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Civil War Blog

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Monuments at Gettysburg – 57th Pennsylvania Infantry

Posted By on November 12, 2014

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The 57th Pennsylvania Infantry Monument at Gettysburg is located in the yard of the Sherfy Farm on the Emmitsburg Road.  It was dedicated as part of the group of monuments paid for by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1889.  The drawing of the monument (above) is from the Philadelphia Inquirer article describing the monument dedications.  For a picture of the monument, see Steven Recker’s Virtual Gettysburg Web Site which has more information about the monument and the 57th Pennsylvania Infantry.

A full description of the monument, its GPS coordinates, a photograph, and some of the history of the 57th Pennsylvania Infantry can be found on the Stone Sentinels Web Site.

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On 11 September 1889, the Philadelphia Inquirer included the following information on the 57th Pennsylvania Infantry in its article on the monument dedications:

How the 57th Was Caught. 

The 57th was General Graham’s Brigade at Gettysburg and bivouacked just after dark on the 1st in an open field on the right of Emmittsburg Road.  Going to the front at daylight of the 2nd, the brigade, after considerable delay, was posted in the open field facing the pike, where at 4 P.M. the enemy’s artillery shook the solid earth unceasingly for an hour and a half.  Bursting shells killed many of the greatly exposed men.  The brigade then attacked the advancing enemy just beyond Sherfy’s house.  By flanking the left the enemy drove General Graham back which many of the 57th did not discover on account of their isolated position in the old cellar and were taken prisoners.  The loss was 12 killed, forty-five wounded and fifty-seven missing.  General Graham was a prisoner and Colonel Peter Sides, of the regiment, was wounded.  December 24, at Culpepper, the regiment was drawn up in a hollow square and address by Chaplain McAdam on the question of re-enlistment.  Colonel Sides then asked all who desired to re-enlist to step three paces forward.  More than two-thirds of the men stepped out and gave three rousing cheers.

The surviving 57th veterans will assemble at the monument at Sherfy’s house at 9 A.M. when the monument will be rededicated with these ceremonies:  Introductory remarks by Captain D. W. Gore, of Sheshequin, Pennsylvania; prayer by Chaplain W. T. McAdam, of Mount Pleasant, Iowa; reading historical sketch of the regiment, by Captain E. C. Strouss, of Meadville, Pennsylvania; address by Lieutenant Colonel L. D. Bumpus, of Washington, D.C.  A camp fire will be held in the yard of Sherfy’s house at 7:30 P.M. to which survivors of Graham’s Brigade are invited.

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Peter Sides, a Philadelphia merchant aged 40,  first joined the 57th Pennsylvania Infantry on 4 December 1861 as Captain of Company A.  On 15 September 1862, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of the regiment, the rank he held when he commanded it at the Battle of Gettysburg.  He was wounded and taken out of action at Gettysburg on the second day of the battle and Alanson H. Nelson, Captain of Company K, took over for him in command of the regiment.   On the 12 March 1864, Peter Sides was promoted to Colonel, but he was unable to continue in the service due to several battle wounds, and on 28 November 1864,  he was discharged on a Surgeon’s Certificate of Disability.

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Peter Sides was born about 1820 in Philadelphia and died on 23 October 1878 in Philadelphia.  On his death, the Philadelphia newspapers provided a brief obituary.  Of him, the North American said:

Colonel Peter Sides, an old veteran of the rebellion, died Thursday at his residence, 1824 North Nineteenth Street, aged fifty-four years.  He entered the army as a captain in the Fifty-seventh Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers and arose to its command.  He distinguished himself in several battles, and was honorably discharge in November 1864.  The remains will be interred in Monument Cemetery on Sunday.

A photograph of Peter Sides is being sought by the Civil War Research Project.  Additional information about him can be found at his 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 57th 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 57th Pennsylvania Infantry, but was not part of the regiment during its days in Gettysburg.  There could also be errors on the plaque.

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The news clippings are from the on-line resources of the Free Library of Philadelphia.  The Pennsylvania Veterans’ File Card is from the Pennsylvania Archives.

 


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