Hunterstown, Adams County (WHTM) – At the intersection of Granite Station Road and Shrivers Corner Road, in the center of Hunterstown, is a different sort of Gettysburg Battlefield marker.
This is an itinerary marker, one of many placed between 1894 and 1905 by the War Department, which was in charge of the battlefield at the time. (Administration of the park was transferred to the National Park Service in 1933.) There are itinerary markers all around the battlefield for both the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, and the Union Army of the Potomac like the one in Hunterstown.
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As the name suggests, itinerary markers show which units that were in a particular area of the battlefield. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, these markers are lacking in punctuation marks, and as a result tend to be a bit cryptic. But by inserting a few commas and periods, we can get some sense of who was going where:
“Second, Fifth, and Sixth Corps, Lockwood’s brigade from the Middle Department, First and Third brigades, Second cavalry division, Third cavalry division, and the Artillery Reserve reached the field of Gettysburg. First and Second brigades, First cavalry division, marched from Gettysburg to Taneytown, and Merritt’s, the reserve brigade of the First division, from Mechanicstown to Emmitsburg.
Battle of Gettysburg second day, and skirmishes at Hunterstown and near Chambersburg PA.”
That skirmish at Hunterstown pitted Confederate cavalry under Brigadier General Wade Hampton against Union Cavalry under Brigadier Generals George Custer and Elon Farnsworth on the afternoon of July 2nd. Hampton’s brigade was sent to the location to protect the Confederate army’s left flank; Custer had been sent to scout out Confederate activity. The result was a cavalry vs. cavalry fight that resulted in 70 casualties, then turned into an artillery duel that lasted until nightfall.
The tablet serves as a reminder that there was a lot of action during the Battle of Gettysburg that took place well away from the main battlefield.
Confused about all this corps/brigade/company/division/regiment stuff? click here.