Devils Den Gettysburg

Devils Den / Gettysburg Devils Den

Devils Den Gettysburg is an area of the battlefield where fierce fighting took place during the Battle of Gettysburg. It is strewn with large boulders, shrubs and small trees and it is believed to have been named before the battle took place there. There is a legend that a large "monster snake" resided there that was never caught.

While visiting the Gettysburg battlefield recently, I decided to hike down into Devils Den from Little Round Top. I can not stress enough how rugged this terrain really is. I gained a true appreciation of how difficult this assault was for the Confederates.

The enormous rocks would provide good cover for the Confederates as they advanced, but the steep uphill climb over rough terrain would take its toll on the attackers as I too experienced while ascending the hill.

~ Scott Sarich, Total Gettysburg

It was the scene of a violent engagement between the Union and Confederate troops on July 2, 1863, the second day of the battle at Gettysburg. Sharpshooters from both sides made good use of the rocks and crevices for cover while firing on the enemy. Lt. General James Longstreet attacked using his First Corp with a division led by Major General John Bell Hood. He expressed concern to Longstreet regarding the rocky, exposed ground he would have to cover to attack the enemy. As per Robert E. Lee's orders, Hood was again ordered to attack.

Devils Den Gettysburg, Devils Den, Gettysburg Devils Den

Soldiers in Hood's division had marched 20 miles the day before to make it to the battlefield then marched many more miles in the hot July heat to get into position for the assault on Devils Den at Gettysburg. During the attack, the Confederates had to navigate boulders, rock faces and uneven ground all the while being fired on with grape, canister and shell from artillery on a nearby hill. The Union sharpshooters spread about the field behind rocks, houses and fences made the attack all the more difficult. General Hood was wounded later in the battle and had to be removed from the battlefield.

On the Union side, Devils Den was defended by III Corp under Major General David B. Birney and was later reinforced by V Corp. As valiant as the Confederate troops fought, they could not break the strong defensive positions held by the Union.

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