A Guide to Identifying Monuments

In an attempt to interpret the Gettysburg National Military Park, during its stewardship, the War Department erected hundreds of interpretive bronze and iron tablets and monuments around the battlefield.

“The method of marking the positions of troops on this field, as approved by the War Department, is to place the principal tablet or monument of each command at the position occupied by the command in the main line of battle, and to mark the several important positions subsequently reached by each command in the course of the battle by subordinate and ancillary tablets, with appropriate brief inscriptions giving interesting details and occurrences and noting the day and hour as nearly as possible.”

Monuments to the Armies

There are two monuments to the respective armies at Gettysburg. Additionally, the right flank of the armies was marked by an iron tablet as well.

CONFEDERATE BATTERY AND BRIGADE TABLETS (ADVANCED POSITION)

These tablets are 3 3/4 by 2 1/2 feet in dimensions, with carefully prepared inscriptions cast in raised letters describing the part taken in the battle by each brigade and stating its numbers and losses so far as practicable to obtain. They are mounted on iron pillars about 3 feet high, grouted in the ground, and the tablets are inclined at a suitable angle so that the inscriptions can easily be read by persons riding or driving on the avenue. On the left is an example of a battery tablet and on the right is an example of an advanced position tablet for a brigade.

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UNION U.S. REGULAR ARMY UNITS

Forty-two monuments honor units of the regular army to fight at Gettysburg. These regiments and batteries were designated as United States Regulars as opposed to the state volunteer forces. These polished granite monuments with bronze plaques affixed to the front were fabricated by the Van Amringe Granite Company, of Boston and authorized in 1907. They were completed in the autumn of 1908. Each consists of Jonesboro granite, 24 by 50 inches and 7 feet high, set upon concrete foundations, and upon each is fastened a descriptive bronze tablet and the coat of arms of the United States. On the left is an example of an infantry monument and on the right an artillery battery.

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UNION BATTERY TABLETS

Several volunteer Union batteries have iron War Department plaques on the battlefield marking secondary positions. Two examples are provided below.

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UNION BRIGADE MARKERS. There are seventy-four brigade markers at Gettysburg honoring the AOP’s various brigades. They were built by Albert Russell & Sons Co. of Newburyport, Massachusetts and Charles Kappes. The pedestals consist of sea-green granite with a square 36” x 36” base; they weigh 3500 pounds. On each pedestal is mounted a bronze tablet with rounded corners weighing 300 pounds.

Here are two examples of Union Brigade Monuments.

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CONFEDERATE BRIGADE MARKERS. There are sixty-four brigade markers honoring the ANV’s various brigades. They were built by Van Amringe Granite Company (pedestals), Albert Russell & Sons Co., Newburyport, Mass (tablets) and Charles Kappes (foundations). The last was completed in December 1910. The monuments consist of red circular Maine granite bases 34 1/2 inches diameter and weighing 3,000 pounds. On each base is mounted a 300 pound bronze tablet.

Here are two examples of Confederate Brigade Monuments.

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As discussed above, many Confederate brigades have “advanced position” markers as well.

DIVISION MARKERS. There are twenty-two Union division monuments on the battlefield and ten Confederate division markers. They are of similar design and were all construed of Winnsboro (S.C.), granite. Each stands seven feet in height. An example of a Union division monument appears on the left and on the right is a Confederate division marker.

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CORPS MARKERS. Corps markers are similar to division monuments but they have scrolls at the top. For some reason, the two markers to the 1st and 2nd Divisions of the Union 3rd Army Corps as well as the Artillery Brigade at the Peach Orchard are designed this way as well. Perhaps they were done this way for a uniform appearance as all three sit next to each other. (The Artillery Reserve Monument also follows this pattern.) On the left is an example of a Union corps monument and on the right is a Confederate corps monument.

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HEADQUARTERS – UNION. Erected in 1920. The location of each Union corps headquarters, as well as the headquarters of General Meade and General Hunt (chief of artillery) are marked with a cannon. The Army headquarters marker has a granite base on a concrete foundation supporting a very large bronze cannon; a large bronze tablet with the inscription is fastened on the front of the die. The corps headquarters markers are of similar construction, except that the cannon used are steelrifled guns very large and heavy. The granite of the stonework is from the battlefield, and was quarried, dressed, placed in position, and completed by the commission’s regular force of artisans, the location of the Doubleday, First Corps, and the Slocum, Twelfth Corps, headquarters, the First on Chambersburg Pike and the Twelfth on Power Hill, are difficult of access, the markers were placed at the nearest points to the headquarters on an avenue or public highway and a bronze tablet fastened to the base of each, giving the distance and direction to the proper location; the First Corps marker is located on Reynolds Avenue and the Twelfth Corps marker on Baltimore Pike, 1 1/2 miles from Gettysburg.

CONFEDERATE ARMY HEADQUARTERS. Foundations were built in the Autumn of 1920; through the winter of 1920-1921, the stone cutters and their helpers got out the granite for bases and dies. These bases and dies have been set up on the foundations and each monument mounted with a 12 pounder bronze Confederate gun. A bronze tablet on the die gives the necessary information, viz: The Corps Commander, the Division composing the Corps, Commander of each Division, the dates on which the Corps occupied the locality, etc. A bronze plate with C. S. A. of large letters on it is across the gun at the trunnions. The First Corps, Headquarters marker is located on Section 4, Confederate Avenue, near the Observation Tower, a bronze tablet on the base of the marker points out that the exact location was at a school-house 900 yards westerly. This school-house is in plain view from the marker and was occupied by Lieut.-General Longstreet. The Second Corps Headquarters marker is located on the north side of the Hanover road on the west side of Rock Creek 100 yards from the bridge. General Ewell occupied the house near the marker. The Third Corps Headquarters marker is located on the west side of West Confederate avenue 200 yards southerly from the McMillan woods; the tablet on the base of the marker states that the farm buildings 600 yards westerly, and in plain view, were occupied by Lieut.-General Hill during the battle. Examples are below.

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ITINERARY TABLETS. Nine itinerary tablets were erected on East Cemetery Hill, along the Baltimore pike, describing the movements and positions of the Union Army and each of the commands comprising it on each day from June 29 to July 7, 1863. Likewise, ten Confederate itinerary tablets record record the movements of the Confederate Army and its several corps, divisions, and brigades on each day from June 26, 1863, when the last of its forces crossed the Potomac into Maryland, until after the close of the battle and the retreat of the Confederates from Gettysburg, July 5, 1863. They are located on Confederate Avenue. On the left is a Union tablet and on the right is a Confederate tablet.

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UNION FIELD HOSPITALS The locations of the Union field hospitals for each corps were ascertained and marked by wooden tablets in June, 1912. The monuments were completed in August 1914. Two examples are below. These monuments are located outside the National Park proper.

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That concludes my introduction to the War Department monuments on the battlefield.

Navigate the Project

Draw the Sword includes over 900 monuments and markers in and around the Gettysburg National Military Park. Use the pull down menus below to locate monuments by type, location, or order of battle. A quick list of the most popular monuments and my master table containing all the monuments.

Commemorative Monuments

Army of the Potomac

Army of Northern Virginia

Monuments by State

Monuments by Road

Other Battlefield Features

More about the Monuments

If you would like to learn more about the monuments, please visit the Monument 101 section.

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