The monument to the 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 5th Corps is south of Gettysburg on Ayers Avenue at the Wheatfield. (Ayers Avenue – Wheatfield tour map)
The brigade took part in the Union counterattack around Little Round Top at the end of July 2nd, ending the day on the east side of the Wheatfield behind the stone wall. After Pickett’s Charge on July 3rd it advanced west toward Emmitsburg Road, following the withdrawing Confederates. It surprising the 15th Georgia, which had not been notified of the withdrawal, and captured a large part of the regiment and its colors.
From the monument
July 2. Moved with the Division from the Baltimore Pike near Rock Creek late in the day to Little Round Top north of the Wheatfield Road. After sunset formed line to cover the retiring of First and Second Brigades Second Division and supported by Third Brigade Third Division Sixth Corps charged the advancing Confederates and forced them down the Hill and across into the Wheatfield. The Brigade remained at a stone wall in rear of the Wheatfield. Col. C. F Taylor commanding 13th Penna. Reserves fell in the advance.
July 3. Advanced through the Wheatfield into the woods beyond supported by Third Brigade Third Division Sixth Corps and changing front swept southward through the woods west and south of the Wheatfield encountering a portion of Brig. Gen. Benning’s Brigade and capturing about 200 prisoners and the colors of 15th Georgia. The Confederates retired to the crest of the ridge from which they advanced the previous day. In this movement one 10 pounder Parrott was recovered and about 3,000 small arms were captured from the field.
Casualties Killed 2 Officers 18 Men Wounded 14 Officers 118 Men Captured or Missing 3 Men Total 155
Colonel William McCandless
Colonel William “Buck” McCandless commanded the brigade at the Battle of Gettysburg. McCandless was an attorney from Philadelphia. He was born in Ireland, and his family emigrated to the United States when he was six. He was apprenticed as a machinist and became a lawyer in 1858.
McCandless joined the 2nd Pennsylvania Reserves as a private at the start of the war, and was quickly elected major. The regiment fought in the Peninsula campaign, and in August of 1862 McCandless was promoted to colonel. He was wounded in the Second Battle of Bull Run but returned to the regiment before Fredericksburg, where he took over the brigade from the wounded William Sinclair. Except for a brief period in the Bristoe Campaign when he commanded the division, he led the brigade until he was wounded at the Wilderness in May of 1864. Although offered a promotion to brigadier general, he mustered out with the regiment in June of 1864.
Location of the monument
The monument is south of Gettysburg on the east edge of The Wheatfield. It is on the east side of Ayers Avenue about 330 feet south of the intersection with Wheatfield Road. (39°47’47.5″N 77°14’27.1″W)