Union monuments at Gettysburg > New York > Artillery & Engineers


“First Excelsior Light Artillery”

The monument to the Fifth New York Independent Battery is southeast of Gettysburg in the National Cemetery. (39.821017° N, 77.229842° W; Tour map: National Cemetery)

Monument to the 5th New York Independent Battery at Gettysburg

A marker is nearby among four 20 pounder Parrott Rifles along Balimore Pike in front of Evergreen Cemetery. (39.820339° N, 77.228879° W; Tour map: East Cemetery Hill)

A second marker behind the Evergreen Cemetery gatehouse shows the position of the section of the battery that faced west during the battle. (39.820574° N, 77.229681° W; Google maps to all three monument and marker locations)

The Ffith New York Independent Battery was commanded at the Battle of Gettysburg by Captain Elijah D. Taft, and brought 146 men to the field. Their nickname was from the battery originally being formed as part of Daniel Sickles’ Excelsior Brigade. At the Battle of Gettysburg it was attached to the 2nd Brigade of the Artillery Reserve.

The 20 pounder Parrott Rifles were used by both armies, and were the heaviest artillery pieces on the field of Gettysburg. They had a bad reputation for bursting, and one of the battery’s pieces did on July 3.

From the front of the monument:

Fifth New York Independent Battery
(Taft’s)
2d Brigade, Artillery Reserve

Rear view of the monument to the 5th New York Independent Battery at Gettysburg

Rear view of the monument to the 5th New York Independent Battery

From the rear:

This battery held this position from
5 p.m. July 2nd to 5th, 1863
—-
casualties 1 killed, 2 wounded

20-pounder Parrotts of the 5th New York Independent Battery alongside the Baltimore Pike at Gettysburg

20-pounder Parrotts of the 5th New York Independent Battery alongside the Baltimore Pike

From the marker showing the position of the four pieces on Baltimore Pike:

Army of the Potomac,
Artillery Reserve,
Second Voluntteer Brigade
.
Fifth New York Light Artillery
Six 20 pounder Parrotts,
Captain Elijah D. Taft Commanding

July 2. Arrived and halted in park about 10:30 a.m. Moved to the cemetery at 3:30 p.m. and engaged from 4 p.m. until dark. Four guns south of and facing Baltimore Pike firing on a Confederate battery on Benner’s Hill. Two guns firing westwardly.

July 3. Engaged at intervals in same position until 4 p.m. One gun on Baltimore Pike having burst, the other three relieved the section firing westwardly. Remained in this position until close of battle.

Casualties killed 1 man wounded 2 men. Ammunition expended 1114 rounds.

Marker showing the position of a section of the 5th New York independent Battery behind the evergreen Cemetery Gatehouse at Gettysburg

Marker showing the position of a section of the 5th New York independent Battery behind the evergreen Cemetery Gatehouse. The National Cemetery is on the other side of the iron fence and the parked cars.

From the marker showing the position of the section (two pieces) behind the Evergreen Cemetery gatehouse:

Army of the Potomac,
Artillery Reserve,
Second Voluntteer Brigade
.
Fifth New York Light Artillery
Six 20 pounder Parrotts,
Captain Elijah D. Taft Commanding

July 2. Arrived and halted in park about 10 a.m. Moved to the Evergreen Cemetery at 3:30 p.m. and engaged from 4 p.m. until dark. Two guns posted in the Cemetery firing westwardly. Four guns south of and facing Baltimore Pike firing on a Confederate battery on Benner’s Hill.

July 3. Engaged at intervals in same position until 4 p.m. when relieved by three of the guns on Baltimore Pike.

Casualties of the battery killed 1 man wounded 2 men.

Marker showing the position of a section of the 5th New York independent Battery behind the evergreen Cemetery Gatehouse at Gettysburg

Marker showing the position of a section of the 5th New York independent Battery behind the evergreen Cemetery Gatehouse

See more about the 5th New York Independent Battery during the Civil War