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 DeWitt Clinton Baxter

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DeWitt Clinton Baxter

  • Birth 9 Mar 1829 Dorchester, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Death 9 May 1881 Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Burial Rockledge, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Plot Broad Lawn, Range 14, Grave 84
  • Memorial ID 19054

Civil War Union Brevet Brigadier General. Born in Massachusetts, prior to the Civil War he was a lithographer and engraver in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and ran a publishing business. He was a member of the National Guards of Philadelphia Militia unit, and when the Civil War began the unit enlisted in the Union Army, forming the core of the 19th Pennsylvania (Three Month) Volunteer Infantry. DeWitt C. Baxter was commissioned Lieutenant Colonel of the regiment on April 27, 1861. The regiment spent its three month enlistment assigned as garrison and provost troops in Baltimore, Maryland, a city that had great amount of Southern sympathizers, and had riots in early May 1861 that cost the lives of a number of Union soldiers. It served in this duty until its muster out on August 29, 1861, however, Dewitt Baxter had been sent back to Philadelphia earlier in the month to recruit a new regiment. He was instrumental in raising and forming a unit that drew largely from the fire companies in the city, and for styling them after the French “Zouave” soldiers. He was commissioned Colonel and commander on August 10, 1861. The regiment, although raised in Philadelphia, was outfitted under the auspices of California politicians and businessmen, and was designed as the 3rd California Infantry. It participated in the disastrous Battle of Ball’s Bluff, Virginia in October 1861, after which Pennsylvania reclaimed the unit, and it was permanently designated as the 72nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry (and was called informally “Baxter’s Fire Zouaves”). He would go on to command the regiment for the next three years through campaigns such as the 1862 Seven Days Battles, Antietam, and Fredericksburg, the 1863 Battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, and the 1864 Overland Campaign in Virginia. On July 3, 1863 during the Battle of Gettysburg his men were stationed at what was known as the Copse of Trees on Cemetery Ridge, which was the epicenter of Pickett’s Charge. After initially refusing to charge into the fray to repulse the rebels, Colonel Baxter eventually got most of his men moving and they helped defeat the Confederate attack, being wounded in the process. He was honorably mustered out when his enlistment expired on August 25, 1864, and was brevetted Brigadier General, US Volunteers on March 13, 1865 for "bravery at the battles of Gettysburg and the Wilderness". After the war he continued with his publishing business, and later worked at a customs house. When he died in 1881 he was buried in Monument Cemetery in Philadelphia. In 1956 his remains were removed to Lawnview Cemetery in Rockledge.

Bio by: Russ





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 19 Dec 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 19054
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for DeWitt Clinton Baxter (9 Mar 1829–9 May 1881), Find A Grave Memorial no. 19054, citing Lawnview Cemetery, Rockledge, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .