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"A Desperate Stand" by Mark Maritato

Signed & Numbered Limited Edition Giclee & Canvas

The 147th New York Infantry at the battle of Gettysburg, July 1st 1863.

Image size: Giclee-27" x 18" ....Canvas-30" x 20"

Edition size: Giclee-450 S/N ....Canvas-50 S/N

Issue price: Giclee-$300 .......Canvas-$400 (When these are sold out they will only be available on our secondary market--call then for current price and availability--800-237-6077)

"A DESPERATE STAND" The 147 New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment Battle of Gettysburg July 1st 1863 The 147th New York Volunteer Infantry was the fourth of five infantry regiments organized in the county of Oswego New York in response to Abraham Lincoln's call for 600,000 more volunteers in August of 1862. The Ranks of the 147th New York soon swelled and the regiment was mustered in to Federal service on September 23, 1862. On the hot and humid morning of July 1st 1863, the Union Army of the Potomac's First Corps, First Division, commanded by brigadier General Lysander Cutler as it made it's way north toward along the Emmitsburg Road toward the small crossroads town of Gettysburg Pennsylvania.

The brigade consisted of the 76th New York Volunteers, the 56th Pennsylvania, the 147th New York, 95th New York and the 14th Brooklyn. The 147th New York regiment marched in the third position of the brigade line behind the 76th New York and the 56th Pennsylvania regiments. 18 men of the 147th New York regiment composing the head-quarters guard, marched in the vanguard of the brigade. As Cutler's brigade marched, they began to receive reports that the Union Cavalry under John Buford was heavily engaged with Confederate infantry west of the town. They also could hear the sound of cannon booming in the distance, and saw heavy puffs of white smoke rising in the sky to the north, which indicated that a major battle was on.

As Cutlers' brigade reached the Codori house south of Gettysburg; Major General John F. Reynolds, on his black horse, ordered General Cutler to Buford's assistance and urged the men of his brigade to follow him using the quickest route to the battlefield. The men tore down the fence rails along the Emmitsburg road and began a breakneck, two and a half mile, double-quick march to the front with General Reynolds leading the way. There was no time to throw off knap-sacks or blanket rolls and the men were ordered to load their muskets on the run. The clanging sound of ramrods, ramming bullets down the barrels of muskets ran up and down the line. Feet tramped in quick stride and men panted under the loads of their heavy knapsacks. As Cutler's men reached the fields of the Lutheran Seminary just west of Gettysburg; they deployed into line of battle to meet the Confederate infantry, now heavily engaged with Buford's Cavalry troopers.

The 76th New York, 56th Pennsylvania and the 147th New York were sent across an unfinished railroad cut and deployed along a gently sloping ridge just north of the cut to support Captain James A. Hall's Artillery Battery. The 147th regiment took position in a wheat field on the crest of the ridge, supported on their right flank by the 76th N.Y. and 56th PA. The left flank of the 147th regiment rested on the steep banks of the unfinished railroad cut. The men of the 147th were ordered to lie down in the wheat. There they waited as the Confederate Brigade of Joseph R. Davis approached them. Private Francis Pease recalled that the Rebels were "not more than 30 or 40 rods away." The Confederate infantry (of the 42nd Mississippi) soon opened a heavy fire on the New Yorkers, as Captain James Coey recalled; "The line of the 147th New York was laying in a wheat field at and below the ridge, a Wheatfield ready for harvest. The fire of the enemy, the zipping of their bullets, cut the grain, completely covering the men who would reach over the ridge, take deliberate aim, fire and then slide back under their canopy or covering of straw: reload and continue their firing. Those of the regiment wounded here were wounded in the head or upper part of the body, consequently more fatal." The 147th continued to fight in their prone position.

Preoccupied by the Confederate infantry in their immediate front, they failed to notice that the 76th New York and 56th Pennsylvania supporting their right were forced to pull back due to overwhelming Confederate reinforcements arriving from the north, thus flanking the two regiments. This left the 147th regiment out on the ridge all by themselves with one Confederate regiment in their front and two others, (the 2nd Mississippi and the 55th North Carolina) bearing down on their right flank. Lieutenant Colonel Francis Miller leading the regiment mounted on horseback: recognized that it was time to pull the 147th back as well. Just as Miller was about to give the order to retreat, a bullet struck him in the throat and he was carried away by his frightened horse, Leaving Major George Harney in command of the regiment with no knowledge of Miller's order to retreat, maintained the 147th in its' present position. Things soon went from bad to worse for the 147th New York regiment. The North Carolina and Mississippi regiments, having dispatched the 76th NY and 56th PA could not believe the opportunity that presented itself: a lone Yankee regiment with their right flank exposed.

The Rebels immediately plied their deadly work upon the New Yorkers. Bullets ripped into 147ths' line from their front, from their right and from behind. They were caught in a deadly, three-way cross fire and men began to fall like autumn leaves. Harney ordered the regiment to refuse its right flank, thus forming an L shape so that the regiment could meet the threat coming from both angles. As the 147th continued it's mortal struggle, Major Harney was faced with a grave dilemma. Should he follow the 76th NY and 56th PA and leave Hall's artillery battery to face certain capture; or should he maintain the regiment's present line despite being outnumbered and outflanked? The answer came when Adjutant General Timothy E. Ellsworth rode up to Harney and inquired as to why the 147th was still in its advanced position. Harney explained that he had received no order to retreat. Ellsworth immediately gave the order to withdraw his regiment. The order was communicated throughout the line that the men should divest themselves of everything but the rifle and cartridge box. Harney gave the command, "In retreat, double-quick RUN!" It was every man for himself. As the regiment rose to break for the rear, Color Sergeant John Hinchcliff was immediately struck with several Rebel bullets and killed instantly. As he fell dead, his body became enwrapped in the banner and drenched the flag with his life's blood. The banner was recovered in a heroic deed by a "Brave Irish Lad;" Sergeant William Waybourn, who ran back to the line and unrolled the dead Hichcliff from the flag's folds. Waybourn tore the flag from its staff and rolled it up as he raced to the rear to rejoin the regiment.

For its half hour engagement, the stand of the 147th was truly remarkable. Despite being outnumbered and virtually surrounded the New Yorkers put up a dogged fight and did not retreat until they were ordered. Their valor came at a staggering cost; of the 380 officers and men that entered the battle, 207 fell. Two officers and 42 men were killed; 10 officers and 153 men were wounded. An unknown number of wounded were captured as well as reported missing. The 147th New York regiment reformed on Seminary Ridge where later in the day, they again engaged the Confederate infantry in the afternoon battle. By the evening, only 79 men remained in the ranks to answer roll call. The magnificent performance of the 147th New York Volunteers at the battle of Gettysburg remains one of best examples of regimental valor, true grit and bravery in the American Civil War.

 

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