Benner's Hill - Gettysburg, PA
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
N 39° 49.672 W 077° 12.811
18S E 310572 N 4410996
Quick Description: Benner's Hill is a Civil War battlefield about .95 miles west of the center of town & .91 miles N.E. of Cemetery Hill. It was from here, on July 2, 1863, Confederate artillery pounded Union positions @ Cemetery Hill, Culp's Hill and Stevens' Knoll.
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Date Posted: 8/2/2013 1:01:02 PM
Waymark Code: WMHQ0V
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 1

Long Description:

This Civil War site and battlefield is the last place I visited only because I did not know it was here. It is way off the usual beaten path of the Battlefield, a mile away from everything of consequence. There is a string of monuments and guns/rifles along this road which ends abruptly in a cul-de-sac. This is also an interpretive which explains the significance of this site (More on that at the bottom).

On July 2nd, 1863, several Confederate artillery batteries from Major Joseph W. Latimer's and Lt. Colonel William Nelson's Battalions of Ewell's Second Corps tried to provide artillery support from here to the attack of Johnson's Division on Cemetery Hill. It was not a good position, as Benner's Hill is a long, narrow ridge running almost perpendicular to the Union lines, which forced the Confederate pieces to crowd together.

But it was the best position available, and at around 4 p.m. fourteen Confederate guns opened fire on Cemetery Hill. For an hour and a half they dueled twenty-four Union guns on Cemetery Hill, Culp's Hill and Stevens' Knoll. The unequal hour and a half contest ended with Major Latimer mortally wounded and the badly battered Confederate batteries withdrawn before the Confederate infantry attack could begin.

Today the hill provides excellent views of Gettysburg and the Cemetery and Culp's Hill areas, particularly from just past the turnaround loop on the south end of the park road. Parking is available anywhere along the paved park road, which runs south of Hanover Road. The markers and park land continue north of Hanover Road, although the park road does not. SOURCE That area is next to a private residence and runs along from the front tot he back of the property.

The posted coordinates are for the interpretive which is located @ the intersection of Benner's Hill Loop and Hanover Road (Pennsylvania Highway 116), on the right or west side of the road when traveling south on Benner's Hill Loop. The interpretive is 586 south of the intersection. This interpretive is the third stop along the road. The first stop as you enter this short road is the Graham's Rockbridge Artillery Tablet (MN630-A) and the second is the Brown’s Chesapeake Artillery Tablet (MN620-A), all of which is on the same side of the road as this marker. Parking is available all up and down the narrow road. Take care to not park on anything remotely green looking as Park Police will happily ticket you. I visited this site on Monday, July 1, 2013 on the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg @ 1:02 PM, EDT. As always, I used my trusty and oft abused Canon PowerShot 14.1 Megapixel, SX210 IS digital camera for the photos.

The interpretive reads:

"The most accurate fire I have yet seen from their artillery."
Colonel Charles S. Wainwright
1st Corps Artillery Brigade, USA

The Confederate battle plan on July 2 called for General Richard Ewell's Second Corps to threaten the right flank of the Union army, while General Longstreet made the main attack against the Union left flank. Ewell planned to open his part of the action by shelling the Union positions on Cemetery Hill and Culp's Hill with the artillery battalion of Major Joseph W. Latimer.

This ridge, known as Benner's Hill, proved the best location available to Latimer and during the afternoon he placed fourteen guns here. At 4 p.m. they opened fire upon the Union batteries on Cemetery Hill. Over twenty-four Union guns replied, including guns on the summit of Culp's Hill and at Stevens' Knoll, midway between Culp's and Cemetery Hills.

For nearly one and one-half hours the opposing artillery blazed away at one another. The superior firepower and elevation enjoyed by the Union artillery battered Latimer's batteries. One Confederate officer described a scene of "guns dismounted and disabled, carriages splintered and crushed, ammunition chests exploded, limbers upset, wounded horses plunging and kicking." Latimer suffered a terrible wound to his right arm. As he was carried from the field "in a clear and steady voice" he called to his men to fight harder and avenge his loss. But valor alone could not overcome the intense Union fire and Latimer's battalion was forced to withdraw to cover, ending the artillery conflict on this part of the battlefield.

More About the Interpretive:
A portrait of Latimer carries the caption, Confederate Major Joseph W. Latimer was 19 years old at Gettysburg. A Union shell mangled his right arm during the artillery duel here. The limb was amputated but infection set in and he died August 1, 1863. One of his officers wrote that during the battle, Latimer, "was most gallant, showing the greatest coolness and bravery under the most trying circumstances."

The main photo on the right show An early 1900's view toward Culp's Hill and East Cemetery Hill, showing the ground much as it appeared on July 2, 1863. The three positions from which Union artillery engaged Latimer's guns are all visible. Culp's Hill is at the left, marked by the battlefield tower on its summit. East Cemetery Hill is to the far right. Stevens' Knoll is the open space midway between Culp's Hill and Cemetery Hill.

A smaller photo to the lower right is captioned, An early 1900's view looking northwest toward Gettysburg past the position of Raine's Battery.

Name of Battle:
Battle if Gettysburg

Name of War: American Civil War

Entrance Fee: 0.00 (listed in local currency)

Date(s) of Battle (Beginning): 7/1/1863

Date of Battle (End): 7/3/1863

Parking: Not Listed

Visit Instructions:
Post a photo of you and/or your GPS in front of a sign or marker posted at the site of the battle.

In addition it is encouraged to take a few photos two of the surrounding area and interesting features at the site.
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