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Civil War Blog

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Monuments at Gettysburg – 38th Pennsylvania Infantry

Posted By on October 7, 2014

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The 38th Pennsylvania Infantry (9th Pennsylvania Reserves) Monument at Gettysburg is located south of Gettysburg at the foot of the Little Round Top, close to the crossing of Warren Avenue and Sykes Avenue.  The monument was dedicated in the 1889 by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and was depicted in the 11 September 1889 article that appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer.  The drawing (above) is the artist’s rendition of the monument from the Inquirer article.

More information about this monument as well as a photograph of it can be found at Steve Recker’s Virtual Gettysburg Web Site.

In addition to Recker’s site, there is a full description of the monument, its GPS coordinates, some pictures, and a brief history of the 38th Pennsylvania Infantry at the Stone Sentinels Web Site.  However, that site indicates that the monument was dedicated in 1890 which contradicts the information given by the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1889.

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The Inquirer article that accompanied the drawing of the monument described some the actions of the 38th Pennsylvania Infantry and reported on the festivities related to the dedication ceremony:

Where the 9th Fought.

The 38th Regiment (9th Reserves), recruited at Camp Wright, near Pittsburgh, under General McCall, June 1861; elected Conrad F. Jackson Colonel; Robert Anderson, Lieutenant Colonel; James McKinney Snodgrass, Major.  On the second day at Gettysburg, Colonel Snodgrass, then in command, was ordered to clear the line and hold the ground between Round Top and Little Round Top, of which the enemy had struggled hard for possession and from which he was driven only by the most determined fighting.  The line was fortified by loose granite found on the rugged sides of the mountains.  In front was the “Devil’s Den,” from which the enemy’s sharpshooters continued to pick off Union soldiers.  The regiment joined in the pursuit of Lee and was ordered home on the eve of the Wilderness campaign.

A famous incident in its service occurred at Drainesville, where the rebels concealed in the woods were not attacked for fear they were the Bucktails.  “Are you the Bucktails?” was called.  “Yes, we are Bucktails.”  The answer soon followed by a deadly volley, for which the 9th waited, and then routed the Rebels with the greatest enthusiasm.

The programme to be observed on the 9th will include a historical address by A. P. Morrison; transfer of monument to the regiment, by Robert Taggart of the Monumental Committee; dedication of monument, by Eli Torrence, and the photographing of the regiment with the monument.

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James McKinnney Snodgrass was 56 years old, a resident of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, and a farmer when he enrolled at Camp Wilkins in the 38th Pennsylvania Infantry (9th Pennsylvania Reserves) as the Captain of Company I.  The company and regiment were mustered into service at Camp Wright and at Washington, D.C., on 23 July 1861.  Prior to muster on 28 June 1861, Snodgrass was promoted to Major. On 1 April 1863 he received a promotion to Lieutenant Colonel, his position with the regiment at the Battle of Gettysburg.  Information on his Pennsylvania Veterans’ File Card available from the Pennsylvania Archives gives his discharge as a resignation on 29 March 1864 by Special Order #131.

According to his Pension Index Card from Fold3, he died on 13 June 1884 and according to very limited information about him found on his Findagrave Memorial, he is buried at the Braddock Cemetery, Braddock, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

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Around the base of the Pennsylvania Memorial at Gettysburg are 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 38th Pennsylvania Infantry is 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 38th Pennsylvania Infantry but was not part of the regiment during its days at Gettysburg.  There also could be errors on the plaque.

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


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