On May 6, 1863, after the Battle of Chancellorsville, the 61st OVI fell back to Stafford Court House. As noted in a previous blog entry, Robert Patterson of the 61st OVI was severely wounded at Chancellorsville and did not return to his regiment until September 1863 when the regiment was reassigned to the Army of the Cumberland. The 61st OVI remained at Stafford Court House until June 12, 1863 when they joined in the pursuit of Robert E. Lee’s army as it was making its way into Pennsylvania. At Gettysburg the 61st was part of the 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, XI Army Corps, Army of the Potomac.
The 61st arrived at Gettysburg on July 1 at about 1 P.M. and reinforced the 45th New York regiment. A plaque at Gettysburg commemorating the arrival reads:
“Brig. Gen. Alex. Schimmelfennig, Col. George Von Amsberg 82nd Illinois, 45th, 157th New York, 61st Ohio, 74th Pennsylvania Infantry. July 1. Arrived about 1 PM and advanced to connect with the right of First Corps on Oak Hill but was met by heavy artillery and musketry fire and after being engaged between two and three hours and pressed closely upon the front and flanks by superior numbers the Brigade was compelled to retire with the Corps at 4 pm through the town to Cemetery Hill. The streets and alleys of the town became congested with the mass of infantry and artillery and many were captured. The Brigade formed and took position on Cemetery Hill between the First and Second Divisions of the Corps. July 2. At 4 PM the Brigade was subjected to a heavy artillery fire converging on Cemetery Hill. At dark a sudden attack was made on the right and the Brigade was sent to the support of Brig. Gen. A. Ames and returned after midnight. July 3. Skirmishing, not engaged.”
In the action during the first day at Gettysburg the 61st took 54 casualties.
The 61st held its position on Cemetery Hill until the close of the battle on July 3. From their position, they witnessed “Pickett’s Charge.” On July 5 the regiment joined in the pursuit of the Confederate army and on July 12 skirmished with a portion of the Confederate rearguard near Hagerstown, Maryland.
(Source: Robert G. Carron’s history of the 61st OVI)