Third and Final Confederate Attack Against Little Round Top

Tom Elmore

1st Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
Two regiments of Robertson and three of Sheffield launched their third attack against the southwestern face of Little Round Top toward sunset on July 2, as part of a general Confederate advance made possible by Wofford’s breakthrough in the Wheatfield. It was their final effort of the day. The Federals meanwhile had been reinforced by Crawford’s two Pennsylvania Reserve brigades of the Fifth Corps, under McCandless and Fisher. They were joined by the vanguard of the Sixth Corps, led by Sedgwick in person – the brigades of Nevin and Bartlett – arriving after a forced marched to the battlefield. The map illustrates the situation at 7:10 p.m. on July 2.

Being re-enforced by the Forty-eighth Alabama … we again charged their works, but were repulsed” – Major John P. Bane, 4th Texas.

I again moved the regiment forward to attack the enemy” – Major J. C. Rogers, 5th Texas.

Our last charge was made about sunset” – Private, Company H, 5th Texas.

our third and last ineffectual charge to dislodge the enemy” – Adjutant R. T. Coles, 4th Alabama.

Just before dark we charged back to about the same place but was forced back for the third time” – Private Jesse Gilley, Company E, 47th Alabama.

About seven o’clock … a third [enemy] assault was made, but it proved no more successful than the previous ones” – Lieutenant Ziba B. Graham, 16th Michigan.

I then changed the front, so as to fire upon the enemy in the open field, at the foot of the mountain [Little Round Top] on my right” – Colonel D. M. DuBose, 15th Georgia.

We were ordered after [the enemy] at the double-quick and close at their heels, broke them again only moments after they had reached the [stone] wall” – Captain James L. Lemon, Company A, 18th Georgia.

Demolishing our third regular line of battle, charging through [the Wheatfield], firing as we went and still on” – Private E. H. Sutton, Company K, 24th Georgia.

Marched to the rear in quick time under a galling fire, in good order” – Captain Thomas S. Dunn, 12th U.S. Regulars.

“[We] had barely gotten into position when all the [Federal] troops in front … were driven back and up the hill” – Colonel David J. Nevin.

The Ninety-third … was posted by General Sedgwick personally on a low rocky knoll” – Major John I. Nevin, 93rd Pennsylvania.

The command was ordered to lie down” – Chaplain Joseph S. Lame, 93rd Pennsylvania.

The Fifth, Ninth, Tenth and Twelfth Regiments of Reserves … moved by the left flank, almost on a double-quick over the hill” – A. P. Morrison, 9th Pennsylvania Reserves.

The Twelfth, being in front, moved off … scrambling as they went over rocks” – Member of the 12th Pennsylvania Reserves.

I threw the Fifth [Pennsylvania Reserves] … and the Twelfth … into line in the immediate rear of Rice” – Colonel Joseph W. Fisher.

Sources:
-Official Reports of Maj. John P. Bane, Maj. J. C. Rogers, Col. D. M. DuBose, Col. David J. Nevin.
-Hood’s Charge at Gettysburg, Private [not identified], Company H, 5th Texas, Camp Fires of the Confederacy, ed. by Ben La Bree, Louisville, KY: Courier-Journal Job Printing Company, 1898, p. 367.
-From Huntsville to Appomattox: R. T. Coles’s History of the 4th Regiment Alabama Volunteer Infantry, C.S.A., Army of Northern Virginia, ed. by Jeffrey D. Stocker, Knoxville: The University of Texas Press, 1996.
-Jessie Gilley, History of Thurman Earl Hendricks and 20 Others in Service of the Confederate States of America, Gen. T. J. Churchill Chapter no. 1373, United Daughters of the Confederacy, Arkansas Division, 1931, p. 212.
-On to Gettysburg, Ten Days from my Diary of 1863, by Ziba B. Graham, Paper Read Before the Commandery of the State of Michigan, at Detroit, March 2, 1889.
-Feed Them the Steel,” Being, the Wartime Recollections of Capt. James Lile Lemon, Co. A, 18th Georgia Infantry, Mark H. Lemon, 2016.
-Grand Pa’s War Stories, by E. H. Sutton, Demorest, GA: Banner Printing Co., p. 42.
-Postwar account of Major John Irwin Nevin, Supplement to the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, ed. by Janet B. Hewitt, Noah A. Trudeau, Bryce A. Suderow, Wilmington, NC: Broadfoot Publishing Company, 1995.
-Address of Chaplain J. S. Lame, Dedication of Monument to the 93rd Pennsylvania Infantry, Pennsylvania at Gettysburg, I:506.
-Address of Sgt. Maj. A. P. Morrison, Dedication of Monument to the 38th Pennsylvania Infantry [9th Pennsylvania Reserves], Pennsylvania at Gettysburg, I:261.
-12th Pennsylvania Reserves (41st Pennsylvania), History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5, by Samuel P. Bates, I:885.
-Postwar statement of Colonel Joseph Washington Fisher, Supplement to the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, ed. by Janet B. Hewitt, Noah A. Trudeau, Bryce A. Suderow, Wilmington, NC: Broadfoot Publishing Company, 1995.
LittleRoundTop1910.jpg
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2021
In some of the old pictures of LRT I'm struck by how much broken stone has been taken away, no doubt for the tourist trade. Looking at it today, visitors really don't get the full picture of how difficult it was to move over those rocks. It looked as if gravel the size of basketballs had been thickly strewn on the hill in some places.
 

infomanpa

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Location
Pennsylvania
In some of the old pictures of LRT I'm struck by how much broken stone has been taken away, no doubt for the tourist trade. Looking at it today, visitors really don't get the full picture of how difficult it was to move over those rocks. It looked as if gravel the size of basketballs had been thickly strewn on the hill in some places.
From trying to climb it, myself, I can attest that it's still extremely difficult with plenty of boulders larger than basketballs! As far as I know, except for the roads, much of the stone on the hillside is still intact as it was during the battle. I would have to see the old pictures to comment further.
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2021
From trying to climb it, myself, I can attest that it's still extremely difficult with plenty of boulders larger than basketballs! As far as I know, except for the roads, much of the stone on the hillside is still intact as it was during the battle. I would have to see the old pictures to comment further.
My reference would be a post by Gettysburg Greg on April 9, 2017 entitled "Images of Hazlett's Battery on Little Round Top from 1880's. Looking at those pictures and ones of the same area today, it seems to my eye that the area has been smoothed out. But I've never been able to walk in that particular part of LRT so maybe it is inappropriate for me to comment. My point, though, was that it just wasn't the big boulders that presented challenges to anyone climbing that hill. Tom quotes the 12th PA Reserves as "scrambling over rocks. "
 

infomanpa

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Location
Pennsylvania
My reference would be a post by Gettysburg Greg on April 9, 2017 entitled "Images of Hazlett's Battery on Little Round Top from 1880's. Looking at those pictures and ones of the same area today, it seems to my eye that the area has been smoothed out. But I've never been able to walk in that particular part of LRT so maybe it is inappropriate for me to comment. My point, though, was that it just wasn't the big boulders that presented challenges to anyone climbing that hill. Tom quotes the 12th PA Reserves as "scrambling over rocks. "
Thanks. I checked the old images that you referenced. It appears that in the 1880s, there was some kind of stone fortification wall on the top of LRT that is no longer there. That's probably the reason for your observation.
 

Doug5861

Private
Joined
Jul 1, 2013
In some of the old pictures of LRT I'm struck by how much broken stone has been taken away, no doubt for the tourist trade. Looking at it today, visitors really don't get the full picture of how difficult it was to move over those rocks. It looked as if gravel the size of basketballs had been thickly strewn on the hill in some places.
Here's a couple of pics of Munshower Knoll after the burn a few years ago. I couldn't imagine trying to move quickly over this ground.
Munshower Knoll - Controlled Burn (3).JPG
Munshower Knoll - Controlled Burn.JPG
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2021
Photo taken from the same rock as above last June 23rd (position of Barnes' Battery C, 1st New York). Also, see photo of LRT from NY at Gettysburg for an appreciation of how very rocky that height was/is.


View attachment 407836View attachment 407840


View attachment 407845
I'd love to see this last picture (looks like a postcard?) with arrows imposed on it showing where noted landmarks/memorials are today. Walking the battlefield is on my bucket list, but pictures are the next best thing as long as I know what I'm looking at 😒
 
Top