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Near Gettysburg in Adams County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Battle Opens
July 1st, 1863 - The First Day
 
The Battle Opens Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Bryan Olson, October 2004
1. The Battle Opens Marker
 
Inscription.
“Forward, men, forward for Godís sake, & drive those fellows out of those woods.”
Maj. Gen. John F. Reynolds, U.S.A.
Commander, First Army Corps.

On the morning of July 1, 1863, the bloodiest single battle of the Civil War began here on the outskirts of Gettysburg.

About 8 a.m., 7,000 Confederate infantry attacking from the west and north (in front of you) clashed with 3,200 dismounted Union cavalry positioned along this ridge. The cavalry slowed the Confederate tide until the Union infantry arrived on the battlefield.

By 10:30 a.m., the Union First Corps reached the field and drove the Confederate back in a bloody hour-long action here that left nearly 2,000 dead and wounded. Among the victims was Union Maj. Gen. John F. Reynolds, the first of many generals whose careers ended at Gettysburg.
 
Erected by National Park Service.
 
Location. 39° 50.079′ N, 77° 15.021′ W. Marker is near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in Adams County. Marker is on Reynolds Avenue 0.2 miles north of Meredith Avenve, on the left when traveling north. Click for map. Located at the east end of McPherson Woods in Gettysburg National Military Park. Marker is in this post office area: Gettysburg PA 17325, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers.
 
McPherson Ridge Photo, Click for full size
By Bryan Olson, October 2004
2. McPherson Ridge
1.Reynolds Marker -Marks the location where Maj. Gen. John F. Reynolds was killed.
2.Reynolds Woods -Scene of fierce struggle between Maj. Gen. Henry Hethís Confederate brigades and the famed “Iron Brigade.”
 
At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Monuments and Markers (here, next to this marker); Battery L, 1st New York Light Artillery (a few steps from this marker); First Brigade (within shouting distance of this marker); Major Gen. John Reynolds (within shouting distance of this marker); First Division (within shouting distance of this marker); Third Division (within shouting distance of this marker); 151st Pennsylvania Infantry (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); 1st Corps Headquarters (about 400 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Gettysburg.
 
More about this marker. The upper portion of the marker displays two photographs of the battlefield with keyed points of interest. These are recreated in photos 2 and 3 of this entry.

In the lower center is a painting captioned, The heat, confusion, and violence of the opening struggle here are depicted in this painting by Peter Rothermel. Note McPherson's Barn (center) and Reynolds Woods (left center). The slain General Reynolds (bottom center) is carried from the field.

On the lower right is a portrait of General Reynolds, with caption recorded on photo four of this entry.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. McPherson Ridge or Reynolds Avenue virtual tour by markers.
 
McPherson Ridge Photo, Click for full size
By Bryan Olson, October 2004
3. McPherson Ridge
3. McPherson Barn -The several farm buildings here in 1863 became a focal point for the opening of the battle.
4. Chambersburg Pike -One of ten major roads leading into Gettysburg in 1863. Confederates marches to battle along this route. From this point it is one mile to the center of town behind you.
 

 
Additional keywords. Gettysburg Battlefield, McPherson Ridge
 
Maj. Gen. John F. Reynolds (U.S.A.) Photo, Click for full size
4. Maj. Gen. John F. Reynolds (U.S.A.)
an 1841 graduate of West Point, commanded the Union First Corps here on July 1. While exhorting his men to drive the Confederates from the woods in front of you he looked back (toward the Lutheran Seminary behind you) where more men were coming on. At that moment, a minie` ball struck him in the back of the head. He fell from his horse dead.

The aide who carried him from the field said of him, “Wherever the fight raged the fieriest, there the General was sure to be found.”
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on March 17, 2008, by Bryan Olson of Syracuse, New York. This page has been viewed 1,380 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on March 17, 2008, by Bryan Olson of Syracuse, New York. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
 
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