This blog post continues our tour of the Gettysburg Battlefield. Yesterday’s blog post pertained to Auto Stops 1-3 and provided notable events that occurred during the first day of the three-day battle. This blog post pertains to Auto Tour Stops 4-9 and provides notable events that occurred during the second day of the three-day battle (July 2, 1863).
“Early in the day, the Confederate army positioned itself on high ground here along Seminary Ridge, through town and north of Cemetery and Culp’s hills. Union forces occupied Culp’s and Cemetery hills and along Cemetery Ridge south to the Round tops, The lines of both armies formed two parallel “fishhooks.”” – The Auto Tour
North Carolina Memorial
North Carolina Memorial
The statue depicts a wounded officer pointing the way forward to the enemy while a veteran and younger comrade lead a color bearer in the charge.
“The large open field to the east is where the last Confederate assault of the battle known as “Pickett’s Charge”, occurred July 3rd.” – The Auto Tour
The Virginia Memorial is the largest of the Confederate monuments on the Gettysburg battlefield. The monument stands 41 feet high. The statue of Lee and Traveler stands 14 feet high.
Confederate soldiers from Virginia represented various types who left civil occupations to join the Confederate Army. Left to right: a professional man, a mechanic, an artist, a boy, a business man, a farmer, and a youth.
Auto Tour Stop #6
“In the afternoon of July 2, Lt. General James Longstreet placed his Confederate troops along Warfield Ridge, anchoring the left of his line in these woods.” – The Auto Tour
The Mississippi Monument stands where General Barksdale’s Mississippi Brigade began their charge into the Peach Orchard on July 2nd and represents the desperate hand-to-hand fighting of that day.
Two farms can be seen from Auto Stop #6, the Joseph Sherfy Farm and the Trostle Farm.
Joseph Sherfy Farm
Joseph and Mary Sherfy and their six children were ordered away from the farm on the morning of July 2nd, driving their stock southeast of the Round Tops and to Two Taverns. Joseph and his son returned on July 6th to find their house ransacked and hit by at least seven artillery shells Their yard was covered with their possessions, which were trampled into the mud and mixed with blood, body parts and every imaginable kind of filth. The orchards and fences were destroyed and the fields covered with dead men and 48 dead horses. The ruins of the barn were filled with the charred remains of the men who had been unable to escape the fire.
Abraham and Catherine Trostle and their nine children were abruptly forced from their home during the fighting, leaving dinner on the table. Like many of their neighbors, the Trostles returned to find most of their belongings looted or destroyed. Later in our battlefield tour we returned to the Trostle Farm and saw some battle damage (photos will be shared later).
Continuing on our auto tour we passed by the South Carolina Memorial, the Phillip Snyder Farm and the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument.
The Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument stands a little over 19 feet high and depicts a charging color bearer calling for his comrades to follow.
Auto Tour Stop #7
“Longstreet’s assaults began here at 4 p.m. They were directed against Union troops occupying Devil’s Den the Wheatfield, and Peach Orchard, and against Meade’s undefended left flank at The Round Tops.” – The Auto Tour
I didn’t take any photographs at the Warfield Ridge stop.
“Quick action by Brig. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren, Meade’s chief engineer, alerted Union officers to the Confederate threat and brought Federal reinforcements to defend this position.” – The Auto Tour
Little Round Top is covered with monuments commemorating the men who fought there.
Little Round Top – Monument to the 155th Pennsylvania Volunteers
Little Round Top – Gouverneur Warren Monument
Little Round Top – Gouverneur Warren Monument
Little Round Top – Monument to the 91st Pennsylvania Volunteers
Little Round Top – Monument to the 12th and 44th New York Volunteers
Little Round Top
Little Round Top – COL Strong Vincent was mortally wounded commanding the brigade that defended the southern slopes and summit of Little Round Top on July 2, 1863.
I have a story about finding this memorial to COL Strong Vincent. A friend, Tom H., and his girlfriend Lynne W. planned to meet us in Gettysburg the weekend we were there. The poor weather conditions that weekend made them cancel their travel plans.
Tom portrays COL Strong Vincent.
Tom planned to march in the Remembrance Day parade and show Bob and me around the battlefield. Tom’s battlefield expertise, particularly as it pertains to COL Strong Vincent, would have been most helpful. While at Little Round Top we looked for signs about, memorials to and/or statues of COL Strong Vincent. We found a sign about COL Strong Vincent.
Defense of Little Round Top
The Defense of Little Round Top sign displayed above reads as follows:
“A great basin lay before us full of smoke and fire, and literally swarming with riderless horses and fighting, fleeing, and pursuing men.”
1st Lt. Porter Farley, U.S.A.
140th New York Infantry
Col. Strong Vincent and his 1,300-man Union infantry brigade rushed to defend this hill about 4:00 p.m. on July 2-and none too soon. Just as his men took position on the slopes below, Texans and Alabamians of Maj. Gen. John B. Hood’s division began streaming out of the woods to your left. Rapid, deadly fire from Vincent’s line drove them back.
Hood’s determined men rallied and renewed the fight. When the Union right flank began to crumble, Colonel Vincent went to their aid. While exposed, he fell mortally wounded.
Just when the Federals seemed doomed, over the hill behind you poured the 140th New York Infantry led by Col. Patrick O’Rorke. The New Yorkers, who had no time to load their muskets, swept down the hill in front of you into the surging Confederates. O’Rorke fell dead when a bullet pierced his neck. After a bloody struggle the exhausted Southerners fell back, leaving Little Round Top in Union hands.
We found the memorial to COL Strong Vincent (displayed earlier) but failed to identify the statue of COL Strong Vincent. As I was reading the Gettysburg Stone Sentinels article to which I linked the COL Strong Vincent memorial, I realized that we passed right by the statue of COL Strong Vincent on our hill climb to his memorial!
It would be great if Tom and Lynne are able to meet us the next time Bob and I visit Gettysburg!
Looking down on Devil’s Den from Little Round Top
Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Sickles positioned the left flank of his Third Corps at this unusual geologic formation, thinking its rugged nature would hinder Confederate troop movements. However, Confederates captured Devil’s Den on the afternoon of July 2, 1863. From concealed places among the rocks, Southern snipers and sharpshooters kept the Union soldiers on Little Round Top under fire.
Auto Tour Stop #9
“Charge and countercharge left this field and the nearby woods strewn with over 4,000 dead and wounded.” – The Auto Tour
I didn’t take any photographs at The Wheatfield stop.
Please check back soon for Gettysburg Battlefield Tour, Part 3.