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Monuments at Gettysburg – 88th Pennsylvania Infantry

Posted By on January 8, 2015

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The 88th Pennsylvania Infantry Monument at Gettysburg is located northwest of the town of Gettysburg on Doubleday Avenue.  It was dedicated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1889.  The drawing of the monument pictured above is from an article that appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer on 11 September 1889.

For more information about this monument and the 88th Pennsylvania Infantry, as well as an additional view of the monument, see Steven Recker’s Virtual Gettysburg Web Site.

A full description of the monument, a picture, the GPS coordinates, and some of the history of the 88th Pennsylvania Infantry can be found on the Stone Sentinels Web Site.  There are also additional photo tributes and a note about 1st Sergeant Edward L. Gilligan, Company E, of this regiment, who received the Medal of Honor for service at Gettysburg.

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The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on the 1889 ceremonies in its 11 September 1889 article:

Captured a Whole Brigade. 

A forced march of 33 miles in one day brought the 88th to Gettysburg, under command of Major Benezet F. Foust.  It went into position on a ridge beyond the railroad cut, where it was attacked immediately on the left flank.  Heavy volleys of musketry were exchange for two hours when the brigade charge upon the enemy in the hollow, and captured nearly a whole brigade of enemy prisoners.  The regiment ran out of ammunition in the second attack and was driven back through the town to Cemetery Ridge.  On the afternoon of the 3rd it was led across the cemetery under the terrible cannonade by Captain Whiteside, Major Foust having been wounded.

At noon the regiment will assemble at the diamond, march to Reynolds Avenue and formally dedicate the elegant trophy erected on the ground which the command so obstinately defended on 1 July 1863.  Commander Clark will preside, Rev. J. L. Demorest will offer the dedicatory prayer and Colonel George E. Wagner will deliver the oration.  The granite trophy is a handsome and suitable emblem to mark the place where so many men of the regiment were killed and wounded in the desperate, but hopeless combat at this point on the opening day of the great battle.

At the conclusion of the ceremonies, Historian John D. Valtier will conduct the party over the field of the first day’s battle and explain the position of the contending forces.

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Benezet F. Foust

The commander of the 88th Pennsylvania Infantry at Gettysburg was Major Benezet F. Foust.  At the age of 23, Foust enrolled in Company A of the 88th Pennsylvania Infantry as a 1st Lieutenant at Philadelphia on 10 September 1861, and after a promotion to Captain on 28 July 1862, he was transferred to headquarters as a Major of the regiment on 23 December 1862.  During the Battle of Gettysburg, he was wounded north of the town and the command of the regiment was taken over by Captain Edwin A. Mass.

Benezet F. Foust later transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps (on 6 November 1863) where he held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and when he retired he was breveted Brigadier General. No record has been seen indicating that he ever applied for a pension, nor did anyone else apply for a pension based on his service.

Foust died on 8 January 1870 and is buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia.  For more information about him, see his Findagrave Memorial.

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Edwin A. Mass (or Edmund A. Mass), Captain of Company B, 88th Pennsylvania Infantry, took over command after the wounding of Benezet F. Foust.  Mass had joined the regiment at Philadelphia on 10 September 1861 as a 1st Lieutenant and rapidly rose to serve as Captain, the rank he held at the time of the Battle of Gettysburg.  Unfortunately for Captain Mass, he was captured and held as a prisoner of war for 9 months and never was able to return to command the regiment in the field.  After his release as a prisoner of war he was given the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

On 14 January 1876, Edmund A. Mass applied for a pension which he received and collected until his death on 4 September 1895.  The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on his funeral services and burial at West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania:

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MASS- On 4 September 1895, Edmund A., late Lieutenant Colonel, 88th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers.  The relatives and friends of the family, also the members of G. G. Meade Post, No. 1; employees of Custom House; 88th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers; Union Veteran Legion Encampment No. 61, and Prisoners of War Association, are respectfully invited to attend the services at his late residence, Collingdale, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, 12 noon.  Interment at West Laurel Hill.

For further information about Edmund A. Mass, see his Findagrave Memorial.

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After the capture of Captain Mass, Captain Henry Whiteside took over command of the 88th Pennsylvania Infantry at Gettysburg.  Captain Whiteside, who was 25 years old in 1861, had joined the regiment as a Sergeant in Company A and received a promotion to 1st Lieutenant on 23 November 1862 and another promotion to Captain on 1 January 1863.  He had prior service as a member of the 25th Pennsylvania Infantry as a Private.  According to pension records, Henry Whiteside applied for benefits on 12 July 1869, giving his highest military rank as captain.  After his death in 1905, his widow, Mary Jane, applied and received benefits until her death.

According to information found on his Findagrave Memorial, Henry Whiteside died on 17 April 1905 in Atlantic County (possibly Atlantic City), New Jersey, but was buried in Union Cemetery, Richboro, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  That memorial also states that he was a cooper from Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania, at the beginning of the war, but his Pennsylvania Veterans’ File Card gives his residence in September 1861 as Philadelphia.  His death notice from the Philadelphia Inquirer states that he died suddenly, without giving the place of death, and gives the funeral location as the home of his brother in Philadelphia.

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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 88th 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 88th Pennsylvania Infantry, but was not part of the regiment during its days at Gettysburg. There could also be errors on the plaque.

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News clippings are from the on-line resources of the Free Library of Philadelphia.


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