Plate 37. Field Where General Reynolds Fell, Battle of Gettysburg

Plate 37. Field Where General Reynolds Fell, Battle of Gettysburg

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Text and photograph from Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the War, Vol. II. Negative by Timothy H. O'Sullivan, text and positive by Alexander Gardner.
About nine o'clock on the morning of the 1st of July, 1863, the Federal cavalry, under General Buford, met the Confederates two miles beyond Gettysburg, on the road to Chambersburg. The rebel infantry was preceded by a small body of their cavalry, which dispersed the militia wherever met with, and which, charging into our cavalry, was captured, not a man escaping. The Confederates immediately threw a division of infantry into line, and advanced upon our cavalry, which dismounted, and by slowly falling back from one stone wall to another, impeded the progress of the enemy very materially. The cavalry had just taken up the last available line of defense [sic] beyond Gettysburg, when, at eleven o'clock, General Reynolds arrived with the 1st corps on a double-quick. The enemy then halted for a short time, re-formed their lines, and prepared to charge, which was met by a severe fire from the advance of our infantry, which went into line as rapidly as the regiments could be brought up General Reynolds, appreciating the importance of holding the Seminary Ridge, rode out into the field, and directed the posting of the troops, and while engaged in this work, received a shot in the neck, falling lifeless to the earth. His remains were brought off the field under a withering fire, which lasted until night, our troops, overwhelmed by numbers, slowly falling back, and finally taking a position on Cemetery Ridge, which was next day occupied by the rest of our army, and became the battle-ground of the succeeding days.
The dead shown in the photograph were our own men. The picture represents only a single spot on the long line of killed, which after the fight extended across the fields. Some of the dead presented an aspect which showed that they had suffered severely just previous to dissolution, but these were few in number compared with those who wore a calm and resigned expression, as though they had passed away in the act of prayer. Others had a smile on their faces, and looked as if they were in the act of speaking. Some lay stretched on their backs, as if friendly hands had prepared them for burial. Some were still resting on one knee, their hands grasping their muskets. In some instances the cartridge remained between the teeth, or the musket was held in one hand, and the other was uplifted as though to ward a blow, or appealing to heaven. The faces of all were pale, as though cut in marble, and as the wind swept across the battle-field it waved the hair, and gave the bodies such an appearance of life that a spectator could hardly help thinking they were about to rise to continue the fight.
Currently not on view
Object Name
albumen photograph
date made
Gardner, Alexander
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Gettysburg
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 16.7216 cm x 22.0134 cm; 6 9/16 in x 8 11/16 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Civil War
See more items in
Work and Industry: Photographic History
Gardner's Sketchbook
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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Cindy, sorry to be the bearer of bad news but your facts are wrong. The 21st Pennsylvania wasn't even engaged on July 1st. Furthermore, they played virtually no role in the Battle of Gettysburg (They aren't even listed on the Pennsylvania Memorial as taking part in the battle.) They were, however, engaged in a minor skirmish on June 26th, and are credited with having the "first" man killed in the Battle of Gettysburg. And, Captain William Holden of Company B, 149th Pennsylvania was not killed in battle either, but resigned or was discharged on December 21, 1864. Lastly, the 149th PA, or "2nd Bucktail Regiment," really weren't crack shots like their predecessors the 13th Pennsylvania Reserves, also known as the 42nd Regiment of the Line, 1st Pennsylvania Rifles, Kane's Rifles, or simply the "Bucktails,"
We want more.....well done guys . The Holden farm was near McConnellsburg. (St Thomas, Pa) my 3rd G.G.Grandfather (he had a fast horse, he made it to Gettysburg Quick), He was a member of the 21st PA. that first group of dismounted calvary that held Bobby Lee's men back that first day...DAVID ADAM HOLDEN ...he was 15 years old,,,his 7 brothers and his dad William Holden Sr. Capt. of the 149th BUCKTAILS co B. he was their Captain when he died 27 November 1863 @Mine Run, Orange, Virginia, United States The bucktails were the sharpshooters an elite team put together because they were the best. We had 100 men on both moms side and my dads side in that war, most were at Gettysburg. Thank you for the work you do, My son and I are living history members and we lived in gettysburg- chambersburg area for 20 years

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