridge and placed them in the field southeast of the Codori barn. Colonel Heath had the men lay prone as knots of Third Corps refugees ran over them to the rear.
A Third Corps officer ordered Heath to have his men stand and stop the retreating men with the bayonet. But Heath refused, not wanting his own line disordered. He waited until the Third Corps men had passed and the Confederates – men of the Florida Brigade – loomed out of the smoke thirty yards away before ordering the men up. They traded several volleys, stopping the charge and capturing one set of colors.
Warned that they were being flanked on the right, Heath began to pull back. But after falling back some twenty yards out of the dense clouds of smoke he saw that the report was false and turned back. They hit the Floridians as they were beginning to retire and pushed them back to Emmitsburg Road, taking a number of prisoners.
As night fell the regiment returned to the knee-high stone wall on Cemetery Ridge just south of the Copse of Trees that would be the aiming point for Pickett’s Charge.
The charge itself was almost a relief after the artillery barrage that preceded it. After firing into the oncoming Virginians angling toward the Copse, the regiment rushed north and joined in the hand to hand fighting that overwhelmed the Confederate assault. Colonel Heath, who was wounded here, claimed the regiment captured two Confederate colors but lost them to men of other regiments who “tore them from the lances.”
|See Colonel Heath’s Official Report on the 19th Maine Volunteers at Gettysburg|
|Attached to the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 2nd Corps, Army of the Potomac|
From the monument:
19th Maine Inf’y Reg’t.
1st Brigade, 2d Division, 2d Corps
In the Evening of July 2d this Regiment at a position on the left of Batt’y C, 5th U.S. helped to repel the enemy that had driven in Humphreys’ Division, taking one battle flag and re-capturing four guns.
On July 3, after engaging the enemy’s advance from this position, it moved to the right to the support of the 2d Brigade and joined in the final charge and repulse of Pickett’s Command.
Effective strength. July 2d. 405;
Killed & mortally wounded 65;
Wounded not fatally, 137; Missing 4.
Colonel Francis E. Heath
See more about the 19th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment in the Civil War