Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Battle of the Wheatfield at Gettysburg

Thursday, July 2, 1863

The Twenty Seventh Connecticut Regiment spent the morning of July 2 in relative quiet in position with the Second Corps about 1 1/2 miles south of Cemetery Hill along Cemetery Ridge, which runs from the north at Cemetery Hill to the south at Little and Big Round Tops. Around 4:00 P.M. Union General Daniel Sickles led his Third Corps forward from the Union line along Cemetery Ridge to the Emmitsburg Road. This salient movement created gaps in the Union line, enticing the Confederate forces on the opposite side of the Emmitsburg Road to attack. Confederate General James Longstreet hurled his men at the Third Corps, which rapidly retreated toward the Union line. A series of regiments hurried into the fray to prevent the strong Union line from breaking. The Twenty-Seventh Connecticut, along with other Second Corps regiments, joined the attacks. As the Twenty-Seventh Connecticut entered the Wheatfield, situated at the base of Little Round Top, they encountered the retreating Third Corps, followed by the pursuing Confederate forces. Heavy fire from both sides ensued, and Lieutentant Colonel Henry C. Merwin fell mortally wounded. Major James H. Coburn leads the Twenty-Seventh Connecticut as the attacks continued until darkness. By nightfall the Confederates had taken the Wheatfield but the Union line along Cemetery Ridge to the Round Tops had been secured. The Twenty-Seventh Connecticut suffered thirty-eight casualties, including eleven killed. Lieutenant Colonel Henry C. Merwin and Captain Jedediah Chapman were among the officers slain.1

1Winthrop Dudley Sheldon The "Twenty-Seventh," : A Regimental History (New Haven, Connecticut: Morris and Benham, 1866), 75-78.

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