GETTYSBURG BATTLE DAY 1: GENERAL JOHN BUFORD AND HIS CAVALRY WERE CAMPED NORTH AND WEST OF THE TOWN, READY TO DEFEND
IT AS BEST THEY COULD, WHEN HENRY HETH'S DIVISON OF AP HILL'S CORPS, ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, CAME DOWN THE ROAD.
LOOKING EAST FROM MC PHERSON'S RIDGE, YOU CAN SEE THE LUTHERAN SEMINARY
IN THE DISTANCE, WHERE THE UNION MADE A FINAL STAND ON DAY 1 BEFORE RETREATING TO CEMETERY HILL. GENERAL JOHN BUFORD
WAS IN THE CUPOLA WHEN MAJ GENERAL JOHN FULTON REYNLOLDS ARRIVED IN ADVANCE OF HIS FIRST CORPS. HE ASKED THE CAVALRY
OFFICER, "WHAT'S THE MATTER JOHN?" BUFORD REPLIED: "THE DEVILS TO PAY!". GENERAL REYNOLDS
WAS CONSIDERED ONE OF THE BEST OFFICERS IN THE ARMY. BORN IN LANCASTER PA, HE WAS
DEFENDING HIS NATIVE STATE AS HE HELPED THE 2 WISCONSIN INFANTRY INTO LINE OF BATTLE.
THE MAIN BUILDING OF THE SEMINARY IS NOW A MUSEUM AND YOU CAN TOUR THE CUPOLA AND GET THE VIEW THAT GENERAL BUFORD HAD
ON JULY 1ST, 1863.
The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, also known as 'Gettysburg Seminary'
or 'Gettysburg Lutheran Seminary,' located in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, is one of the eight seminaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It is one of the three seminaries in the Eastern Cluster of Lutheran Seminaries, and a member institution of the Washington Theological Consortium. Founded in 1826, it is the oldest continuing Lutheran seminary in the United States.
the battle of Gettysburg, the seminary, on a ridge west of the town, became a focal point of action on the first day of battle, 1 July 1863. The seminary gave its name to 'Seminary Ridge,' where the line of battle of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia was formed on 2 and 3 July 1863.Role in the Battle of Gettysburg
The Seminary building served as a lookout on 1 July 1863, the first day of battle. From the cupola, Brig. Gen. John Buford, commanding First Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac, both observed the opening of the battle to the west of Seminary Ridge and witnessed the arrival of the I Corps under Maj. Gen. John Fulton Reynolds marching to his relief from the south. By the late afternoon, the Union lines on McPherson’s Ridge,
west of the seminary, were forced back to Seminary Ridge by Confederate troops of Heth's and Pender's Divisions. Before the troops could dig in on Seminary Ridge, a further attack by Pender’s Division
broke the line. The I Corps streamed across Seminary Hill and through the town of Gettysburg, covered by a delaying action
on the grounds by the famed Iron Brigade. The Confederate Army of Northern Virginia occupied the seminary grounds and held them until the Army's retreat on 4 July 1863.
was no further infantry combat on the seminary grounds, but it continued to play a prominent role in the battle. The seminary
building had begun to be used as a field hospital for soldiers of both armies during the first day, and this continued throughout
the engagement and after the battle was over. Artillery was posted on the hill and participated in action against Union artillery
on Culp's and Cemetery Hills on 2 and 3 July. Confederate soldiers ransacked the house of seminary President Schmucker, an
outspoken abolitionist. Confederate troops also used the seminary building cupola as a lookout, although there is no hard
evidence that General Robert E. Lee, whose headquarters were just across the Cashtown Road to the north of the seminary, ever entered the cupola.
Below is a close up of the picture I took which I believe shows a "ghost" looking out the window of the
Reynolds was born
in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, one of nine surviving children of John Reynolds (1787–1853) and Lydia Moore Reynolds (1794–1843). Two of his
brothers were James LeFevre Reynolds, Quartermaster General of Pennsylvania, and Rear Admiral Will Reynolds. Prior to his military training, Reynolds studied in nearby Lititz, about 6 miles (9.7 km) from his home in Lancaster. Next he attended a school in Long Green, Maryland, and finally the Lancaster County Academy.Reynolds was nominated to the United States Military Academy in 1837 by Senator James Buchanan, a family friend, and graduated 26th of 50 cadets in the class of 1841. He was commissioned a brevet second lieutenant in the 3rd U.S. Artillery, assigned to Fort McHenry. From 1842 to 1845 he was assigned to St. Augustine, Florida, and Fort Moultrie, South Carolina, before joining Zachary Taylor's army at Corpus Christi, Texas, for the Mexican-American War. He was awarded two brevet promotions in Mexico—to captain for gallantry at Monterrey and to major for Buena Vista, where his section of guns prevented the Mexican cavalry from outflanking the American left. During the war, he became friends with fellow officers Winfield Scott Hancock and Lewis A. Armistead.On his return from Mexico, Reynolds was assigned
to Fort Preble, Maine, New Orleans, Louisiana, and Fort Lafayette, New York. He was next sent west to Fort Orford, Oregon, in 1855, and participated in the Rogue River Wars of 1856 and the Utah War with the Mormons in 1857-58. He was the Commandant of Cadets at West Point from September 1860 to June 1861, while also serving as an instructor of artillery, cavalry, and infantry tactics. During
his return from the West, Reynolds became engaged to Katherine May Hewitt. Since they were from different religious denominations—Reynolds
was a Protestant, Hewitt a Catholic—the engagement was kept a secret and Hewitt's parents did not learn about it until
after Reynolds' death.
Soon after the start of the Civil War,
Reynolds was offered the position as aide-de-camp to Lt. Gen. Winfield Scott, but declined. He was appointed lieutenant colonel of the 14th U.S. Infantry, but before he could engage with that unit, he was promoted to brigadier general on August 20, 1861, and ordered to report to Washington, D.C. While in transit, his orders were changed to report to Cape Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina. Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan intervened with the Secretary of War to get his orders changed once again, assigning him to the newly formed Army of the Potomac. His first assignment was with
a board that examined the qualifications of volunteer officers, but he soon was given command of a brigade of Pennsylvania Reserves. As McClellan's army moved up the Virginia Peninsula in the 1862 Peninsula Campaign, Reynolds occupied and became military governor of Fredericksburg, Virginia. His brigade was then ordered to join the V Corps at Mechanicsville, just before the start of the Seven Days Battles. The brigade was hit hard by the Confederate attack of June 26 at the Battle of Beaver Dam Creek, but their defensive line held and Reynolds later received a letter of commendation from his division commander, Brig. Gen. George A. McCall. The Confederate attack continued on June 27 and
Reynolds, exhausted from the Battle of Gaines' Mill and two days without sleep, was captured in Boatswain's Swamp, Virginia. Thinking he was in a place of relative safety, he
fell asleep and was not aware that his retreating troops left him behind. He was extremely embarrassed when brought before
the Confederate general of the capturing troops; D.H. Hill was an Army friend and colleague from before the war. Hill allegedly told him, "Reynolds, do not feel so bad about your
capture, it is the fate of wars." Reynolds was transported to Richmond and held at Libby Prison, but was quickly exchanged on August 15 (for Lloyd Tilghman).
Upon his return, Reynolds was given
command of the Pennsylvania Reserves Division, whose commander, McCall, had been captured just two days after Reynolds. The
V Corps joined the Army of Virginia, under Maj. Gen. John Pope, at Manassas. On the second day of the Second Battle of Bull Run, while most of the Union Army was retreating, Reynolds led his men in a last-ditch stand on Henry House Hill, site of the
great Union debacle at First Bull Run the previous year. Waving the flag of the 2nd Reserves regiment, he yelled, "Now boys, give them the steel, charge bayonets,
double quick!" His counterattack halted the Confederate advance long enough to give the Union Army time to retreat in
a more orderly fashion, arguably the most important factor in preventing its complete destruction.
On the morning of July 1, 1863,
Reynolds was commanding the "left wing" of the Army of the Potomac, with operational control over the I, III, and
XI Corps, and Brig. Gen. John Buford's cavalry division. Buford occupied the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and set up
light defensive lines north and west of the town. He resisted the approach of two Confederate infantry brigades on the Chambersburg
Pike until the nearest Union infantry, Reynolds' I Corps, began to arrive. Reynolds rode out ahead of the 1st Division, met
with Buford, and then accompanied some of his soldiers, probably from Brig. Gen. Lysander Cutler's brigade, into the fighting
at Herbst's Woods. Troops began arriving from Brig. Gen. Solomon Meredith's Iron Brigade, and as Reynolds was supervising
the placement of the 2nd Wisconsin, he yelled at them, "Forward men! For God's sake forward!" At that moment he
fell from his horse with a wound in the back of the upper neck, or lower head, and died almost instantly. Command passed to
his senior division commander, Maj. Gen. Abner Doubleday.
the Union side, the death of John Reynolds meant more than the loss of an inspiring leader; it also removed from the equation
the one person with enough vision and sense of purpose to manage this battle.The loss of General Reynolds was keenly felt
by the army. He was loved by his men and respected by his peers. There are no recorded instances of negative comments made
by his contemporaries. Historian Shelby Foote wrote that many considered him "not only the highest
ranking [sic] but also the best general in the army."His death had a more immediate effect that day, however. By ratifying
Buford's defensive plan and engaging his I Corps infantry, Reynolds essentially selected the location for the Battle of Gettysburg
for Meade, turning a chance meeting engagement into a massive pitched battle, committing the Army of the Potomac to fight
on that ground with forces that were initially numerically inferior to the Confederates that were concentrating there. In
the command confusion that followed Reynolds' death, the two Union corps that reached the field were overwhelmed and forced
to retreat through the streets of Gettysburg to the high ground south of town, where they were rallied by his old friend,
Maj. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock.
Iron Brigade then pushed the confederates back across Willoughby run killing and capturing many. After the initial repulse
of the confederates and the capture of Archer's Tennessee Brigade by the Iron Brigade, the regrouped on McPherson's Ridge
and fought until outflanked. They pulled back to Seminary Ridge where they put up a stubborn defense around a pile of
fence rails that had been hastily thrown together earlier that day. 1600 troops from South Carolina were obliterated
trying to gain Seminary ridge. As they crossed the field in front of the Seminary, the breastworks erupted in smoke
and when it cleared the charging confederates were not there any more, just the wounded and dying remained on the
ground. The confederates pressed the attack and eventually out flanked the position. 151 PA, 142PA, occupied the
ground and held it until forced to withdraw to Cemetery Ridge.
|LT COL GEORGE MCFARLAND
|COMMANDER, 151 PA
The 151st Pennsylvania Infantry was a Union Army regiment during the American Civil War. It was given the moniker of "The Schoolteachers' Regiment" because of the large enlistment of school instructors,
predominately in Company D.
The regiment next fought at the Battle of Gettysburg, with Lt. Col. McFarland still in command. The regiment defended the Union left on McPherson's
and Seminary Ridges. Confederate attacks forced the I Corps to retreat through Gettysburg. During the fighting near the Seminary,
the regiment took cover near a barricade and held off several more Confederate attacks. Lt. Col. McFarland was at the front
of the regiment, leading his men. The gunsmoke was so thick that McFarland couldn't see the enemy through it. He crouched
down to see under the smoke and track the Confederates' movements. It was then that a Rebel bullet went through one of his
legs and through the other as he crouched down. A private of Co. F attempted to carry McFarland back to the Seminary for treatment,
as it was then being used as a hospital. The private nearly lost his life when a bullet came so close that it sheared off
one of the brass buttons on his cuff. McFarland was kept safely inside the Seminary for several months after the battle.
In 1862, McFarland took upon himself the task of recruiting a company of men from
Juniata County for service to the Union. Countered in a rough recruiting race by cavalryman John K. Robison, McFarland gathered
from the county just over 30 men, which he transported to Camp Curtin in Harrisburg. Upon arriving in Harrisburg, McFarland was commissioned captain, and his company was
placed alongside nine other companies to comprise what would thenceforth be designated as the 151st Pennsylvania Infantry. In an election by the other company officers, McFarland was then made lieutenant colonel
of the regiment. Harrison Allen, formerly major of the 10th Pennsylvania Reserves, was made colonel of the regiment. The regiment
went on to take part in Joseph Hooker's Chancellorsville Campaign, serving as skirmishers on the Federal I Corps' right flank.
Three months later, at the first day of fighting at Gettysburg, with Allen away on furlough, McFarland bravely led the 151st as his regiment covered
the retreat of the battered Union Army's I Corps through the town of Gettysburg.
regiment at the time of the battle was part of Brig. Gen. Thomas Rowley's brigade, Maj. Gen. Abner Doubleday's division of Maj. Gen. John F. Reynolds' I Corps. The 151st's initial action at Gettysburg was to push forward to Herbst Woods,
now called Reynolds' Woods, to assist the breaking Iron Brigade, under the command of Brig. Gen. Solomon Meredith, which was repeatedly being smashed by attacks from Confederate Maj. Gen. William Pender's division. As the Iron Brigade fell back, 151st held off several enemy attacks along
Willoughby Run, which ran through Herbst Woods. The 151st was forced to hold alone and barely supported. During their defense,
they dueled with Col. Abner Perrin's South Carolina brigade and caused enormous casualties to that brigade. Eventually,
the regiment was relieved and allowed to fall back. Lt. Col. McFarland had his regiment rally at the Lutheran Theological
Seminary, where several other regiments were also rallying. As they gathered, McFarland was met by a Federal lieutenant on
horseback who held next to him a furled regimental flag. The lieutenant asked McFarland, "Sir, is this your flag?"
McFarland, horrified at the realization that his men may have
lost their colors, was about to reply when a gust of wind flung the flag out. The flag read that it belonged to the 142nd Pennsylvania Infantry. Relieved, McFarland pointed out the commander of the 142nd to the lieutenant and then
proceeded to continue organizing his regiment around his own colors, which soon appeared. Once the men were rallied, McFarland
had them throw up a quick barricade around the Seminary building where the men would hold against the advancing Confederates,
who were then bearing down upon them. With a few other regiments, the 151st held off repeated enemy attacks. During this fighting,
a thick smoke from the heavy gunfire had engulfed the area. McFarland stooped down to try to see under some of the smoke to
locate the enemy when a bullet went through his left leg and into his right. A private with Co. F had lifted him up off the
ground and put McFarland's arm around his shoulder to support him. The private then proceeded to take McFarland into the Seminary
for medical attention when a bullet came so close to them that it took the middle cuff button off of McFarland's uniform as
the private supported him.
The 151st Pennsylvania was the last regiment
to pull back in the retreat to Cemetery Ridge. McFarland was treated in the Lutheran Theological Seminary. His left leg was amputated below the knee. Shortly after Gettysburg, McFarland and
the 151st PA were mustered out of the Union army, their nine-month term of enlistment expired.