Storming the Wheatfield

John Caldwell's Union Division in the Gettysburg Campaign

James M. Smith II

Becoming a trampled, bloody, no-man's land for thousands of wounded soldiers, Gettysburg's infamous Wheatfield changed hands nearly six times within two hours on July 2, 1863. Smith's gripping narrative examines the valiant Union soldiers in General John Caldwell's Division—as well as leaders Cross, Kelly, Zook, Brooke, and Caldwell himself.
Date Published :
October 2019
Publisher :
Gettysburg Publishing
Contributor(s) :
Chris Bagley, Phil Laino
Illustration :
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9780999304938
Pages : 208
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : Available
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This gripping narrative is an in-depth study of the valiant men of General John Caldwell’s Union Division during the Gettysburg Campaign. Caldwell’s Division made a desperate stand against a tough and determined Confederate force in farmer George Rose's nearly 20-acre Wheatfield. Ready for harvest, the infamous Wheatfield would change hands nearly six times in the span of two hours of fighting on July 2, becoming a trampled, bloody, no-man's land for thousands of wounded soldiers.

Smith examines the lives of the Union soldiers in the ranks—as well as leaders Cross, Kelly, Zook, Brooke, and Caldwell himself. From Colonel Edward Cross’s black bandana, to the famed Irish Brigade's charge on Stoney Hill, to a lone young man from Washington County whose grave is marked in stone nearby, James Smith’s Storming the Wheatfield goes deep into the lives the soldiers, evoking a personal connection with the troops. Smith painstakingly contacted nearly one hundred descendants of Caldwell's soldiers, producing one of the most extensively researched narratives to date.

About The Author

James M. Smith II first became interested in the Battle of Gettysburg as a thirteen-year-old on a family trip. Growing up in Pennsylvania made it easy for him to visit the site several times a year. With each visit, his passion grew. Smith has since become the lead historian of the Jefferson Township Historical Society and Curator of its museum. He spends much of his time researching the genealogy of the citizens of the township while maintaining a focus on the Civil War. In his spare time, Smith collects Civil War artifacts and researches his own family's genealogy. He enjoys being outdoors, lecturing at local schools, and documenting historical occurrences of Jefferson Township, Pennsylvania.

Chris hails from Canton, Ohio, where he resides with his wife Becky. Chris has been a Registered Nurse for 31 years and currently works as a surgical nurse. He became a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg National Military Park in 2016. He always had a love and fascination of horses from childhood which continues to this day.

Phil Laino is the cartographer and author of GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN ATLAS (978-0-9838631-4-4)


1: Caldwell’s Commanders and Brigade Histories
2: The Long March to Gettysburg
3: Saviors of the Wheatfield
4: The Bloody Aftermath of July 2
5: A Stiff Fight on July 3
6: Pursuing Lee’s Army
7: Conclusion and Epilogue
Appendix: Losses in Caldwell's Division at Gettysburg

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