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Cumberland Township in Adams County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Touring the Battlefield

 
 
Touring the Battlefield Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, February 22, 2019
1. Touring the Battlefield Marker
Inscription.  
Self-Guiding Auto Tour
The complete 24-mile auto tour starts at the visitor center and includes the following 16 tour stops, the Barlow Knoll Loop, and the Historic Downtown Gettysburg Tour. The route traces the three-day battle in chronological order. It is flexible enough to allow you to include, or skip, certain points and/or stops, based on your interest. Allow a minimum of three hours to complete the tour.

July 1, 1863

1. McPherson Ridge
The Battle of Gettysburg began about 8 a.m. to the west beyond the McPherson barn as Union cavalry confronted Confederate infantry advancing east along Chambersburg Pike. Heavy fighting spread north and south along this ridgeline as additional forces both sides arrived.

2. Eternal Light Peace Memorial
At 1 p.m. Maj. Gen. Robert E. Rodes's Confederates attacked from this hill, threatening Union forces on McPherson and Oak ridges. Seventy-five years later, over 1,800 Civil War veterans helped dedicate this memorial to "Peace Eternal in a Nation United."

3. Oak Ridge
Union soldiers here held stubbornly against
Touring the Battlefield Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, February 22, 2019
2. Touring the Battlefield Marker
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Rodes's advance. By 3:30 p.m., however, the entire Union line from here to McPherson Ridge had begun to crumble, finally falling back to Cemetery Hill.

When the first day ended, the Confederates held the upper hand. Lee decided to continue the offensive, pitting his 70,000-man army against Meade's Union army of 93,000.

July 2, 1863

4. North Carolina Memorial
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."

5. Virginia Memorial
The large open field to the east is where the last Confederate assault of the battle, known as "Pickett's Charge," occurred July 3.

6. Pitzer Woods
In the afternoon of July 2, Lt. Gen. James Longstreet placed his Confederate troops along Warfield Ridge, anchoring the left of his line in these woods.

7. Warfield Ridge
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.

8. Little Round Top
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Brig. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren, Meade's chief engineer, alerted Union officers to the Confederate threat and brought Federal reinforcements to defend this position.

9. The Wheatfield
Charge and counter-charge left this field and the nearby woods strewn with over 4,000 dead and wounded.

10. The Peach Orchard
The Union line extended from Devil's Den to here, then angled northward on Emmitsburg Road.

Federal cannon bombarded Southern forces crossing the Rose Farm towards the Wheatfield until about 6:30 p.m., when Confederate attacks overran this position.

11. Plum Run
While fighting raged to the south at the Wheatfield and Little Round Top, retreating Union soldiers crossed this ground on their way from the Peach Orchard to Cemetery Ridge.

12. Pennsylvania Memorial
Union artillery held the line alone here on Cemetery Ridge late in the day as Meade called for infantry from Culp's Hill and other areas to strengthen and hold the center of the Union position.

13. Spangler's Spring
About 7 p.m., Confederates attacked the right flanked of the Union army and occupied the lower slopes of Culp's Hill. The next morning the Confederates were driven off after seven hours of fighting.

14. East Cemetery Hill
At dusk, Union forces repelled a Confederate
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assault that reached the crest of this hill.

By day's end, both flanks of the Union army had been attacked an both had held, despite losing ground. In a council of war, Meade, anticipating an assault on the center of his line, determined that his army would stay and fight.

July 3, 1863

15. High Water Mark

Late in the afternoon, after a two-hour cannonade, some 7,000 Union soldiers posted around the Copse of Trees, The Angle, and the Brian Barn, repulsed the bulk of the 12,000-man "Pickett's Charge" against the Federal center. This was the climactic moment of the battle. On July 4, Lee's army began retreating.

Total casualties (killed, wounded, captured, and missing) for the three days of fighting were 23,000 for the Union army and as many as 28,000 for the Confederate army.

16. National Cemetery

This was the setting for Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, delivered at the cemetery's dedication on November 19, 1863. Use the Soldiers' National Cemetery parking area on Taneytown Road.

Historic Downtown Gettysburg Tour

A. David Wills House

Home of the prominent Gettysburg attorney who oversaw the creation of the Soldiers' National Cemetery. Abraham Lincoln finished his Gettysburg Address here the night before the cemetery dedication. Under renovation. Will reopen November 2008.

B. Gettysburg Train Station
Abraham Lincoln arrived here on November 18. This structure was also a vital part of the recovery efforts after the battle, as a depot for the delivery of supplies and evacuation of the wounded.

(captions)
A complete tour of the park consists of the Self-guiding Auto Tour—16 numbered tour stops, the Barlow Knoll Loop, and the Historic Downtown Gettysburg stops—and East Cavalry Battlefield Site.

East Cavalry Battlefield Site
Here on July 3, during the cannonade that preceded Pickett's Charge, Union cavalry under Brig. Gen. David McM, Gregg intercepted and then checked Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart's Confederate cavalry. For more information, ask for the free self-guiding tour brochure at the park visitor center information desk.
 
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: PeaceRailroads & StreetcarsWar, US Civil. A significant historical date for this entry is July 1, 1863.
 
Location. 39° 47.308′ N, 77° 15.324′ W. Marker is in Cumberland Township, Pennsylvania, in Adams County. Marker is on Emmitsburg Road (Business U.S. 15) 0.1 miles south of Eisenhower Farm Road, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1778 Emmitsburg Road, Gettysburg PA 17325, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Gettysburg Campaign (a few steps from this marker); Benning's Brigade (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Henry's Battalion (about 500 feet away); Bachman's Battery - Henry's Battalion (about 500 feet away); Fourth Alabama Infantry - Law's Brigade (about 600 feet away); Texas (about 700 feet away); Law's Brigade (about 700 feet away); Hood's Division (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cumberland Township.
 
Also see . . .  Gettysburg National Military Park. National Park Service (Submitted on February 26, 2019.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 1, 2020. It was originally submitted on February 24, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 90 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on February 24, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 16, 2021