I had worked on Virtual
Gettysburg for two years before it hit me that the monuments
tell the story of the battle. It seem obvious now, but when
I first tromped around for locations to shoot my battlefield
panoramas, I was unaware that John Bachelder, veterans in
tow, had spent years, actually staking out the spots where
the soldiers had fought. His research, and subsequent court
testimony, was the basis for the placement of many of the
monuments you see today.
Bachelder became involved with the Gettysburg Battlefield
Memorial Association as a director (from 1880-81, and from
1883-94). Formed in 1864 to preserve the battlefield, the
GBMA oversaw the acquisition of land as well as the erection
of historical markers and monuments on its grounds. His
knowledge of the battle earned Bachelder an appointment
as Superintendent of Tablets and Legends; it was his responsibility
to assure that all monuments contained accurate historical
Here are some of those rules as adopted
by the GBMA July 3, 1887:
* On the front of each monument
must be the number of the regiment or battery, State, brigade,
division and corps, in letters not less than four inches
long, and in addition thereto, the time the regiment held
the position and a brief summary of any important movement
* If the regiment was actively engaged, its effective strength
and casualties must be given, which must agree with the
official records of the War Department. If it was in reserve
it should be so stated.
* If the same position was held by other troops, or if the
command occupied more than one important position, the inscription
should explain it.
* Any statue or figure of a soldier must be so placed as
to face the enemy's line.
* The monument must be on the line of battle held by the
brigade unless the regiment was detached, and if possible
the right and left flanks of the regiment or battery must
be marked with stones not less than two feet in height.
* If the same line was held by other troops the monuments
must be placed in the order in which the several commands
occupied the grounds, the first being on the first line,
the second at least twenty feet in the rear of it and so
on, the inscriptions explaining the movements.
* As the memorials erected upon this field will not only
mark the positions held by the several commands, but will
also be regimental or battery monuments, and in most instances
the only ones ever erected by them, the Memorial Association
strongly recommends that the inscription be not only historically
accurate but be sufficient in detail to give an idea of
the services of the command...
* In the years to come, when the identity of the regiment
shall have been merged in the history of the battle, the
visitor to this great battlefield will be interested to
know just where the troops from his city or county fought
and to learn something of the services rendered by them.
It is therefore recommended that upon one side of the monument
should be stated the part of the State from which the regiment
was recruited, dates of muster in and muster out, total
strength and losses during its service and the battles in
which it participated.