The monument to the 26th Pennsylvania Emergency Militia Infantry is on the west side of Gettysburg at the intersection of Chambersburg Street, West Street and Springs Avenue. A tablet showing where the regiment met Early’s Confederates is three miles west of town on the north side of US 30. (see maps below)
The 26th Pennsylvania Emergency Militia Infantry was organized at Harrisburg on June 22nd in response to Lee’s invasion of the north. It was commanded by Colonel William S. Jennings. Jennings was a factory owner and personal friend of Pennsylvania’s Governor Curtin, who had served as an officer in the 25th Pennsylvania Infantry in the early days of the war and commanded the nine-months 127th Pennsylvania Infantry, during which time he was wounded in the foot at Fredericksburg. The regiment consisted of 750 hastily trained farmboys, college students and middle aged shopkeepers sprinkled with a handful of veterans. Company A was from Adams County, including a group from Gettysburg.
The clashes of the untrained militiamen with Jubal Early’s veteran rebel cavalry and infantry west and north of Gettysburg turned out as badly as could be expected. Several Pennsylvanians were shot and more than a hundred rounded up as prisoners. The latter were paroled after a stern lecture from Early himself, who told them, “You boys ought to be home with your mothers and not out in the fields where it is dangerous and you might get hurt.” Nevertheless, they had slowed the Confederate advance and had probably bought a critical day’s time for the Army of the Potomac to reach the scene.
The survivors of the regiment pulled back to defend Harrisburg, but they were spared further conflict when the rebels withdrew to Gettysburg. The 26th Pennsylvania Militia were mustered out on July 31.
Main monument to the 26th Pennsylvania Militia
From the tablet on the north side of the monument:
26th Pennsylvania Emergency Infantry
Organized at Harrisburg and volunteered for the emergency
Mustered into United States Service June 22, 1863
Mustered out July 30, 1863
Co. A recruited from Pennsylvania College at Gettysburg
Total enrollment 743
Captured and missing in Gettysburg Campaign
176 officers and men
The first Union regiment to engage the Confederates
at Gettysburg and delaying their advance one day
From the tablet on the south side of the base of the monument:
Reached Gettysburg June 25 in advance of the
Army of the Potomac. On the morning of June 26 marched out the
Chambersburg Pike and met the rebel column at Marsh
Creek and forced by overwhelming numbers to withdraw
in the afternoon. On the Hunterstown Road had a severe engagement
with the rebel cavalry inflicting upon them some loss.
Reached Harrisburg June 28 having marched sixty
consecutive hours and skirmished with the enemy.
June 30 advanced from Harrisburg after the rebels in retreat.
Location of the main monument
The monument to the 26th Pennsylvania Emergency Militia is on the west side of Gettysburg at the intersection of Chambersburg Street (U.S. 30), West Street and Springs Avenue. (39°49’51.5″N 77°14’13.1″W)
Position marker for the 26th Pennsylvania Militia
From the tablet:
Met the advance of
Early’s Division C.S.A.
at this place
on the morning of June 26, 1863
Location of the position marker
The tablet showing where the 26th Pennsylvania Emergency Militia met Early’s Confederates on June 26, 1863 is three miles west of Gettysburg, on the north side of US 30, in front of A&A Auto Salvage.