Day 2: July 2, 1863 - Cemetery Hill
Soon after the fighting
began on Culp's Hill, BG Harry T. Hays' and Col. Isaac Avery's
Brigades of Early's Division attacked Cemetery Hill from
Winebrenner's Run just south of town. The advance took place at dusk, just as
the sun began to set. Cemetery Hill was defended by Col. Andrew L.
Col. Leopold von Gilsa's
Bridages of Barlow's
The artillery that had been amassed on Cemetery Hill and Culp's Hill opened fire
as the Confederates approached. The ground that the Confederates had to cross
was especially difficult and took over an hour to cross. Despite heavy fire
from the Union Batteries, the Confederates continued their climb upward -
routing a Federal line that had positioned itself near the base. As the
Confederates ascended the hill and the angle steepened, they found that the
Union Batteries could not lower their guns to take aim. With this respite, Avery
's men charged forward and attacked
Brigade who became overwhelmed and was sent fleeing.
who was nearby and witnessing the fleeing units, immediately dispatched two
Regiments to plug the gap that appeared near the top. The Confederates had
nearly overrun the Union Batteries and were in hand-to-hand combat with the
gunners themselves. Outnumbered and exposed, the remaining Confederates
retreated down the hill.
had pulled the two reinforcing Regiments from his line, it left a gap exposing
the PA Battery of Capt. Bruce
This gap was exploited by Hays' Brigade and soon much of the
Brigade poured through. Several guns of
were captured and Hays found himself temporarily contesting
the heights. Since darkness had fallen, Hays could not tell
which units were around him. A unit had fired upon his Brigade, but he was
reluctant to return fire. Only after the third volley did Hays
realize that the units were Col. Samuel Sprigg
Brigade of the Union's II Corps.
Brigade, under orders of
marched through the night towards the sounds of battle. As
he fired into Hays' Brigade. By the time Hays
had realized the threat, it was too late. Cut off and exposed, Hays'
men were forced to retreat back down the hill.
' Division had tried to participate in the attack, but by the time it had
finished maneuvering, darkness had completely engulfed the battle. Once the
fighting ended, Williams'
Divisions of XII Corps
returned to Culp's Hill to halt the Confederate advance.