2nd Manassas - Aug. 1862
The Battle of Gettysburg - Wednesday, July 1, 1863
The 17th Connecticut & Blocher's Knoll

17th Connecticut Monument
With the lull after the mornings fighting soon to give way, Major General Oliver Otis Howard's 11th Corps marched onto the field of battle, attempting to join with the right of the Union's 1st Corps. The Union's 1st Corps held the field to their left, northwest of Gettysburg.  Because of Confederate artillery on Oak Hill however, General Howard's men would never quite join with their compatriots on Oak Ridge.  A gap would remain between the two Corps. On the right however, the 11th Corps positioned themselves on a rise allowing them a broad field of fire. The 17th Connecticut, a part of General Francis C. Barlow's Division, advanced to what was then known as Blocher's Knoll but would later bear the name of their disciplined and determined Division commander. Thirty-seven year old Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Fowler lead the 17th Connecticut forward on a beautiful white horse, setting a brave and noble example for his troops. Joking with his men, as deadly iron from Confederate artillery shrieked frantically by, he encouraged his soldiers to "Dodge the big ones Boys". In only moments, his men were horrified as a shell fragment slammed into Colonel Fowler's head, decapitating him instantly. [32, G]

Barlow's Knoll at GettysburgReminiscent of the crushing rout at the Chancellorsville battlefield just two months prior, Stonewall Jackson's old Corps, the Confederate 2nd, enveloped the unprotected Union 11th holding the far Union right. Like a spent wave, the men of the General Howard's Corps receded back towards the town through which they had just so splendidly advanced, forced back by greater numbers on their front and flank. This was no quick flight by the 11th Corps however. Of the 369 engaged, the 17th Connecticut suffered 206 casualties. The entire Corps would suffer about 2,300 wounded and killed overall during this three day battle. With the Confederates also flanking the Northerners on their left as well, the 1st Corps would wage a fighting retreat which lead to the fortifying of Cemetery Hill and set the cornerstone for the Union defenses.