Return to Devil’s Den

I visit Gettysburg often, and, as people who know me can tell you, I like to spend a lot of time around Little Round Top and the ground west of it, including the Wheatfield, the Rose farm, and Devil’s Den.  Among the locations I would visit was a monument to James E. Smith’s 4th New York Battery, which stood astride a ridge by Devil’s Den, a short walk from the sharpshooter’s rest and facing the Triangular Field.  Two sections of the battery were located there, while a third section was located just east of the Wheatfield and west of the park road (Crawford Avenue) that ran north and south at the western base of Little Round Top … a location sometimes known as the Valley of Death.

That terrain’s changed a great deal over time due in part to the NPS terrain restoration program, which seeks as much as possible to restore battlefield vegetation, fence lines, and fields to their 1863 appearance (while making concessions for park roads and monuments).  Some changes happen due to repairs: for several years the artillery pieces near Crawford Avenue were not in place.  Finally, some changes were due to vandalism, including some serious damage to the monument to Smith’s battery.

I’m glad to report that both the cannon and the statue have been restored.

By the way, I find Gettysburg Daily a wonderful website for those of us who want to keep up with the evolution of the Gettysburg battlefield and various aspects of the campaign.  The site’s author is a mystery to some, not to others, and I’ll leave it that way.

7 thoughts on “Return to Devil’s Den

  1. Jackson December 21, 2011 / 3:39 pm

    Thanks so much for this posting it’s great to see beautiful monuments restored. I am a member of the SCV in N.C. and consider all Civil War Monuments both North and South precious and abhor those that would cause harm to any. I love roaming the battleground which was Gettysburg.

  2. Lyle Smith December 21, 2011 / 10:04 pm

    Gettysburg Daily is wonderful. Hats off to those people.

  3. Roger E Watson December 22, 2011 / 6:59 am

    Gettysburg is my favorite. Especially Little Round Top !

  4. Ian Duncanson December 22, 2011 / 3:18 pm

    If you like the Gettysburg Daily website, I highly recommend that you support it with a contribution. Happy Hollidays,

  5. Terry Walbert December 27, 2011 / 3:07 am

    Brooks,

    If you had to recommend five books on the battle, which ones would they be?

    • Brooks D. Simpson December 27, 2011 / 2:37 pm

      Good question. I’d start with Coddington’s The Gettysburg Campaign, supplemented by Stephen Sears’s Gettysburg. After that, it matters what one’s interests are. For example, anything by Eric Wittenberg on cavalry actions commands my attention, although I’m not a specialist in that area. Then there are the books on memory, tourism, etc. It’s hard to recommend Killer Angels, which is interesting as literature but flawed as history.

  6. Ian Duncanson December 27, 2011 / 11:29 am

    The Gettysburg Campaign – A Study in Command by Edwin Coddington

    Gettysburg Campaign Atlas by Philip Laino (2nd Ed)

    Pickett’s Charge by George Stewart

    Stand Firm Ye Boys From Maine by Thomas Desjardin

    These Honored Dead by Thomas Desjardin

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