Friday, July 1, 2011
It All Started With One Shot
Union Cavalry under the command of Brigadier General John Buford were waiting on July 1st 1863, for a Confederate force coming from the northwest. Buford could see that the high ground around Gettysburg was important to hold. He planned to hold the hills west of Gettysburg, as a delaying action until the Union First Corps under General John Reynolds could bring up more men.
Confederate Major General Henry Heth’s Division led the way into Gettysburg with Major William J Pegram artillery. This was followed by two brigade of infantry under the command of Brigadier Generals James Jay Archer and Joseph Robert Davis. They were moving along the Chambersburg Pike, about three miles west of town at 7:30am when they met a cavalry vedette. The Union cavalry that Heth’s division ran into were dismounted troops from Colonel William Gamble’s brigade. Lieutenant Marcellus E Jones of the 8th Illinois Cavalry fired the opening shot of the Battle of Gettysburg, firing at a man on a gray horse about a half mile away.
Buford’s small force of 2,748 cavalry would soon face and hold off 7,600 Confederates.
This is a very good web site for information about the first shot and the man who made that shot, Battle of Gettysburg: Who Really Fired the First Shot