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Monuments at Gettysburg – 118th Pennsylvania Infantry

Posted By on March 25, 2015

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The 118th Pennsylvania Infantry Monument at Gettysburg is located in the Rose Woods off Sickels Avenue.  It was dedicated in 1889 by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and is the second monument to this regiment at Gettysburg;  the first monument is located on the northeast side of Bog Round Top.

The drawing of the monument pictured above is from a Philadelphia Inquirer article of 11 September 1889.

A picture of the second monument can be seen on Stephen Recker’s Virtual Gettysburg Web Site which has more information about the monument and the 118th Pennsylvania Infantry.

A full description of the second monument, its GPS Coordinates, additional photographs, and some of the history of the 118th Pennsylvania Infantry, can be found on the Stone Sentinels Web Site. There is also information on the first monument.

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From the Philadelphia Inquirer, 9 September 1884, a description of the festivities for an earlier monument dedication was given:

ON GETTYSBURG BATTLE-FIELD.

Unveiling of the Corn Exchange Regiment Monument.

GETTYSBURG, Pennsylvania, 8 September 1884 — The Philadelphia special excursion, members of the Commercial Exchange and survivors of the Corn Exchange Regiment, One-Hundred-and-Eighteenth Pennsylvania Volunteers, including those now organized as Company H, First Regiment, Pennsylvania National Guards, reached Gettysburg at nine P.M. Saturday.  This morning the party formed at nine o’clock, proceeding to Round Top, where the monument of the One-Hundred-and-Eighteenth Corn Exchange Regiment was unveiled.

Rev. R. F. McInnes, of St. Mary’s Church, West Philadelphia, opened the ceremonies with prayer.

Addresses were made by William Brice, of the Commercial Exchange, formerly the Corn Exchange; Hon. A. G. Cattell, who was also identified with the Corn Exchange; Dr. H. T. Peck, former adjutant of the regiment; Hon. D. A. Buehler and Private Holt.  Dr. D. H. Peck read an account of the regiment giving its history from its formation in 1862 till 1865, when out of 1300 men only 300 were left.  It participated in all the campaigns of the Army of the Potomac, from Antietam to Appomattox, fighting thirty-eight engagements.

After visiting Round Top the excursion left for home at two o’clock this afternoon.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer of 11 September 1889, a brief history of the regiment and description of the festivities for the fourth monument dedication of the regiment:

The Corn Exchange Fighters.

The 118th Regiment was resolved upon by the Philadelphia Corn Exchange, 27 July 1862, and the recruiting began at Indian Queen Lane, Falls of Schuylkill.  It was organized 30 August; Charles M. Provost, colonel; James Gywn, Lieutenant Colonel; Charles P. Herring, major.  Many of the men had been in the three months’ service.  They reached Gettysburg from Hanover in great enthusiasm on the morning of 2 July 1863 and at 4 P.M. rushed to the relief of Sickles from a reserve position in the rear of Cemetery Hill.  The enemy being completely checked the men slept on their arms during the night.  On the 3rd they were near the summit of Round Top, behind breast works, picked at by sharpshooters.  They chased the enemy on the 4th, meeting with hot resistance.  They were in the Wilderness Campaign and the final charges against Richmond, and were mustered out at Philadelphia after a grand banquet at Sansom Street Hall, which was attended by Generals Meade, Patterson and other distinguished guests.

The monument will be dedicated at 9 A.M.  It is situated in “The Loop,” the position occupied by the regiment on the second day.  Major General James Gwyn will be in command as he was during the engagement.  This will make the fourth monument the Corn Exchange regiment will have on the field, one more than any other regiment.  The ceremonies will be in this order:  Prayer, Comrade Sylvester Crossly; hymn, “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”; unveiling of monument; oration, James P. Holt; salute; song by the Association, “Comrades Touch the Elbow”; address by president of association, William M. Read; Doxology.

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James Gwyn

The commander of the 118th Pennsylvania Infantry at Gettysburg was Lieutenant Colonel James Gywn.

After early service in the 23rd Pennsylvania Infantry as Captain, James Gwyn, an Irish imigrant who was born in 1828, joined the 118th Pennsylvania Infantry at Lieutenant Colonel on 16 August 1862.  After Gettysburg, he was wounded at the Wilderness on 5 May 1864 and again at Poplar Springs Church near Petersburg, Virginia, on 30 September 1864.  For his actions at Poplar Springs, he received the Medal of Honor as well as a promotion to Brevet Brigadier General.  Later on 1 April 1865, he was breveted a second time to the rank of Major General.  He was honorably discharged with his regiment on 1 June 1865.

After the war James Gwyn applied for a disability pension on 10 October 1866.  He continued working in a dry goods partnership, Gwyn and Stewart, which he had established in Philadelphia before the war until about 1881 when he retired.  He died at his daughter’s home in Yonkers, Westchester County, New York, on 17 July 1906, leaving a widow.  His remains are interred at Woodlands Cemetery, Philadelphia.

For further information about James Gwyn, see his Findagrave Memorial.  The New York Times published a brief obituary of him on 19 July 1906.

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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 118th 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 118th 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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