Located northwest of the town of Gettysburg, Oak Hill is high-point of a similarly named ridge on which the Army of Northern Virginia clashed with the Army of the Potomac on July 1, 1863. Click here to view a battle map by the American Battlefield Trust that covers fighting on Oak Hill and Ridge, 2:00–3:00 P.M. Or to read Civil War Cycling’s short but very dense summary of Day 1 of the Battle of Gettysburg, click here. And finally, for a small sampling of landscape photos of Oak Hill, please look below.
Eternal Light Peace Memorial
Certainly one of the largest monuments at Gettysburg, the Eternal Light Peace Memorial stands on high ground. This is where Confederate Col. Edward O’Neal and his Alabama brigade attacked Union positions to the south. But seventy-five years later, on July 3, 1938, about 1,800 aging Confederate and Union veterans gathered here to dedicate the peace memorial.
Confederate Geographic Perspective
The following photos of the Oak Hill area make it easy to understand the importance of posting artillery on the high-ground. Here, Confederate guns on the west side of the peace memorial point southeast to the Union 1st Corps troops of Maj. Gen. Abner Doubleday. Straight ahead in the photo is McPherson Ridge and Herbst (Reynolds’) Woods. South Mountain is in the very distant background.
Union Geographic Perspective
The next set of photos of Oak Hill provide a Union battle view. This is where Union infantry from Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin fought O’Neal’s Alabama Brigade (straight ahead) and Iverson’s North Carolina Brigade (left).
The western edge of Union line was at the southern base of Oak Hill. It extended eastward to Blocher’s (Barlow’s) Knoll, thus covering Gettysburg’s north side. The following photo shows the fields between the Oak Ridge and an area just south of Barlow’s Knoll. In the distance, notice the Oak Hill Observation Tower on the left and Oak Hill on the right.
And finally, the next two photos show Union infantry positions near the Oak Ridge Observation Tower on Doubleday Avenue. The tallest monument honors the 83rd New York Infantry. The other monuments represent New York, Maine, and Pennsylvania regiments.
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