September 1, 2020 ”Cutler’s Brigade and the Opening of the Battle: “Is that the enemy?”
LBG Bill Trelease
On the morning of July 1, 1863 Lysander Cutler’s men, the Second Brigade, of the First Division, of the First Corps, were the first Union infantrymen to arrive on the field and open the infantry fight. Because the other brigade in Wadsworth’s Division was the much more famous Iron Brigade, Cutler’s men were, in many ways, the “foster children” of the division even though they had already proven themselves on the battlefield. Because of this, the exploits and courage of Cutler’s men are sometimes overlooked or, even worse, viewed as the “opening act” for their more famous sister brigade. For almost 6 hours this brigade would engage in desperate combat, during the course of which it would end up fighting against five different Confederate brigades, suffer a casualty rate well over 60% and make one of the more memorable stands of the battle. The brunt of these casualties will be inflicted by Joe Davis’s brigade in the first 45 minutes of the battle. It is this fight, Cutler against Davis, that we will concentrate on during this walk. The tour will entail modest walking.