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Near Gettysburg in Adams County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Fight for Devil's Den

 

—July 2 1863 - Second Day —

 
The Fight for Devil's Den Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 17, 2008
1. The Fight for Devil's Den Marker
Inscription. "No, boys, hold your fire until they come right up. Then pour a volley into them, and if they don't stop run your bayonets into their bellies."
Brig. Gen. Henry L. Benning, C.S.A.
Benning's Brigade, Hood's Division

The fate of Devil's Den (located to your left) was partly decided in the Triangular Field, the grassy five acres in front of you. Union infantry, in support of Smith's 4th New York Battery, took position on the rocky ridge behind you.

About 4:00 p.m. on July 2, after a 30-minute artillery duel, Col. P.A. Work's 1st Texas Infantry appeared behind a stone wall at the lower edge of the field. The Texas marksman silenced the cannon, which could not be aimed low enough to hit them, then jumped the wall and advanced up the field. When they neared the upper wall, Col. A. Van Horne Ellis ordered his New Yorkers to "up and fire," staggering the Texans. A daring Union counterattack down across the field kept the Southerners at bay, but Ellis was shot dead.

Shouting, "Give them hell, boys," Brig. Gen. Henry L. Benning led his Georgia Brigade up through the field in support of the Texans. The hard-pressed Union defenders could not hold, and Devil's Den fell to the Confederates.
 
Erected by Gettysburg National Military Park.
 
Location.
Waysides at the Devil's Den image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain
2. Waysides at the Devil's Den
39° 47.536′ N, 77° 14.557′ W. Marker is near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in Adams County. Marker is on Sickles Avenue, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Located in the Devils Den section of Gettysburg National Military Park. Marker is in this post office area: Gettysburg PA 17325, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Smith's New York Battery (here, next to this marker); Robertson's Brigade (a few steps from this marker); 4th New York Independent Battery (within shouting distance of this marker); 99th Pennsylvania Infantry (within shouting distance of this marker); The Attack on Devil's Den (within shouting distance of this marker); 124th New York Infantry (within shouting distance of this marker); Confederate Sharpshooter? (within shouting distance of this marker); Second Brigade (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Click for a list of all markers in Gettysburg.
 
More about this marker. In the center is a painting depicting the action at Devil's Den. The 124th New York Infantry from Orange County, nicknamed the "Orange Blossoms," launch a bloody attack down through the Triangular Field against Confederates of the famed Texas Brigade, Col. A. Van Horne Ellis, the mounted officer in the center, was killed near the spot where you are standing.
Triangle Field image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 17, 2008
3. Triangle Field
Looking from the marker location to the west from Devil's Den. The Texans, forming the first wave of Hood's Division advanced from distant Warfield Ridge toward the camera. Following them were the Georgians of Benning's Brigade. Smith's battery deployed four rifled cannon on the top of Devil's Den. Supporting those guns were the 124th New York Infantry. Later as the fighting evolved the 4th Maine and 99th Pennsylvania Infantry were also fed into the fight against the Texans and Georgians in this sector.
Painting by Don Troiani.


Three portraits are displayed on the right:
A ship captain with a law degree, Col. Augustus Van Horne Ellis commanded the 124th New York Infantry here. One of his officers described him as cold, but "every inch a soldier." On the march to Gettysburg, Ellis prophesied that he would not survive the campaign.

Maj. James Cromwell of the 124th New York rode through the Triangular Field amidst a storm of bullets to rally his men. So gallant did he appear that even some of the Texans shouted, "Don't shoot at him... don't kill him." He and his gray horse fell dead at the bottom of the field.

Brig. Gen. Henry L. Benning, "Old Rock," came to Gettysburg with experience as a judge, a states' rights advocate, and a battle-hardened soldier. Commander of a Georgia brigade, Benning led the attack that secured this ridge and Devil's Den for the Confederates.
 
Also see . . .  The Devils Den. National Park Service virtual tour stop. (Submitted on November 5, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,513 times since then and 27 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   2. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   3. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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