History Links
The first is a long quote, the others are shorter examples of longer works.
I trust these will encourage you to read further.


New Jersey and the Gettysburg Campaign
"Who can tell what a march it was?," recalled Haines.
"None who were on it would ever consent to make it over again."

In a letter to his father, Josiah Grimes of the 15th New Jersey described the hardships endured by the men of his company during their march on the to Gettysburg.   "The road was very dusty," related Grimes, "and it was a hot day, but still they marched on. We had scarcely any rest and the men began to fall out one after the other until there were scarcely any men left in the regiment. ... Our whole company fell out, Lieutenants, sergeants and all ... After a while they had to halt to let the men catch up."

Chaplain Alanson Haines of the 15th New Jersey, in his narrative history of the regiment, offered a vivid description of the difficult conditions that confronted the Bluecoats. "Who can tell what a march it was?," recalled Haines. "None who were on it would ever consent to make it over again. With the previous fatigue, and the dust, and the heat, human nature could not endure it. The men fell out in squads; some feinted, some were sunstruck. The aides came riding back from ... [General Wright], repeating orders to close up the ranks and hurry on the battalions. So the column was forced on and on, until only one man in ten remained with the brigade."

Colonel Edmund Halsey, commanding the 15th New Jersey, upon learning the location of Lee's army, suddenly understood the "mysterious movements" of the Army of the Potomac. Edmund Halsey of the 15th New Jersey described the scene that greeted the Bluecoats. As they marched through the towns to the north, "The citizens," recalled Halsey, "especially at Littlestown were very kind. Large pails of cool water were kept on the horse blocks in which the men could dip their cups as they passed along. Citizens were seen carrying off the wounded in buggies. The band struck up going through this village and the marching of the men was perfect throughout the brigade and their spirit was excellent."

On July 2 at two o'clock in the afternoon the advance brigade of the Sixth Army Corps came upon the field and at 6 p.m. The entire Corps had reported after a forced march variously estimated at from thirty to thirty-five miles.  The Sixth Corps had done some remarkable marching during the past three days and with their presence on the field, the entire Army of the Potomac was now at hand. The First New Jersey Brigade reached the battlefield at 4 p.m. The brigade with its Corps had marched fifty-five miles in three days, bivouacking on the night of June 30 at Manchester after a march of twenty-three miles on that day. The brigade was encamped in a meadow near the town and the tired weary men sought their soft and rich beds at an early hour expecting to have a good nights rest, but it was not to be. About 10 p.m. the camp was suddenly aroused by the shrill, clear notes of "Assembly". Every man jumped to his feet and seized his arms. Soon the order came to march and the "Forward" sounded. The order had been to march to Taneytown and the men in line noticed that the column was countermarching on the same road they had gone over. The column turned into the broad Baltimore pike and headed westward. All night long the steady tramp, tramp, tramp  was kept up and when daylight broke, the march was still continued. There was no halt for coffee or breakfast, but no one murmured or complained. And on they went until about 1:00 when to the joy of everyone the head of the column was seen filing into an open field. This meant coffee and a little rest.

Long lines stretched across the field and the smoke from small fires rose into the sky, but hardly had the rear  of the column gained its place to rest before a horseman was seen coming at full speed down the pike. His horse with white foam from its mouth told of its mission of urgency. Riding to General Sedgwick he delivered his dispatch,
"The Corps is wanted at Gettysburg in the shortest possible space of time. "A thrill went into the hearts of the men. Coffee in various stages of brewing was emptied onto the ground. Stacks were broken and from mouth to mouth was heard, "Our comrades at the front want us."
  Away the column went and on gaining the pike, the stride of the men in their eagerness to get forward kept the officers' horses on a dog-trot. Ten miles were passed over and Rock Creek was reached but one mile from the line of battle. A short halt to fill canteens was made. Thirty-five miles in eighteen hours.    Colonel Penrose recalls what transpired when they reached Rock Creek:

"We had arrived none to soon. Our troops had been repulsed at almost every point, the fate of the army trembled in the balance. Canteens had hardly been filled when the order came to cross. The bluffs on the opposite side were steps, the water deep, but nothing could stop those brave men. In we went, and up the steep ascent on the other side. I was leading the brigade with the gallant 15th. Hardly had I reached the level ground beyond when Captain Whittier, personal aid-de-camp to General Sedgwick, rode up in great haste and saying to me, Penrose, for Gods sake get to the front as quick as you can; cut loose and follow me, everything is gone to the devil! I put the men on dog trot. Meeting a column crossing our track I gave the order to close up and cut through it, which was promptly obeyed. I followed on and came into line just in rear of the Third Regulars, who were on the right of the Fifth Corps-our lines had been drive to the crest of the hill. The situation was everything but encouraging. Regular formation of the troops engaged there was none. Every man appeared to be fighting on his own hook, but with a determination not to yield one inch further. An incident occurred just at this time, which in my opinion had great weight in the result of that days fight. As I went into line a man approached me having as a prisoner a Confederate colonel mounted. The man asked me where headquarters were. I pointed out the corps flag in a field to the rear. The colonel then addressed me as follows: For God sake, how big is thisCatholic corps? (having reference to our corps badge, a Greek cross.) I answered Why?) He replied, You were thirty miles from here last night. We saw your colors (corps) coming over the hill, and the orders for our reinforcements to be pushed in were countermanded. It will thus be seen that our timely arrival checked a movement that, had it been made, would have given them the crest of the hill, and cut our army in two. As soon as my line was formed it was moved forward. Going over the weary and worn out troops in our front, down the hill, we went at a thundering pace, driving everything before us, across the swamp at its foot, through the woods, never stopping until we reached a house just on the edge of the wheat-field, where the enemy made a decided stand. Here also stood an entire battery, every horse killed. The enemy had captured it in the afternoon, but had had no time to take it from the field. Here I halted, as night was coming on, and I could see none of our troops on my right or left. Covering these guns with our rifles, I deployed two companies to my right before I made a connection with our troops, finding them to be part of General Wheatons command which had gone in on my right. Six companies were deployed to my left before finding any one to connect with; it was then, if I remember right, with the Twelfth Regulars. Here we lay all night, but at the first peep of day I advanced and took the house and secured the battery. In this position we remained until about 12 p.m. of the third when I was relieved by the Third Regulars, and after considerable search found and joined my brigade about 3 p.m. In the last days fight the brigade was not called into action, and the 15th was the only regiment of the brigade that took part in the fighting on that memorable field. The advanced position gained on the night of the second by the 15th was the same that had been occupied by the 3rd Corps and from which they had been driven, speaks louder than words for their gallantry. Their steadiness under most trying circumstances, speaks volumns for the discipline for which the regiment was noted, and thus ended our share, of no insignificant value, in the turning and decisive battle of war." 


The March of The Sixth Corps to Gettysburg
5th Wisconsin, 3rd Bgd, 1st Div.
"One incident that I shall never forget. At a large farm house stood near the pike with rare thoughtfulness the people had brought out a number of tubs and pails and placed them along the side of the road. An old man and a boy were busy drawing water from the well and a portly matron and two handsome girls were keeping the tubs and pails filled with cool sweet water. Their faces were flushed and they trembled with the exertion. I said to the lady, "Madam, that work is very hard on you." She said, "God bless you, I don’t feel it. I have two boys somewhere among you and I would not want them or their friends to pass their mother’s house without at least a cup of cold water." I passed on, I trust she met her boys and that they lived to be a comfort to her in her old age. I do not think she and her girls ever realized how their acts, and the acts of others like them, nerved the men of the Army of the Potomac to stand in the breach at Gettysburg."


The March to Gettysburg by Delevan Bates
The Otsego Republican - Aurora, Neb., Jan 20, 1894
(See the last section on the page linked to above.)
"The words of a better writer than I am will be used in describing this march, and every comrade who was there will testify to the truthfulness of the description: Moving in quick time, the long line splashed through the dust, which rose in clouds, and where it touched the skin it burned like particles of molten brass. The hard yellow glare of the burning sunbeams seemed to eat into one's brain, and the temptation was strong to lie down in the cool recesses of some one of the copses of timber through which we passed, and abandon all else to bodily comfort. Here and there a man reeled and fell or staggered into the shade of the trees, and was left as we hurried on. Along the road under our feet articles of clothing, haversacks, blankets, and even guns and cartridge boxes were thickly strewn, but no canteens. Those tin receptacles of lukewarm water are the last thing a soldier throws away."


61st Penn. Vol.
"After a series of exhausting marches, for the most part performed beneath a burning sun, it reached Manchester, Maryland, on the 1st of July, where, at evening, tidings were received of the opening of the battle of Gettysburg, and orders to move with all possible dispatch to the field. The corps was immediately put in motion. After a wearisome march of upwards of thirty miles, it arrived in the midst of the desperate fighting of the second day, and the tired and footsore troops were hurried into action."


Sixth Corps history
A history of the Corps from formation to the end of the war.


Sixth Corps Flags
1. Flag of the 11th. Regiment Connecticut Volunteers
2. Headquarters Guidon of the Old Vermont Brigade
3. Major-General John Sedgwick's Sixth Corps Headquarters Flag


June 30, 1863 - The Armies Gather
A good overview of the movements of the armies on this date.


Pvt. Robert H. Clark - The first casualty?
In his book "Killed in Action," Gregory Coco recounts the story of Private Robert H. Clark (Company B, 7th Maine Infantry, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 6th Corps), who might be considered the 'first casualty' of the Gettysburg Campaign. The AoP's 6th Corps marched northward for nearly 40 miles in order to reach the other Northern forces in time to render aid.
"...R.H. Clark was from Presque Isle, Maine, and was at the time of his death in the U.S. Army. He was brought in an ambulance to McAllen's Hotel, corner of Baltimore & South Streets, with the 6th Army Corps June 30th, 1863 and died the same night. He was sun struck on the march from VA to PA from the effects of which with exhaustion, he seems to have died. ...He was buried at about 3:00 pm. He was a member of Co. B 7th Maine Volunteers..."

The Pipe Creek Circular
This is a page from the Gettysburg Discussion Group regarding the Pipe Creek Circular which Gen. Meade drafted on the night of June 30. This was a strategic concept that Meade proposed before he knew exactly where the Confederate Army was and before the battle was joined on July 1 at Gettysburg. This strategy placed the Union Army roughly parallel to the Maryland / Pennsylvania border to protect Baltimore and the Federal Capitol. For this reason the Sixth Corps was placed so far east in Manchester and had to make the forced march to Gettysburg once Meade knew where the enemy was.
 Report of Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick - Commanding Sixth Corps
Warrenton, Va., August
8, 1863.
"During the operations herein reported, the conduct of the troops was admirable. The marches were very severe, and the hardships undergone were greater than in any previous campaign."
Lt. Col. Frederick C. Newhall, Sixth Pa. Cavalry
from a speech October 14, 1888
"a fine-looking major on Meade’s staff galloped up with a vivid expression on his face which you do not often see in everyday life, and ordered Sedgwick to hasten forward; matters were evidently serious just in front. There was a fearful crash of musketry, and through the smoke I saw some men with clubbed muskets in their hands. It was just the time when Longstreet’s famous charge of the second day had reached its climax. Sedgwick turned to his leading brigade commander and said, "Hurry up there; never mind forming your brigade; pitch in by regiments!" and nothing could be finer than the way they did it. "

The Sixth Corps at Gettysburg
More Points in Regard to the Time of the Arrival of Sedgwick's Command
By James L. Bowen, June, 1882
"In the course of much association with ex-soldiers, and discussion of the battle of Gettysburg, the alarm caused among the troops already engaged by the cloud of dust which our advance occasioned, and which was at first thought to be caused by the Confederate Cavalry coming up in the Union rear, has been often referred to, and always spoken of as occurring at 5 or 6 o'clock."



Vermont Civil War Flags
This page has photographs of many Vermont regimental flags. Some of them were carried by the Vermont Brigade (Second Brgd, Second Div, Sixth Corps) on the march to Gettysburg. The bottom of the page has a wonderful lengthy quote describing the love of flag these veterans bore. It closes with:

"The war and all its precious memories--soul-lifting or sad--seems now like some strange dream. The mighty host of armed men, whose tramp caused the nations to tremble, has gone from our sight. Their wild battle cry will be heard no more forever; their battle flag will come forth no more to war. Our flag is furled,--a precious relic for future generations, and a proud fact to us that only men brave, daring, heroic, and, better still, loyal to the core, ever bore aloft the colors and flag of that grand old regiment, the Eighth Vermont Volunteers."

The Eighth Vermont was not in the Sixth Corps but I'm sure many Sixth Corps veterans could echo the sentiment.


Roads to Gettysburg
By John W. Schildt

McClain Printing, 1978
Pages 504-514

July 1,1863 - The final push...

"Pappy" Sedgwick was still going over his reports when out of the darkness came the sounds of a galloping rider. "Reynolds had fallen. A crisis was at hand, the Sixth Corps must be in Gettysburg by afternoon of the morrow."

Even the staff officer felt the mission was impossible. "No troops, not even the best can march that far that fast." Sedgwick had other thoughts, "Say to General Meade, my Corps shall be at Gettysburg at two o'clock."

Even in the suffering there was humor and comradeship. General Sedgwick, mounted on "Cornwall," pulled over to the side of the road to watch some of his men go by and to observe their physical condition. One of the men said, "Get a fresh horse, Uncle John, and try to catch us." This touched the brave leader from Cornwall Hollow in the Berkshires, he lifted his hand, and smiled in acknowledgment.



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to see added here, please
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