How I Confirmed Location of Post Battle Photograph on Little Round Top

Gettysburg Greg

Sergeant
Joined
Jun 6, 2010
Location
Decatur, Illinois
I thought I would post an example of how I confirmed the correct location of a then and now, this one on Little Round Top. The original photo is credited to Gibson, Gardner's assistant and was taken just a couple of days after the troops departed. Positioned to the left of the 16th Michigan on the south shelf of Little Round Top, the 44th/12th NY constructed these works after the heavy fighting that took place here on July 2, 1863. The view is looking up towards the summit from the Confederate side of the works. It is interesting to note the difference between the tightly compacted rock wall built to stop incoming bullets from Confederate riflemen versus the loosely stacked rocks (work done by government workers ;-) ) seen in the reconstructed version.
The anchor rock on the left was key to positively identifying the location. The arrows are pointing out these uniquely curved cracks on this rock that have remained unchanged for 157 years. On the bottom is a photo from last year in which I am pointing out the cracks on the anchor rock. I initially found the location using the map in Frassanito's classic, "Gettysburg-A Journey in Time", but the cracks in the anchor rock confirmed I was in the right place.
BW LRT.jpg
 
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infomanpa

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Location
Pennsylvania
I thought I would post an example of how I confirmed the correct location of a then and now, this one on Little Round Top. The original photo is credited to Gibson, Gardner's assistant and was taken just a couple of days after the troops departed. Positioned to the left of the 16th Michigan on the south shelf of Little Round Top, the 44th/12th NY constructed these works after the heavy fighting that took place here on July 2, 1863. The view is looking up towards the summit from the Confederate side of the works. It is interesting to note the difference between the tightly compacted rock wall built to stop incoming bullets from Confederate riflemen versus the loosely stacked rocks (work done by government workers ;-) ) seen in the reconstructed version.
The anchor rock on the left was key to positively identifying the location. The arrows are pointing out these uniquely curved cracks on this rock that have remained unchanged for 157 years. On the bottom is a photo from last year in which I am pointing out the cracks on the anchor rock. I initially found the location using the map in Frassanito's classic, "Gettysburg-A Journey in Time", but the cracks in the anchor rock confirmed I was in the right place.
View attachment 392747
Good work! Again, you help to put to rest a common myth that battlefield boulders have noticeably eroded since the battle.
 

Sundance

Private
Joined
Oct 11, 2020
Thanks for the post. I have an ancestor that died in the charge of the 140th NY as they went to the aid of the faltering 16th Michigan. I was able to match a stone up several years back probably less than 100 yards from the one you show. The photo is a full length shot of a deceased soldier in the Slaughter Pen (I believe that's what it was called). The soldier is laying in front of a huge rectangular (roughly) stone much longer than the soldier. The stone is there staring at you plain as day just east of the Devils Den.
 

Gettysburg Guide #154

Sergeant
Member of the Month
Joined
Dec 30, 2019
As always, Greg provides an interesting comparison. His observation about the soldiers building a wall with a purpose, versus just piling up some rocks is well taken.

From what I have read about Gettysburg's geology, the diabase rock in this area is erosion resistive. Indeed, part of the reason that the ridge at Devil's Den and the two round tops exist is that much of what was around them eroded away, leaving the higher ground we see today.

It's a shame that we cannot really see the top of the hill on the old Gibson photo. The topography of the hilltop was surely changed when the monument was erected. Also, I am told that the park road actually came out near the 140th NY and 44th/12th NY monuments at one time in the past, so that must have altered things as well.
 
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