Just by the nature of their charge of guarding military posts, Civil War sentinels were often the first to be engaged in combat. While few records can be found of the specific names of sentinels who fought at the Battle of Gettysburg, Kautz’s manual details that sentinels must always be stationed at the guardhouse or tent, as well as the quartermaster stores, which is where supplies are stored. Logically, this means that there were multiple sentinels who were a part of the Union army. Because of this, there are many ways that those who served at the Battle of Gettysburg have been honored and memorialized.
Monuments and Memorials
The Gettysburg National Military Park has over 1,200 monuments and markers to memorialize those who fought at the three-day battle. While many of them are dedicated to particular regiments and battalions, there are twenty bronze statues that honor specific people. While the men detailed below might not have been sentinels at a post, they certainly watched and strategized carefully.
General John Buford arguably made his greatest contribution to the Civil War on July 1st, 1863. While he and his men watched the roads near Gettysburg, they were the first to encounter Confederate troops. Realizing that the rebel soldiers he encountered were part of a much larger force, he made the decision to hold the high ground to buy reinforcements time to arrive to the battlefield.
General George Greene observed that his brigade were expected to defended half a mile of land on Culp’s Hill on their own. Because of this, his men built up defenses. Greene’s foresight helped the Union keep their position on the hill.
General Reynolds and his men were the first set of reinforcements to arrive to support General Buford’s men. As Reynolds was supervising, he yelled, “Forward, men! Forward, for God’s sake, and drive those fellows out of those woods!” Seconds later, he was killed by a gunshot would to the back of his head.
Gouverneur K. Warren
The “Hero of Little Round Top” monitored the left flank of the Union Army and realized that it was undefended. Due to his watchful eye, brigades under Colonel Strong Vincent arrived to shore up defenses minutes before the area was attacked by Confederate soldiers.
What did their day to day lives look like? Click here to find out!
Reenactments and Events
Soldiers and their sacrifices can are also recognized with reenactments and special exhibits:
Visit the Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center: Watch A New Birth of Freedom, experience Pickett’s Charge in the Gettysburg Cyclorama, and view artifacts and exhibits in the Gettysburg Museum of the American Civil War before visiting the battlefield.
Watch a reenactment: The Patriots of the Civil War Association (PCWA) will hold its annual reenactment of the Battle of Gettysburg from June 23rd-25th. See over 500 reenactors in battles, demonstrations, and other activities.
History in Your Hands
It’s important to recognize that, just as soldiers give their time, energy, and maybe even life and limb for the protection of their country, sentinels stand guard to protect their fellow soldiers. Understanding how the role these men and women play and have played in our history demonstrate the necessity of how performing one’s duty benefits the entire whole.
Owning one of our handmade wooden pieces can help serve as a tangible reminder that these sentinel trees watched over sentinels in the military.
Take a moment to look at our unique hand-crafted items made from the wood of the Battle of Gettysburg. Each piece is made with care and attention to detail and is a perfect addition to any history enthusiast's collection. They also make wonderful gifts!
Order now and own a piece of history!