The Battle of Devil's Den
Backstory and Context
The outcropping of enormous granite boulders known as Devil's Den, was overlooked by higher ground also covered in gigantic boulders known as Little Round Top. On the second day of battle on July 2, 1863, intense fighting took place in this area, and is known as one of the bloodiest battles at Gettysburg.
The Union officer, General Daniel Sickles, and his 3rd corps, was supposed to hold their position on Cemetery Ridge. By doing so, they would make up the left flank of the Union line. At some point, General Sickles decided that a wheat field with a slight rise 3/4 of a mile directly in front of them would offer a better position and higher ground. He moved forward occupying the wheat field, the peach orchard to the north, and Devil's Den to the southwest.
Brigadier General John Hobart Ward, commanded one of General Sickle's brigades made up of 6 regiments and two companies of sharpshooters. They occupied Emmitsburg Road near Devil's Den. General Hood's division launched it's assault on Union Forces around 4pm. General Hood was wounded in this battle, and lost the total use of his arm for he rest of his life.
Union General Ward's line, west of Devil's Den, was attacked by the 1st Texas and 3rd Arkansas under Brigadier General Jerome B. Robertson. Confederate General Evander Law's brigade of the 44th and 48th Alabama attacked from the east by way of Plum Valley Run. The fighting here was intense hand to hand combat. Union General Ward sent word for the 99th Pennsylvania Regiment to aid the Union soldiers along Plum Run.
Brigadier Generals Henry Benning and George "Tige" Anderson brought their Georgia regiments forward to take advantage of a gap between Union Generals Ward and Trobriand in the wheat field. Confederate General Anderson's men were pushed back.
The Texans captured some guns, and the 40th New York and 6th New Jersey pulled out of the wheat field to cover Ward's retreating men. This would become known as the Slaughter Pen. As Ward retreated, the Confederate sharp shooters moved into the boulders of Devil's Den. They continually fired up at Little Round Top where the Union soldiers were located, and were vry successful at picking off the officers and artillery men.
At the top of Little Round Top are several maps and markers showing the locations mentioned above. They are labeled, and from that vantage point, one can see how and where the entire battle played out.