19th Indiana Group

How to Find These Witness Trees

The lovely and clean monument to the 19th Indiana Volunteer Infantry arises out of a small gully on the south side of Meredith Avenue. In recompense, the monument is in view of three white oak witness trees.

From the monument to the 26th North Carolina regiment on Stone Avenue, drive or walk about 50 yards further along Stone Avenue. In a small gully to your right, you will see the monument to the 19th Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Three witness trees stand in the vicinity, within sight of the monument. Because each tree appears in a different turn-of-the-20th-century photograph, each tree gets its own dedicated page.

Links to These Trees


What These Trees Witnessed

1 July 1863, afternoon: Brig. Gen. James Pettigrew’s large 900-man brigade was approaching the defensive position of the Iron Brigade from the west. The left flank of the Union line along today’s Stone Avenue was held by the soldiers of the 19th Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Colonel Samuel Williams knew his position was untenable, as his men were unsupported, his left most regiment hanging in the air, as it were.

Sure enough, as the 11th North Carolina approached the Hoosiers from the west, they heavily overlapped the end of the Indiana line, and it was clear that the westerners would have to fall back. 

As the 19th Indiana retreated, it uncovered the rest of the Union line, and the Confederates were able to roll up the bluecoats, and ultimately recover possession of Herbst Woods. Not that the Hoosiers ran away, however: they forced the enemy to fight for every inch of ground, and by the time the fight was over, both regiments had lost over 60% of their men.

The 19th Indiana Monument’s New Base

Figure 2: When Meredith Avenue was laid out in 1895, the veterans of the 19th Indiana Volunteer Infantry may have been distressed to find their monument lying in a gully to the side of the new road, where it might be overlooked by visitors. To alleviate the men’s worry, a new base was appended to the monument in 1904.

When this monument was first dedicated in 1885 (see Figure 2), it stood alongside a narrow path immediately behind it which led to the Springs Hotel. However, when Stone and Meredith Avenues were carved out of the Herbst Woods in the 1890s, the old path was abandoned. But suddenly, the monument found itself sitting on a piece of real estate well below street level. Worried that their monument might now be overlooked by visitors to Gettysburg, the survivors of the 19th petitioned the Gettysburg Commission to add a base to the monument to raise it to a higher level.

As a result, in 1905 the Gettysburg Commission authorized the addition of a supplemental base underneath the monument, “to bring it into view from Meredith Avenue.” (1) 

(1) Gettysburg Commission Report, dated June 30, 1905.