South Berwick and Berwick Academy at Gettysburg

by Arthur Stansfield
Lexington, Kentucky
6 August 2014
This is not a re-telling of the Battle of Gettysburg. It is an attempt to show where the soldiers from South Berwick and Berwick Academy were during the battle with a brief description of what was going on around them. The format is the same as Maine at Gettysburg in that it brings the soldiers into the battle in the sequence in which they were involved. The Confederate units they faced are not listed as it was not important to them at the time.
The typical Company in the Union Army had an authorized strength of 101 officers and men. On occasion this was broken down further into 2 Platoons of 4 squads each. 10 Infantry Companies plus a Headquarters Company made up a Regiment, approximately 1100 total. Anywhere from 4 to 8 Regiments made up a Brigade. Typically 3 Brigades made up a Division, although some Divisions had only 2 Brigades. 3 Divisions plus an Artillery Brigade, approximately 600 men and 30 cannons, made up a Corp.
This would indicate that a Corp had an authorized strength of approximately 60,000 including Corp Headquarters staff. This was never the case due to losses from illness and casualties from prior engagements. In fact the V Corp came to Gettysburg with a total of only 10,926 and the 18th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment had only 139 men (13% of authorized strength). The total strength of The Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg was 93,380 (Army Headquarters, 2,740; 7 Corp of Infantry, 73,180; 1
Corp of Cavalry, 10,530; Corp and Reserve Artillery, 6,930).
There was no organized method of replacing casualties. It was more politically popular for a new regiment to be formed to make up for losses so that a State governor could appoint more officers, therefore each regiment would send a detail of officers and men back to their home state periodically to recruit replacements for their regiment.
The objective of the Army, in any situation, starts at the top and works down with each smaller unit having a smaller piece of the objective until it reaches the individual soldier who is only concerned with what is directly in front of him. At that point the individual soldier’s job is to attack or defend depending on the situation and work with those on either side of him to achieve the objective.
The First Day, July 1, 1863
Cavalry Corp, 1st Division, 1st Brigade, 18th Illinois Cavalry
Thomas Bently, private, Company E
In the evening of June 30 Brigadier General John Buford deployed his division, two brigades (eight regiments), including the 18th Illinois Cavalry perpendicular to and on both sides of the Chambersburg Pike west of Gettysburg between Gettysburg and Cashtown. Company E of the 18th Illinois was in advance of the main line as skirmishers. Thomas Bently was part of that skirmish line. At about 7:30 am on July 1 Lieutenant Marcellus Jones, of Company E, fired what is reportedly the first shot of the Battle of Gettysburg.
Buford’s division moved back toward Gettysburg and, armed with breech loading Sharps carbines, fought a holding action against a much larger Confederate force. They were relieved by the Advance (Left) Wing, commanded by Major General John Reynolds (I and XI Corp), at approximately 10:00 am. General Reynolds was killed while deploying his troops.
I Corp Headquarters, 1st Maine Cavalry, Escort (57 men detached from regiment)
Leland F. Davis, private, Company I
Albert R. Walker, private, Company K
Fifty-seven men of the 1st Maine cavalry were detached to I Corp to act as Escort. Their duties included being couriers, orderlies and mounted guards for the headquarters staff. Leland F. Davis and Albert R. Walker were two of the Escort.
The I and XI Corp fought north and west of Gettysburg and gradually withdrew through Gettysburg to the top of Culp’s Hill, Cemetery Hill and Ridge as the rest of the Army of the Potomac was brought up.
I Corp, Artillery Brigade, 1st Maine Light Artillery
Joseph Woods, private, 5th Battery (Company E) also known as Stevens’ Battery
Stevens’ Battery, of which Joseph Woods was a member, fought with the withdrawal of I Corp through Gettysburg. Late in the day they were posted by the overall commander, General Winfield S. Hancock, to take a position on Culp’s Hill to protect the east side of Cemetery Hill from possible Confederate advance. The Battery’s actions were so effective that the place where Stevens placed his guns is today known as “Stevens’ Knoll”.
The Second Day, July 2, 1863
In the evening of July 1 and throughout the night the Union Army consolidated its position on Culp’s and Cemetery Hills. By 10:00 AM on July 2 the positions were as follows. From the east on Culp’s Hill in an arc to the north to Cemetery Hill and around Cemetery Hill to Cemetery Ridge in the west were the XII Corp, I Corp, and the XI Corp. Continuing down Cemetery Ridge in a line were the II Corp and the III Corp. The total strength was approximately 53,000 men. The position looked like a giant fish hook. The V Corp (10,900 men), having marched all night, was placed in reserve behind the II and III Corp. The VI Corp (14,000 men) were still marching toward Gettysburg and did not arrive until late in the day.
The III Corp commander, Major General Daniel E. Sickles, on his own moved the whole III Corp forward ½ to ¾ mile to the west from his assigned position. This exposed the entire left of the Union Army.
III Corp, 1st Division, 3rd Brigade, 17th Maine Infantry
Benjamin Doe, sergeant, Company A
Robert H. Mathes, coporal, Company A
William Chick, private, Company A
Granville Joy, private, Company A
Gen Joseph Hayes
Ivory Pray, private, Company A
Jonas Reynolds, cook, Company A
George Tucker, private, Company A
Oliver Walker, private, Company A
Frederic N. Wilkinson, private, Company A
Aaron Hubbard, corporal, Company B
*George A. McIntire, private, Company B
Henry J. Goodwin, private, Company D
Francis E. Hurd, private, Company G
Gen Joseph Hayes
The 17th Maine was placed at the west edge of a twenty acre wheat field facing west behind a stone wall. At about 4:30 PM the Confederates attacked. The initial wave was repulsed. The action went back and forth across the wheat field several times. The Confederates then attacked the southern edge of the wheat field and the 17th Maine was withdrawn from its position and moved to reinforce the southern edge. After 2 1/2 hours of fighting, at about 7:00 PM, the 17th Maine was withdrawn to Cemetery Ridge to re-supply and rest. Oliver Walker was detached to the 3rd Brigade ambulance train. His duties would have been to assist with the wounded in any way that was needed. The rest were with their Companies. George Tucker, Company A was reported missing and was presumed dead and George A. McIntire Company B, was wounded, the only two South Berwick casualties and one of three Berwick Academy casualties in the Battle of Gettysburg. Francis E. Hurd was killed in action, the second of three casualties from Berwick Academy.
III Corp, 2nd Division, 1st Brigade, 16th Massachusetts Infantry
*Charles C. Jewett, surgeon
The primary function of the Regimental Surgeon was to attend to the day to day health of the soldiers in the regiment. In the Civil War disease caused twice as many deaths as combat. In time of battle the Regimental Surgeon, Charles C. Jewett, would have been located to the rear of the Regiment in a relatively “safe” place to tend to the wounded. An early form of triage would have been performed by Assistant Surgeons, or others, to determine which could be treated immediately. These would be treated by the Regimental Surgeon. The more seriously wounded would be sent further to the rear to Brigade or Division Hospitals. The most common form of treatment for arm and leg wounds was amputation. Body wounds were almost always fatal. Those that were beyond help would be made as comfortable until they died.
At the start of the battle the V Corp was ordered forward to reinforce the III Corp in the wheat field area due to the III Corp’s exposed position.
V Corp, 1st Division, 1st Brigade, 18th Massachusetts Infantry
*Joseph Hayes, Lieutenant Colonel
Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Hayes commanding the 18th Massachusetts had only 139 men and was placed in reserve between Cemetery Ridge and the eastern edge of the wheat field. They were minimally involved in the day’s combat. They fell back to Cemetery Ridge with the III and V Corp at the end of the battle at about 7:00 PM.
V Corp, 1st Division, 3rd Brigade, 20th Maine Infantry
*Mattson C. Sanborn, 2nd Lieutenant, Company D
The entire 3rd Brigade was diverted to Little Round Top when it was discovered that it was undefended. The 20th Maine was on the extreme left of the entire Union line. The 20th Maine’s position was attacked just after 4:30 PM. For his actions in holding their position that day the commander, Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, was awarded the Medal of Honor. Mattson C. Sanborn’s duties that day would have been to direct part of his Company’s fire and to encourage his men to hold their position. After the battle the 20th Maine was ordered to the top of Big Round Top. They were relived the next morning.
II Corp, 1st Division, 2nd Brigade, 28th Massachusetts Infantry
Michael Cragin (Cregan), private, Company E
At approximately 5:00 PM the 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, II Corp, also known as The Irish Brigade, was withdrawn from their position north of the III Corp and sent south to reinforce the III Corp in the wheat field. The Irish Brigade charged, southerly, across the wheat field but was eventually withdrawn to Cemetery Ridge. Michael Cragin (Cregan) of Company E of the 28th Massachusetts was part of this action. Although the II Corp was heavily involved in the repulse of Picket’ Charge on July 3, the 1st Division was not, due to the losses on July 2.
III Corp, 2nd Division, 1st Brigade, 12th New Hampshire Infantry
Andrew J. Goodwin, private, Company D
Charles H. Horne, private, Company G
The 12th New Hampshire’s part of the Union line was further north of the wheat field in the area just north of a peach orchard. By the time the battle got to them it was almost 6:15 PM. Under intense pressure from the Confederate forces the regiment moved back to Cemetery Ridge. Andrew J. Goodwin of Company D and Charles H. Horne of Company G were involved.
II Corp, 2nd Division, 1st Brigade, 19th Maine Infantry
William F. Hubbard, private, Company B
The 19th Maine, including William F. Hubbard, was part of the Union line that was still further north at the left end of the II Corp on Cemetery Ridge and close to the right end of the III Corp. By the time the battle got to them it was 6:30 PM and the Confederate attack was coming to an end. Intense fire from the II Corp drove the Confederates back. The regiment regrouped at its position on Cemetery Ridge.
The wheat field and peach orchard that were such a large part of the July 2 battle have become known by what they were as battlefield place names: “The Wheatfield” and “The Peach Orchard”.
The Third Day, July 3, 1863
The position of the Union Army on July 3 was as follows. From the east on Culp’s Hill in an arc to the north to Cemetery Hill and around Cemetery Hill to Cemetery Ridge in the west were the XII Corp, and the XI Corp Continuing down Cemetery Ridge were the II Corp and I Corp. Each of the VI Corp’s three divisions were placed, one each, in the I Corp, XI Corp, and the XII Corp to replace losses on July 1 and 2. The III Corp and V Corp were in reserve due to heavy losses on July 2.
II Corp, 2nd Division, 1st Brigade, 19th Maine Infantry
William F. Hubbard, private, Company B
The 19th Maine was positioned approximately 200 yards south of a copse of trees (cluster of trees with undergrowth) that was the objective of the Confederate attack known as Pickett’s Charge. They were under artillery fire for over an hour. After the artillery fire stopped the 15,000 Confederate troops advanced across open fields. The 19th Maine opened fire when the Confederates were within 300 to 400 yards. The Confederates shifted to the right to concentrate their forces on their objective. The 19th Maine was then moved to the right to help repel the attack. There was hand to hand combat before the Confederate forces retreated.
The 19th Maine entered the battle with 405 officers and men. In two days of fighting the 19th Maine lost 65 killed or mortally wounded, 137 wounded, and 4 missing and presumed dead. This was 51% of their strength, the second highest percentage of losses in the battle. The third casualty from Berwick Academy was William F. Hubbard who suffered a head wound. He rejoined the regiment and was mustered out at the end of the war.
The copse of trees became another battlefield place name: “The Copse of Trees”. It still stands today surrounded by an iron fence in Gettysburg National Military Park.
VI Corp, 2nd Division, 3rd Brigade, 7th Maine Infantry
John B. Foote, private, Company D
William J. Copeland, private, Company I
The 7th Maine, including John B. Foote and William J. Copeland, with its Brigade were posted on the extreme right of the XII Corp position. It came under artillery fire from Confederate forces and sustained 8 wounded in limited action. There was some exchange of fire with some Confederate infantry, but it was of little consequence.
Army of the Potomac, Artillery Reserve, 3rd Brigade, 1st Battalion,
New Hampshire Light Artillery
Joseph T. Durgin, private, 1st Battery (Company A)
The 1st Battalion, New Hampshire Artillery, including Joseph T. Durgin, was attached to the XI Corp, facing north-west facing Confederate artillery on Seminary Ridge. They exchanged fire with Confederate artillery prior to Pickets Charge. They were not involved in repelling the Confederate troops.
Cavalry Corp, 2nd Division, 3rd Brigade, 1st Maine Cavalry (315 men)
John F. Hill, private, Company I
John P. Grant, private, Company K
The 1st Maine Cavalry, with John F. Hill and John P Grant, was posted south of the main force of the Union cavalry during the battle in what is now known as the East Cavalry Field a few miles east of Gettysburg. The Confederate objective was to attack the rear of the Union position at the same time as the prime attack, known as Picket’s Charge, was taking place. The major battle here was a charge led by Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer against the oncoming charging Confederate cavalry. The Confederate cavalry was forced to retreat.
The next day, July 4, 1863, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of the Potomac consolidated their positions. The Confederate Army Commander, General Robert E. Lee, made the decision to withdraw back to Virginia. The Union Army followed.
On the same date the Confederate Army of Mississippi at Vicksburg, Mississippi, commanded by Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton, surrendered to the Union Army of the Tennessee, under General Ulysses S. Grant, after a six week siege. One of the 30,000 Confederate Soldiers that were surrendered that day was Private Joseph Byne, 2nd Texas Infantry, Company A of Galveston, Texas, a Berwick Academy alumnus.
The four days, July 1 through July 4, 1863 were the most successful four day period of the whole Civil War for the Union and is considered to be the turning point of the War.
The Civil War in the east lasted another twenty-two months until the Army of Northern Virginia surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia on April 9, 1865. At the formal surrender on April 12, 1863, commanded by Major General Joshua L. Chamberlain, there was only one South Berwick resident present. He was First Lieutenant Mattson C. Sanborn of the 20th Maine Infantry. He was also an alumnus of Berwick Academy. The rest were in Regiments that were not present, had been discharged when their enlistments ended, discharged because of wounds or illness, died from illness, or were killed in action.
Notes: 1. Names are Berwick Academy Students.
2.*Names are South Berwick Veterans who were Berwick Academy Alumni.
The Gettysburg Companion, Martin Adkin
Gettysburg, July 1, Daniel J. Martin
Gettysburg: the Second Day, Harry W. Pfanz
Gettysburg: Culp’s Hill and Cemetery Hill, Harry W. Pfanz
Gettysburg: Day Three, Jeffery D. Wert
Gettysburg, Stephen W. Sears
Red Diamond Regiment: The 17th Maine Infantry, 1862-1865, William B. Jordan
The First Maine Cavalry, Mary Renier Calvert
Horse Soldiers in Blue: First Maine Cavalry, Torlief S. Holmes
Maine At Gettysburg, Report of Maine Commissioners
United States Army Regimental Returns