Hancock Avenue

As the attack on the Third Corps line on July 2nd intensified Major General Winfield Scott Hancock  ordered the Irish Brigade forward to the Peach Orchard.  Before the advance Father William Corby gave the brigade a blessing that even non Roman Catholics kneed down to receive before joining the deadly fight.  After the war  Father Corby served as President of the University Notre Dame, so many of the members of the Irish Brigade followed him to the school their nickname soon became the Fighting Irish in remembrance of their service in the Civil War

Left unguarded on July 2nd, later in the 2nd day fight this lower section of Cemetery Ridge was a focus point for Confederate troops after over running the Third Corps line in the Peach Orchard and the Emmitsburg Road.   To slow down the enemy advance  Major General Hancock sent the 1st Minnesota in a charge against overwhelming numbers.  While loosing 75% of their men as killed or wounded, the 1st Minnesota slowed the rebel attack allowing time for reinforcements to hold the ridge line.

On the third day, artillery units were moved into position and they helped deliver a horrible fire upon the Confederates engaged in Pickett’s Charge.

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