The 69th and the Historians
A look at the treatment of Paddy Owen's Regular's by leading Civil War Historians
GETTYSBURG: DAY THREE, JEFFERY D.WERT 2001
Page 212 - "The 69th Pennsylvania refused to break and clung to the wall. On it's
right, however, the left wing of the 71st Pennsylvania abandoned the wall as the
Southerners closed, running up the slope. On the 69th Pennsylvania's left, the 59th
New York buckled and then cracked. Earlier, Webb had ordered forward the 72nd
Pennsylvania and two companies of the 106th Pennsylvania from behind the crest.
Now, as their comrades raced past them, these Federals stood on the western slope
below the crest, refusing to counterattack."
Page 212 - "Along the section of the wall held by the 69th Pennsylvania, the
opponents stood paces apart. The green flag ... of the Pennsylvanians were only
yards from the red flags of the Virginians. "Everyone was loading and firing as fast
as they could" declared a Federal".
Page 223 - "The left wing of the 71st Pennsylvania and troops from the 59th New
York and 7th Michigan had already broken to the rear. Alonzo Cushing's six cannon
had been silenced. At the vortex of the Southern wave stood the 69th Pennsylvania.
The enemy, wrote a captain in that regiment, "literally came right on top of our men"".
PICKETT'S CHARGE-THE LAST ATTACK AT GETTYSBURG, EARL J.HESS
Page 284-285 "The other eight companies of the 71st were reassembling to the rear of the
72nd and seemd to be contributing nothing to the fight.
The same can not be said of the 69th Pennsylvania. Anthony McDermott admitted after the
war that "I was afraid were were going to get whipped" but his comrades quickly became
energized hy the crisis. Capt.William Davis noted that "new ardor seemed to inspire our men to
greater exertions." Webb found them eager to fight when he reached the right wing after his
futile atempts to advance the 72nd. "I went to them & told them, to fire to the front ...and to a
man they replied that I could on them."
The regiment put up a heroic fight."
Page 272 "Company D fell back a few feet and refused it's line in time to stem the tide,
sealing the rupture in the regimental line. Many members of Compnay D were so close to the
rebels they used their muskets as clubs."
Page 246 "It was now up to the infantry, and the 69th Pennsylvania was the only regiment
nearby to hold the angle. Cap. William Davis remembered that the confederates were coming
so steadily "it would seem that no power could hold them in check." The regiment held it's fire
until the rebels wer 20 yards away about the same time Smith and Fugar let loose with their
final blast. The Pennsylvanians fired with deliberatin and simultaneously, and threw their front
line into confusion."
NOTHING BUT GLORY- PICKETT'S DIVISION AT GETTYSBURG
KATHY HARRISON 1993
Page 116 "Cowen's cannister was rivaled by the close range firepower of the 69th
Pennsylvania Volunteers. They were firing the infantrys brand of cannister,
manufactured by themselves on the ev of this day's battle. While colecting the
wounded of Wright's Georgia Brigade on the night of July 2nd, the regiment brought
in what small arms and ammunition could be gathered up. Selecting the best of the
lot, they reloaded them and leaned them up against the stone wall beside
them.Finding the ammunition to be three bucketshot and ball, the regiment
abstracted the buckshot from the ammunition and reloaded the spare guns with
twelve buckshot to a load, almost every man having from two to five guns loaded in
Page 119 "The capture of the Virginia flags prompted much heated protest from
units such as the 69th Pennsylvania Volunteers. That regiment had been posted in
at the left of Cushing's guns and never fell back beyond the clump of trees in its hand
to hand struggle with the men of Garnett's and Armistead's brigades. Yet they, like
Cowen's Battery, never were given credit for the capture of a single battleflag from
those Confederate units. Having inflicted tremendous casualties on Garnett's front
with their buckshot loaded guns, the 69thPennsylvania was too busy trying to reform
its line and take care of it's own casualities to secure the battle tropies on it's front."