Peach Orchard - Gettysburg, PA
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
N 39° 48.053 W 077° 14.978
18S E 307406 N 4408078
Quick Description: A very famous second day battlefield consisting today of a replanted peach orchard and many monuments is marked by a cast iron sign denoting the historical nature of this site.
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Date Posted: 7/19/2011 5:33:01 PM
Waymark Code: WMC37Z
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Turtle3863
Views: 3

Long Description:

The Peach Orchard is a very famous battlefield at Gettysburg. The tale of this battle very complex, involved many regiments and batteries and is a little hard to follow. The battle occurred on July 2, 1863. The site is located at the southeast corner of the north-south Emmitsburg Road intersection with Wheatfield Road. A cast iron tablet marks the location.

I found a history of the battle and of the orchard on Wikipedia (as well as countless other internet sites) and quite frankly I am going to quote it right here as I am unable to provide a better narrative or explanation of the the event which transpired here almost 150 years ago:

By 1858, the Peach Orchard had been planted along the south side of the Wheatfield Road by Rev. Joseph Sherfy, who had a homestead to the north on the opposite (west) side of the Emmitsburg Road.

While the right wing of Kershaw's brigade attacked into the Wheatfield, its left wing wheeled left to attack the Pennsylvania troops in the brigade of Brig. Gen. Charles K. Graham, the right flank of Birney's line, where 30 guns from the III Corps and the Artillery Reserve attempted to hold the sector. The South Carolinians were subjected to infantry volleys from the Peach Orchard and canister from all along the line. Suddenly someone unknown shouted a false command, and the attacking regiments turned to their right, toward the Wheatfield, which presented their left flank to the batteries and "Hundreds of the bravest and best men of Carolina fell".

Meanwhile, the two brigades on McLaws's left—Barksdale's in front and Wofford's behind—charged directly into the Peach Orchard, the point of the salient in Sickles's line. Gen. Barksdale led the charge on horseback, long hair flowing in the wind, sword waving in the air. Brig. Gen. Andrew A. Humphreys's division had only about 1,000 men to cover the 500 yards (460 m) from the Peach Orchard northward along the Emmitsburg Road to the lane leading to the Abraham Trostle farm. Some were still facing south, from where they had been firing on Kershaw's brigade, so they were hit in their vulnerable flank. Barksdale's 1,600 Mississippians wheeled left against the flank of Humphreys's division, collapsing their line, regiment by regiment. Graham's brigade retreated back toward Cemetery Ridge; Graham had two horses shot under from under him. He was hit by a shell fragment, and by a bullet in his upper body. He was eventually captured by the 21st Mississippi. Wofford's men dealt with the defenders of the orchard.

The infantry forced the Union artillery batteries in the orchard and on the Wheatfield Road to withdraw, with six Napoleons of Capt. John Bigelow's 9th Massachusetts battery, on the left of the line, "retired by prolonge," a technique rarely used in which the cannon was dragged backwards as it fired rapidly, the movement aided by the gun's recoil. By the time they reach the Trostle house, they were told to hold the position to cover the infantry retreat, but they were eventually overrun by troops of the 21st Mississippi, who captured three of their guns.

Humphreys was defeated when the Confederate en echelon attack continued and his front and right flank began to be assaulted by the Third Corps division of Richard H. Anderson on Cemetery Ridge.

SOURCE

Farmer Sherfy salvaged as many of the damaged orchard trees as he could and planted new tress to replace those that died. He continued to sell canned peaches from his orchard as he had before it was touched by war, but he added an advertisement that they were from his original peach trees on the battleground! Today, the Gettysburg peach orchard has been replanted and is maintained as a recreated battlefield site. I parked across the road and walked around a bit. The peach orchard is pretty expansive. In front of the orchard, 40 feet from the road are 4 huge monuments to read. There are also other monuments too in the immediate area.

Related Website: [Web Link]

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