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 more than fifty brigade commanders in two different armies just to understand high-level troop movements for the second day of battle (July 2, 1863). On top of that, we must know the division and corps commander for each brigade.
“Gettysburg July 2 – 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 south half 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 2 – Master the Basics Quiz
- 1. Confederates Attack the Union Left Flank
- 2. Confederates Attack the Union Right Flank
Gettysburg July 2 – 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 2 Study Notes.” This outline of battlefield events — with maps and photos — contains EVERYTHING that you need to score well on “Gettysburg July 2 – Master the Basics Quiz.”
1. Confederates Attack the Union Left Flank
The Confederate attack on the Union left flank lasted about four hours. It started at about 4:00 P.M. and ended around 8:00 P.M.
Devil’s Den and Little Round Top (about 2 hours)
At about 4:00 P.M., Confederate Lt. Gen. James Longstreet attacked at Devil’s Den and slammed into Little Round Top within thirty minutes. Longstreet commanded the 1st Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia under Gen. Robert E. Lee.
The Confederates hit Union Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Sickles’ far left. Sickles commanded the 3rd Corps of the Army of the Potomac under Maj. Gen. George G. Meade.
The Wheatfield and Rose Woods (about 1-2 hours)
By 4:30 P.M., the fighting rolled along Sickles’ line from the south — through The Wheatfield and Rose Woods (and Stony Hill, which is in Rose Woods).
The Peach Orchard (about 1.5 hours)
Starting around 6:00 P.M., Longstreet attacked the Union line farther north, moving west toward Sickles’ center — through The Peach Orchard.
The Union Center at Cemetery Ridge (about 1 hour)
By 7:00 PM, Confederate Lt. Gen. Ambrose P. Hill attacked Sickles’ right flank and threatened the Union center. The Confederate division under Maj. Gen. Richard H. Anderson penetrated Cemetery Ridge briefly, only to be repulsed by Union reinforcements.
Little Round Top, Through the Valley of Death (about 30 minutes)
Shortly before 8:00 P.M., having gained control of The Wheatfield, Confederates from Longstreet’s Corps drove southeast to rush Little Round Top, but they were repulsed by Union reinforcements.
2. Confederates Attack the Union Right Flank
The Confederate attack on the Union right flank lasted about six or seven hours, with breaks. It started at about 4:00 P.M. and ended around 10:00 or 11:00 P.M.
At about 4:00 PM, Confederate artillery on Benner’s Hill open-fired on Cemetery Hill for a short time. At about 8:00 PM, Confederate Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell ordered Maj. Gen. Jubal A. Early’s infantry division to attack from the northeast. The fighting lasted for about 2-3 hours.
At about 8:00 PM, Ewell ordered Maj. Gen. Edward Johnson’s infantry division to attack Culp’s Hill from the east. The fighting lasted for about 2-3 hours.
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.
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