The Wheatfield

The Wheatfield

      This is the view from the middle of the Wheatfield looking south.  The monument and cannon on the right of the picture represent Winslow's Battery D, 1st NY Lt. Artillery which peppered Confederate attacks while supporting the 17th Maine along the stone wall at the southern end of the field and the Federal infantry on Stony Hill on the right center of the picture.  (The 17th Maine had been placed there to be able to fire along the line of the 20th Indiana on Houck's Ridge.)  G.T. Anderson's brigade of Hood's division attacked from the woods near the corner of the field.  Despite the withdrawal of two Union regiments in the woods to their right, the 17th Maine refused their flank and held the position.   When Kershaw's brigade of McLaws' division came to Anderson's support, Tilton's and then Sweitzer's brigades withdrew from the Stony Hill.  The Confederates of the brigades of Kershaw and Semmes now possessed Stony Hill and forced the Federals out of the Wheatfield.

     Now, Caldwell's division of the II Corps reinforced the Union troops and crossed the Wheatfield, counterattacking the Rebels behind the stone wall.  The monument on the far left and right generally represent the division's line.  Cross's brigade advanced with half its troops in the Wheatfield and half in the woods to the left.  Zook's brigade attacked Kershaw's men in the woods on the right of the picture, then Kelly's and Brooke's brigades advanced toward the far corner of the field, forcing the Confederates into the woods beyond.

From Northeastern Corner of the Wheatfield

    From here, the northeast corner, you can get some idea of the large size of the Wheatfield.  As you can see, higher ground in the middle of the field blocked a direct view from the north side to the south side.

    Finally, at 6:30, Wofford's brigade of McLaws' division, which had by now swept through the Peach Orchard, flanked the Federal position in the Wheatfield by attacking down the Wheatfield Road on the far right of the picture.  This pushed back Caldwell's division and Sweitzer's brigade which had been sent to its support.  It also pushed back Ayres' division, which was entering the Wheatfield from over Day's Hill and hit it on both flanks.  (Day's Hill is on the left of the picture to the right of Little Round Top - it is essentially an extension of Houck's Ridge)  The Federals fell back to Cemetery Ridge and Little Round Top and rallied.

    The Confederates continued the advance to Plum Run beneath Little Round Top, but McCandless's brigade and more Federal units attacked from the northern side of Little Round Top on the far left of the picture and pushed the rebels back beyond the Wheatfield.   The fighting at the Wheatfield ended with nightfall.  It had cost the Confederates 500 dead.

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