For the bicycling historian, prominent natural and physical structures on the battlefield landscape are helpful orienteering landmarks. They help a bicyclist know where she is and where she may want to go. But they also inform the bicyclist’s understanding of the interplay between geography and battlefield events. In this article, we provide a map and photographs for five structures on Cemetery Ridge that are visible from Confederate positions on Seminary Ridge.
- A Confederate View from Seminary Ridge
- Landscape Photos of Cemetery Ridge
- 5 Orienteering Landmarks
- Map of Cemetery Ridge
- Where to Find Monument Information Online
- A Bicyclist’s Summary
A Confederate View from Seminary Ridge
First, let’s start with some historical context. On July 3, 1863, Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia — specifically, divisions under the corps command of Lt. Gens. James Longstreet and Ambrose P. Hill — attacked from Seminary Ridge to Cemetery Ridge.
The action became known as Pickett’s Charge, named after division commander, Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett. If you want to read more about this deadly, failed assault, please see Civil War Cycling’s Gettysburg Study Notes, especially “Summary – Battle of Gettysburg Day 3.”
On the other hand, for a bicyclist who wants to get oriented on the battlefield, it is enough know the location of the ridges and a few prominent structures. Also, it helps to create a mental map that includes army movements, like the map provided here.
Landscape Photos of Cemetery Ridge
From Longstreet Observation Tower
On the southern end of Seminary Ridge (technically, the Warfield Ridge extension), the Longstreet Observation Tower on West Confederate Avenue offers a commanding eastern view. You can see the U.S. Regulars and Vermont State Monuments, for example, in our photo. The photo also shows how Emmitsburg Road (in the middle) cuts across the ridges and through two farms, the Klingel and Sherfy Farms, from left to right.
From the Barrel of a Confederate Cannon
Next, let’s look at Cemetery Ridge from the barrel of a Confederate cannon on the northern end of Seminary Ridge. We identify four landmark monuments in the following photo, which are about one mile way.
In order, they are:
- High Water Mark Monument (Copse of Trees), a focal point for Pickett’s Charge
- U.S. Regulars Monument, which honors federal soldiers at Gettysburg
- Vermont State Monument
- Pennsylvania State Monument
If you look carefully, you will also notice a red barn that is north (left) of the Vermont monument (3). This brings to five the number of orienteering landmarks that a bicyclist can use to study the Gettysburg landscape.
In its broader context, the Pennsylvania State Monument stands roughly in the middle of Cemetery Ridge along its north-south axis. Little Round Top is out of the camera’s view, farther to the right (south). Culp’s Hill is also out of view, and behind (east of) the U.S. Regulars Monument.
5 Orienteering Landmarks
1-4. Monuments on Cemetery Ridge
Gettysburg’s 1,300+ monuments tell the story of the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863). The High Water Mark Monument behind the Copse of Trees, for example, describes the efforts of Union soldiers who repulsed Pickett’s Charge near that spot. Also, the U.S. Regulars Monument recognizes the federal soldiers who fought on the Union center line at Gettysburg. And the Vermont and Pennsylvania State Monuments honor not only state soldiers, but their valor while fighting on Cemetery Ridge. None of these monuments existed during the battle, of course.
The tallest monuments on Cemetery Ridge help bicyclists and other tourists to get oriented on the battlefield, because they can be seen from Seminary Ridge, as we have just seen. Fortunately, it is easy to memorize their shapes and locations, since we identify only four. And because of their visibility, you can imagine the direction and general movement of Pickett’s Charge.
|1||High Water Mark Monument (Copse of Trees)||1892||Designer – John B. Bachelder (1825–94)|
|2||U.S. Regulars Monument||1909||Karl Bitter (1867–1915)|
|3||Vermont State Monument||1889||Karl Gerhardt (1853–1940)|
|4||Pennsylvania State Monument||1910 (statues in 1913)||Architect – W. Liance Cottrell (1868–1964)|
5. Codori Barn on Emmitsburg Road
In addition to tall monuments, physical structures like buildings are helpful orienteering landmarks. For example, in the 1860s, many farm buildings dotted the fields between Seminary and Cemetery Ridges. We saw the Klingel and Sherfy Barns, above. However, the most distinctive and easily identifiable barn is the Codori Barn, which has three white steeples and is located on the east side of Emmitsburg Road.
In 1863, Nicholas Codori was a French immigrant who rented his 237-acre farm to tenants while he lived in town and worked as a butcher. General Pickett stayed near the barn during the charge of July 3. The Codori Farm sustained over $3,000 in uncompensated damages during fierce fighting on July 2-3, 1863. Also, hundreds of Confederates were buried temporarily on the Codori property.
 Timothy H. Smith, Farms at Gettysburg: The Fields of Battle (Gettysburg, PA: Thomas Publications, 2007), p. 15.
Map of Cemetery Ridge
Next, we place the monuments on a map of Gettysburg. The pins in the following map are color-coded. Blue mark the locations of the monuments. Red marks a Confederate cannon. And finally, yellow marks the Codori Barn. I recommend that you study each of the landscape photos of Cemetery Ridge and visualize their location on the following map.
Where to Find Monument Information Online
For free online access to information about the monuments at Gettysburg National Military Park, I recommend the following resources, ordered by ease of use:
- Stone Sentinels: The Battle of Gettysburg by Steve Hawks
- Historical Marker Database published by J. J. Prats
- List of Classified Structures maintained by the U.S. National Park Service
A Bicyclist’s Summary
In summary, the landscape photos of Cemetery Ridge presented in this article show how a bicyclist can use tall landmarks and structures to understand not only the bicyclist’s current location, but the battlefield story. We identified five structures that a bicyclist can use to get oriented on the battlefield while imagining Pickett’s Charge from Seminary to Cemetery Ridge.
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