The Valley of Death

The Valley of Death (HM9P0)

Location: Gettysburg, PA 17325 Adams County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 47.53', W 77° 14.202'

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July 2, 1863 - Second Day

"The night of July 2d was bright moonlight but it seemed to me there were spirits flitting from Little Round Top to Devil's Den and back, all night; and as I lay awake, the only sounds I could hear were the groans of the wounded lying between the lines."
1st Lt. Benjamin F. Rittenhouse, U.S.A.
5th U.S. Artillery, Battery D

You are standing on Little Round Top looking west over Plum Run and the Valley of Death. Devil's Den and the Slaughter Pen, each a maze of rock outcrops and boulders, may be seen down the valley to your left.

On the afternoon of the second day of the battle, Union forces seized this strategic high ground which they held for the remainder of the battle. Many officers and men from both sides died in the struggle.

(Numbered list of items noted in the panoramic photo on marker):
(1) Warfield Ridge
This wooded ridge, an extension of Seminary Ridge, helped screen General Longstreet's attacking Confederates from the view of Union lookouts here.

(2) The Slaughter Pen
Men of the 44th and 48th Alabama Infantry fell in great numbers in this rock-strewn area. The photo below was taken by Alexander Gardner on July 6, 1863. The bloated and rain-drenched bodies had not yet been removed by Union burial details.

(3) Devil's Den
Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Sickles positioned the left flank of his Third Corps at this unusual geologic formation, thinking its rugged nature would hinder Confederate troop movements. However, Confederates captured Devil's Den on the afternoon of July 2.
From concealed places among the rocks, Southern snipers and sharpshooters kept the Union soldiers on Little Round Top under fire. The photo below was taken at a Confederate position in Devil's Den three days after the battle.

(4)Houck's Ridge
This low ridge served as a line of defense for General Sickles advanced Union line. It was the scene of desperate fighting on July 2, and finally fell to Confederates of McLaws' and Hood's Divisions late in the afternoon.

(5) The Valley of Death
Many soldiers fell here during the struggle for Little Round Top. Correspondent Whitelaw Reid of the Cincinnati Gazette reported from Gettysburg: "Who shall say that they did not go down into the very Valley of the Shadow of Death that terrible afternoon."

(6) South Mountain

(7) Seminary Ridge

(8) The Peach Orchard
An advanced Union line commanded by Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Sickles formed a salient or projecting angle, here at John Sherfy's peach orchard on July 2. His left extended southeast to Devil's Den, while his right ran north along the Emmitsburg Road. A series of Confederate attacks drove Sickles' men back.
HM NumberHM9P0
Placed ByGettysburg National Military Park
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, October 6th, 2014 at 9:51am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 308489 N 4407083
Decimal Degrees39.79216667, -77.23670000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 47.53', W 77° 14.202'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 47' 31.80" N, 77° 14' 12.12" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)717
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 100 Sykes Ave, Gettysburg PA 17325, US
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