Little Round Top, Gettysburg
The peak of Little Round Top is 650 feet above sea level. It rises 150 feet above nearby Plum Run to the west and is covered with large boulders. During the battle, the western slope was generally free from vegetation, while the summit, eastern and southern slopes were lightly wooded. On 2 Jul 1863, it was the key point in the Union Army's defensive line, overlooking The Slaughter Pen, Devil's Den, Houck's Ridge and The Valley of Death. Today, it is #8 on the self-guided auto tour and one of the more popular stops for tour groups. With its views of the battlefield, it is easy to see why the position was so important. One of the videos shows a panorama from the NY Infantry Tower.
Little Round Top is a popular stop for those visiting Gettysburg Battlefield. It was a key hill in the battle of Gettysburg because of its vantage point of the area. One could see the battlefield from the North to the West. This position was at first occupied by a few soldiers from the Union army, but it was soon determined to be of crucial importance to the battle.
**The National Park Service website has detailed information about Gettysburg Battlefield.
Hours are 6 am-7 pm Nov. 1-Mar.31; 6 am-10 pm Apr.1-Oct.31
Little Round Top was a hill that was very much in demand for both sides during the battle of Gettysburg. The view from this high point was incredible. On July 2nd, 1863, Warren saw the importance of the unoccupied hill, and directed Col. Strong Vincent to move there immediately.. it was just moments before the Confederates attacked.
Part of the battlefield and definitely one of the more popular stops as you can see from the picture, Little Round Top is the site the primary position of the Union army during the 2nd and 3rd days of the war. From here, you can see the progression of war to the wheatfield and the peach orchard where eventually, the confederates pushed the union troops back to Cemetery Ridge.
Little Round Top also provides a great view--it is the site of some programs, or a good place to relax. From here you can see down the hill and to Devils Den...a lot of people like to hang out here to read, eat lunch or enjoy the sun. As I said before, though...it is crowded and there are plenty of other places in the park to get away from people.
Overlooking Devil's Den, this was the extreme southern end of the battle, occuring on July 2nd. While most of the battle took place on open fields surrounded by low hills, Big and Little Round Top are large hills studded with boulders and forests. The Union forces siezed the opportunity to line up troops here in case the Confederates decided to try and run their artillery up and target the Union front line below. One regiment, the 20th Maine, was the last regiment in the long line of the Union army, and the one that brunt some of the most severest fighting. Several Confederate regiments charged up the hill several times, with the 20th Maine repelling them each time. Eventually the Federal troops ran out of ammunition, and against all odds daringly charged the Southerners into a retreat, possibly saving the entire Union army from being outflanked.
When I visited Little Round Top in 1994, the monument to the 20th Maine was strewn with $1 and $5 dollar bills, thank you notes and flowers. Possibly this was because the movie "Gettysburg" had protrayed the 20th Maine, and the historical outcome of that event hadn't gone away on visitors. Still, I haven't seen anything like it before or since.
One of the best views to take in the true scope of the fighting, while over looking Devils Den.