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

Slaughter at Spangler's Spring

July 3, 1863 - Third Day

 
 
Slaughter at Spangler's Spring Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 17, 2008
1. Slaughter at Spangler's Spring Marker
Inscription. "It is murder, but it's the order. Up men, over the works. Forward double quick."
Lt. Col. Charles Mudge, U.S.A.
2nd Massachusetts Infantry

This glade surrounding Spangler's Spring had been a favorite picnic-ground. But on July 2 axes rang and stones rolled as soldiers of the Union Twelfth Corps built breastworks of logs, rocks, and earth extending from here 1/2 mile north to the top of Culp's Hill and beyond.

Late on the 2nd, the Federals here were ordered south to assist with the crisis near the Peach Orchard and Little Round Top. In their absence, Confederates of Ewell's Second Corps crossed Rock Creek and occupied a portion of their breastworks. About midnight the weary Union soldiers returned to find much of their trench line in enemy hands.

About 4:00 a.m. the battle along the breastworks began, and for the next several hours the foes struggled to dislodge each other. About 7:00 a.m., two Union regiments positioned across the meadow behind you - the 2nd Massachusetts and 27th Indiana - were ordered to take the breastworks on the wooded slopes in front of you. Obeying the suicidal order, they charged into the galling fire of well-concealed Confederate marksmen. Of the 655 Federals engaged 242 were killed or wounded.

A line of breastworks may be seen along the drive to the top of Culp's Hill.
Battlefield Map image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 17, 2008
2. Battlefield Map
These were built after the war to mark the locations of the soldiers original breastworks.
 
Location. 39° 48.867′ N, 77° 13.013′ W. Marker is near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in Adams County. Marker is at the intersection of Slocum Avenue and Geary Avenue, on the right when traveling west on Slocum Avenue. Click for map. Located at the parking lot for stop 13 (Spangler's Spring) on the driving tour 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. 107th New York Infantry (a few steps from this marker); 1st Maryland Regiment (within shouting distance of this marker); Spangler's Spring (within shouting distance of this marker); Indiana (within shouting distance of this marker); 27th Indiana Infantry (within shouting distance of this marker); 46th Pennsylvania Infantry (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); 145th New York Infantry (about 400 feet away); Smith's Brigade (about 400 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Gettysburg.
 
More about this marker. In the upper center is a photo of Survivors of the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry with other state veterans, gather around their monument in 1883, twenty years after the battle.
Slaughter at Spangler's Spring Wayside at the Parking Lot image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 17, 2008
3. Slaughter at Spangler's Spring Wayside at the Parking Lot
The foot trail beside the marker leads to the 107th New York Infantry monument and along some of the re-created breastworks.
Forty-five of their comrades were killed here, and 90 wounded. Their regimental monument, located across the road behind you, was the first on the battlefield.


Below it is a portrait captioned: Before Gettysburg Lt. Col. Charles R. Mudge wrote of his commitment to the Union "I fully made up my mind to fight, and when I say fight, I mean win or die." Mudge was killed leading the 2nd Massachusetts through withering rifle fire here.

Beside it is another portrait, this one of Sgt. Daniel H. Sheetz of the 2nd Virginia Infantry was among the Confederates who caught the Federals here in a deadly crossfire. He was captured at Spotsylvania in 1864.

On the right is a map of the battlefield showing the Federal defenses and Confederate attacks. The "barb" of the fishhook shaped Union line of defense rested here at Spangler's Spring.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Spangler's Meadow Virtual Tour by Markers.
 
Also see . . .  Spangler's Spring. National Park Service virtual tour stop. (Submitted on November 16, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Spangler's Spring image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 17, 2008
4. Spangler's Spring
Looking from across Spangler's Meadow at the marker location and parking area (on the far right behind the boulders). The contest in this sector of the battlefield was for possession of the high ground in the distant center, near where Slocum Avenue snakes up Culp's Hill. Spangler's Spring, seen here on the left near the road intersection, and Meadow were scenes of heavy fighting on July 3 as Federals attempted to dislodge the Confederates from that high ground.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,238 times since then and 14 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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