Sunday at 11:00 AM, National Park Service Ranger-Historian Karlton Smith led a walk along the Union lines at Culp’s Hill. The walk was supposed to last 50 minutes, the the attendees had a lot of questions, and the program didn’t finish until approximately 12:15 PM. Karlton did another good job explaining the time and placement of the earthworks, and concentrating on the positions of the 137th New York of George Sears Greene’s Brigade.
National Park Service Ranger-Historian Karlton Smith began his Culp’s Hill program on the top of the hill near the statue of Union Brigadier-General George Sears Greene. He gave some background on Greene and his division commander John White Geary. He also described the beginning of the Union earthworks to extend the right of the First Corps line. This view was taken from the north facing south at approximately 11:00 AM on Sunday, July 13, 2008.
Karlton then led the group down the pathway past the monument to the 66th Ohio… This view was taken from the south facing north at approximately 11:10 AM on Sunday, July 13, 2008.
…and past the monument to the 60th New York toward the monuments of the 1st Maryland Eastern Shore (US) and the 150th New York Infantry. This view was taken from the northwest facing southeast at approximately 11:10 AM on Sunday, July 13, 2008.
At the monument to the 1st Maryland Eastern Shore (US), Karlton explains the location of the earthworks and the three main factors needed before one began building earthworks: First, how much time does one have to build the earthworks before being attacked, second, how many men do you have, and how many of them could be utilized in building the earthworks, and third, what kind of material is available to build the earthworks? Karlton stated the earthworks were high enough for a man to be kneeling on the ground and firing over them. Some of the works contained a “head log.” This view was taken from the west facing east at approximately 11:15 AM on Sunday, July 13, 2008.
At the monument to the 137th New York, Karlton gave a history of the regiment, and of the unit’s Colonel, David Ireland, who was from Scotland, not Ireland. He said the earthworks in Greene’s brigade stretched approximately 300 yards. They took three hours to construct the earthworks, and were finished by approximately 12:00 PM on July 2, 1863. After the rest of the 12th Corps left later in the early evening on July 2nd, Greene’s brigade was responsible for covering a line of earthworks approximately 800 yards long. They stretched themselves into a long thin, single line. This view was taken from the south facing north at approximately 11:25 AM on Sunday, July 13, 2008.
Karlton has the group stand at the location of the traverse constructed by Greene’s Brigade. It was possibly constructed because Greene didn’t know if Kane’s Brigade on his right (south) would also construct earthworks. Karlton also admitted that there may have been more traverses, but this one is the best known. Karlton said if the National Park Service ever considers reconstructing a section of the earthworks, this would be the most likely location. The approximate location of the traverse was from the gray monument in the distance (29th Pennsylvania) running back towards the photographer. This view was taken from the northeast facing southwest at approximately 11:35 AM on Sunday, July 13, 2008.
On lower Culp’s Hill, or Spangler’s Hill, Karlton explained the reason for the lack of Confederate monuments at Gettysburg, and how at one time the location monument to the 1st Maryland (CSA) was controversial. Some Union veterans didn’t want the monument within their battle line. He also explained that the 1st Maryland, as it was known as Gettysburg was later designated the 2nd Maryland. The Confederates wanted to place the name 1st Maryland on this monument, but were told that because they were later known as the 2nd Maryland, that would be the name they should put on the monument. Also because the 1st Maryland Eastern Shore (US) and 1st Maryland Potomac Home Brigade (US) Regiments fought in this area, the War Department Commissioners felt that visitors would confuse the Confederate 1st Maryland with the Union 1st Marylands. This view was taken from the northwest facing southeast at approximately 11:45 AM on Sunday, July 13, 2008.
The monument to the 123rd New York, here on lower Culp’s Hill, or Spangler’s Hill is to the right in this photograph. Karlton is explaining that the right of the 137th New York, after the rest of the 12th Corps left on July 2, 1863 probably stretched to the large rocks behind the lady with the white shirt and the man with the blue and white striped shirt. The 137th New York was almost surrounded here by elements of George Steuart’s Brigade of Marylanders, North Carolinians, and Virginians, and had to retreat back to the traverse. This view was taken from the southwest facing northeast at approximately 12:05 PM on Sunday, July 13, 2008.
Back at the traverse, Karlton explained how the 137th New York held on until finally reenforced on the right or east by the 14th Brooklyn and the 6th Wisconsin. At one time one of the officers of the 137th New York led a bayonet charge of approximately 10 men into the darkness. By July 3, 1863, the 137th New York and the 29th Ohio relieved each other in this area. The 137th suffered 32% casualties, approximately the same percent as the 20th Maine Infantry defending the left of the Union line. This view was taken from the northeast facing southwest at approximately 12:15 PM on Sunday, July 13, 2008.