The Thomas J. West house stood as a prominent part of the battlefield scene—a goal for attacking Confederates and a landmark along the Union line. Most of the fresh Federal troops marching to the front on July 1 moved past this house, coming under direct fire for the first time here.
The Binford farm stretched behind the West House to the southeast. Union reserves crammed every corner of the field, awaiting their chance. "It was a great and grand sight, the like of which in all probability I shall never see again," wrote a Third Corps soldier. "Lines of Battle were formed almost as far as the eye could reach."
"The family, with some of their neighbors, in consternation fled into the cellar?.The head of the house in great distress enquired, ?What shall I do?' There was a dressing-table draped with red cloth, and I suggested that it be torn off and fastened on a long pole over the house, in the hope that it might alter the range of the shots."
Chaplain Edward D. Neill, 1st Minnesota Infantry