Stone Sentinels, battlefield monuments of the American Civil War
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26th Pennsylvania
Emergency Militia Infantry

The monument to the Twenty Sixth Pennsylvania Emergency Militia Infantry is on the west side of Gettysburg at the intersection of Chambersburg Street, West Street and Springs Avenue. (39.830983 N, 77.236972 W; map)

 

The 26th Pennsylvania Emergency Militia Infantry was organized at Harrisburg on June 22nd in response to Lee's invasion of the north. Commanded by Colonel William S. Jennings, a factory owner and personal friend of Pennsylvania's Governor Curtin, it consisted of 750 hastily trained farmboys, college students and middle aged shopkeepers sprinkled with a handful of veterans. One company was from Adams County, including a group from Gettysburg.

 

The clashes of the untrained militiamen with Jubal Early's veteran rebel cavalry and infantry west and north of Gettysburg turned out as badly as could be expected. Several Pennsylvanians were shot and more than a hundred rounded up as prisoners. The latter were paroled after a stern lecture from Early himself, who told them, "You boys ought to be home with your mothers and not out in the fields where it is dangerous and you might get hurt."

 

The survivors of the regiment pulled back to defend Harrisburg, but they were spared further conflict when the rebels withdrew to Gettysburg. The 26th Militia were mustered out on July 31.

 

From the tablet at the base of the monument:

 

Reached Gettysburg June 25 in advance of the Army of the Potomac. On the morning of June 26 marched out the Chambersburg Pike and met the rebel column at Marsh Creek and forced by overwhelming numbers to withdraw in the afternoon. On the Hunterstown Road had a severe engagement with the rebel cavalry inflicting upon them some loss. Reached Harrisburg June 28 having marched sixty consecutive hours and skirmished with the enemy. June 30 advanced from Harrisburg after the rebels in retreat.

Monument to the 26th Pennsylvania Emergency Militia Infantry in Gettysburg
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