It was a cool and windy Thursday with rain expected tonight. The Gettysburg Daily visited Benner’s Hill, the high ground to the northeast of Culp’s Hill and Cemetery Hill where Confederate Artillery were placed on July 2, 1863. The placement of 14 artillery pieces in the battalion of Joseph W. Latimer was an attempt to put Cemetery Hill in a crossfire. Six 20 pounder Parrots from the Rockbridge Artillery also were placed on the hill, giving Benner’s Hill a total of 20 guns. As Confederate guns on Seminary Ridge fired on Cemetery Hill from the west and northwest, these guns on Benner’s Hill would fire from the northeast.
When Confederate artillery opened from Benner’s Hill, fire was returned from approximately 41 guns from three locations. The locations were: Cemetery Hill (30 guns), visible 1400 yards in front of the right cannon in this picture; Culp’s Hill (5 guns), visible 1000 yards above the left gun in this picture; and Stevens’ Knoll or McKnight’s Hill (6 guns), the space between Cemetery Hill and Culp’s Hill. This view was taken from the northeast facing southwest at approximately 4:30 PM on Thursday, April 3, 2008.
One of the six 20 pound parrots, representing the location occupied by the Rockbridge Artillery, is facing Cemetery Hill. Although this artillery placement is on the south side of the Hanover Road, most of these cannon were probably on the north side of the Hanover Road. This view was taken from the northeast facing southwest at approximately 4:30 PM on Thursday, April 3, 2008.
In the distant background are the south mountains, part of the Appalachian Mountain chain. In the middle distance is the town of Gettysburg, and above it Seminary Ridge. The open area above this 20 pounder parrott is Oak Hill. View from the east looking west at approximately 4:30 PM on Thursday, April 3, 2008.
Major Joseph White Latimer was 19 years old, and a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute (VMI). As he attempted to pull his artillery off the hill, he was mortally wounded in his right arm. He would die in Harrisonburg, Virginia on August 1, 1863. View is from the east facing west at approximately 4:30 PM on Thursday, April 3, 2008.
Two napoleons facing Cemetery Hill. The position on Benner’s Hill was exposed. One Confederate private, Robert Stiles, descibed the scene here as “…guns dismounted and disabled, carriages splintered and crused, ammunition chests exploded, limbers upset, wounded horses plunging and kicking, dashing out the brains of men tangled in the harness, while cannoneers with pistols were crawling around through the wreck shooting the struggling horses to save the lives of wounded men.” This view was taken from the northeast facing southwest at approximately 4:30 PM on Thursday, April 3, 2008.
The battalion’s official casualties consisted of two limbers blown up, 27 horses killed or permanently disabled, ten men killed, and 40 wounded. The battalion had fired 1147 rounds. This view was taken from the south facing north at approximately 4:30 PM on Thursday, April 3, 2008.