BRIGADIER GENERAL JAMES SAMUEL WADSWORTH
Gettysburg National Military Park
Gettysburg, PA., USA
James Wadsworth was a trim, vigorous fifty-six years old at the time of Gettysburg. Topped by snow-white hair, with striking white mutton-chop sideburns, he led his division with a Revolutionary War saber in his hand.
Wadsworth's Division was in the vanguard of Reynolds's First Corps as it marched toward Gettysburg on the morning of July 1, and was the first Union infantry to reach the field. Between 11 o'clock in the morning until the fallback at 4 that afternoon, Wadsworth's men did some of the bloodiest, most heroic defensive fighting of the war on the ridges to the west of the town.
Wadsworth left the army on July 15, less than two weeks after Gettysburg. After eight months' absence, he returned in March 1864, again to command a division in the Army of the Potomac--until he was shot in the forehead and killed in the battle of the Wilderness on May 8, 1864.