For beginning students, one of the greatest challenges to understanding the Battle of Gettysburg is remembering “who’s who.” The student must know the names and general battlefield locations of about thirty brigade commanders in two different armies just to understand high-level troop movements for the first day of battle (July 1, 1863). On top of that, we must know the division and corps commander for each brigade.
“Gettysburg July 1 – Master the Basics Quiz” is designed to help you develop enough of a “who’s who” knowledge that you can understand the many monuments and structures on the north end of Gettysburg National Military Park.
At first, trying to learn the brigade commanders for the Union and Confederate armies may feel overwhelming and unnecessary. Although rote memorization of the results of this quiz will not in itself contribute to a meaningful understanding of battlefield events, having this information handy while reading or touring can be very helpful. It can mean the difference between understanding a chapter that you are reading in a book and understanding nothing whatsoever.
Gettysburg July 1 – Master the Basics Quiz
You might be surprised at how quickly you can become familiar with Gettysburg’s brigade commanders simply by playing with the following interactive quizzes.
For help understanding the battle, you may want to refer to two Civil War Cycling web resources:
First, Hal Jespersen’s high-level maps of the Gettysburg Campaign, along with Civil War Cycling’s supplementary text. These are traditional, colorful military maps that will help you to place the names of soldiers onto the Gettysburg battlefield.
Second, Civil War Cycling’s “July 1 Study Notes.” This outline of battlefield events — with maps and photos — contains EVERYTHING that you need to score well on “Gettysburg July 1 – Master the Basics Quiz.”
Confederates Attack the 1st Corps at Herr and McPherson Ridges
Confederate infantry pressed southeast toward Gettysburg along the Chambersburg Pike. At about 7:30 A.M., Confederate Gen. Henry Heth’s division attacked Union Brig. Gen. John Buford’s cavalry. Buford held McPherson’s Ridge on the west side of the Lutheran Seminary until Maj. Gen. John F. Reynolds’ 1st Corps infantry arrived. Shortly before 11:00 A.M., Reynolds was shot in the neck and died. Fighting continued until about noon, after which there was roughly a two-hour lull in the fighting.
Confederates Attack the 1st Corps from Oak Hill
At about 2:30 P.M., Confederate Maj. Gen. Robert E. Rodes attacked from the high ground on Oak Hill, which was north of the Union center line on July 1. Under the divisional leadership of Union Brig. Gens. James S. Wadsworth and John C. Robinson, the Confederate attack was repulsed. By late in the afternoon, around 4:00 P.M., however, the line broke and the 1st Corps retreated south through town.
Confederates Flank the 11th Corps at Barlow’s Knoll
Around the same time as the attack from Oak Hill, Confederate Maj. Gen. Jubal Early attacked Maj. Gen Oliver O. Howard’s 11th Corps at Barlow’s Knoll, northeast of the town center. Flanked by the Confederates, the 11th Corps line broke and they retreated south through town.
Union Troops Retreat Through Town
In the late afternoon, around 4:00 P.M., the Union line north of town broke and the 1st and 11th corps of the Army of the Potomac (USA) retreated through Gettysburg to high ground (Cemetery Hill) south of town. Throughout the evening and early morning hours, the Army of the Potomac continued to stream into the Gettysburg area.
These quizzes contain “common knowledge” that I drew from several sources; see Civil War Cycling’s Gettysburg Reading List. I relied heavily on two books by Bradley M. Gottfried. One was The Maps of Gettysburg (New York: Savas Beatie, 2010) and the other was Brigades of Gettysburg (New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2012). All mistakes are mine.
Gettysburg Quiz – Gettysburg July 1 – Master the Basics Quiz.Back to Quizzes Read Day 1 Details