Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Gettysburg at 150 - day 2

     Day two in Gettysburg on July 2, 1863 dawned with two opposing armies facing each other on opposite ridges.  Somewhere near 50,000 Confederate troops occupied Seminary Ridge to the west of town, a rise that was named after the Lutheran Seminary that was located on its northern end.  Across a shallow valley that comprised the town of Gettysburg to the north and farms, wheat fields and orchards as well as open land to the south, lay Cemetery Ridge on the east (called that because of the community cemetery that dominated the northern end).  On this ridge somewhere close to 60,000 Union troops were deployed.

     Lee attempted to surround the Union forces at two places: to the south at places known as the Peach Orchard, the Wheatfield, an awesome giant rock formation called Devil's Den and two strategic hills called Big and Little Roundtop, led by Longstreet and defended by leaders like Dan Sickles, Strong Vincent from Erie and Joshua Chamberlain from Maine, among countless others.  They fought long and hard, but the Union forces held ... and from the north of the Union forces the Confederates attacked Culp's Hill and East Cemetery Hill led by Ewell, which held that position until the next morning when they were pushed back.  One of the Union players at Culp's Hill was General Geary who was from Mount Pleasant, PA, a town near here.

     At the end of the day, not much progress was made, about 20,000 (10,000 per side) were dead, captured or wounded, and one final great battle awaited these troops.

Point of correction from Day 1 - I said that it was Heth's Division that led the Confederate Troops into town - I think that it was actually A.P. Hill that marched down the Chambersburg Pike through Cashtown first.  You know how historians are ... I don't want to get anyone upset.

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