Day Two

by kpmautner

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Above is the aptly-named Devil’s Den.  Union forces met Confederates in this immense pile of rocks.

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You are now looking at Big Round Top.  In the foreground is land both armies named The Slaughter Pen.  Fire from above and behind you (Devil’s Den) from one side, and the other side is firing from higher ground to your left.  Very few who went in came out.

 

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This is the view from Little Roundtop, where Colonel Joshua Chamberlain and the 20th Maine regiment held the left flank of the Union army against ferocious fire (the movie – and the book – pull this part of the battle straight from the Official Records of both armies, Chamberlain’s citation for the Congressional Medal of Honor, and from Chamberlain’s own memoirs, so there isn’t much doubt it’s pretty straight-forward.) The Union was entrenched up at the top of this hill – and it is quite a strenuous climb, believe me – and the Confederates attacked by a route that the road (center and left of the photo) now follows.  Why?  It’s the only part of the terrain that provides even a modicum of cover.  Coming straight up the center would be a half mile up a 1-in-5 grade with no cover at all.

The woods start about where you’re standing, stretch back to your left and join up with Big Roundtop (where the tree line starts upper left).  Where you are standing is the brigade command post.  Chamberlain’s 20th Maine anchored here and to the left of this position.  To your right, the line heads north all the way to Gettysburg town (about 2 miles).