2nd Manassas - Aug. 1862
The Battle of Gettysburg - Thursday July 2, 1863
4th Michigan Colonel Harrison Jeffords, USA

4th Michigan Col Harrison Jeffords
On July 2nd as the battle raged in farmer Rose's Wheatfield, Union commanders looked for men to hold the field and drive out the constantly reinforced Butternuts. To this end, Colonel Jacob B. Sweitzer's Brigade of the 5th Corps was ordered into the fray. As Confederates closed in on several sides, Private Edward Martin turned to Sweitzer and remarked, "Colonel, I'll be damned if I don't think we are faced the wrong way!" [G] As the violence swirled, 26 year old Colonel Harrison Jeffords lead the 4th Michigan of Sweitzer's Brigade into the maelstrom. Sometime before the battle, the 4th received a new flag, one which Colonel Jeffords and his men swore to protect with their lives. During the combat, the 4th's Colonel saw the Michigan colors fall with Southern men closing in to claim their prize. Lunging for his flag, Colonel Jeffords was pierced by a bayonet and died the next day. In his honor, despite the requirement that regiments not depict individual soldiers, the men of the 4th had his likeness sculpted on their monument. The Colonel now once again proudly holds high the flag for which he sacrificed his life.

Colonel Sweitzer later wrote of this days fighting, "It is difficult to conceive of a more trying situation than that in which three regiments of this command had lately found themselves, and from which they had just effected their escape; in fact, I have since understood that one of General Barnes' aides remarked to him shortly after we had advanced, when it was discovered the enemy was behind us on the flank, that he might bid good-bye to the Second Brigade. I was also informed by General Barnes that, learning soon after we had advanced the situation on our right, he had dispatched an orderly to me with the information and a verbal order to withdraw, but the orderly never reached me. Every officer and man in the command, so far as I am informed, did his whole duty. All stood their ground and fought unflinchingly until they were ordered by me to retire, and in falling back behaved with coolness and deliberation. We lost many of our best officers and men." [9]