Peach Orchard

Late in the afternoon on July 2, 1863, heavy fighting ensued in the Peach Orchard. Initially, Brigadier General Joseph B. Kershaw's South Carolina brigades attacked the Union lines at Stony Hill. The Union had thirty guns that were charged with protecting the orchard. Kershaw met Brigadier General Charles K. Graham's Pennsylvania brigade as he wheeled left. While receiving enemy musket fire from the orchard, a false command was shouted and Kershaw's brigades turned toward the Wheatfield thereby exposing their left flank to enemy fire. Hundreds of men from the South Carolina ranks fell wounded and dead from this unfortunate error.

Peach Orchard

Meanwhile, brigades under Confederate Brigadier General William Barksdale and Brigadier General William T. Wofford attacked the Union Lines at the Peach Orchard. Defending was Brigadier General Andrew A. Humphrey's division of only 1,000 men who had been firing on Kershaw's brigade from the orchard. Some of the men were still facing away from the advancing Confederates and with flanks exposed, they took heavy losses. Barksdale's brigade quickly attacked and the Union lines collapsed in turn.

PeachOrchard1

Graham had two horses shot out from under him, was wounded in the chest and eventually captured by the Confederates. Wofford's troops swept in and cleaned up what was left on the Union defenders. The 2nd Hew Hampshire regiment was caught in an exposed position and were ordered to retreat but not before suffering tremendous casualties.

The Union artillery was forced to withdraw and was ordered to pull back and reposition to cover the infantry retreat. Captain Bigelow's 9th Massachusetts battery withdrew to the Trostle house, and were eventually overrun by advancing Confederates losing 3 of 9 guns.

PeachOrchard2

General Daniel Sickles who had been leading his troops from the Trostle house began to withdraw due to the pressure of the advancing Confederates. A cannonball caught Sickles in the right leg and he was quickly put on a stretcher and taken to the rear. He sat up and puffed on a cigar as he was being removed from the field to inspire his troops and his leg was amputated later that day.

The Confederates had taken advantage of the salient created by Sickles' tactical error and driven the Union troops out of the Peach Orchard but fortunately for the Union, they held adjacent areas and the Confederates failed to capture the high ground.

< Return from Peach Orchard to Battle of Gettysburg

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