6th New York Cavalry Monument
Dedicated July 11th, 1889
(Located approx. 400 yards south of the intersection of Buford Ave. and Mummasburg Road on east side)
Also See the Sculptor 6th NY Cav. Monument Related Page for additional info on this monument.
Dedicated on July 11th, 1889 the 6th New York Cavalry monument is located on the east side of Buford Avenue . Passed countless times by visitors, this wonderfully detailed monument is often overlooked. Mustered into service in September 1861 the members of the 6th New York Cavalry would take part in many of the major battles in the eastern campaigns. As part of Colonel Thomas Devin’s Second Brigade, First Division the 6th would arrive at Gettysburg on June 30th as part of General Buford’s advance reconnaissance. Engaged on the morning of July 1st they would occupy the line marked by their monument until relived by the 1st Corps. The 6th would move to near the York Road and eventually retire to the area around the now famous Peach Orchard. On July 2nd they would engage enemy skirmishers until relieved by troops of the 3rd Corps when the 6th would retire to Taneytown.
The monument stands 25’ 9” in height and rests on a 14’ x 10’ granite base. On the west face is a detailed bronze bas relief measuring 6’ 5” x 5’ 8-1/2”. This bronze displays a cavalry charge (not conducted at Gettysburg ). On the reverse or eastern side of the monument is the bronze half length low relief of General Thomas C. Devin, the first Colonel of the 6th New York Cavalry. This bronze measures 6’ 4” x 3’ 11-1/2”. The monument cost the hefty sum of $8,500.00 when erected. The granite work was contracted with Frederick & Field, Quincy Mass. and the bronze cast by the Henry-Bonnard Bronze Company of New York .
Both bronze relief's were sculpted by James E. Kelly. Kelly is also the sculptor of the General John Buford monument also at Gettysburg, located north of the Chambersburg road at the intersection with Stone Avenue.(See Sculptor / Statue related page)
As the veterans of the 6th gathered to dedicate their monument on July 11th,1889 they listened to the oration of Colonel W. L. Heermance. Heermance would remind them “Today we, the survivors of those gallant men who rode with the Sixth New York Cavalry in more than 60 engagements with the enemy, between 1861 and 1865, meet here on the very ground where twenty-six years ago we checked the advance of the enemy, as tersely expressed, “holding on like the devil.” Heermance would continue to give a brief history of the unit’s actions not only at Gettysburg but during their service in the Civil War. He would further note “other nations have erected marble pillars or bronze tablets to the memory of conquerors who forged the chains of tyranny upon the people, but our country has fought no war but for the good of mankind.”
Next time you’re at Gettysburg, stop and take a detailed look at the monument of the 6th New York Cavalry.
The monument was struck by lightning on October 9th, 2007 and was severely damaged. Through the hard work of the NPS, the monument has been wonderfully restored.
Bio. from Final Report on the Battlefield of Gettysburg, New York Monuments Commision Vol. III 1902
To preview location map of the monument click on link below:
c1889 Tipton Photo of the 6th New York Cavalry Monument soon after completion.
Front (west side) bas relief bronze panel of "General Fitzhugh's Charge."
Rear (east side) bronze low relief panel of Thomas Devin, first Colonel of the 6th New York Cavalry.
Note the "K" in the bronze panel. This was put there by the sculptor James E. Kelly. Look on both bronze panels and see if you can find them.
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