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‘Noble men in humbler raiment fell’: a Confederate sharpshooter killed at the battle of Gettysburg The words from Lathrop's poem on Gettysburg apply to the 7,058 soldiers who fell in this deadliest of American battles. The point photographed is ‘Devil's Den,’ a rocky height rising sharply on the east and sloping gradually to the plain on the west. Its northern point was composed of huge rocks and boulders with numberless crevices and holes such as the one that yawns at the left of the picture. The whole region is covered with similar boulders, which afforded retreats for sharpshooters on both sides. Five hundred yards east, and a hundred feet higher than ‘Devil's Den,’ was Little Round Top, the key to the entire Federal position along Cemetery Ridge. Lee's tactics on the second day were to drive back a Federal force on the plain near ‘Devil's Den’ and secure Little Round Top and the whole Union position. His troops formed in the woods, far outflanking the opposing troops on the plain. They were almost at Little Round Top before General G. K. Warren discovered that a single signal-man was there to defend the height. Only by marvelous exertions were defenders secured in time to meet the attack. Longstreet's men, however, gained possession of ‘Devil's Den.’ A multitude of sharpshooters clambered into the lurking-places among the boulders, whence they could not be dislodged by artillery fire or by sharp-shooting. These men were especially successful in picking off the cannoneers on Little Round Top. At one time three were shot down in quick succession, and only the fourth succeeded in firing the piece. When night closed on the scene the Confederates still held the ‘Den’ and the ground at the foot of Little Round Top, but many of the defenders were dead or dying. And yet another day of carnage was to come.

 

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