“Duels, Fire-fights and Outright Bedlam: Artillery Actions of July 2, 1863”

April 13-14th, 2018

The ALBG is pleased to announce the spring seminar in 2018 will focus on the role of Union and Confederate artillery during the crucial actions on the afternoon of the second day of the battle.  Join us on Friday, April 13th as we meet at the Valentine Hall, United Lutheran Seminary Campus,  where LBG Dave Donahue will provide an overview of the artillery arm of the service.  Saturday morning will begin with LBG Ed Suplee discussing the artillery duel between Benner’s Hill and East Cemetery Hill. LBG Ralph Siegel will then present a program “Gunfight in the Peach Orchard.” After a lunch break to recharge, LBG John Archer will lead the group in a walk to discuss the fight of Bigelow’s 9th Massachusetts Battlery on the Trostle Farm. LBG Don Walters will finish the afternoon program discussing the advance of Anderson’s Division Against Union Artillery on the afternoon of July 2.   Please prepare accordingly for outdoor programs in unpredictable weather.  Registration fee includes Friday night reception with light refreshments, materials, transportation and Saturday lunch.  For more information, please see detailed program descriptions below.

********************************************************** Friday, April 13th – Lutheran Theological Seminary – Valentine Hall.

6:30 PM – Welcoming reception at the Lutheran Theological Seminary – Valentine Hall.

7:00 PM – Presentation: “Artillery Overview: Weapons, Ordnance, Staffing, Doctrine, and Tactics” with Dave Donahue

This presentation is an overview of how artillery batteries, battalions, and brigades attempted to fight on Civil War battlefields by 1863.  It emphasizes the way in which battery weapons, ammunition, manpower and horse requirements, procedures, and combat lessons influenced tactics.   The goal is to appreciate how artillery commanders and units hoped to support the infantry and cavalry units in accomplishing their mission.

Saturday, April 14th – in the Gettysburg National Military Park 

8:30 AM – Arrive and board bus for field portion of the seminar at the Soldiers National Cemetery/Ziegler’s Grove Parking Area.

8:45 AM – Bus departs for “The Artillery Duel Between Benner’s Hill, Cemetery Hill and Culp’s Hill” with Ed Suplee.

Around 4:00 PM on July 2nd, as General James Longstreet began the primary Confederate attack towards the left of the Union “fishhook” configuration, General Richard Ewell made an artillery “demonstration” to the far right of the Union lines to the northeast of Gettysburg. This artillery duel involved at least forty cannon on the Union side (from Culp’s Hill and Cemetery Hill) against at least sixteen cannon on the Confederate side (or Benner’s Hill). This short artillery battle resulted in the near destruction of the Confederate artillery position on Benner’s Hill as well as the mortal wounding of Confederate Major Joseph Latimore who commanded the Confederate guns. Latimore known as “The Boy Major” was only nineteen years old. 

10:30 A.M.  Bus departs for “Gunfight in the Peach Orchard” with Ralph Siegel.

In most artillery engagements of the war, including Gettysburg’s great “cannonade,” the guns were too distant to realistically target each other. But on July 2nd, at the Peach Orchard, the Union guns of Randolph and McGilvery, and the Confederate guns of Alexander, moved quite by accident within “direct-fire” range of each other in what may have been the largest close-action artillery fight of the entire war. A New Jersey battery would fire more rounds in four hours than any other battery on any other day of the war. A gunner in a Georgia battery would report: “The firing was the most rapid I have ever witnessed, and the earth literally vibrated under the continuous roar.”

12:00 PM – Depart for the United Lutheran Seminary for lunch. 12:45 PM – Depart for the south end and “Bigelow’s Battery – The 9th Massachusetts:” Hold at all Hazards.”  program with John Archer.

History and Gettysburg hold a number of moments where the confluence of people, place, and events can have results far beyond what was intended.  On July 2, 1863, Captain John Bigelow and the untested 9th Massachusetts Battery were last minute reinforcements to the center of Sickles’ Emmitsburg Road line. When Lee’s flank assault collapsed Sickles’ salient at the Peach Orchard, a combination of discipline and raw courage by Bigelow’s men slowed the Rebel juggernaut at the Trostle Farm. Their sacrifice may well have saved the center of the Union line from disaster. 

2:30 PM – Final Field Program:  “Anderson’s Division Moves Forward Against Union Artillery on July 2. Why?.”  program with Don Walters.

As the Confederate attack on July 2 spread north, Richard Anderson’s Division swept into action. Much has been said about the noble actions of Union infantry efforts to maintain Meade’s line of battle, which is quite proper. But too often the actions of a number of Union artillerymen are overlooked. The Seminar cadre will move north along Cemetery Ridge and discuss the work of Turnbull, Weir, Thomas, Livingston and others, as they resist the bedlam of Anderson’s attack. Included within this discussion will be Anderson’s gunners, the Sumter Flying Artillery.  

4:15 PM – Depart to return to the National Cemetery / Ziegler’s Grove Parking Area – Dismissal and Thank you. Appropriate shoes and dress are highly recommended for all field programs.  Be prepared for any type of weather.



In the event it becomes necessary for you to cancel your registration please be aware of the following policy:

  • Cancellations must be received in writing.  The date of receipt of the written cancellation will determine the amount of refund based on the following;
  • 100%: Prior to February 15, 2018
  • 50 %:  Prior to March 30, 2018
  • No Refund: Given after March 30, 2018