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John Gibbon was born in North Carolina in 1827. After serving in the Seminole War he became an artillery instructor at West Point. On the outbreak of the American Civil War Gibbon joined the Union Army, while three of his brothers fought for the Confederate Army.
Commissioned as a brigadier general, he joined the Army of Virginia. He took part in the battles at Bull Run (August, 1862), Antietam (September, 1862) and Fredericksburg (December, 1862) where he was seriously wounded.
Gibbon returned to active service in March, 1863, until being badly wounded at Gettysburg (July, 1863). Gibbon returned to take part in the action at Wilderness (June, 1864). Promoted to major general, Gibbon took part in the siege of Petersburg.
After the war Gibbon remained in the army and led the relief column at Little Big Horn and was responsible for burying George Custer and his men. After retiring in 1891, Gibbon wrote Personal Recollections of the Civil War. John Gibbon died in 1896.
John Gibbon and Strategy
John Gibbon, a North Carolinian West Pointer who remained loyal to the Union and very ably led troops throughout the war, is one of my favorite figures of the American Civil War. He is not someone I ever talk about in relation to strategy, because he spent most of the war as a division commander, briefly attaining corps command at the end, and early on of course, forging and leading the famed Iron Brigade. Consequently, I was pleased to come across a campaign plan proposed by none other than John Gibbon, in a letter to Burnside* while the Union army was before Fredericksburg waiting for its pontoons.
*So I presume, as the document was actually in Burnside's papers before getting added to the Official Records
BROOKE'S STATION, VA., November 30, 1862.
It is now pretty well established that the main body of rebels is in position around Fredericksburg, engaged in throwing up breastworks, and intend to dispute the passage of the Rappahannock.
The original intention on our part, in changing our line of operations, was, undoubtedly, to surprise a passage of the river, and at least get a position on the other side before the rebels could be apprised of our intentions, and get down there from Culpeper, and then to push on to Hanover Junction, on our way to Richmond, cutting their line of retreat, interrupting their supplies and re-enforcements, and perhaps fighting one great battle.
On our arrival here, no means of crossing in force were at hand the surprise failed, and the railroad being out of order, we were obliged to wait for supplies and the bridge train the enemy, apprised of our movement, was enabled to throw his whole army around Fredericksburg.
By the time we can get up supplies sufficient to start for Richmond, a comparatively small force will be enabled to dispute successfully the passage of the river to a very large one.
Suppose we succeed in forcing the passage. The character of the roads is well known, and a single hard rain will put them in such a condition that our weak teams will not be able even to drag our artillery, to say nothing of our supplies, which have first to be brought over 12 miles of railroad, the protection of which will require a large force.
It will take at least three weeks to repair the bridge over the Rappahannock, and then it will be carried away by the first heavy rain. It was destroyed three times last summer by floods.
By the time we are able to leave the vicinity of Fredericksburg, we are in the middle of winter, and in a climate where we cannot depend upon frozen ground as a means of carrying along our artillery and wagons.
The enemy can take up a position where their batteries will be comparatively stationary, while ours must be moved along and worked in the mud. He will, of course, tear up the track, and when we repair it, every foot must be well protected or he will make raids upon it and destroy it. This will require a very large portion of our force.
The distance from Fredericksburg to Richmond is 60 miles, so that we have 72 miles of road to guard against the enemy and the weather. At any other season we need not take Fredericksburg, but could fall down to Rappahannock Court-House, or below, cross under fire of the gunboats, and march on a shorter line to Richmond but at this season there would be the difficulty of the roads, and the enemy could move down behind the Mattapony and the Pamunkey, with a railroad to assist him. It is, therefore, impracticable at this season to take Richmond from this point. Can it be taken from any other point?
During the attack on it last summer, the enemy threw large re-enforcements forward from North Carolina and other points farther south by means of the railroad through Petersburg. Get possession of that point, and you not only interrupt his direct communication with the South, stop his troops and supplies, but stand a good chance of cutting his only remaining other southern channel, and the only southerwestern one, by an expedition 50 miles off, at Burke's Station. The force now at Petersburg and its vicinity cannot be large. Make every preparation for crossing the river just below Fredericksburg. Plant your batteries, and build your bridge or get it ready for building, and persuade the enemy, if possible, that you are determined to make the advance on this line. Give it out that the Government at Washington insists upon your moving on this line. The enemy will readily believe it. Assemble a large amount of transportation, and let the Government publish at once its determination to arrest any editor of a papar who publishes any telegram or letter from any of the armies of the east for the next thirty days and suspend the paper.
Push forward the force at Suffolk, increased as much as possible by drafts from Fort Monroe, Norfolk, &ampc., whilst a large force moves up the James River, landing at some point below City Point, or, if possible, on the Appomattox, under protection of the gunboats. For this force take the whole of Banks' force, and of this, all but a few divisions to be left here to the last, to keep up appearances if they are attacked, to fall back at once, either on the Potomac or Rappahannock, at some suitable point, where they can be protected by the gunboats placed there for the purpose. If properly managed, the force below Petersburg will be cut off. Once in possession of Petersburg, Richmond will fall. Our army will be almost independent of the bad roads will have its supplies brought by means of the James River almost directly to its camps. We can invest Fort Darling, carry it by assault, and take Richmond in the rear. Our gunboats and the winter roads would effectually prevent the enemy from advancing on Washington, even if that were not well fortified and defended. If we could read the south side of James River, opposite Richmond, before the enemy could concentrate there, the city must fall. If he got there before us, then the great battle must take place below Richmond, and on the side where it is presumed he has but few fortifications, and between him and his re-enforcements.
Later career and retirement
Gibbon served temporarily as commander of the Department of the Platte in 1884. He was promoted to brigadier general in the regular army in 1885 and took command of the Army of the Pacific Northwest. He placed Seattle, Washington, under martial law during the anti-Chinese riots of 1886. Gibbon was required to retire due to age restrictions in 1891.
Gibbon served as president of the Iron Brigade Association, and Commander in Chief of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States from October 1895 until his death the following year. He also gave the commencement address to the West Point Class of 1886.
John Gibbon - History
The ground around Manassas, Virginia was anything but auspicious for Union Army forces in the first two years of the American Civil War. It was there, on July 21, 1861, that a Union army broke to pieces on the bulwark of Brig. Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s brigade, earning the Confederate general his now famous sobriquet. The scene of the first major battle of the war, Manassas was about to become the focus of attention once again.
In the Early Summer issue of Civil War Quarterly, you’ll read all about the famous Battle of Brawner’s Farm during the Second Battle of Manassas. Writer John Walker’s feature, “Brawl at Brawner’s Farm,” takes you right alongside Stonewall Jackson’s intense confrontation with Brig. Gen. John Gibbon’s Black Hat Brigade.
During the most heated parts of the battle, Jackson’s Confederate column pushed forward to an old fence just 80 yards away from the Union line. Letting loose with a fearsome Rebel yell, they opened fire on the enemy.
“Within one minute, all was enveloped in smoke,” wrote one Union survivor, “and a sheet of flame seemed to go out from each side to the other along the whole length of the line.”
Did Jackson prevail? And what were the roles of other leaders in the fight, such as Gen. John Pope, Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart and James Longstreet? You’ll read all about them and more inside this Early Summer issue.
Other features inside this issue include:
“Lincoln vs. Frémont”
Determined to hold on to the crucial border states of Kentucky and Missouri, Abraham Lincoln clashed publicly with Maj. Gen. John C. Frémont, the famous “Pathfinder,” over the major general’s hasty emancipation proclamation in Missouri.
“The Great Sioux Uprising of 1862”
Outraged by corrupt Indian agents and slow-arriving subsidies, Sioux warriors in Minnesota went on a bloody rampage in the summer of 1862, spreading panic throughout the North already at war.
“4th U.S. Regulars at Gettysburg”
The proud Regulars in Company H, 4th U.S. Infantry, made a gallant stand in the blood-soaked Wheatfield on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg.
“Invasion at Sabine Pass”
A clutch of Confederate Irishmen faced thousands of Federals in the battle for Texas.
What do you think of Jackson’s strategy at the Second Battle of Manassas? How capable were Pope and others in thwarting his attacks? Let us know what you think about this and other features in this Civil War Quarterly issue in the comments below.
Brigadier General John GibbonPortrait of Brig. Gen. John Gibbon, officer of the Federal Army (Maj. Gen. from June 7, 1864)
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
By Dr. Donna L. Sinclair
Brigadier General John Gibbon stands among the longest serving commanders of the Department of the Columbia, headquartered at Vancouver Barracks. His tenure (1885-1891) occurred during a period of consolidation and entrenchment of US Western colonial power, a period of great change as the military turned its attention away from conflict with American Indians and towards imperial efforts overseas.
Gibbon arrived at Vancouver Barracks in 1879. Just six years earlier, the headquarters of the Department of the Columbia had returned to Vancouver, after a brief period of being located in Portland, Oregon. Gibbon arrived in Vancouver just in time for the modernization that prepared the United States for its role as a world power in the century that followed. During this late 19th century, technological innovations, such as the telephone, tied together military and civilian communication. These innovations connected the barracks not only to the local community, but also to the nation, and, eventually, the world. Combined with the great expansion of Vancouver Barracks after 1876, advances in communications also made possible rapid responses to regional crises, including the expulsion of Chinese people from Seattle in 1885 and, later, quelling labor unrest in the mines of Idaho.
John Gibbon took command of the Department of the Columbia on July 29, 1885, in charge of 139 officers and 1,661 enlisted men. Gibbon's command followed that of Civil War heroes like Brigadier General Oliver Otis Howard (1874-1880) and Nelson A. Miles (1881-1885). Also a key Civil War figure, Gibbon has been remembered primarily for leading the Iron Brigade and participating in the commission that accepted the surrender of the South at Appomattox. However, examining Gibbon's career from the perspective of Vancouver Barracks provides additional insight into one of the longest-serving commanders at Vancouver Barracks.
Gibbon was a family man and officer, a southern Democrat and a Union patriot, a leader and a non-conformist, a man who reinforced American colonialism and resisted Victorian norms. In Vancouver, he encountered a military post renamed "Vancouver Barracks" in 1879, a recently renovated military site that appeared to an 1885 visitor as the "principle military post of the Pacific Northwest. destined to become more important than now in view of its location to the balance of the department." 1
Early Life and Military Experience
When the Civil War broke out, Gibbon remained loyal to the Union, despite three brothers, two brothers-in-law, and a cousin who joined the Confederate Army. He gained significant battle experience, from the Second Battle of Bull Run to Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, and Petersburg. After the war, he went on to serve as the central commander at the Battle of Big Hole during the Nez Perce War (1877). Although the Nez Perce suffered more casualties than the US Army, this battle changed the course of the conflict and set the Nez Perce on the path to Canada. 2
Gibbon later became a prolific writer, producing personal recollections of the Civil War and over two dozen magazine articles on subjects that ranged from analyses of Big Hole and other conflicts with Native people, to women's rights. Gibbon's annual departmental reports also provide significant insight into army practices and his own increasingly progressive thinking. 3
John Gibbon and Family
Soon after reaching Vancouver, 27-year-old Katy Gibbon wed Lieutenant James Espy McCoy in the Department of the Columbia commander's house (now called the O.O. Howard House) on October 28, 1885. They held an elegant, "fashionable" afternoon affair, with a few select guests. Lieutenant McCoy of the 7th Infantry wore his dress uniform, she a white silk dress garnered with lace. The flowers were "simple but elegant," with radiant perfumed exotics flaking the marble mantle piece. Reflecting the family's status, Archbishop Gross of Oregon, assisted by Vancouver's Father Schramm, performed the Roman Catholic ceremony. Congratulations and conversation followed the ceremony. An elegant luncheon in the dining room followed the reception. When the couple said goodbye, Mr. and Mrs. Gibbon gave them a "sad farewell." Katy and James went off to Portland, Oregon, that night, and left for his duty station at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, within days. 4 Young Katy was on her way to becoming a frontier officer's wife, like her mother.
James and Katy McCoy had a child while in Wyoming, and then in January of 1887, General Gibbon detailed his son-in-law as aide de camp. Katy and James returned to Vancouver Barracks. 5 It is not clear if Katy joined in the family's theatrical actibvities while at the barracks. At the very least, she surely attended performances that included General Gibbon, his daughter Fannie, and son John, Jr., who often performed together in small plays, alongside other officers from the post.
In the early months of 1888, General Gibbon and John, Jr., went to Walla Walla, Washington, where John, Jr., contracted pneumonia. In Vancouver, Katy also became sick. She became so ill that General Gibbon received a telegram requesting his return as quickly as possible. His daughter was dying. He may not have arrived in time, as the same newspaper column that noted the general's beckoning also reported the following:
"Mrs. Katharine L. McCoy, wife of Lieut. McCoy, U.S. army, died Friday afternoon. Her youngest child is 2 1/2 months old. Pneumonia was the cause of death. The funeral took place on Sunday, with all the honors due to a soldier's daughter and a soldier's wife. The event casts a deep gloom of sadness over the people in both barracks and town, as Mrs. McCoy was much esteemed, and a general favorite." 7
General John Gibbon and Chinese Expulsion
Starting in the 1850s, harsh economic and political conditions in China prompted laborers to leave, usually with plans to eventually return to their native country. At the same time, the United States - the land the Chinese called "gum saan" or "gold mountain" - sought laborers to work on the transcontinental railroads. The Northern Pacific Railroad employed more than 21,000 Chinese laborers for its line through Montana, Idaho, and Washington territories. Although many Chinese men 9 worked on railroads, they also engaged in occupations like gold mining, ditch digging, logging, and as servants and cooks in the households of military officers and other well-to-do civilians. Others became entrepreneurs, and Chinese stores and laundries became increasingly common. By 1880, approximately 105,000 Chinese people lived in the United States. In that decade, anti-Chinese sentiment erupted on the West Coast, where the largest number of Chinese immigrants lived.
Xenophobia (fear of others) and racism had resulted in anti-Chinese violence along the Northwest Coast in the 1880s. White laborers pushed for the expulsion of Chinese workers and called for a ban on further immigration. Chinese women had been barred from entering the US through the 1875 Page Act. A new law, the Chinese Exclusion Act, extended that ban to all Chinese people. Passed in 1882, the law provided an absolute moratorium on Chinese workers, "skilled and unskilled laborers and Chinese employed in mining," entering the United States. It also required deportation of any Chinese who arrived after 1880, essentially banning all Chinese people, save a very few with Chinese government sanction. The ban also made it difficult for Chinese immigrants to leave the country and then reenter. Congress renewed the act again in 1892, and again in 1902, adding the requirement that all Chinese get a certificate of residence or face deportation.
With rising anti-Chinese sentiment during economic downturns, the exclusion law "spurred rather than deterred violence." 10 Around the Northwest, assault, murder, and expulsion of Chinese residents occurred without consequence. In 1885, the year that General Gibbon took command of the Department of the Columbia, gangs of white miners murdered 28 Chinese men and injured 15 in Rock Springs, Wyoming. For several months that fall, Tacoma, Washington's community leaders agitated to remove approximately 700 Chinese who lived in the city. They held town meetings, made threats, and met in Seattle as a Committee of 15 at an anti-Chinese Congress on September 28, presided over by Tacoma Mayor Jacob Robert Weisbach. The group ordered all Chinese to leave the region by November 1, 1885, with posters declaring "The Chinese Must Go!" marking the town for months. Many Chinese people left voluntarily. The rest experienced a large-scale forceful ousting, soon known as the "Tacoma Method." On November 3, 1885, several "committees" led by Mayor Weisbach and the Tacoma Police raged through town, bursting into Chinese homes and businesses alike to expel them from the city.
A Tacoma merchant, Lum May, described his experiences in an affidavit on November 3, 1885:
"Where the doors were locked they broke forcibly into the houses, smashing in doors and breaking in windows. Some of the crowd were armed with pistols, some with clubs. They acted in a rude, boisterous, and threatening manner, dragging and kicking the Chinese out of their houses. My wife refused to go, and some of the white persons dragged her out of the house. From the excitement, the fright, and the losses we sustained through the riot she lost her reason. She was hopelessly insane and attacked people with a hatchet or any other weapon if not watched. The outrages I and my family suffered at the hands of the mob has utterly ruined me. My wife was perfectly sane before the riot. I saw my country men marched out of Tacoma on November 3rd. They presented a sad spectacle."
The short-lived calm ended on February 7, 1886, as Seattle mobs lashed out. The day began quietly, with groups of four or five men at a time entering the Chinese quarter, ostensibly for a sanitary inspection (based on overcrowding), but their true purpose was expulsion. Seattle's police chief and other officers accompanied the group as they "hauled out" goods from the homes of Chinese residents and sent them by wagon to the Queen of the Pacific, a ship docked at the foot of Main Street. By mid-morning, a large crowd gathered and the volunteer militia, the Seattle Home Guard and Seattle Rifles, and the University Cadets, assembled in response. Although Seattle's sheriff had originally brought together a smaller posse, by afternoon a huge mob pushed 300 Chinese residents to the docks, where the ship's captain refused to allow them onboard without fare. The mob quickly collected enough money to send a hundred Chinese away and returned the others to the Chinese quarter. 12
When he heard what was happening, General John Gibbon rapidly readied troops to go to Seattle. The next day, February 8th, "still more urgent calls came from the Governor and others" when conflict ensued between the mob and civil authorities. Still, Gibbon awaited orders from the president. That morning, after the Queen took another 196 people away, a mob of up to 2,000 people attacked the guards, escorting the remaining Chinese away from the dock to wait for the George W. Elder, due a few days later. At that point, Gibbon took matters into his own hands, sending eight companies to the post wharf, putting them on a steamer heading north to Kalama, Washington, arranging for further transport to Seattle, then waiting for orders to proceed. Finally, at 9 pm, Gibbon received direction to proceed to Seattle with the troops "necessary to suppress domestic violence, and aid the civil authorities in overcoming obstruction to the enforcement of the law." 13 One person had been killed and several others were injured.
By the time Gibbon's troops arrived on February 10, 1886, the governor had declared martial law. The general found the city "perfectly quiet and peaceful," with little evidence of the need for troops. Citizen militia had quelled the "riotous proceedings." The military immediately "placarded" the city with notices of the president's proclamation against civil disorder and closed "[b]usiness houses and saloons" early each day, while troops relieved the militia from street patrol. General Gibbon expressed disgust for the entire situation. Not only had he been ready to move troops immediately, but he claimed that Seattle's leaders were ". responsible for the shedding of blood" because they "undertook deliberately and with 'malice aforethought,' to violate th[e] law, and induce others to do it."
The governor, noted Gibbon, had let the situation get out of hand: "[H]ad there been a few good policemen, duly instructed in their duty as guardians of society, there is no question in my mind that no such sense as had disgraced the streets of this city would ever have been enacted." With better training, martial law, an "additional disgrace" when placed "over the heads of American citizens," could have been avoided altogether. Gibbon called for the immediate arrest of "every known leader of the outrages." He wrote to the governor, "These men who, by inciting others to violations of the law, and, in some cases, aiding in it themselves, are well known to yourself and the civil authorities of the city." 14
On February 16, 1886, Adjutant General Richard Coulter Drum admonished Gibbon for a second time in relation to the events in Seattle. His first reprimand expressed clear dissatisfaction that Gibbon had acted on his own. "While no fault is found with any preparation you may have made in anticipation of orders," Drum wrote, "the Secretary of War thinks it would have been the part of wisdom to keep secret any contemplated movement of troops, especially connected with civil trouble." 15 The second rebuke stemmed form complaints by Governor Squire that General Gibbon overstepped his bounds by making arrests, though he clearly had the authority to do so. Drum chided Gibbon, saying Gibbon misunderstood "the purpose for which the troops were sent to Seattle." Drum wrote that the troops were not meant to be a "posse" in place of local authorities, "but [there] to preserve the peace, give security to life and property, and prevent obstruction to the enforcement of the laws," wrote Drum. "Dispatch of to-day [February 16] is received," responded Gibbon immediately. 16
Gibbon responded that he had arrived in Seattle on February 10, preceded by eight companies of the 14th Infantry. His orders to "aid the civil authority and assist in the execution of the law" prompted him to arrest some "of the instigators and leaders of the late violations of the law" and place them "under guard" to prevent further violence. Martial law had been "perfectly justifiable," claimed Gibbon, but since police composed part of the mob, they had threatened members of the militia. 17 Gibbon maintained that "no one indicted for a crime connected with the anti-Chinese movement can by any possibility be convicted by any jury that can be had here." Bitterness reigned in Seattle because of the bloodshed, "and the fear now is that as soon as the protection of martial law is removed" civil authorities would be "sacrificed to the fury of the disorderly party" unless the violators were punished. Thus, the arrests.
Gibbon made another important point regarding the national implications of the "Chinese question" as a broad assault on civil liberties, not just for Chinese residents, but also for American citizens. Chinese expulsion demoralized the American people by "degrading their sense of liberty, justice, and freedom." This degradation stemmed both from martial law and "self-appointed regulators," who invaded private houses and demanded the discharge of Chinese servants. People submitted "almost without protest certainly without the proper kind of protest in a case where the rights of American citizenship have been so grossly outraged." So disturbed was he that Gibbon requested his communication "be laid before the President of the United States." While Gibbon remained far away, Drum operated as adjutant general of the Army, with his physical location in Washington, D.C. Just underneath Gibbon's February 16, 1886, report on the Chinese trouble and his request for the president to hear more about the situation is the statement, "No reply to this report has been received." 18
The following day, the Provost Marshal of the city turned over nine prisoners to the territorial marshal. Gibbon noted that "Appropriate proceedings were held," with the prisoners disposed of "by bail or otherwise with the decision of the Commissioner." At that point, leaders allowed stores and saloons to re-open and daily business gradually recommenced. By February 22, Gibbon told the governor he no longer saw a need for martial law. The next day, Governor Squire's proclamation removing martial law appeared in the morning papers and civil authorities took control of the city. Four military companies returned to Vancouver on February 25th. Two remained until April 2nd, and the final two companies, slated to withdraw on May 5th, stayed in Seattle until August 19, 1886.
Gibbon noted that violence against Chinese continued in the region, with a number of laborers expelled from Douglas Island in Alaska Territory by "an organized party of white men, who acted with great brutality towards their helpless victims." A "gang of horse thieves and schoolboys from Wallowa County" 19 massacred up to 34 Chinese gold miners in Hells Canyon a year later, without prosecution. Disgusted but exhibiting his own prejudices toward immigrants, Gibbon complained about disregard for the law, which "furnishes the opportunity for the shiftless and improvident, largely composed of foreign elements, to attempt to dictate as to who shall and who shall not perform certain labor." Perhaps worse, the very men who forced the Chinese out were "themselves unwilling or incapable of performing" the kinds of labor done by the Chinese. 20
John Gibbon, the Commander
Throughout the rest of Gibbon's tenure, he kept troops at the ready through summer exercises meant to simulate battle conditions. In 1888, the 14th Infantry moved over rough mountain roads of the Coast Range to Nestucca Bay. The next year, one group traveled by boat to The Dalles and marched into Cayuse Indian territory near Pendleton, Oregon. Another group, under Lieutenant Charles Martin (later governor of Oregon), took supplies for the journey over the old "narrow, crooked, and very rocky" Barlow Trail. Fifty men and 22 six-horse "prairie schooners" headed through Gresham and Sandy to Mount Hood, where the difficult topography slowed them to just a few miles per day. After reaching The Dalles via the Tygh Valley and over the Deschutes River, troops halted to repair the Civil War era wagons that then took them through Indian villages west and south of Pendleton, "just to let the tribes know that they were on the job," said Martin. With maneuvers over, troops returned to Vancouver and prepared for immediate mobilization. Such preparation became necessary in the years that followed as the US government shifted from American colonial expansion to overseas engagement in Cuba, the Philippines, China, and the world wars of the 20th century. 22
In his final days as commander of the Department of the Columbia, John Gibbon neared 50 years as a soldier. He had also solidified his feelings about Native/non-Native relations. Like all commanders since the 1850s, Gibbon contended with calls from settlers to "quiet" Native people. In 1886, the same year he addressed the graduating class at West Point, he reported conflicts over reservation boundaries on the Klamath Reservation. Troops were "invoked," wrote Gibbon, "but the mere presence of the Agent was sufficient to settle the difficulty." Reservation lines should be drawn more distinctly, he observed. That year, settlers accused the Kalispel of "serious outrages. murdering settlers and stealing stock to the north of Spokane Falls, [Washington Territory]." The Army dispatched troops from Fort Coeur d'Alene to protect settlers in Clark Fork Valley and reports of additional "outrages" resulted in sending two more companies there. The first troops (infantry) moved north until they met the second (cavalry) and, in an oft-repeated pattern, found the alarming reports "entirely and utterly groundless." The infantry returned to its post and leaders withdrew the cavalry. Military leadership seemingly sent troops out to scare Native people into full submission, and by the end of the decade most conflict halted. There would be additional incidents well into the 1890s, but they remained few and far between. 23
Gibbon, who had commanded the Montana Column in 1876 as it rescued survivors and buried the dead after the 7th Cavalry's battle with the Teton Sioux and Northern Cheyenne on the Little Bighorn River, often recognized injustices against Native people. Despite his own participation, he also lamented the destruction, death, and intensive grief wrought upon the Nez Perce at Big Hole in 1877, when 89 Native men, women, and children were killed. 29 Army soldiers were killed in the conflict. Although he considered the deaths of the women and children at Big Hole "unavoidable," his testimony before a congressional committee in 1878 revealed his feeling that the Nez Perce Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt, 24 known to whites and Gibbon as Chief Joseph, along with "his band" had been objects of the greatest possible injustices at the hands of the government. "The management of [the Nez Perce]," by the Indian Department had "actually forced [them] into rebellion," he said. 25 That may be why, as commander of the Department of the Columbia, Gibbon tried to help the Nez Perce after their return to the Northwest.
Joseph's band spent nearly eight years in Indian Country in Oklahoma before General Nelson Miles brought them back to the Colville Reservation in Washington State in 1885, the year Gibbon replaced Miles at Vancouver Barracks. In 1889, Gibbon met with Joseph at Lake Chelan, where he learned of the difficulties the band faced on the reservation. There had been no overt "acts of hostility," but some Colville who did not want them there made life difficult for the Nez Perce. For example, someone repeatedly moved stakes placed to mark land claims, causing conflict and confusion. Although Joseph had complained to Washington, D.C., the harassment became worse and Nez Perce cattle were hamstrung or shot. In telling this story, Joseph appeared to Gibbon as having "about given up all hope" of becoming comfortably established. Although Joseph made no charges against any individuals, Gibbon learned through the interpreter, Mr. Chapman's "personal knowledge" and the "closest cross-examination" that the "medicine-man" Sko-las-kin led the agitation to remove the Nez Perce. 26
Gibbon turned to the commander at Fort Spokane and the Indian Agent on the Colville Reservation, calling for Sko-las-kin's arrest and removal from the reservation. A month later, he received authority to arrest Sko-las-kin, who "denied all knowledge of the hostile acts against Joseph and his people." Still, the Army first sent the medicine man to Vancouver for trial and then to prison at Alcatraz. Gibbon ensured that those associated with Sko-las-kin knew why he was imprisoned, and all "troubles ceased at once." Gibbon later described the incident as an example of sacrificing the "liberty of one individual" for the "welfare of the many" by using the power of the government. 27
A few months after his visit to Lake Chelan, John Gibbon invited Joseph to Vancouver Barracks, where the "ladies of the station" entertained him at breakfasts and the general spent many long hours in discussion with him. During the visit, a Portland newspaper reiterated the rumor begun during the Nez Perce War that Gibbon's troops had been saved by General Howard's command. For the first time in all their interactions, Gibbon spoke about the events at Big Hole with Joseph, who confirmed that "he did not know anything about General Howard being near" before he left Big Hole Pass. This confirmation likely contributed to Gibbon's efforts to ensure the Nez Perce had clothing the following winter through the contributions of a Portland philanthropist.
General Gibbon's time at Vancouver Barracks occurred as the US cemented its colonial takeover of Native lands. His career spanned from the Seminole Indian Wars to the end of military conflict with American Indians in the Pacific Northwest and on the Plains by 1890. Like many others of his generation, he understood the complex nature of Native/non-Native relations, and tried to compensate for some of the failings of the United States government. He also questioned the racial policies of civilian leaders in Seattle and recognized the dangers of imposing unwarranted power through martial law.
By century's end, Vancouver Barracks existed in an urban setting, a place where military and civilian leaders forged economic and political connections that extended into subsequent generations. General John Gibbon took part in shaping those relationships. From weddings to theater to social events on the Parade Ground, General Gibbon participated in the region's social life, even as he grappled with questions of appropriate levels of military authority and the morality of 19th century racial politics. General John Gibbon, soldier, father, husband, and philosopher, was a complex man who helped to shape society in the Pacific Northwest and who, in turn, was changed by his time at Vancouver Barracks.
John Henry Newman, Edward Gibbon, and the true character of history
The rise of Christianity, for Newman, primarily involved those who accepted and cooperated with God’s particular Providence and those who rejected and spurned it. Gibbon, on the other hand, regarded ordinary people and their yearning for God from an aloof, contemptuous remove.Left: Portrait of Cardinal John Henry Newman by John Everett Millais [Wikipedia] right: Portrait of Edward Gibbon by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723–1792) [Wikipedia]
The quote that one hears most often trotted out about Newman and history is: “to be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant.”
Now, even taken out of context, the quote reaffirms a good deal of what we know about Newman’s relation to history. As a student of the early Church Fathers, Newman was converted from Anglican Protestantism to Roman Catholicism largely by consulting the work of the Fathers – especially, the work they did in identifying, verifying and reaffirming the fidei depositum– and by recognizing that the Early Church and the Catholic Church were one and the same. Of course, one of the fundamental claims made by Protestants in Newman’s day was that the Catholic Church is not the same as the Early Church because it is a corruption of that primitive Church. If we look at the work of the Whig historians, from Henry Hallam and Connop Thirlwell to Henry Hart Milman and James Anthony Froude, we can see how persistently they sought to substantiate this claim. However, both the early Fathers and the later Fathers told a different tale. The Catholic Church was an authentic development, not a corruption of the Early Church. Indeed, for the convert in Newman, it was the National Church, cobbled together by Henry VIII and the first Elizabeth in the sixteenth century that was a corruption of the “one holy catholic and apostolic” faith, and not the other way round.
Yet if we put Newman’s quote in its larger context, we can see that he was making an additional point, which nicely exhibits the acuity of his historical sense.
Whatever be historical Christianity, it is not Protestantism. If ever there were a safe truth, it is this. And Protestantism has ever felt it so. I do not mean that every Protestant writer has felt it for it was the fashion at first, at least as a rhetorical argument against Rome, to appeal to past ages, or to some of them but Protestantism, as a whole, feels it, and has felt it. This is shown in the determination of dispensing with historical Christianity altogether, and of forming a Christianity from the Bible alone men never would have put it aside, unless they had despaired of it. It is shown by the long neglect of ecclesiastical history in England, which prevails even in the English Church. Our popular religion scarcely recognizes the fact of the twelve long ages which lie between the Councils of Nicaea and Trent, except as affording one or two passages to illustrate its wild interpretations of certain prophesies of St. Paul and St. John. It is melancholy to say it, but the chief, perhaps the only English writer who has any claim to be considered an ecclesiastical historian, is the unbeliever Gibbon. To be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant.
In other words, for Newman, it was no accident that the Protestant English should have been content to have so zealously anti-Catholic a historian as Edward Gibbon writing their ecclesiastical history. After all, if they had paid attention to any more balanced church historian, they would have run the risk of encountering real church history and they could not have borne that because it might very well have forced them “to cease to be Protestant.”
Gibbon’s animus against Christianity per semay not have been altogether congenial to all English Protestants the thesis of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, after all – which, incidentally, Gibbon pinched from Voltaire – was that Rome fell because of what Gibbon styled “the triumph of barbarism and religion,” specifically, the Christian religion. Nevertheless, for English Protestants, his history did have the benefit of not contradicting the Anglican view of church history, which Newman memorably encapsulated in one of his best satirical sallies in his Lectures on the Present Position of Catholics. In that brilliant book, published in 1851, which I commend to all of my readers for its witty demolition of the entire No Popery house of cards, Newman got at the root of the Protestant Englishman’s fanciful notions about his national identity by locating them squarely in his even more fanciful notions about the progress of the Christian faith. In his marvelous lectures, Newman explains that for English Protestants, “Christianity was very pure in the beginning, was very corrupt in the middle age, and is very pure again in England now, though still corrupt everywhere else.” Moreover, as Newman observes, “in the middle age, a tyrannical institution called the Church arose and swallowed up Christianity.” Fortunately, however, “the Church is alive still, and has not yet disgorged its prey, except, as aforesaid, in our own favoured country.” The reason this should be the case is simple. As Newman describes it, “in the middle age, there was no Christianity anywhere at all, but all was dark and horrible, as bad as paganism, or rather much worse. No one knew anything about God, or whether there was a God or no, nor about Christ or His atonement for the Blessed Virgin, and Saints, and the Pope, and images, were worshipped instead and thus, so far from religion benefitting the generations of mankind who lived in that dreary time, it did them infinitely more harm than good.”
Here Newman’s satirical wit exposed how English Protestants resolutely refused to consider the real course of ecclesiastical history, a refusal extensively exhibited in Gibbon’s Decline and Fall, where scoffing and mockery take the place of any equitable criticism of Christianity’s true progress. It was not only the rise of Catholicism that Gibbon misunderstood but Catholicism itself. And here, again, the historian in Newman is indispensable because he shows the extent to which Gibbon was not only unsympathetic to Catholicism but intent on ignoring any evidence that might show why the Faith commanded the unprecedented allegiance it commanded.
In his History of Latin Christianity (1855), the liberal Anglican historian, Henry Hart Milman followed Gibbon by paying attention only to the externals of the Faith. In “Mr. Milman’s View of Christianity” (1841), Newman wrote about an abiding feature of rationalist, secular accounts of the rise of Christianity. “For the fact is undeniable, little as Mr. Milman may be aware of it, that this external contemplation of Christianity necessarily leads a man to write as a Socinian or Unitarian would write, whether he will or not. Mr. Milman has not been able to avoid this dreadful disadvantage, and thus, however heartily he may hate the opinions of such men himself, he has unintentionally both given scandal to his brethren and cause of triumph to the enemy. A very few words will account for this. The great doctrines which the Socinian denies are our Lord’s divinity and atonement now these are not external facts—what he confesses are His humanity and crucifixion these are external facts. Mr. Milman then is bound by his theory to dwell on the latter, to slur over the former.”
Newman was adamant that if historians neglected the inner substance of the Faith, especially as it was attested by the martyrs, they would only produce a rationalist caricature of the Faith. And, indeed, if we look at most histories of Christianity that followed the baleful example of Gibbon – with the honorable exceptions of those by John Lingard and, more recently, Peter Brown and Louis Wilken – we can see that this reductionist, secular, rational bias continues to be prevalent.
In this regard, it was ironic that Gibbon should have used the Arian heresy to argue the absurdity of seeing the rise of the Church in terms of the rise of her theology because, in a fundamental way, Gibbon and all of the rationalist Liberal historians who followed him were Arians themselves. That is to say, they refused to concede that in order to write a proper history of Christianity it was necessary to include not only the human aspects of the Faith but the divine aspects as well. And by insisting that the evidence of martyrdom revealed both these aspects of the Faith, Newman was insisting that it was only by taking into consideration the Creator’s particular Providence – His direct, personal, unwavering love for His creatures– that we could understand and represent the true character of history.
Of course, Newman recognizes that such direct, personal, unwavering solicitude on the part of a loving Creator is difficult to credit, much less fathom, even by those who rejoice in His Providence. In his moving sermon, “A Particular Providence as Revealed in the Gospel” (1835), Newman responded to the vision of history that Gibbon set out in his voluminous history – a vision from which God is largely absent or present only as the result of the claims of deluded fanaticism – with a profound reminder of the one factor that gives all of human and divine history its governing purpose.
God beholds thee individually, whoever thou art. He “calls thee by thy name.” He sees thee, and understands thee, as He made thee. He knows what is in thee, all thy own peculiar feelings and thoughts, thy dispositions and likings, thy strength and thy weakness. He views thee in thy day of rejoicing, and thy day of sorrow. He sympathises in thy hopes and thy temptations. He interests Himself in all thy anxieties and remembrances, all the risings and fallings of thy spirit. He has numbered the very hairs of thy head and the cubits of thy stature. He compasses thee round and bears thee in his arms He takes thee up and sets thee down. He notes thy very countenance, whether smiling or in tears, whether healthful or sickly. He looks tenderly upon thy hands and thy feet He hears thy voice, the beating of thy heart, and thy very breathing. Thou dost not love thyself better than He loves thee. Thou canst not shrink from pain more than He dislikes thy bearing it and if He puts it on thee, it is as thou would put it on thyself, if thou art wise, for a greater good afterwards. Thou art not only His creature (though for the very sparrows He has a care, and pitied the “much cattle” of Nineveh), thou art man redeemed and sanctified, His adopted son, favoured with a portion of that glory and blessedness which flows from Him everlastingly unto the Only-begotten. Thou art chosen to be His… Thou wast one of those for whom Christ offered up His last prayer, and sealed it with His precious blood. What a thought is this, a thought almost too great for our faith!
The rise of Christianity, for Newman, primarily involved those who accepted and cooperated with God’s particular Providence and those who rejected and spurned it. Faith is the means by which the individual, with God’s providential grace, enters into the reality of history, which, for Newman, is not simply something that concerns historians or savants. Gibbon, on the other hand, regarded ordinary people and their yearning for God from an aloof, contemptuous remove. “The decline of ancient prejudice exposed a very numerous portion of human kind to the danger of a painful and comfortless situation,” he writes of the desuetude into which devotion to the imperial gods fell before the Incarnation:
A state of scepticism and suspense may amuse a few inquisitive minds. But the practice of superstition is so congenial to the multitude that, if they are forcibly awakened, they still regret the loss of their pleasing vision. Their love of the marvellous and supernatural, their curiosity with regard to future events, and their strong propensity to extend their hopes and fears beyond the limits of the visible world, were the principal causes which favoured the establishment of Polytheism. So urgent on the vulgar is the necessity of believing that the fall of any system of mythology will most probably be succeeded by the introduction of some other mode of superstition.
Compared to this dismissive view of “the vulgar” and their susceptibility to what Gibbon regarded as mere superstition, nothing could be more refreshing than Newman’s view of the ordinary faithful. “Religion has its own enlargement, and an enlargement, not of tumult, but of peace,” he writes in The Idea of a University (1873).
It is often remarked of uneducated persons, who have hitherto thought little of the unseen world, that, on their turning to God, looking into themselves, regulating their hearts, reforming their conduct, and meditating on death and judgment, heaven and hell, they seem to become, in point of intellect, different beings from what they were. Before, they took things as they came, and thought no more of one thing than another. But now every event has a meaning they have their own estimate of whatever happens to them they are mindful of times and seasons, and compare the present with the past and the world, no longer dull, monotonous, unprofitable, and hopeless, [the world, in other words, that Gibbon presents us throughout the Decline and Fall) is a various and complicated drama, with parts and an object, and an awful moral.
What Newman found most objectionable about Gibbon’s polemical treatment of Christianity was not that it tallied with heterodox theology – that was a given – but that it prefigured the widespread infidelity to which liberalism would give rise in the nineteenth century. Of course, in reading his various works as well as his voluminous letters, we can see how at once consistent and incisive Newman’s lifelong critique of liberalism was, a critique which many scholars now working in the liberal academy are intent on discrediting. That they are attempting to do this by contending that Newman was mistaken in his opposition to liberalism because he somehow did not understand what liberalism was about will give my readers a good sense of just how mischievous and brazen this enterprise is. Indeed, in most cases, their only refutation of Newman’s criticism of the very liberalism that they promote themselves is to argue that the criticism itself is inadmissible because it is unfounded. Yet in his most succinct definition, which he gave in his famous Biglietto speech in Rome after Leo XIII made him a cardinal on 12 May 1879, he spoke of an evil that no faithful Catholic today would ever dare deny.
Liberalism in religion is the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another, and this is the teaching which is gaining substance and force daily. It is inconsistent with any recognition of any religion, as true. It teaches that all are to be tolerated, for all are matters of opinion. Revealed religion is not a truth, but a sentiment and a taste not an objective fact, not miraculous and it is the right of each individual to make it say just what strikes his fancy. Devotion is not necessarily founded on faith. Men may go to Protestant Churches and to Catholic, may get good from both and belong to neither. They may fraternise together in spiritual thoughts and feelings, without having any views at all of doctrine in common, or seeing the need of them. Since, then, religion is so personal a peculiarity and so private a possession, we must of necessity ignore it in the intercourse of man with man. If a man puts on a new religion every morning, what is that to you? It is as impertinent to think about a man’s religion as about his sources of income or his management of his family. Religion is in no sense the bond of society.
Whenever I see liberal academic historians disputing the accuracy of Newman’s definition of liberalism—most of whom follow uncritically in the footsteps of the scurrilous Frank Turner, the late Yale Professor of History, who wrote an almost pathological assault on the great convert’s faith and integrity, accusing him of having been “the first great, and perhaps most enduring, Victorian skeptic” — I am reminded of something to which Yeats gave pungent expression in his poem, “The Seven Sages” (1933), where he asks
what is Whiggery?
A levelling, rancorous, rational sort of mind
That never looked out of the eye of a saint
Or out of a drunkard’s eye.
No one understood how this “levelling, rancorous, rational sort of mind” animated the French Revolution better than Edmund Burke, the prophetic insights of whose works demonstrate why Newman was right to oppose the rationalism at the heart of nineteenth-century liberalism, the mischief of which is with us still in the twenty-first century.
Apropos the Revolution, it is important to note that there was no keener admirer of Burke’s Reflections on the French Revolution (which came out in 1790, only two years after the last volume of the Decline and Fall appeared) than Edward Gibbon, who saw it as a necessary defense of the public order and the rights of property that the revolutionaries had so thoroughly undermined. Nonetheless, Gibbon was entirely mum on Burke’s critique of the havoc wrought by the anti-Catholic ideas of the philosophes, ideas which were of the essence of Jacobinism. Of course, conceding the accuracy of that critique would have required Gibbon to admit the wrongheadedness of his own promotion of the same ideas in his Decline and Fall. In his intellectually dishonest silence, in other words, he sought to conceal his own culpability for touting such anti-Catholic ideas, all of which would become staples of nineteenth-century liberalism.
Newman, however, more than any of his contemporaries, saw the great prescience of Burke’s recognition of the bloodshed and mayhem to which Enlightenment Europe’s apostasy would lead, and in his lifelong opposition to liberalism we can see his debt to Burke’s great anatomy of the evils of apostasy. One can demonstrate this easily enough by quoting the two men in succession. Here is Burke in a letter written to his beloved son, Richard, in 1792, in which he warned that:
If ever the Church and the Constitution of England should fall in these Islands, (and they will fall together), it is not Presbyterian discipline, nor Popish hierarchy, that will rise upon their ruins. It will not be the Church of Rome nor the Church of Scotland—not the Church of Luther, nor the Church of Calvin. On the contrary, all these Churches are menaced, and menaced alike. It is the new fanatical Religion, now in the heat of its first ferment, of the Rights of Man, which rejects all Establishments, all discipline, all Ecclesiastical, and in truth all Civil order, which will triumph, and which will lay prostrate your Church . . . If the present establishment should fall, it is this religion which will triumph in Ireland and in England, as it has triumphed in France. This religion, which laughs at creeds and dogmas, and confessions of faith, may be fomented equally amongst all descriptions and all sects amongst nominal Catholics, and amongst nominal churchmen and amongst those dissenters, who know little and care less about a presbytery, or any of its discipline, or any of its doctrine.
And for Newman’s part, in his lecture, “On the Patristic Idea of Anti-Christ” (1835), he sets out how the French Jacobins had provided the boilerplate for the liberalism that would enter England in its wake:
[I]n the Capital of that powerful and celebrated nation, there took place, as we all well know, within the last fifty years, an open apostasy from Christianity nor from Christianity only, but from every kind of worship which might retain any semblance or pretence of the great truths of religion atheism was absolutely professed—and yet in spite of this, it seems a contradiction in terms to say it, a certain sort of worship, and that, as the prophet expresses it, “a strange worship,” was introduced.
Observe what this was. I say, they avowed on the one hand Atheism. They prevailed upon a wretched man, whom they had forced upon the Church as an Archbishop, to come before them in public and declare that there was no God, and that what he had hitherto taught was a fable. They wrote up over the burial-places that death was an eternal sleep. They closed the churches, they seized and desecrated the gold and silver plate belonging to them, turning, like Belshazzar, those sacred vessels to the use of their impious revellings they formed mock processions, clad in priestly garments, and singing profane hymns. They annulled the divine ordinance of marriage, resolving it into a mere civil contract to be made and dissolved at pleasure. These things are but a part of their enormities.
On the other hand, after having broken away from all restraint as regards God and man, they gave a name to that reprobate state itself into which they had thrown themselves, and exalted it, that very negation of religion, or rather that real and living blasphemy, into a kind of god. They called it Liberty, and they literally worshipped it as a divinity. It would almost be incredible, that men who had flung off all religion should be at the pains to assume a new and senseless worship of their own devising, whether in superstition or in mockery, were not events so recent and so notorious. After abjuring our Lord and Saviour, and blasphemously declaring Him to be an impostor, they proceeded to decree, in the public assembly of the nation, the adoration of Liberty and Equality as divinities: and they appointed festivals besides in honour of Reason…
Here was the historical context that Newman supplied for his concerns over liberalism—a revolutionary context in which liberalism became not only anti-religion but a religion in itself. And we can readily see how Gibbon’s anti-Christian, rationalist history contributed to the anti-Christian, rationalist tyranny that came to define the French Revolution, which has provided the blueprint for all future revolutions.
The redoubtable diplomatic historian, George Peabody Gooch, who lived a splendidly long life (from 1873 to 1968) was convinced, as he said in his magisterial History and Historians in the Nineteenth Century (1913) that “Gibbon constructed a bridge from the old world to the new which is still the highway of nations, and stands erect long after every other structure of the time has fallen into ruins.” This was truer than old Gooch could have realized. But to appreciate just how truly he spoke, we need to consult the prophetic historian in Newman.
Why should any of us bother ourselves about this new religion of Liberty and Equality? We should bother ourselves about it because it is the same religion to which our own rationalists subscribe, those who promote contraception and abortion, sodomy and transgenderism, gender theory and what the most impudent of them style ‘same-sex marriage.’ It is replete with notions of false liberty. It is anti-life and it is most decidedly anti-Catholic.
In conclusion, Newman is an historian worth heeding because he recognized that history is not, pace Gibbon, “little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind” it is the register of man’s need for salvation—indeed, his hope for salvation—which is why Newman’s own history is founded on the Cross, as we can see most brilliantly in his sermon, “The Cross of Christ the Measure of the World” (1841):
It is the death of the Eternal Word of God made flesh, which is our great lesson how to think and how to speak of this world. His Cross has put its due value upon everything which we see, upon all fortunes, all advantages, all ranks, all dignities, all pleasures upon the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. It has set a price upon the excitements, the rivalries, the hopes, the fears, the desires, the efforts, the triumphs of mortal man. It has given a meaning to the various, shifting course, the trials, the temptations, the sufferings, of his earthly state. It has brought together and made consistent all that seemed discordant and aimless. It has taught us how to live, how to use this world, what to expect, what to desire, what to hope…
Go to the political world: see nation jealous of nation, trade rivalling trade, armies and fleets matched against each other. Survey the various ranks of the community, its parties and their contests, the strivings of the ambitious, the intrigues of the crafty. What is the end of all this turmoil? the grave. What is the measure? the Cross.
Go, again, to the world of intellect and science: consider the wonderful discoveries which the human mind is making, the variety of arts to which its discoveries give rise, the all but miracles by which it shows its power and next, the pride and confidence of reason, and the absorbing devotion of thought to transitory objects, which is the consequence. Would you form a right judgment of all this? look at the Cross.
Again: look at misery, look at poverty and destitution, look at oppression and captivity go where food is scanty, and lodging unhealthy. Consider pain and suffering, diseases long or violent, all that is frightful and revolting. Would you know how to rate all these? gaze upon the Cross.
Thus in the Cross, and Him who hung upon it, all things meet all things subserve it, all things need it. It is their centre and their interpretation. For He was lifted up upon it, that He might draw all men and all things unto Him.
The eminent Acton scholar, Josef Althoz, who taught for many years at the University of Minnesota and edited Acton’s letters to the liberal Catholic Richard Simpson, argued that Newman’s “commitment to religion was too profound to allow him to submit to the rival discipline of history” and that therefore “he was ahistorical in his outlook.” Keeping this great sermon on the Cross in mind, I should argue that it is precisely because of Newman’s “commitment to religion” – the very essence of religion – that he understood history in ways that entirely eluded Gibbon and continues to elude all of his rationalist progeny within and outside of the Church.
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John Heysham Gibbon
John Heysham Gibbon created a heart-lung machine that led to the first successful open-heart bypass surgery. In the process, this medical doctor who had a talent for engineering saved countless lives.
John H. Gibbon was born on 29 September 1903, to a prominent Philadelphia family and was a sixth-generation physician (one of his great-uncles was Brigadier General John Gibbon of Gettysburg fame, while another was a brigade surgeon for the Confederacy at that same battle). Gibbon graduated from Princeton University in 1923 and the Jefferson Medical College in 1927. After completing his residency at the Pennsylvania Hospital in 1929, he began a research fellowship at Harvard. In October 1930, he was part of a team carrying out emergency surgery on a young patient with a blood clot in her lungs. Although the patient died, Gibbon noted that if they could keep blood oxygenated during lung procedures, many other patients could be saved.
In 1933, despite the lack of an engineering background, he began work on an artificial heart-lung machine. He soon married his talented laboratory assistant, Mary Gibbon, who became his close research collaborator. They returned to Philadelphia in 1936, where John took the position of Harrison Fellow of Surgical Research at the University of Pennsylvania. They continued their research there by experimenting on dogs and cats. Though progress was visible, it was slow.
In 1942, John Gibbon left his family and his promising research to enlist in the Army. He served with distinction in the China-Burma-India Theater. Upon his return in 1946, he joined Jefferson Medical School’s faculty and settled in to continue his laborious research.
Soon afterward, Gibbon made the social acquaintance of one Thomas J. Watson, Sr., CEO of International Business Machines (IBM), then just establishing itself as the premier computer research, development and manufacturing firm. Watson, who was trained as an engineer, expressed interest in the heart-lung machine project, and Gibbon explained his ideas in detail. Shortly thereafter, a team of IBM engineers arrived at Jefferson Medical College to work with Gibbon. By 1949, they had a working machine — the Model I — that Gibbon could try on humans. The first patient, a 15-month old baby girl with severe heart failure, did not survive the procedure, but an autopsy revealed an unexpected congenital heart defect. By the time Gibbon identified a second likely patient, the team had developed the Model II. The second operation, on 18-year-old Cecelia Bavolek, was a complete success. By 1954, the team had developed an improved Model III.
In 1955, however, IBM underwent a review of its research organization. By 1956, Thomas Watson, Jr., had succeeded his father as CEO and IBM, well on its way to dominating the fledgling computer industry, was eliminating many of its non-core programs. The engineering team was withdrawn from Philadelphia and the field of biomedical devices — now a huge business — was left to Medtronic, Hewlett-Packard and others.
John Gibbon continued service as Chief of Surgery at Jefferson Medical College, wrote the standard textbook on chest surgery, and taught and mentored countless successful physicians. Upon his death on 5 February, 1973, Jefferson Medical College renamed its newest building after him.
The gold rush
A chapel had been opened in 1849, but the discovery of gold in Victoria the following year left the township of Kooringa deserted, and the chapel closed, its miners rushing to the gold fields. In a report sent to the Primitive Methodist conference in 1856 there were only two members at the Burra – Mr and Mrs John G Wright!
Despite their initial misgivings, John and Charlotte threw themselves into the work. John began by preaching in the open air, and people flocked to hear ‘his magnificent voice’. He was not afraid to get his hands dirty, and even worked in the mines himself, raising the stone to rebuild the chapel. In 1857 there were 89 members, and by 1858 the number had increased to 114. This was partly due to some of the miners returning to Burra Burra from the gold fields, but even so, it shows the success of John’s ‘true apostolic zeal’, which led him far into the bush to minister to isolated colonists. He became their ‘beloved minister’, and Charlotte his ‘excellent wife’.
Discord: A bitter feud between Generals John Gibbon and Joshua Owen
John Gibbon’s utter disdain for fellow brigadier general Joshua T. Owen radiated from the pages of his report on the May–June 1864 Overland Campaign. Owen and Gibbon had wrangled once before Gibbon placed the Philadelphia Brigade’s commander under arrest in the summer of 1863, just before the Battle of Gettysburg. Although Owen was back in command of the brigade by March 1864, the Union defeat at Cold Harbor, Va., in early June spurred Gibbon to attach a damning addendum to his report. Gibbon charged Owen with disobedience and placed him under arrest once more, and soon succeeded in forcing Owen out of the Army of the Potomac altogether.
Was Owen’s poor performance as a brigade commander to blame for his exile, or was it a result of Gibbon’s enmity toward Owen? There are valid points in either debate.
T he Owen family claimed descent from the legendary leader of the 15th-century Welsh revolt, Owain Glyndwr. The youngest of 10 children, Joshua Thomas Owen was born on March 29, 1821, in the village of Bancyfelin, southwest Wales. The Owens relocated to Baltimore in 1835. Joshua’s father, David, opened the publishing company Owen & Co. Joshua attended high school and became an apprentice in his father’s shop.
Gallant Charge and a Promotion: Led by then-Colonel Joshua Owen, the 69th Pennsylvania captured a Confederate battery with a daring uphill charge at the Battle of Glendale, Va., on June 30, 1862. Owen was promoted to brigadier general that November. (A Brief History of the 69th Pennsylvania Regiment)
Joshua Owen enrolled in Pennsylvania’s Jefferson College in 1840. He excelled as a debater and won an award during a contest in 1845. After graduation, he taught school before he was admitted to the bar in 1852. He founded Chestnut Hill Academy with his brother Roger Owen, a Presbyterian minister, in 1851, but it closed five years later. He practiced law, served as a member of the Pennsylvania legislature, and volunteered as a private in one of Philadelphia’s militia units in the years before the war.
The charismatic lawyer enlisted as a private when Confederate batteries fired on Fort Sumter in April 1861. He was elected colonel of the 90-day 24th Pennsylvania Infantry. The regiment saw no action. After it was mustered out, Owen assumed command of the 2nd California Infantry (renamed the 69th Pennsylvania). The regiment took part in the October 1861 debacle at Ball’s Bluff, Va., where its brigade commander, Colonel Edward D. Baker, was infamously killed.
Owen led the 69th with distinction during the 1862 Peninsula Campaign. When Brig. Gen. George A. McCall’s division broke at Glendale on June 30, 2nd Corps commander Brig. Gen. Edwin “Bull” Sumner anxiously galloped up to Brig. Gen. Joseph Hooker, with the 69th close behind, and howled: “General, I cannot spare you a brigade, but I have brought you the Sixty-Ninth Pennsylvania, one of the best regiments in my corps place them where you wish, for this is your fight, Hooker.”
Hooker ordered Colonel Owen to take the 69th and recapture the deserted Union batteries on a nearby hill. The 69th hit the advancing Confederate line with a volley, charged uphill with bayonets fixed, and retook the guns. “I can only express my high appreciation of his [Owen’s] services,” Hooker commended in his battle report, “and my acknowledgments to his chief [Sumner] for having tendered me so gallant a regiment.” Brigadier General John Sedgwick, Owen’s division commander, also expressed his pleasure and declared that “no officer or regiment behaved better,” recommending that Owen be promoted to the rank of brigadier general.
Gibbon’s’ Men: Alfred Sully (above) and Norman J. Hall (below)—Owen’s fellow brigadiers in Gibbon’s division the spring of 1863—were professional soldiers, more to Gibbon’s liking, though Sully soon earned the general’s scorn. (USAHEC)
“Paddy” Owen to his men—despite his Welsh lineage—continued to inspire confidence in the fall and winter of 1862. Owen’s fiery speeches, easygoing attitude, and pluckiness in battle commanded respect and confidence from his men. George A. Townsend of the New York Herald dined with Owen on one occasion and found him to be “the most consistent and intelligent soldier in the brigade.” Owen received his star in November 1862. At Fredericksburg, in December, he was in command of the Philadelphia Brigade. He ended the year with a reputation as a solid 2nd Corps brigade commander.
This changed for Owen when Brig. Gen. John Gibbon arrived in the spring of 1863. Gibbon returned to the Army of the Potomac’s 2nd Corps after recovering from a wound he had received at Fredericksburg. Another officer had assumed command of his division, leaving Gibbon in command of Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard’s 2nd Division (Howard was promoted to 11th Corps command). Gibbon’s new command consisted of Brig. Gen. Alfred Sully’s 1st Brigade of five regiments, Owen’s 2nd Brigade (Philadelphia Brigade) of four regiments, and Colonel Norman J. Hall’s 3rd Brigade of six regiments.
Gibbon was the opposite of Owen in nearly every element. He was a professionally trained soldier, cool instead of charismatic, a martinet when it came to discipline, and one who commanded respect through fear rather than friendship. Gibbon would write after the war that “an army commander, to be successful in the field, must be as near a despot as the institutions of his country will permit.” Not the kind of army it seemed that Owen and other volunteers wished to be part of.
Gibbon studied his new brigade commanders. Hall and Sully also were professional soldiers—Hall, a West Pointer who, like Gibbon, had served in the artillery Sully, the son of famed portrait painter Thomas Sully, had served in the Mexican War and on the California, Minnesota, and Nebraska frontiers. The odd man out was the civilian-turned-soldier Owen. But he wouldn’t be the first chastised by the division’s new commander.
On April 29, 1863, Sully reported to Gibbon that six companies of his brigade’s 34th New York Infantry refused to fight and demanded a discharge because their enlistments were about to expire. Gibbon told Sully to handle the matter. Sully reported back to Gibbon that there was little he could do. Gibbon addressed the mutineers—with the 15th Massachusetts as his enforcers—and threatened to butcher them like hogs if they did not return to their posts. That threat had the desired outcome.
Reportedly enraged by the “inaction and indifference” of Sully, Gibbon issued an order relieving him of command on May 1, two days before his division was to cooperate with Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick’s 6th Corps’ advance on Fredericksburg during the Army of the Potomac’s ill-fated Chancellorsville Campaign. Years later, Gibbon would write in his Personal Recollections of the Civil War: “It was a sad blow to him for he was a good soldier, but the necessity for action was in my opinion, imperative.”
Six days after being placed under arrest, Sully requested a court-martial. The court—composed of Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock, Brig. Gen. Samuel K. Zook, and Colonel Samuel S. Carroll—reported its findings on May 16: “In view of these facts, the court is of the opinion that Brig. Gen. A. Sully, U.S. Volunteers, probably doubted his authority, under existing circumstances, to order extreme measures, and that therefore his action and conduct were not such as to warrant the issue of Brigadier General Gibbon’s Special Orders, No. 122, of May 1, 1863.” Despite the verdict, Sully would spend the rest of the war fighting Indians in the Dakota Territory.
Gibbon’s division moved as part of the Army of the Potomac’s effort to tail Lee’s thrust north in June 1863. On its way to Centreville, Va., the extreme heat led to widespread straggling in the division. Gibbon issued a stern order against the stragglers, asserting that “in the vast majority of cases the straggler is a skulking cowardly wretch who strives to shift his duties upon the shoulders of more honest men and better soldiers.” Gibbon left the division on June 17 to console his wife after receiving word of the death of their 23-month-old son. The division remained on picket duty, and the general returned after two days. On its march back to Centreville from Thoroughfare Gap on June 25, Owen suddenly found himself under arrest by Gibbon.
The actual reason for Owen’s arrest is unclear. No definitive motive for it has been established by historians. One explanation given was that Owen allowed civilians to pass uncontested through his brigade’s picket line. Another attributed it to Owen’s reputation for drinking—he had a physical altercation in October 1862 with then-Lt. Col. Dennis O’Kane of the 69th, supposedly fueled by alcohol. Most experts agree it came suddenly, and unexpectedly, but strangely Gibbon never mentioned it in his Recollections of the Civil War.
Fit and Trim Left: As shown in this modern painting by Don Troiani, the first uniforms worn by the 69th Pennsylvania included white leggings and green-trimmed coats—a nod to the regiment’s Irish roots. (Troiani, Don (b.1949)/private Collection/Bridgeman Images)
The most probable cause is that Gibbon became convinced the Philadelphia Brigade lacked the level of discipline he felt it should have had. Gibbon loathed stragglers, and it appears that Owen’s brigade had the worst offenders. Jonah Franklin Dyer, a surgeon of the 19th Massachusetts, shed some light on Owen’s removal when he noted in his journal on June 28, 1863: “Owen is now under arrest for irregular conduct. He had a very good brigade, but his discipline has been so loose that they have become notorious stragglers….General Gibbon requires everyone on his staff to use his utmost endeavor to prevent straggling.” Whatever the “irregular conduct” Owen committed is uncertain, but Gibbon considered the Philadelphia Brigade the weak link in his division and wanted rid of its commander.
By luck—or by design—Gibbon quickly found Owen’s replacement. The 28-year-old West Point graduate and former member of Maj. Gen. George Meade’s staff, Alexander S. Webb (promoted to brigadier general on June 23), needed a command. Webb was the model brigade commander for Gibbon he was a polished and professional West Point–trained soldier (like Gibbon, commissioned in the artillery, and the two had served together 1857-59 on the U.S. Military Academy staff and faculty) who had no qualms about shooting stragglers. After taking command, Webb wrote to his wife in disgust that the Philadelphia Brigade was mocked as the “straggling brigade” and that “sixty or seventy [were] absent daily.” When he met his new officers, Webb called them out on how many did not wear rank insignia. Gibbon could not have been happier with the change, and wrote to his wife, “Webb has taken hold of his Brig., with a will, comes down on them with a heavy hand and will no doubt soon make a great improvement.”
Owen’s arrest came six days before the Battle of Gettysburg. The Philadelphia Brigade, under Webb’s leadership, would anchor the Union center during the battle. After the battle, the 2nd Corps commander, Hancock, said: “In every battle and on every important field there is one spot to which every army [officer] would wish to be assigned—the spot upon which centers the fortunes of the field. There was but one such spot at Gettysburg and it fell to the lot of Gen’l Webb.” During the battle, Brig. Gen. Alpheus S. Williams, the 12th Corps’ temporary commander on July 2-3, ran into Owen at the Weikert Farm. Owen, he noted, was “in a sort of roving command” and seemed “not [in] a very clear state of mind.”
Unidentified Army of the Potomac stragglers. One of John Gibbon’s chief complaints about Owen was his lax attention to discipline. (Gilder Lehrman Collection, New York, USA/Bridgeman Images)
Owen assumed command of the 3rd Brigade of Alexander Hays’ 3rd Division in the 2nd Corps in August to replace Colonel George L. Willard, who had been killed at Gettysburg. Major changes came to the organization of the Army of the Potomac in the spring of 1864. On March 26, Owen ‘‘found himself back in command of the Philadelphia Brigade. The men had warmed up to Webb and his stricter approach to discipline while Owen was away. When Webb was assigned to command the nine-regiment 1st Brigade in the same division, Corporal Joseph R.C. Ward of the 106th Pennsylvania Infantry indicated that the departure of Webb “was somewhat lessened by receiving in his stead our old friend, General Owen, who again assumed command of his old Brigade….” John Gibbon also returned to the division, healed from a wound sustained July 3 at Gettysburg.
The fact that Gibbon and Owen would have ended up in the same division despite their differences is unusual. Maybe it was an oversight. Gibbon’s arrest of Owen 10 months before may have seemed inconsequential to retaining the harmony within the division. But unable to rid himself of Owen the first time around, Gibbon made sure he wouldn’t fail a second time.
Near-Miss With Calamity
Chief Joseph and Brig. Gen. John Gibbon (Courtesy of The Newberry Library)
After the Civil War, Gibbon reverted to his Regular Army rank of colonel and served mainly on the Western frontier until 1890, notably in the 1876 Sioux War and the 1877 Nez Perce War. In June 1876, Gibbon led one of the three army columns (Alfred Terry and George Crook led the other two) converging on south-central Montana as part of an effort to force the Lakota “hostiles” onto a reservation in Dakota Territory. Unaware that Crook’s column had been turned back at the June 17 Battle of the Rosebud, Terry’s and Gibbon’s columns pressed on, and on June 25 Lt. Col. George A. Custer’s unsupported 7th Cavalry (of Terry’s column) attacked a large village of Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe Indians encamped along the Little Bighorn River. Gibbon (and the rest of Terry’s column) arrived June 27, in time to rescue the surviving two-thirds of Custer’s regiment under Major Marcus Reno and Captain Frederick Benteen, but they found Custer and nearly 270 7th Cavalrymen dead. Later, at the August 9-10, 1877, Battle of Big Hole against Chief Joseph’s Nez Perce, Gibbon fought a bloody but inconclusive battle in which a third of his command was killed or wounded while the Indians escaped.
Gibbon’s mixed success fighting Indians, however, did not match his noteworthy Civil War achievements. That disappointed Gibbon and likely inspired him to remember his army service in the West as “being shot at from behind a rock by an Indian and having your name spelled wrong in the newspapers.”
Gibbon was promoted to Regular Army brigadier general in 1885, retired in 1891 upon reaching age 64, and died February 6, 1896, in Baltimore, Md. He is among the heroes buried in Arlington National Cemetery. –Jerry D. Morelock
Tensions remained high in the Army of the Potomac in the summer of 1864, especially in Gibbon’s division. Gibbon grieved the one-year anniversary of the death of his young son, John Jr. (“poor little Johnny”). The performance of the 2nd Corps regiments, plagued by high rates of battlefield deaths, exhaustion, and sagging morale, left much to be desired. The excellent working relationship between corps commander Hancock and his division commander Gibbon slowly crumpled to the point of hostility. Beginning with the Battle of the Wilderness on May 5-7 and ending with the slaughter at Cold Harbor in early June, Gibbon left a series of complaints in his official reports against Owen.
At Cold Harbor on June 3, Gibbon’s division failed to break through the Confederate works and suffered terrible losses. Gibbon reported the loss of 65 officers and 1,032 men wounded or killed. “In this bloody assault the division lost many valuable officers and men,” Gibbon wrote, “The loss of such officers as [Henry Boyd] McKeen and [Frank A.] Haskell cannot be overestimated.” The death of Haskell affected Gibbon the most: “I lost two brigade commanders, Gen. Tyler and Col. McKeen and several valuable officers, among them being my poor friend Haskell, who was shot through the head and died a few hours afterwards. I feel his loss very much and was just about to give him command of a brigade.”
Gibbon placed much blame for the failure on Owen. He indicated in his report that he had ordered Owen to be in position on the morning of June 3, ready to rapidly push forward past Brig. Gen. Robert O. Tyler’s and Colonel Thomas A. Smyth’s brigades when they secured a foothold on the enemy’s works. Gibbon complained he instead found Owen’s men asleep and “not even under arms.” After a 15-minute delay, the assault began. “General Owen, instead of pushing forward in column through Smyth’s line, deployed on his left as soon as the latter became fully engaged,” Gibbon wrote, “and thus lost the opportunity of having his brigade well in hand and ready to support the lodgment made by Smyth and [Colonel James P.] McMahon.”
In his 2002 book Cold Harbor: Grant and Lee, May 26—June 3, 1864, Gordon C. Rhea opined that Owen’s move disobeying Gibbon’s order might have been prudent after all. Rhea reasoned that Smyth and McMahon made insignificant progress. The broken and swampy terrain, strong enemy works, and awaiting Confederate reserves spoiled any chance of success. Owen brought his soldiers to the left of Smyth’s brigade, trying to get clear of the swamp, where he thought he could best support a breakthrough. Unfortunately, Owen arrived too late to help.
After what Owen saw as repeated “acts of injustice and oppression” he received from Gibbon, he made the following request to Colonel Francis A. Walker, Hancock’s assistant adjutant general, two days after the battle.
Sir:—I have the honor to request that I may be transferred to some other command, as I cannot consent to serve any longer under the present commander of the division. I do not feel that my reputation is secure whilst serving under him. If I cannot be transferred, then I request that my resignation be accepted, and I be mustered out of the service.
Three days later, on June 8, Gibbon filed charges against Owen, who felt he had angered Gibbon by forwarding his resignation through 2nd Corps headquarters—a breach of discipline. It is possible Gibbon had already made up his mind about placing Owen under arrest. After all, leading up to Cold Harbor he had included defaming comments about Owen in his reports. Cold Harbor proved the final blow.
Gibbon’s order made it up the chain of command, until Meade, under Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s direction, ordered Owen to report to Fort Monroe, where a court of inquiry would try him. But from City Point, Va., on June 27, 1864, Grant expressed in a telegraph to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton that Owen should be mustered out of service instead of facing a court-martial. Grant’s recommendation was wired to President Abraham Lincoln and approved on July 16, 1864. Owen was mustered out two days later. Owen petitioned Lincoln in August asking to face a court—forwarded to Stanton—but nothing came of it.
The soldiers of Gibbon’s division reacted differently to the news of Owen’s exile. John Day Smith of the 19th Maine Infantry disliked Owen as much as Gibbon did. He voiced his own distaste for Owen when he stated that he “was not highly regarded as a commander. His burly form and red face were not seen any more by the Regiment after Cold Harbor. He was placed under arrest and reprimanded by his superior officers so often that it became monotonous.”
Corporal Ward attributed the removal of Owen to the Philadelphia Brigade’s breakup on June 28. “This was a severe blow to our officers and men, one that they keenly felt,” he wrote. “[T]hey did not hesitate at all times to give expression to their feelings whenever General Gibbon was around, under whose order the change was made, which the men attributed to his antagonism to General Owen, whom he succeeded in removing from the command of this Brigade, and now robbed them of their good name and battle-scarred standard, which might have been left to them a few months longer, when their term of service would have expired.”
Gibbon’s enmity toward Owen left the latter’s Army career in shambles. Owen missed out from leading his brigade at Gettysburg, which was more tragic for his legacy than his service getting cut short in 1864. Webb was even immortalized for his role at Gettysburg and received the Medal of Honor for his heroism Owen would be forgotten, forced to spend the rest of his life desperately trying to vindicate his reputation. He died November 7, 1887.
Frank Jastrzembski, a frequent America’s Civil War contributor, studied history at John Carroll University and Cleveland State University.
Brigadier General John Gibbon
(Front): John Gibbon
July 2-3, 1863
At Gettysburg commanded 2nd Division, II Corps on July 3, 1863 serving with "conspicuous gallantry and distinction" in the repulse of Longstreet's Assault, until he was wounded and carried from the battlefield.
At the beginning of the Civil War, John Gibbon was a captain in the 4th Artillery serving in the Utah Territory. Assigned as Chief of Artillery in McDowell's Division, he participated in the advance on Fredericksburg during the Peninsula Campaign. He was promoted to brigadier general May 2, 1862 thereafter taking command of the IRON BRIGADE which participated in the battles of Second Bull Run, South Mountain and Antietam. In November 1862, he became commander of the 2nd Division, I Corps. He was wounded in the wrist during the battle of Fredericksburg. In April 1863, he took command of the 2nd Division, II Corps. He was wounded in the left arm and shoulder at the battle of Gettysburg. In charge of draft depots in Cleveland and Philadelphia until March 1864, he returned to the 2nd Division, II Corps participating in the battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor and the investment of Petersburg. Gibbon was promoted to major general effective June 7, 1864. He was in temporary command of the XVIII Corps before
in the regular army. He transferred to the Department of Columbia in 1885, then served in the Department of the Pacific until his retirement. General Gibbon retired in 1891, thereafter residing in Baltimore, Maryland. He served as Commander-in-Chief of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States 1895-1896. General John Gibbon died on February 6, 1896 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Topics. This memorial is listed in these topic lists: War, Mexican-American &bull War, US Civil &bull Wars, US Indian. A significant historical date for this entry is July 2, 1863.
Location. 39° 48.661′ N, 77° 14.124′ W. Marker is in Cumberland Township, Pennsylvania, in Adams County. Memorial is on Hancock Avenue, on the right when traveling north. Located south of the "Copse of Trees" and near the U.S. Regulars Memorial on Cemetery Ridge in Gettysburg National Military Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Gettysburg PA 17325, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 121st Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers (a few steps from this marker) United States Regulars (within shouting distance of this marker) 150th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers (within shouting distance of this marker) 19th Regiment Massachusetts Infantry (within shouting distance of this marker) Battery B, 1st New York Light Artillery
(within shouting distance of this marker) First Brigade (within shouting distance of this marker) 19th Maine Infantry Regiment (within shouting distance of this marker) 15th Massachusetts Infantry (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cumberland Township.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Tablets and Monuments along Hancock Avenue on Center Cemetery Ridge.
Also see . . . Gibbon's Grave in Arlington. Short biography of the general and photos of his grave. (Submitted on February 22, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)