Stone Sentinels, battlefield monuments of the American Civil War

 How to Identify Headquarters at Gettysburg

Headquarters markers at Gettysburg come in several shapes and sizes. Four designs represent brigade, division, corps and army headquarters, and each has elements which identify it as Union (left side) or Confederate (right side).

2nd Brigade from the 2nd Division of the 11th Corps

Brigade Headquarters (and Confederate artillery battalions, equivalent to Union artillery brigades) are bronze tablets mounted at an angle on a stone pedestal. They are the most numerous headquarters at Gettysburg, with over 70 Union and 60 Confederate examples on the field.


Union headquarters (left, the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 11th Corps) have rounded tops and square bases. Confederate headquarters (right, Semmes's Brigade of McLaws' Division, 1st Army Corps) have flat tops and round bases.


Union headquarters are marked with their corps or service branch symbol (on the left, the crescent moon of the 11th Army Corps), while Confederate headquarters are simply labeled "C.S.A."

Semmes's Briigade
Gibbon's 2nd Division of the 2nd Corps

Division headquarters are rectangular bronze tablets mounted on large, rectangular stones. Union headquarters (left, Gibbon's 2nd Division of the 2nd Army Corps) have a corps or service branch symbol as a separate bronze piece above the tablet, while Confederate headquarters (right, Hood's Division of the 1st Army Corps) are labeled "C.S.A." on a separate bronze piece.


The two markers to the 1st and 2nd Divisions of the Union 3rd Army Corps (as well as the 3rd Corps Artillery Brigade) break the rule, using the corps marker design (below). This is to fit in with a common theme of four headquarters markers that are arrayed side by side at the Peach Orchard.


There are 22 Union and 10 Confederate Division markers at Gettysburg.


3rd Corps monument at Gettysburg

Corps headquarters are similar to division headquarters,consisting of a large, rectangular stone. The difference are the brass tablets, which instead of being rectangular have a curved-and-scrolled top.


A Union corps or service branch symbol is inset inside the top curve of Union monuments (left, the diamond of the Third Corps).


Confederate monuments (right, the 2nd Army Corps) are labelled "Army of Northern Virginia" at the top of the tablet.


There are three Confederate and nine Union corps headquarters at Gettysburg; the Union Artillery Reserve is treated as a corps.

2nd Corps
Army of the Potomac Headquarters marker at Gettysburg

The two army headquarters markers are unique on the field. Although they share the curved-and-scrolled brass tablet top with corps markers, their stones are much taller and have a curved top.


Both Union (left) and Confederate (right)headquarters have a shield attached separately above the tablet, although they do not always stay attached.

Army of  Northern Virginia headquarters marker at Gettysburg
Battery K, 5th United States Artillery

Regimental and battery monuments for United States Regulars (left, Battery K, 5th United States Artillery) are similar in appearance to and often mistaken for headquarters, since they have the same curved-and-scrolled top on the bronze tablet as corps and army headquarters. The difference is that instead of being square, the stone comes to a peak in the center on the U.S. Regulars monuments, with a brass Great Seal of the United States centered within the peak.


A number of Confederate and at least one Union headquarters have more than one marker. In many cases these follow the design rules, but sometimes a secondary marker is a tablet mounted on a metal post (right, Semmes' Brigade marker) similar to Confederate artillery battery markers.

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About the Author • ©2007-2015 Steve A. Hawks