With the Sesquicentennial of the Battle of Gettysburg almost on us I thought I’d post a couple of contemporary views of the town. As most of you know the Confederates swept through the town on July 1, driving the Federals before them and capturing large numbers of them. The Federals, however, held Cemetery Hill just outside the town, which the Confederates decided not to assault that evening. Thus the skirmish line settled down at the base of the hill and sharpshooting continued all through the battle. What is neat about these two views is that you the viewer are standing almost on the same spot (Baltimore Avenue and Locust Avenue) for both and can look both ways, seeing what they saw during the battle. Sort of like a very early Google Street View.
The first view is a sketch by Alfred Waud, probably made on the afternoon on the 1st or early on the 2nd, looking toward the town now held by the Confederates. Sometime on July 2nd the Confederates built a barricade across the road, which is not visible here. The road was called Baltimore Pike then and is today Baltimore Avenue. One building visible in Waud’s sketch is the Farnsworth House on the left, which still stands and has damage from sharpshooter bullets in the walls.
The other view looks the other way, toward the Union lines. The fork in the road is now the junction of Steinwehr Avenue (then known as East Road) and Baltimore Avenue. The skirmish line ran roughly between these two areas, with fighting taking place at the Rupp House (to the camera’s right, just out of sight). Cemetery Hill rises just off to the left of the photo.
How things have changed!