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Civil War Blog

A project of PA Historian

Monuments at Gettysburg – 31st Pennsylvania Infantry

Posted By on September 19, 2014

The 31st Pennsylvania Infantry (2nd Pennsylvania Reserve) Monument at Gettysburg is located south of Gettysburg on the eastern edge of the Wheatfield on Ayres Avenue.  It was not dedicated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania until 1890 and thus it was not pictured in the 1889 article that appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The picture of the monument is from Steve Recker’s Virtual Gettysburg Web Site which has additional information about the monument and the 31st Pennsylvania Infantry.

A full description of the monument, its GPS coordinates, a picture, and some of the history of the 31st Pennsylvania Infantry can be found on the Stone Sentinels Web Site.

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The Inquirer article of 11 September 1889 featured a brief description of the Gettysburg action in which the 31st Pennsylvania Infantry participated:

 

031stPA-Inquirer-1889-09-11-001

It Was in the Brilliant Raid

William B. Mann‘s regiment, the 31st, and the 2nd Reserve, recruited in Philadelphia, was supplied with flannel shirts and other articles of clothing by the congregations of the different churches, Old Christ Church contributing 4,500.  This regiment reached the front on the 2nd, in a crisis, when the 3rd Corps was falling back before the enemy, and, with a shout and a solid volley crossed the marshy space in front of Little Round Top, cleared the rocky face of the slope beyond, and answered the enemy’s last desperate rally by driving him back into the woods.

On the afternoon of the 3rd the 31st was in McCandless’s brilliant raid, crossed the wheat field, through the woods and up over the steep acclivity on the opposite side, drove the enemy into confusion, captured 6000 stand of arms and 300 prisoners.  The regiment lost 40 of its 147 men.  It was led by Captain Smith.

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The 31st Pennsylvania Infantry was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel George A. Woodward.

George A. Woodward was born at Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, the son of a former Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.  He was admitted to the bar and practiced in Milwaukee, Wiconsin, before returning to Pennsylvania at Philadelphia where he resided when he began his service with the 31st Pennsylvania Infantry, initially as a Captain in Company A, on 27 May 1861.  On 2 April 1862, he was appointed Major of the regiment, and on 20 February 1863 he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, the position in which he served at Gettysburg.  On 30 June 1862, he was wounded at Charles City Crossroads and by 24 August 1863 he was transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps.  After the Civil War, he left the volunteer service and joined the Regular Army where he served in the west in Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Utah.

George A. Woodward died on 22 September 1916.  In his later years in Philadelphia he was a publisher of military books.  He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia.

Further information about his life and career can be found at the Arlington National Cemetery Website of Michael Robert Patterson and at Woodward’s Findagrave Memorial.

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Around the base of the Pennsylvania Memorial at Gettysburg are a series of plaques which, by regiment and company, note the names of every soldier who was present at the Battle of Gettysburg.  The plaque for the 31st Pennsylvania Infantryis pictured below.  By clicking on the plaque it should enlarge so the names can be more clearly read.  If a name does not appear, it could be that the soldier did serve in the 31st Pennsylvania Infantry, but was not part of the regiment during its days at Gettysburg.  There could also be errors on the plaque.

031PA=2R-Gettysburg-001a

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The news clipping is from the on-line resources of the Free Library of Philadelphia.


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