Great Battles in Miniature

The Battle of Gettysburg, long thought to be the turning point of the American Civil War,  was fought in southern Pennsylvania from the 1st to the 4th of July, 1863.  The diorama depicts the actions of the second and third days of the battle.  The first day of battle was to the north and west of this position, and there was practically no action on the 4th day.

The field of battle viewed from Cemetery Hill (foreground) looking southwest across the Union line and Confederate attacks. 

The southern end of the battlefield saw the greatest action of the entire engagement on the second day.  The view is looking southeast across the three Confederate divisions of General Longstreet's attacks, Union General Sickles' exposed position in foreground,  and Little Round Top, which would eventually anchor the Union left flank in the background.

Confederate General McLaws' division (right of center) is assaulting the Peach Orchard.  Hood's advance is well in the right distance already pushing against Little Round Top.

Union General Sickles' corps formed its right flank along the Emmitsburg Road.  Confederate Greneral Anderson, of Hill's Third Corps, formed the left flank of Longstreet's attack on the second day.

General Hood's assault on Little Round Top

The "Devil's Den."  These bold rock formations near the base of Little Round Top formed a perfect habitat for Confederate sharpshooters after the attack receded from Little Round Top.

Looking east, across the southern edge of the battlefield.  Devil's Den is in the right foreground and Little Round Top in the background.

McLaws' division going in on the second day.

McLaws' attack seen from the south.

Little Round Top and the Confederate assault.

Cemetery Hill formed the northern end and apex of the Union line.  It was well stocked with troops and guns since the first day of the battle but Confederate General Jubal Early's assault with two brigades on the afternoon of the second day gained a temporary lodgment on the eastern slopes of the bastion.

Cemetery Hill and Culp's Hill (to the left rear) may be seen across the rooftops of the town of Gettysburg.

The fighting on Culp's Hill and Powers' Hill beyond it was a back-and-forth series of attacks and counter attacks throughout the wooded terrain of these two elevations.  The two hills formed the northeast end of the Union line in such a way as to form the "hook" end of what has always been likened to a "fish hook" shaped line of battle.  Early on the third day of battle Union commander, General Meade reestablished Union control of these heights.

Powers Hill, to the south of Culp's Hill, was the extreme right of the Union line.

By the morning of the third day of battle Meade posted General Sedgewick's Union corps behind Little Round Top, securing the southern end of the Union position and possible line of retreat.

The third day of the battle witnessed "Pickett's Charge," easily the best known single action of the war.  The Confederate assault may be seen approaching the center of the Union line, looking southwest across Cemetery Hill.

The Union center had been weakened by the perceived need to secure the southern base and maintain a strong hold on the hills to the north.  General Hancock's corps received the Confederate attack.

Pickett's Charge, seen from the west, approaching the Union line.

Pickett's division that day consisted of three brigades.  The rearmost brigade, that of General Armistead, would breach the Union line at the point of the "copse of trees" and the angle in the stone wall (at left of photo) and reach the "high-water mark of the Confederacy" some yards beyond wall before being driven back.

The left of the Confederate assault, known to posterity  as "Pickett's Charge," actually consisted of portions of two divisions of A P Hill's corps which had fought on the first day of the battle. 

The grand assault and Hancock's steady defense, seen from the southeast.

Pickett's Charge and the Union line, seen from north to south.