A Walk on Powers Hill

Gettysburg Guide #154

Sergeant
Member of the Month
Joined
Dec 30, 2019
Yesterday's weather was too good to spend indoors, so a visit to the Gettysburg Battlefield was inevitable. It was a perfect day for a walk on the seldom visited Powers Hill. In case you are not aware, there is a gravel parking area on the south side of Granite Schoolhouse Lane (hereafter called "GSL"), just a short way from its intersection with Baltimore Pike.
Rigby Bty fr south base of Powers H.jpeg


Rather than climbing straight up through the tall grass and over various rocks, the easier path is to follow along the inside of the stone wall along GSL. Just as you come to the edge of the woods, there will be a stone wall extending up the hill. However, before you start to ascend, take a moment to look across the wall. There you will find the left flank marker for the 77th NY Infantry just a little more than a rod or so east of GSL.
77th NY LF near GSL.jpeg

Then walk along the wall headed up the hill (stay on the south side of the wall for easier walking) and you will come to the monument of the 77th NY Infantry. The 77th NY was part of Brig. Gen. Thomas Neill's Brigade. When Neill moved the brigade to the right of the Union line to engage skirmishers from the 2d VA Infantry, the 77th remained behind in this area as infantry support for the Union artillery on Powers Hill, and perhaps as added support for Slocum's Headquarters at the western base of the hill.
77th NY fr south - front.jpeg

77th NY rear.jpeg

Continuing up the hill on the hill you will easily find the right flank marker for the 77th NY.
77th NY RF.jpeg

Cross the wall wherever you think it is safe, and climb to the summit of the hill. Here you will find the monument for Rigby's Battery A, Maryland Light Artillery. This battery was part of the Artillery Reserve of the Army of the Potomac. They were assigned here as support for the 12th Corps. They took position here on the morning of July 2.
Rigby Bty A MD Lt fr SE.jpeg



Although they attempted to engage the Confederate batteries on Benner;s Hill on the afternoon of July 2, it ws quickly determined that the range was too far. On the morning of July 3, they opened fire (along with the 12th Corps batteries) on Confederates who had taken the southern portion of the Union entrenchments during the evening of July 2. Looking to the west, one can see that Confederate position on the other side of Spangler's Meadow. The O.R report indicates that they fired slowly for about 3 hours and expended only 211 shells in all.
Spangler Meadow fr Rigby Bty.jpeg


Rigby's Battery was armed with six 3" ordinance rifles. The guns placed near the monument appear to have tubes that are authentic Civil War era pieces.
R Gun at Rigby Btry.jpeg

The markings on the muzzle of the left gun were nearly obliterated. Can any of you make it out?
L gun Rigby Btry.jpeg

Continuing the walk to the north and downhill, you will come to Atwell's Battery E, Pennsylvania Light Artillery (a/k/a Knap's Battery).
Atwell Bty E PA Lt. Powers H.jpeg

Atwell Btry E PA Lt rear.jpeg

The battery was armed with six 10 lb. Parrott Rifles, 3 of which were employed on Culp's Hill (where another marker can be found) on the afternoon of July 2. This is likely where the 3 casualties were incurred. They were withdrawn and the entire battery placed on Powers Hill when most of the 12th Corps was ordered to the left of the Union line. Their field of fire is shown below. Note that one can pick out the 46th Pennsylvania Infantry monument on lower Culp's Hill. That monument is along the breastworks seized by Confederates when the regiment was ordered to the left of the Union line.
46th PA fr Powers H.jpeg

Continuing further north, you will again come to a stone wall. The wall is more easily crossed at a point a little ways into the woods on your left. On the other side of the wall you will find the monument for Winegar's Battery M, 1st New York Light Artillery. Actually, only two of the four 10 lb. Parrott Rifles of this battery were located in this vicinity. (Note that I 'm not sure the this monument is in quite the right spot.) The other two gun section was on the west side of Baltimore Pike.
Winegar Bty. M NY Lt..jpeg

The guns displayed with both Atwell's and Winegar's Batteries appear to be reproductions.

Retracing my steps on the return trip, I noticed that one could see what I believe is the barn on the George Spangler Farm from a point along GSL.
G Spangler Barn fr GSL nr Powers H.jpeg

I enjoyed my walk and hope you enjoyed this effort to bring you along, if only virtually.
 

infomanpa

Sergeant Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Location
Pennsylvania
I had to laugh because while you were up on Power's Hill, I may have been walking around Spangler's Meadow and the field on the ridge just south of it. I actually looked closely at your zoomed in picture to see if I was in it! I could clearly see Power's Hill from the meadow. It's one of the advantages of visiting without the foliage.
 

eBrowne

Corporal
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Looking at a map, it appears to be about 8500 feet or 2833 yards from Powers Hill to Benner's Hill. The effective range of 3-inch ordnance is listed as 1830 yards at 5 degrees. Maximum range is listed as 4180 yards. At 2833 yards, Benner's Hill proved out of effective range for Rigby's battery.
 

Tom Elmore

2nd Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
Just before noon on July 3, Slocum was up on the northern crest of Culp's Hill (near the modern-day tower), where he greeted a group of prisoners, mainly from the 4th Virginia. (Account of Captain Givens Brown Strickler, Company I, 4th Virginia)
 

John S. Carter

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
Yesterday's weather was too good to spend indoors, so a visit to the Gettysburg Battlefield was inevitable. It was a perfect day for a walk on the seldom visited Powers Hill. In case you are not aware, there is a gravel parking area on the south side of Granite Schoolhouse Lane (hereafter called "GSL"), just a short way from its intersection with Baltimore Pike.
View attachment 384351

Rather than climbing straight up through the tall grass and over various rocks, the easier path is to follow along the inside of the stone wall along GSL. Just as you come to the edge of the woods, there will be a stone wall extending up the hill. However, before you start to ascend, take a moment to look across the wall. There you will find the left flank marker for the 77th NY Infantry just a little more than a rod or so east of GSL.
View attachment 384337
Then walk along the wall headed up the hill (stay on the south side of the wall for easier walking) and you will come to the monument of the 77th NY Infantry. The 77th NY was part of Brig. Gen. Thomas Neill's Brigade. When Neill moved the brigade to the right of the Union line to engage skirmishers from the 2d VA Infantry, the 77th remained behind in this area as infantry support for the Union artillery on Powers Hill, and perhaps as added support for Slocum's Headquarters at the western base of the hill.
View attachment 384339
View attachment 384340
Continuing up the hill on the hill you will easily find the right flank marker for the 77th NY.
View attachment 384341
Cross the wall wherever you think it is safe, and climb to the summit of the hill. Here you will find the monument for Rigby's Battery A, Maryland Light Artillery. This battery was part of the Artillery Reserve of the Army of the Potomac. They were assigned here as support for the 12th Corps. They took position here on the morning of July 2.
View attachment 384342


Although they attempted to engage the Confederate batteries on Benner;s Hill on the afternoon of July 2, it ws quickly determined that the range was too far. On the morning of July 3, they opened fire (along with the 12th Corps batteries) on Confederates who had taken the southern portion of the Union entrenchments during the evening of July 2. Looking to the west, one can see that Confederate position on the other side of Spangler's Meadow. The O.R report indicates that they fired slowly for about 3 hours and expended only 211 shells in all.
View attachment 384343

Rigby's Battery was armed with six 3" ordinance rifles. The guns placed near the monument appear to have tubes that are authentic Civil War era pieces.
View attachment 384344
The markings on the muzzle of the left gun were nearly obliterated. Can any of you make it out?
View attachment 384345
Continuing the walk to the north and downhill, you will come to Atwell's Battery E, Pennsylvania Light Artillery (a/k/a Knap's Battery).
View attachment 384346
View attachment 384347
The battery was armed with six 10 lb. Parrott Rifles, 3 of which were employed on Culp's Hill (where another marker can be found) on the afternoon of July 2. This is likely where the 3 casualties were incurred. They were withdrawn and the entire battery placed on Powers Hill when most of the 12th Corps was ordered to the left of the Union line. Their field of fire is shown below. Note that one can pick out the 46th Pennsylvania Infantry monument on lower Culp's Hill. That monument is along the breastworks seized by Confederates when the regiment was ordered to the left of the Union line.
View attachment 384348
Continuing further north, you will again come to a stone wall. The wall is more easily crossed at a point a little ways into the woods on your left. On the other side of the wall you will find the monument for Winegar's Battery M, 1st New York Light Artillery. Actually, only two of the four 10 lb. Parrott Rifles of this battery were located in this vicinity. (Note that I 'm not sure the this monument is in quite the right spot.) The other two gun section was on the west side of Baltimore Pike.
View attachment 384349
The guns displayed with both Atwell's and Winegar's Batteries appear to be reproductions.

Retracing my steps on the return trip, I noticed that one could see what I believe is the barn on the George Spangler Farm from a point along GSL.
View attachment 384350
I enjoyed my walk and hope you enjoyed this effort to bring you along, if only virtually.
The pictures are nice but would you include a map of the area in which this took place ,thank you
 

Niagara1864

Cadet
Joined
Aug 2, 2019
Location
Niagara County NY
Great virtual tour! One correction to note, Battery M of the 1st NY Light Artillery was actually commanded by Captain John Woodbury, Winegar was a Lieutenant at the time. Being on the far right of the union line their role in the battle was minuscule; their only action was shelling a farmhouse that was being used by confederate snipers, the ruins of which can still be seen on the battlefield.
 

Tom Elmore

2nd Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
Great virtual tour! One correction to note, Battery M of the 1st NY Light Artillery was actually commanded by Captain John Woodbury, Winegar was a Lieutenant at the time. Being on the far right of the union line their role in the battle was minuscule; their only action was shelling a farmhouse that was being used by confederate snipers, the ruins of which can still be seen on the battlefield.
First Lieutenant Edward D. Muhlenberg, commanding the Twelfth Corps artillery brigade, states in his official report that Lieutenant Winegar commanded the battery at Gettysburg.

Also, according to a sketch prepared by Private William H. Holmes for New York at Gettysburg, III:1265, Woodbury was then a lieutenant in charge of the right section on Powers Hill, while Lieutenant Smith led the left section posted just off the Baltimore Pike along the road leading to the McAllister house, but Lieutenant Winegar was in overall command of the battery. Woodbury's section was engaged in shelling the Confederates on Culp's Hill on the morning of July 3. It was also noted that Woodbury's section "was considerably farther to the left and front of that indicated by the battery's monument."
 

rpkennedy

Lt. Colonel
Member of the Year
Joined
May 18, 2011
Location
Carlisle, PA
First Lieutenant Edward D. Muhlenberg, commanding the Twelfth Corps artillery brigade, states in his official report that Lieutenant Winegar commanded the battery at Gettysburg.

Also, according to a sketch prepared by Private William H. Holmes for New York at Gettysburg, III:1265, Woodbury was then a lieutenant in charge of the right section on Powers Hill, while Lieutenant Smith led the left section posted just off the Baltimore Pike along the road leading to the McAllister house, but Lieutenant Winegar was in overall command of the battery. Woodbury's section was engaged in shelling the Confederates on Culp's Hill on the morning of July 3. It was also noted that Woodbury's section "was considerably farther to the left and front of that indicated by the battery's monument."

The situation between Lt. Winegar and Lt. Woodbury is odd. Officially, Woodbury was promoted to captain in May (Captain George Cothran resigned and the promotion was backdated into April) but Winegar seems to have commanded the battery at Gettysburg. One has to wonder if word of the promotion had reached the army by July.

Ryan
 

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