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Gettysburg 1863: 2nd Day: July 2, 1863

2nd Day

Culp's Hill

Major General Lawrence Chamberlain

A veritable icon of Civil War legend, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain is best known for his heroic participation in the Battle of Gettysburg.  Chamberlain and his regiment, the 20th Maine Infantry, gained notoriety for their desperate bayonet charge down Little Round Top on the Second Day of the Battle, a feat that figures prominently in Michael Shaara’s novelThe Killer Angels and its movie adaptation, Gettysburg.  This one deed, however, is only one facet of the man who later wrote “in great deeds something abides.” Civil War Trust

Major General Daniel Sickles

Born in New York City on October 20, 1819, Daniel Edgar Sickles began his career with an apprenticeship as a printer,  eventually studying law at New York University.  Following school he became involved in politics and held several offices:  Corporate Consul of New York City, Secretary of U.S. Legation in London, and State and Federal legislator representing New York State. Civi War Trust

Brigadier General Andrew A. Humphreys

Andrew Atkinson Humphreys graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1831.  After graduation, he participated in the Seminole Wars and spent much of his military career with the Corps of Topographical Engineers surveying the Mississippi Delta. Civil War Trust

Brigadier General John Curtis Caldwell

John Curtis Caldwell was born on April 17, 1833, in the small town of Lowell, some fifteen miles south of the Canadian border in northern Vermont. Wishing to pursue a career in education, Caldwell attended Amherst College, graduating with high honors in 1855. He then settled in East Machias, along Maine’s Atlantic coastline, where he was offered the position of principal at the Washington Academy. With the firing on Fort Sumter and the inauguration of civil war, Caldwell left his academic career behind and volunteered his services to the United States. 48 Pennsylvania 

Major General John Gibbon

John Gibbon was born April 20, 1827 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  When he was ten, his father accepted a position as chief assayer at the U.S. Mint in Charlotte, North Carolina and relocated the entire family south.  In 1842, Gibbon received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy.  His first year was marred by disciplinary problems, and he was forced to repeat it, but his tenure at West Point was thereafter defined by a rigid discipline he would carry through his entire Army career. Civil War Trust

Peach Orchard

July 2nd: The Battle Continues

Some of the fieriest fighting took place on the second day at Gettysburg. Robert E. Lee, the Confederate General of the Army of Northern Virginia attacked the Army of the Potomac lead by Union General George G. Meade at Culp's Hill and Little Round Top. At the Union's right flank located on the north end of the line, Confederate soldiers from General Richard Ewell's corp struggled up Culp's Hill, which was steep and heavily wooded. The men in gray were meant with heavy union fire and forced to turn back. On the south end of the Union line, General James Longstreet delayed an attack against Yankee forces that allowed additional Union troops to arrive and position themselves along Cemetery Ridge. Going against Union orders, General Dan Sickles moved his corp from the ridge to open ground around the Peach Orchard. Sickles decision separates his men from the rest of the Union army allowing Longstreet to take the orchard. Although the Confederates took the Peach Orchard, the Yankee opposition at Little Round Top was to much and Union forces were able to hold the high ground.

General Lee Orders His Men

On July 2, 1863, the second day of battle, Confederate commander Robert E. Lee ordered Lieutenant General James Longstreet to attack and roll up the Federal left flank. At the same time, Lieutenant General A.P. Hill's corps would threaten the Union center to prevent Major General George Gordon Meade from reinforcing the Union left and would then continue the attack when Major General Richard Anderson's brigades, holding the corps' right, made contact with Longstreet. On the Confederate left, Lee instructed Lieutenant General Richard S. Ewell to mke diversionary attacks all along his fornt and then launch an all-out assault if practicable. If the plan succeeded, the Union army would topple helplessly fromthe postitions it held atop the high ground south of Gettysburg, and the entire Civil War might be won in a day. Civil War Trust

The Slaughter Pen

A portion of the battlefield of Gettysburg, located in front of Little Round Top, is known as the Slaughter Pen. Upon the conclusion of that engagement, the ground was found in many places to be almost covered with the dead and wounded. This sketch only represents a few of the dead, the wounded having been removed to the hospitals. Gen. Crawford, commanding the Third Division of the Fifth Corps, was placed near this ravine, on the second day of the fight, to support Barnes' Division, and the scenes which transpired cannot be better described than in his own words before the Committee on the Conduct of the War. He says: "I heard the cheers of the enemy, and looking in front across a low ground, I saw our men retreating in confusion; fugitives were flying across in every direction; some of them rushed through my lines. Documentarist

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Lieutenant General James Longstreet

 On January 8, 1821, Confederate General James Longstreet is born near Edgefield, South Carolina. Longstreet became one of the most successful generals in the Confederate army, but after the war he became a target of some of his comrades, who were searching for a scapegoat. History

General LaFayette McLaws

Lafayette McLaws (January 15, 1821 - July 24, 1897) was a U.S. Army officer and a Confederate general in the American Civil War. McLaws, who pronounced his first name "La-FAY-ette", was born in Augusta, Georgia. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1842 and served as an infantry officer in the Mexican War, in the west, and in the expedition to Utah Territory to suppress the Mormon uprising. While at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, he married Emily Allison Taylor, the niece of Zachary Taylor. The Latin Library

Brigadier General Joseph B. Kershaw

Confederate General Joseph Brevard Kershaw commanded a brigade in Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia for the duration of the war.
Born in Camden, South Carolina on January 5, 1822, Kershaw was not a career military man.  He studied law and, after volunteering for the Palmetto Regiment during the Mexican War, returned to his practice and became active in state politics.  From 1852-56 Kershaw served in the South Carolina legislature and was a delegate to the state’s secession convention.  When war broke out he accepted the colonelcy of the 2nd South Carolina Infantry and led them into battle at First Manassas. Civil War Trust

General Paul Jones Semmes

Semmes was a fine specimen of a soldier. He was 48 years old and, although he had served in the prewar militia, was a banker and plantation owner by trade. When his country called, Semmes joined with the 2nd Georgia and was appointed its colonel. His first cousin, Raphael Semmes, captain of the raider CSS Alabama, was arguably the most famous naval officer to fight for the Confederacy. Emerging Civil War

Brigadier General William T. Wofford

Wofford was born in Habersham County Georgia, to William H. Wofford and Nancy M. Tatum. In 1844 he graduated from Franklin College, now part of the University of Georgia. Wofford first experienced military life in 1847 during the Mexican-American War, where he was a captain in the Georgia Mounted Volunteers. Wofford was mustered out of the volunteer service on July 12, 1848, and afterward worked as a planter, served as a state legislator, and then became a lawyer. In 1852 he was editor of the Cassville,  Standard newspaper. Wikipedia

Lee's Plan

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