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The Peach Orchard[2] is a Gettysburg Battlefield site at the southeast corner of the north-south Emmitsburg Road intersection with the Wheatfield Road. The orchard is demarcated on the east and south by Birney Avenue, which provides access to various memorials regarding the "momentous attacks and counterattacks in…the orchard on the afternoon of July 2, 1863."[3]

The Peach Orchard
Gettysburg, The Peach Orchard.jpg
Peach Orchard in 2015
LocationGettysburg Historic (75000155), Adams, Pennsylvania, United States
Width0 km (0 mi)
Area0 acres (0 ha)
Elevation624.8 ft (190.4 m)[1]
External images
battle artwork (stereograph)
3rd MI monument


The Peach Orchard is on a hornfel along the northwest edge of the local geologic diabase sheet[2]:51 and at the "angle of the Peach Orchard" formed by the vertex of 2 low ridges: "one from Devil's Den, the other along the Emmitsburg road."[4] The orchard drains southward into Rose Run, through Rose Woods, to Plum Run; and the orchard tract has a modern north-south embankment along the Emmitsburg road to the west of which a drainage depression separates the orchard from Warfield Ridge.


By 1858 on the southeast corner of the crossroads, the Peach Orchard had been planted by Reverend Joseph Sherfy, who had a homestead to the north on the opposite (west) side of the Emmitsburg Road. On the Battle of Gettysburg, Second Day, the "Peach Orchard Salient" military position of the Army of the Potomac had been established from the "angle of the Peach Orchard" both northward along the Emmitsburg Rd and, for the "Wheatfield Road line", eastward.[5] Union positions in the orchard prior to the July 2 military engagements included the 68th Pennsylvania Infantry on the west side at the south point of Graham's Emmitsburg Rd line,[6]:300 the 3rd Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment on the orchard's south (downhill) side near the Emmitsburg Rd, and on the north side of the orchard along the south side of the east-west road, Thompson's cannons and, closer to the Emmitsburg Rd, Ames' cannons.[7]:272 "It was three o'clock before [Confederate] Colonel Alexander, of Longstreet's corps, had his batteries unlimbered in the edge of the woods west and south of the peach orchard."[8]:74

Military engagementsEdit

The Peach Orchard Union positions (blue) included Pennsylvania light artillery (6 cannon)[1] (e.g., Hampton's Battery F and Hart's 15th NY Light Battery.)[8]:75

Peach Orchard combat began with Union artillery in the orchard counterfiring on Alexander's batteries which reduced Ames' supply of Union cannon ammunition.[7]:315 When Hood's Assault advanced eastward over the Emmitsburg Rd and across the slope south of the orchard, "Ames had all of his spherical case [ammunition] carried to his left section, Lt. James B. Hazelton's," to fire on the infantry, while Ames' "center and right sections continued their counterbattery fire with shot."[7]:315 With the Confederate left flank to the south exposed to the orchard's Union forces, the cannon and infantry in the "Peach Orchard were able to rake Kershaw's lines severely".[7]:315 As Union officer Watson's guns fired a last volley of canister at the Carolinians, the 2nd New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry advanced southward into "the Peach Orchard to save the [Watson] guns[7]:317…crowding between the limbers and guns, reformed, and emerged at the orchard's southwest corner, its right extending to the Emmitsburg Road."[7]:318 "The Second opened fire on the South Carolinians in its front, the Second Battalion and the Eighth Regiment. The South Carolinians…fell back to the bottom of the slope 150 or so yards from the orchard's edge. Bailey then shifted the Second's line to the rear of some fence rails that were piled along the side of the orchard where a fence had been."[7]:318

At the 6 p.m. start of McLaws' Assault,[3] Barksdale's and Wofford's Confederate brigades charged from the west[when?] directly into the Peach Orchard.[6]:tbd Graham's Union brigade, with the 3rd MN & 3rd MI, "held the peach orchard until nearly dusk";[9] and at "6:30 p.m., McLaws' Division [broke] Birney's line at the Peach Orchard".[4] The 21st Mississippi Infantry Regiment passed through the Peach Orchard toward Bigelow's 9th Massachusetts Battery farther east, also outflanking the 2nd New Hampshire, threatening it to be cut off from the rest of the Union, forcing them to retreat.[7]:341

The 2nd NH entered the Battle of Gettysburg with 353 soldiers. In under three hours, 47 were killed, 136 wounded and 36 men went missing; of the 24 officers, only three were not killed or wounded.[citation needed]


Franklin Dullin Briscoe's artwork, "Peach Orchard – Gettysburg", is now in the National Archives;[7]:319 and the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association board approved purchase of the orchard in 1890[5] (several Peach Orchard memorials were erected during the memorial association era--e.g., 68th Pennsylvania Infantry in 1886). Battlefield landscape preservation began in 1883 when peach trees were replanted in the orchard,[6] and in 1896 a cast iron site identification marker was added near the road intersection.[3] The orchard was deeded to the War Department in 1906,[10] was replanted in 1909,[7] and exhibited 6 "Army of the Potomac" cannon by 1912.[10] The land bordering the orchard to the east and south was purchased from J. Emory Bair in 1907, and Birney Avenue of 900 ft (270 m) on those 2 sides was piked in 1914.[10] The Camp Eisenhower YCC participants replaced the orchard's peach trees in 1974,[11] the orchard's ID tablet by Emmor Cope was entered-documented as an historic district contributing structure in 2004,[3] and the orchard was replanted in April 2008.[8].


  1. ^ "X_Value=-77.231217&Y_Value=39.819767". Elevation Web Service Query. United States Geological Survey. Archived from the original on 2012-03-15. Retrieved 2011-06-24.
  2. ^ ""The Peach Orchard" (1189440)". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2011-06-09.
  3. ^ a b c Cope, Emmor (1896), "Peach Orchard – Cast Iron Site ID Tablet", List of Classified Structures: GETT p. 8, National Park Service, structure ID 55, LCS ID 080900, archived from the original on 2015-09-24, retrieved 2011-08-03, 1 of 35 Site ID Tablets by US War Dept. Post-Civil War devel. of battlefield contributing to the commemorative landscape. Momentous attacks and counterattacks took place in and around the orchard on the afternoon of July 2, 1863. ... 2, Painted raised letter and border inscription tablet, 2'9"x1'8". Mounted on fluted post, 2'8" high. Tablet has been fractured and repaired. Located at corner of Wheatfield Road and Emmitsburg Road.
  4. ^ Hunt, General Henry J. The Second Day at Gettysburg. Archived from the original (Civil War Reference webpage) on 2012-07-24. Retrieved 2011-06-07. A cross-road connecting the Taneytown and Emmitsburg roads runs along the northern base of Devil's Den. From its Plum Run crossing to the Peach Orchard is 1100 yards. For the first 400 yards of this distance, there is a wood on the north and a wheat-field on the south of the road, beyond which the road continues for 700 yards to the Emmitsburg road along Devil's Den ridge, which slopes on the north to Plum Run, on the south to Plum Branch. [Rose Run] … The angle at the Peach Orchard is thus formed by the intersection of two bold ridges, one from Devil's Den, the other along the Emmitsburg road
  5. ^ "The Peach Orchard Salient"
  6. ^ a b Sears, Stephen W (2003). Gettysburg. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-86761-4.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Pfanz, Harry W (1987). Gettysburg – The Second Day. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. pp. 315, 317–9, 341–2. ISBN 0-8078-1749-X. Peach Orchard maps "12-1" and "13-1" at pp. 272, 314.
  8. ^ a b Coffin, Charles Carleton (1997). Eyewitness to Gettysburg. Burd Street Press.
  9. ^ Birney, David B (August 7, 1863). Reports of Maj. Gen. David B. Birney, U. S. Army, Commanding First Division of, and Third Army Corps (CivilWarHome webpage) (Report). Retrieved 2011-08-03. [After noon, Birney advanced] 100 of Berdan's Sharpshooters, with the Third Maine Regiment as a support … from the peach orchard out the Millerstown road, and entered the woods in order to flank the enemy. The skirmishers of the enemy were driven in, but three columns of their forces were found marching to our left. The force sent by me was driven back by overwhelming numbers, with the loss of about 60, killed and wounded. …I was ordered by that officer [Sickles] to change my front to meet the attack. I did this by advancing my left 500 yards, and swinging around the right so as to rest on the Emmitsburg road at the peach orchard. … Graham's brigade was subjected at the point of the angle of the line on the Emmitsburg road to a fearful artillery fire …
  10. ^ a b c Gettysburg National Military Park Commission. "An Introduction to the Annual Reports of the Gettysburg National Military Park Commission to the Secretary of War". The Gettysburg Commission Reports. Gettysburg, PA: War Department.
  11. ^ "Joe Sherfy … In History". June 27, 1974. Retrieved 2011-03-17.