2nd Manassas - Aug. 1862
The Gettysburg Campaign - Friday, June 26, 1863
First Blood - Private George Washington Sandoe, USA

The Monument to the 21st Pennsylvania Cavalry.
Less than two months after their victory at Chancellorsville, the Army of Northern Virginia surged northward. As part of Major General Jubal Anderson Early's Division of Ewell's Corps, Confederate Brigadier General John B. Gordon's Brigade arrived in Gettysburg on June 26, 1863. The monument pictured to your right reads that Union private George W. Sandoe of the 21st Pennsylvania Cavalry "an advance scout of a company of volunteer cavalry", rode unknowingly in the direction of Gordon's men. Private Sandoe had served with the Cavalry for only a few days having enlisted less than a week earlier. Hidden behind brush and bushes, pickets from General Gordon's brigade spotted Sandoe and a companion, ordering them to halt. William Lightner, the fellow cavalryman riding with him, succeeded in turning his horse and racing down the Baltimore Pike to safety. Private Sandoe did not. His horse fell and as he tried to remount and ride off, a Southern soldier shot him in the head. [E]

William Rihl MonumentAccording to the above monument, Private George Washington Sandoe then became "the first Union soldier killed at Gettysburg". Private Sandoe emerged as one of over 20,000 Union casualties stemming from what would become the Battle of Gettysburg, the largest battle ever on the North American continent. However, 1st New York Cavalry Corporal William Rihl in reality had the sad distinction of becoming the first Union casualty to die on Pennsylvania soil during the 1863 campaign when, days earlier, he came into contact with some of Lee's advanced troopers. During a brief skirmish on June 22, 1863, a soldier from CSA Brigadier General Albert Jenkins' Cavalry shot Corporal Rihl just north of Greencastle Pennsylvania about 30 miles west of Gettysburg. The monument pictured here, dedicated to his memory, reads:

"To the Memory of
Corporal William H. Rihl
Co. O, 1st N.Y.
(Lincoln) Cavalry.
Who was Killed on This Spot
June 22, 1863

The First Union Soldier
Killed in Action
in Pennsylvania

A Humble but Brave
Defender of the Union"