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

Confederate Sharpshooter?

 
 
Confederate Sharpshooter Marker in Devil's Den. image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Coughlin, October 7, 2007
1. Confederate Sharpshooter Marker in Devil's Den.
Inscription.  
“…some mother may yet be patiently waiting for the return of her boy, whose bones lie bleaching, unrecognized and alone, between the rocks at Gettysburg.”
Alexander Gardner
Civil War photographer

In front of you is the setting of one of Gettysburg’s most famous historic photographs, taken three days after the battle.

The photo depicts a stone wall probably built and used by Confederate sharpshooters, a rifle-musket propped against the wall, and the body of a Confederate soldier with a knapsack under his head. Although the elements in the photo are authentic, they had been rearranged for dramatic effect.

Photographers Alexander Gardner and Timothy O’Sullivan found the dead soldier – probably a Texas or Georgia infantryman – some 40 yards behind you, then placed the body on a blanket and moved it here to the sharpshooter position. The weapon – not a sharpshooter’s rifle – was placed beside the body.

The photo was staged, but the tragedy was real. A young man from the South lay dead, far from family and home.

Civil war photographer Alexander Gardner titled this
Sharpshooter's Wall image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Coughlin, October 7, 2007
2. Sharpshooter's Wall
The crest of Little Round Top is visible from the Confederate Sharpshooter's position. This area saw intense action on the afternoon of July 2, 1863, the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg.
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photo “The Home of a Rebel Sharpshooter.” It was taken near this spot where you are standing on July 6, 1863, while Union soldiers were still at work removing and burying the dead.

In Gardner’s photo caption he claims he visited this site four months later and found the rusting rifle-musket and the decomposing body in the same position.

Gardner and his associates took this and three other photos of the body at the spot where it was found on the hillside behind you before moving it to the sharpshooter’s wall.
 
Erected by Gettysburg National Military Park.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. A significant historical date for this entry is July 6, 1863.
 
Location. This marker has been replaced by another marker nearby. It was located near 39° 47.502′ N, 77° 14.573′ W. Marker was in Cumberland Township, Pennsylvania, in Adams County. Marker was on Sickles Avenue, on the right when traveling north. Located in the Devils Den section of Gettysburg National Military Park. Touch for map. Marker was in this post office area: Gettysburg PA 17325, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. Civil War Photography (here, next to this marker); The Attack on Devil's Den (within shouting distance of this marker); 4th New York Independent Battery (within shouting
Devil's Den image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Coughlin, October 7, 2007
3. Devil's Den
Hood's troops, under Gen. Longstreet, charged Devil's Den on the second day at Gettysburg. They held most of Devil's Den, but never made it to the summit of Little Round Top.
distance of this marker); Robertson's Brigade (within shouting distance of this marker); Holding Houck's Ridge (within shouting distance of this marker); Benning's Brigade (within shouting distance of this marker); Slaughter at Devil's Den (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Shaping the Battlefield (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cumberland Township.
 
More about this marker. On the right are Gardner's famous photo of the Rebel Sharpshooter and one other photograph taken by him from the area around the Devil's Den.

This marker was replaced by a new one named "Civil War Photography" (see nearby markers).
 
The "Sharpshooter's Den" Today image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, November 8, 2008
4. The "Sharpshooter's Den" Today
Note the Monuments on Little Round Top in the background.
The Sharpshooter Position seen from the Front image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, November 11, 2008
5. The Sharpshooter Position seen from the Front
“The Home of a Rebel Sharpshooter" image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Coughlin, October 7, 2007
6. “The Home of a Rebel Sharpshooter"
Alexander Gardner's "staged" photograph.
Little Round Top from Devil's Den image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Coughlin, October 7, 2007
7. Little Round Top from Devil's Den
Confederate sharpshooters in the Devil's Den fired on the Union troops that occupied Little Round Top.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 27, 2021. It was originally submitted on February 28, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 3,642 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on February 28, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.   4, 5. submitted on January 1, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   6, 7. submitted on February 28, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.

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Jan. 30, 2023