The 102nd Pennsylvania was among the Union reinforcements that helped clear the “Valley of Death” late on July 2.
The York Civil War Round Table is sponsoring a National Park Service-sanctioned battlefield clean-up activity on Saturday morning, May 3, 2008. To further entice folks to turn out, in the early afternoon, there will be a free battle walk and tour of East Cemetery Hill led by Scott Mingus, who has written a new book covering the topic. There is no charge for either activity, and the public is welcome to participate, although a free-will donation is suggested to the York CWRT to help defray expenses for the speakers at future monthly meetings. Volunteers for the Adopt-a-Position work day need to bring gloves and clippers.
Meet at 10 a.m. at the monuments to the 102nd Pennsylvania / 62nd New York on the John Weikert / Althoff Farm Lane, just northeast of the Wheatfield Road intersection with Crawford Avenue (near Houck’s Ridge / Devil’s Den). Lunch is on your own. Then, at 1:00 p.m., meet at the Evergreen Cemetery Gatehouse for the 90-minute battle walk, which will involve only modest walking.
The old White Rose Civil War Round Table first volunteered to “Adopt-A-Position” in September 1997 and selected the 102nd Pennsylvania and 62nd New York site. The group has continuously maintained the site since then. Recently, through the efforts of Kathy Friel, the group formally re-adopted the site as the York CWRT in April 2008.
Both volunteer infantry regiments have storied histories, which I will dive into in future posts. The 102nd Pennsylvania was also known as the old 13th Pittsburgh Washington Infantry, and the 62nd NY started as the “Anderson Zouaves.” They served together in the Third Brigade of the Third Division of the Sixth Corps, along with the 93rd, 98th, and 139th Pennsylvania. At Gettysburg, they initially were under the command of Brig. Gen. Frank Wheaton, later to be a famous Indian fighter in the Old West. With the promotion of division commander John Newton to command the I Corps (relieving Abner Doubleday), Wheaton was assigned to division command, and Col. David J. Nevin led the Third Brigade into action on July 2 in the position where the monuments are located.
Colonel John Patterson’s 102nd PA had a famous mascot dog named “Jack.” (Ironically, I have covered Jack in my manuscript for Volume 3 of Human Interest Stories of the Gettysburg Campaign). There is an exhibit to the loyal canine at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Pittsburgh. Survivors dedicated the monument at Gettysburg on September 11, 1889. I’ll discuss both the dog and the monument in more detail in the future.
Come on out on May 3rd!!!! Everyone is welcome!