McPherson Ridge

  (Redirected from McPherson's Ridge)

McPherson Ridge is a landform used for military engagements during the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, First Day, when the I Corps (Union Army) had a headquarters on the ridge and was defeated by the Confederate division of Major General Henry Heth.[5] The ridge has terrain above ~530 ft (160 m) and is almost entirely a federally protected area except for township portions at the southern end and along Pennsylvania Route 116, including a PennDOT facility. The northern end is a slight topographic saddle point on the west edge of Oak Ridge, and summit areas above 560 ft (170 m) include 4 on/near the Lincoln Highway, a broader summit south of the Fairfield Road, and the larger plateau at the northern saddle.[2]

McPherson Ridge
Middle Ridge
JFReynolds GB1.jpg
Gettysburg Battlefield monuments on McPherson Ridge (north-northeast view) include the
1899 John F. Reynolds equestrian statue.[1]
Highest point
PeakNorthern-most point: saddle point at Oak Ridge near
the intersection of Reynolds,
and Wadsworth Avenues.[2]
Location1858 Dustman barn[3]
CountryUnited States
Township &
NPS unit
Gettysburg NMP
Range coordinates39°50′13″N 77°15′05″W / 39.8370°N 77.2514°W / 39.8370; -77.2514Coordinates: 39°50′13″N 77°15′05″W / 39.8370°N 77.2514°W / 39.8370; -77.2514[2]
Parent range"outcrop of the Gettysburg sill"[4]
Borders onW: Willoughby Run
NW: Willoughby tributary, N: Oak Ridge
E: Pitzer Run and E: Pitzer Run


In 1747, the Nichol's Gap Road [6][7] (later "Hagerstown Road", now Fairfield Road) was built over the ridge,[8] followed by the road on the north that became the 1809 turnpike from Gettysburg to Black's Gap[9][10] (extended to Chambersburg in 1810).[11] In 1835, Middle Ridge had the middle of three 1835 railway cuts (cf. Herr Ridge & Seminary Ridge) excavated for the Tapeworm Railroad. In the 1850s, the Old Mill Road across the ridge had been established northwest from the Hagerstown Road past the J. Herbst farm along Willoughby Run.[3] During the 1858 Hopkins survey, the "H. Dustman" farm was on the ridge along the turnpike's south side and east of the "Toll Gate",[12] while along Willoughby Run on the ridge's west slope and north of the railway bed were the farms of "Heirs of Wm McPherson" & "J. B. McPherson".[3] After moving back to Gettysburg in 1856, attorney Edward McPherson inherited a farm in 1858[citation needed] which had 66.5 acres (26.9 ha) by 1863.[13] On June 30, 1863, John Buford's Union cavalry camped 400 yd (370 m) east of the ridge prior to the Battle of Gettysburg.[14]

Battle of Gettysburg
On July 1, 1863, at ~8 am, Buford's 3,200 dismounted cavalrymen held the ridge until 10:30 am against 7,000 Confederates until the arrival of the 1 Corps infantry.[15] After the Union forces retreated to Seminary Ridge, 2 companies of the 55th Virginia Infantry attacked the "large barn in which many of the Yankees took refuge. … An officer standing in the door of the barn, when ordered to surrender by Major Lauson, refused";[16] and after the barn was captured it was used as a field hospital.[17]
The Confederate assault on the barn

In 1869,[18] a "Horse Railway" was built over the ridge from the borough station,[19][20] and in 1884 the steamtrain railroad was extended westward through the railway cut (a 1902 plan to extend the electric trolley over the ridge was not implemented.)[21] A Pennsylvania bill passed in 1885[22] for the 1886 John F. Reynolds monument in Herbst Woods erected by "Post No. 9, G.A.R."[23] In 1887, Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association Director Edward McPherson acted as the agent for Samuel A. Whitney,[24] who sold 17 acres (6.9 ha) on the ridge for a GBMA avenue,[23] and the 1887 "Iron Platt Truss Bridge" over the railway cut was built by the Gilbert and Smith Foundry for the "First Day's Avenue".[23] The ridge's modern name was used as early as 1892—in Minnigh's What They Did Here[25] ("West Reynolds Avenue, McPherson Ridge")[26]:119—and in a newspaper by The Sun for a 1913 Gettysburg reunion report.[27]

Gettysburg National Military ParkEdit

After the February 1895 "Sickles Gettysburg Park Bill" (28 Stat. 651) passed,[28] John B. McPherson deeded 58.18 acres (23.54 ha) to the United States in April,[29] and the eminent domain decree of United States v. Five Tracts of Land on October 2, 1900, seized 3 "Reynolds Woods" tracts totalling 40.47 acres (16.38 ha).[30] Stone Avenue was constructed in 1902,[31] and by 1904 Meredith Avenue was on part of the "Springs Hotel Avenue[32] and [former] Horse Railroad".[19][33] On December 24, 1904, the Gettysburg National Military Park acquired 36.56 acres (14.80 ha) on/near the ridge for $3,626[29] and in 1906, part of Pennsylvania's Camp Henderson was on the ridge.

In 1913, the Chambersburg Turnpike was designated part of the original Lincoln Highway, and in 1927 the Hagerstown Road became Pennsylvania Route 51 (Pennsylvania Route 116 in 1928).[34] The National Park Service replaced the commemorative era guide station on the pike with a Gettysburg Parkitecture entrance station[35] ("Lincolnway station" of Gettysburg Granite) which opened on June 5, 1937;[36] and the 1903 bridge over the railway cut [37] was replaced in 1958 for Mission 66.[38] A Battlefield America Guide about the ridge was published in 2002,[14] and monuments on the ridge were designated historic district contributing structures in 2004.[39]


  1. ^ Davis, William C. (1995) [1983]. Gettysburg: The Story Behind the Scenery. ISBN 0-916122-89-1. LCCN 83-80606. Retrieved 2011-11-06.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ a b c Google Maps (Map). (The terrain map shows the summits and unprotected areas, and the barn's coordinates are the significant digits from the 4 corners' "ll=" lat/lon values in Google hyperlinks.)
  3. ^ a b c G. M. Hopkins survey (Library of Congress mapviewer) (Map). M.S. & E. Converse. 1858. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  4. ^ Brown, Andrew (2006) [1962]. "GEOLOGY and the Gettysburg Campaign" (PDF). Pennsylvania: Bureau of Topographic and Geologic Survey. p. 13. Retrieved 2010-02-19.
  5. ^ Stackpole, E.J.; Nye, W.S.; Gottfried, B.M. (1998). The Battle of Gettysburg: A Guided Tour (Google books). Stackpole Books. ISBN 9780811726764. Retrieved 2011-11-06.
  6. ^ "Laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania". 1810.
  7. ^ The decisive conflicts of the late civil war or slaveholders' rebellion. ISBN 9781432805524.
  8. ^ Trostle, Kevin. "The Colonial Period: 1735-1786". A Brief History of Gettysburg. Retrieved 2011-11-04. In the fall of 1747 a third road through the county was…the Nichol's Gap Road, later known as the Hagerstown Road, [from] New Oxford [(settled 1792) across the Baltimore road (later Gettysburg) through the 1801 location of] Fairfield before winding its way through South Mountain into the Cumberland Valley, eventually accessing Hagerstown Maryland and the shores of the Potomac River leading to Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. NOTE: Initial Nichol's Gap Road buildings east and west of the ridge included the 1761 Samuel Gettys Tavern (Rock Creek) and the 1812 Black Horse Tavern (Marsh Creek).
  9. ^ m'Cauley, I. H. (1878). Historical Sketch of Franklin County, Pennsylvania. D.F. Pursel. p. 146. Black's Gap Gettysburg.
  10. ^ Hasse, Adelaide Rosalia (1922). "Index of Economic Material in Documents of the States of the United States…". Carnegie Institution of Washington: Dept. of Economics and Sociology: Carnegie Institution of Washington: 1502. Retrieved 2011-11-04. Black's Gap Gettysburg. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. ^ "A Bit of History About Your Own Adams County" (Google News Archive). Gettysburg Times. Times and News Publishing Company. July 16, 1952. Retrieved 2011-11-03.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "APPENDICES A - E".
  14. ^ a b Newton, Steven H. (2002). McPherson's Ridge: the First Battle for the High Ground, July 1, 1863 (Google books). ISBN 9780786741779. Retrieved 2011-11-03.
  15. ^ "The Battle Opens Historical Marker".
  16. ^ Matthews, Richard E. (1994). The 149th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Unit in the Civil War (Google books). ISBN 9780786432561. Retrieved 2011-11-02.
  17. ^ "Google".
  18. ^ "Chapter XXX: Cumberland Township". History of Cumberland and Adams Counties, Pennsylvania: Part III, History of Adams County. Chicago: Warner, Beers & Co. 1886. pp. 236–247. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  19. ^ a b
  20. ^ Bachelder, John B. (1875). Popular Resorts, and How to Reach Them (Google books). Retrieved 2011-11-02. (The Davis 1875 illustration also appeared without identification in Bachelder's 1878 Gettysburg: What to See and How to See It.)
  21. ^ "Gettysburg Times - Google News Archive Search".
  22. ^ [surname tbd], Claude (April 28, 1885). "Harrisburg Letter" (Google News Archive). The Star and Sentinel. Retrieved 2011-11-02.
  23. ^ a b c Krauth, Jno. M. (June 16, 1886). "Board meeting minutes" (1982 transcription). Minute Book, Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association, 1872-1895. Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association. Retrieved 2011-11-02.
  24. ^ "1896 report".
  25. ^ Minnigh, Luther William (1892). "Gettyburg, "what They Did Here", Illustrated Guide Book by ..., the Gettysburg Battle-field Guide and Expositor".
  26. ^ "Gettysburg: "what They Did Here"". 1863.
  27. ^ ""McPherson's Ridge" gettysburg - Google Search".
  28. ^ "Gettysburg National Military Park Established By Sickles, Bill Passed In February 1895" (Google News Archive). Gettysburg Times. February 10, 1970. Retrieved 2011-03-06.
  29. ^ a b Property Deed Books, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania: Adams County Courthouse, archived from the original on 2011-05-13, retrieved 2011-11-07
    Deed[specify] McPherson, John B. (April 30, 1895). Deed [to War Department?]. Book V V. p. 477. Retrieved 2011-11-01. (58 acres & 29 perches)
    Indenture Fowler, Henry O. et al., as receivers of the Gettysburg Springs & Hotel Co. (December 24, 1904). Indenture [for 4 tracts of 4.41, 1.56, 24.21, & 6.38 acres to] the United States of America. Book #60. pp. 22-30. Retrieved 2011-11-03. TRACT NO. 1. …two tracts of land…Herbst Farm and the Herbst Wood. TRACT NO. 2….a part of tract of land…Herbst Farm, and TRACTS NOS. 3 and 4…part of a larger tract of land known as the McPherson Farm … sold … as part of a larger tract of land…of…Samuel A. Whitney [deceased on] July 30th, 1892…Book "T. T." p. 444…to J. Emory BairCS1 maint: location (link) NOTE: the indenture deed book & page numbers are cited in Defandorff, Jason F. (1916). "Gettysburg National Park". United States military reservations, National cemeteries, and military parks. Retrieved 2011-11-04. four certain parcels of land aggregating 36.56 acres.
  30. ^ Defandorff, Jason F. (1916). "Gettysburg National Park". United States military reservations, National cemeteries, and military parks. Retrieved 2011-11-02.
  31. ^ "Miscellaneous". September 23, 1902. Retrieved 2011-10-31. The contract for a new avenue,…from the Chambersburg pike south through Reynolds Grove to the Springs road,…to M. & T. E. Farrell. …to be 2859 feet long.
  32. ^ Bachelder, John B. (July 21, 1873). "Gettysburg :what to see, and how to see it : embodying full information for visiting the field /". Boston. hdl:2027/uc1.b3111589. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  33. ^ …Battle Field of Gettysburg (Map). Cartography by Gettysburg National Park Commission (Nicholson, John P; Cope, Emmor; Hammond, Schuyler A). New York: Julius Bien & Co. Lith. 1904.
  34. ^ "Pennsylvania Highways: PA 101 - PA 150".
  35. ^ "Plan $50,000 Battlefield Project Here" (Google News Archive). July 16, 1934. Retrieved 2011-02-02. The entrance stations…will be combination guides' stations, comfort stations and information bureaus. … The comfort stations will be erected at Devil's Den and Spangler's Spring.
  36. ^ "1 of 2 Entrance Stations Opens for Public Use" (Google News Archive). The Star and Sentinel. June 5, 1937. Retrieved 2011-11-02.
  37. ^ "NC State | WWW4 Service End of Life".
  38. ^ "Myers Tells Club of Work on Mission 66" (Google News Archive). Gettysburg Times. November 20, 1960. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  39. ^ "Major General John F. Reynolds Equestrian Statue". Retrieved 2019-07-21.