The Peach Orchard
It was nearing noon on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg that a Union general, Daniel Sickles, made a fatefull decision. His Third Corps had been positioned on the main Union Line, which ran along Cemetery Ridge, south of the vilage of Gettysburg. As he studied the terrain in his front, Sickles noted higher ground along the Emmitsburg Road, There were two farmhouses there, as well as a large peach orchard. Sickles pnndered this situation for a rime, and at about two p.m., he ordered his corps forward to occupy this high ground. Unfortunately, he hadn't enough men to practicably fill his newly-chosen line. He placed troops at the two farmhouses. One of them, a red building, is visible at right center beyond the rail fence. Sickles also emplaced troops in the Peach Orchard, center to left of the image and around a large wheatfield just behind this position, and at rthe large jumble of rocks and boulders named by those who fought there as the Devil's Den. Just after three p.m., Confederate General James Longstreet launched a miles long battle line against the Union left. C.S.A. General WEilliam Barksdale had already taken note of Sickle's unwise advance of his line, and he therefore led his Mississippi brigade against Sickle's thinly-spread line. Barksdale's men blew through Sickles' like and into the Wheat Field behind the Peach orchard, a position the Confederates held after hours of heavy fighting. General Barksdale was mortally wounded during this attack and General Sickles was struck in the leg by a cannon shot as he watched the fighting from a knoll next to the Trostle farm house. His leg ws amputated later that day, effectively ending Sickles' military career.
ThePeachOrchardBattle of GettysburgC.S. ArmyDaniel SicklesDevil's DenGettysburgGettysburg National Battlefield ParkJames LongstreetPeach OrchardPennsylvaniaThe GorgeWilliam Barksdaleapproacharmyassaultboulderbouldersconfederatefederaljaigieesejon stephensonrebelrebelsrockrocksrockyu.s. armyunionJon G. Stephenson, from