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Monuments at Gettysburg – 148th Pennsylvania Infantry

Posted By on April 21, 2015

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The 148th Pennsylvania Infantry Monument at Gettysburg is located in the Wheat Field along Ayers Avenue.  It was dedicated in 1889 by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and is the first monument to this regiment at Gettysburg;  the second monument is located on Hancock Avenue and was dedicated in 1901.

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

A picture of the monument can be seen on Stephen Recker’s Virtual Gettysburg Web Site which has more information about the monument and the 148th Pennsylvania Infantry.

A full description of the 1889 monument, its GPS Coordinates, additional photographs, and some of the history of the 148th Pennsylvania Infantry, can be found on the Stone Sentinels Web Site.  There is also a picture and information about the 1901 monument.

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For the 148th Pennsylvania Infantry, the Philadelphia Inquirer of 1 September 1889 gave slightly more regimental history than for most of the other regiments and also included the program of events for monument dedication day:

Governor Beaver’s Regiment.

The 148th was organized at Camp Curtin September 1862, with James A. Beaver as Colonel; Robert McFarlane, Lieutenant Colonel; George A. Fairlamb, Major.  Colonel Beaver had served as a militiaman under Captain Curtin, then Governor, as lieutenant in the three months service, and as Lieutenant Colonel in the 45th [45th Pennsylvania Infantry], which position he resigned to accept the new command.  On 3 May 1863, the 148th was engaged in the woods in front of White House Hospital, west of Chancellorsville, and until 11 o’clock the lines swayed back and forth in the terrific storm of battle, but held substantially its original position.  Twenty-five men were killed and seven officers, including Colonel Beaver, and ninety-three men were wounded.

On 2 July the regiment took position at Gettysburg on the left of Cemetery Hill, on the farm of Mr. Hummelbaugh.  At 4 o’clock they advanced through a wheat field in front of Round Top.  The firing in the wood around the wheat field commenced at close range and was kept up for an hour, when the regiment was relieved and retired in good order.  Captain R. M. Foerster and Lieutenant John A. Bayard were mortally wounded.

The 148th will assemble at the monument in the Wheat Field at 1 o’clock P.M.  The order of exercises will be:  Prayer, Chaplain William H. Stevens; historical address, Major R. H. Forster; presentation of monument, committee; short addresses by survivors of regiment; and prayer and benediction, Rev. William Gemmill.

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There were four commanders associated with the 148th Pennsylvania Infantry at Gettysburg:  (1) Colonel James Beaver; (2) Colonel Henry B. McKeen; (3) Colonel Edward Cross; and (4) Lieutenant Colonel Robert McFarlane.

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James A. Beaver

Col. James A. Beaver, who was from Millerstown, Perry County, Pennsylvania, was the commander of the 148th Pennsylvania Infantry prior to the Battle of Gettysburg, but was on sick leave during the battle and therefore played no role in the regiment’s actions there.  He lost a leg in the war and later became Governor of Pennsylvania.  He died on 31 January 1914 and is buried at Union Cemetery, Bellefonte, Centre County, Pennsylvania.  See:  Findagrave Memorial.

Henry B. McKeen

Colonel Henry B. McKeen, who was actually the commander of the 81st Pennsylvania Infantry, for a short time commanded the 148th Pennsylvania Infantry at Gettysburg.  Later in the war, he was killed in action while leading his men at Cold Harbor, Virginia, 3 June 1864.  He is buried at Woodlands Cemetery, Philadelphia.  See:  Findagrave Memorial.

Edward Cross

Colonel Edward Cross, of the 5th New Hampshire Infantry, was brigade commander when he was mortally wounded on 2 July 1863.  He died the next day and his remains were returned to his hometown of Lancaster, Coos County, New Hampshire for burial at the Wilder Cemetery.  See:  Findagrave Memorial.

Robert McFarlane

When Colonel Edward Cross was mortally wounded, Lieutenant Colonel Robert McFarlane of the 148th Pennsylvania Infantry took over command of the brigade. It is McFarlane who is given credit for the command of the 148th on the Pennsylvania Memorial tablet (shown below).  See:  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 148th 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 148th 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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