The Battle of Gettysburg began on McPherson Ridge, an elevated landform north of town and on the west side of the larger Seminary Ridge. The ridge runs along modern-day Reynolds Avenue, named for the highest ranking officer killed at Gettysburg, Maj. Gen. John F. Reynolds. Click here to view a battle map by the American Battlefield Trust that covers the fight on McPherson Ridge on July 1, 1863, 9:30–11:30 A.M. To read Civil War Cycling’s dense but detailed study notes for Day 1 Gettysburg, click here and look under the Detailed Summary for “Battle at Herr and McPherson’s Ridges.” And finally, for a small sampling of landscape photos of McPherson Ridge, please look below.
Brig. Gen. John Buford
The battle began when Confederate infantry under Maj. Gen. Henry Heth attacked Brig. Gen. John Buford’s 1st Division, Cavalry Corps, along McPherson Ridge. But soon enough Gen. Reynolds’ 1st Corps infantry arrived on the scene.
Maj. Gen. John F. Reynolds
On the morning of July 1, while rallying infantry to relieve Buford’s cavalry, Maj. Gen. Reynolds died instantly from a bullet that struck his neck. One of our photos of McPherson Ridge is this closeup shot of the “Reynolds Killed Monument” in Herbst (now Reynolds’) Woods. The monument’s rear inscription reads, “Here Gen. Reynolds fell.”
In the following photo, we are looking across South Reynolds Avenue toward the Edward McPherson barn. The John F. Reynolds Equestrian Monument stands on the north side of Chambersburg Pike, shown below.
Dedicated in 1899, the John F. Reynolds Equestrian Monument honors this native son of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In the photo, Reynolds is facing northwest.
The wayside exhibit in this next photo is on South Reynolds Avenue, not far from the Reynolds Killed Monument. You can see the McPherson barn in the distance.
The Railroad Cut
In 1863, an unfinished section of the Western Maryland Railroad ran through McPherson Ridge. It is called The Railroad Cut, and is the place where onn July 1, 1863, Confederates from Mississippi and North Carolina got trapped in the entrenchment. They surrendered to Union infantry from New York and Wisconsin, regiments that are honored with monuments shown in this last photo. Chambersburg Pike is in the distance.
You can see the location of the railroad relative to Chambersburg Pike by viewing this map by the American Battlefield Trust: “Defense of Seminary Ridge” (July 1, 4:00 P.M.).
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