First Regiment of Minnesota Volunteer Infantry
The First Regiment of Minnesota Volunteer Infantry was a volunteer infantry unit of the Civil War, serving with the Union Army. The First Minnesota was one of the first regiments formed when President Lincoln called for 75,000 troops on April, 1861. They are noted in history for their bravery and sacrifice in many battles, especially at the Battle of Gettysburg.
GettysburgConfederates were about to break through the Union lines. General Winfield S. Hancock ordered the First Minnesota to fill the gap in the lines, putting them up against a much larger force. The charge was made to buy time for reinforcements. Even though they were alone and outnumbered, they managed to hold off the Confederates. Of the 262 soldiers who charged, 215 were killed. This is the largest percentage of loss for a regiment ever recorded in American history. General Hancock later stated:
"I had no alternative but to order the regiment in. We had no force on hand to meet the sudden emergency. Troops had been ordered up and were coming on the run, but I saw that in some way five minutes must be gained or we were lost. It was fortunate that I found there so grand a body of men as the First Minnesota. I knew they must lose heavily and it caused me pain to give the order for them to advance, but I would have done it (even) if I had known every man would be killed. It was a sacrifice that must be made. The superb gallantry of those men saved our line from being broken. No soldiers on any field, in this or any other country, ever displayed grander heroism".