Battle of Gettysburg, (July 1–3, 1863), major engagement in the American Civil War, fought 35 miles (56 km) southwest of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, that was a crushing Southern defeat. After defeating the Union forces of Gen. Joseph Hooker at Chancellorsville, Virginia, in May, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee decided to invade the North in hopes of further discouraging the enemy and possibly inducing European countries to recognize the Confederacy. His invasion army numbered 75,000 troops. When he learned that the Union Army of the Potomac had a new commander, Gen. George G. Meade, Lee ordered Gen. R.S. Ewell to move to Cashtown or Gettysburg. However, the commander of Meade’s advance cavalry, Gen. John Buford, recognized the strategic importance of Gettysburg as a road centre and was prepared to hold this site until reinforcements arrived.
The Gettysburg Gun, a brass field cannon called a "Napoleon," was manned by members of the 1st Regiment Rhode Island Light Artillery Battery B, who participated in some of the fiercest fighting at Gettysburg during the second and third days of the battle. During Pickett's Charge on the afternoon of July 3, a Confederate shell struck the gun's muzzle, killing two of the soldiers manning the gun. The remaining Union cannoneers tried to load the gun and continue fighting, but the charge became stuck in the mouth of muzzle, where it remains to this day.
Scope and Contents: Record includes one (1) copy of the Battle of Gettysburg Commemoration 3 July 2013, Rhode Island State House Rotunda event program sponsored by The Providence Marine Corps Artillery; Elisha Dyer Camp 7; RI Department of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War; Members of the 103rd Field Artillery; The Artillery Company of Newport; and Guards of Thunder. Also included is a short history of the Gettysburg Gun; a short biography of former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of RI Frank J. Williams; short administrative histories of the Providence Marine Corps of Artillery, The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, The Artillery Company of Newport, and The Guards of Thunder. Also includes a transcript of the Gettysburg Address.