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Civil War Blog

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Monuments at Gettysburg – 4th Pennsylvania Cavalry

Posted By on May 11, 2015

The 4th Pennsylvania Cavalry Monument at Gettysburg is located south of the town of Gettysburg on Hancock Avenue and was dedicated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1889.

A picture of the monument as shown above can be seen on Stephen Recker’s Virtual Gettysburg Web Site which has more information about the monument and the 4th Pennsylvania Cavalry.

A full description of the monument, its GPS coordinates, additional photographs, and some of the history of the 4th Pennsylvania Cavalry, can be found on the Stone Sentinels Web Site.

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The Philadelphia Inquirer of 11 September 1889 said the following about the regiment:

The 4th Pennsylvania Cavalry.

The 4th Cavalry, under command of George H. Covode, was engaged in the vigorous pursuit of Lee’s army, supporting a battery which was served with remarkable precision, hastily driving the rebel guns from successive positions assumed.  Once the squadron of the 1st Maine was driven back, closely followed by the rebel cavalry. The 4th dashed forward, scattering and turning back the enemy.

They drove the rebels half a mile, when, coming upon two of their fresh regiments, the 4th was in turn driven till a sharp fire from the dismounted men, under cover of the stone walls, checked further pursuit.

The dedicatory address at the 4th monument, will be delivered by W. E. Doster, and there will be a dozen other brief addresses by prominent soldiers.

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William E. Doster

Lieutenant Colonel William E. Doster was the commander of the 4th Pennsylvania Cavalry at Gettysburg.

William Emil Doster, from Bethlehem, Northampton County, Pennsylvania, was mustered into the 4th Pennsylvania Cavalry as a Major at headquarters on 17 October 1861.  His promotion to Lieutenant Colonel came on 30 October 1862.  After the Battle of Gettysburg, he resigned from the military to complete his law studies, but was breveted Brigadier General on 13 March 1865.

He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1863, became Provost Marshal of Washington, D.C., and in 1865 he was assigned to defend one of the Lincoln assassination conspirators.  After the war years he was President of the Lehigh Valley National Bank, was a major stockholder in several large corporations, and owned ten farms outside Bethlehem.

Doster died on 2 July 1919 at Bethlehem, Northampton County, Pennsylvania.  A brief obituary appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer on 4 July 1919.  He is buried at the Nisky Hill Cemetery at that place.

More 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 4th Pennsylvania Cavalry 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 4th Pennsylvania Cavalry, but was not part of the regiment during its days at Gettysburg.  There could also be errors on the plaque.

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