Scenes from Devil's Den


The Slaughter Pen

12" x 36" Framed/Signed Limited Edition Canvas Print-$69.95

              Just to the east and south of the Devil’s Den,  Plum Run descends through area covered with small boulders.  Sometimes described as a gorge this acre of land was of little note prior to July 2, 1863. As Hood’s Division attacked the left of the Union army its flank initially sat upon the rocks of Devil’s Den. The shortest path around that flank led directly up Plum Run through the gorge. Two Alabama regiments, the 44th and 48th headed in that direction while the rest of Law’s Brigade filtered through the woods towards Little Round Top. First to arrive, the 44th Alabama was physically split by the rocks of Devil’s Den . Their Left moved up the south end of Houck’s Ridge and the right under Lt.  Col. John Jones-was forced into the 75 yards of moon like terrain  between Devils Den and the Round Top Woods. There the 4th Maine confronted them.
                       This ground remained contested for the next hour and a half, and eventually casualties littered the area. The ground remained between the lines for two days and the Confederates were unable to recover their casualties. Within a few days photographer Alexander Gardner arrived and chronicled the gruesome scene as “The Slaughter Pen.”  
                          Here we see in the foreground the Jones detachment of the 44th Alabama as they reach the top of the gorge. Off to the left shooters from  Company  F of the 4th Maine harass the Alabamans from the Rocks of Devil’s Den. (they would shortly be captured by the remainder of the 44th )  The rest of the 4th Maine stands astride Plum Rum but  are threatened by the 48th Alabama who has just erupted out of the woods to the right.  In the background the 4th and 5th Texas are making their initial attack on Vincent’s Brigade on the slopes of Little Round Top.  

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4th Maine in the Valley of Death

12" x 20" ($59.95) and 22" x 34" ($99.95)Framed/Signed Limited Edition Canvas Prints

                     While the 20th Maine enjoys much celebration for holding the south flank of the Union Army at Gettysburg, another regiment from Maine shared that challenge. At the time of the Southern attack on Day 2, the 4th Maine sat on the Union flank just atop Houck’s Ridge adjacent to an impressive rock formation now known as Devil’s Den.  As Hood’s brigade moved off Warfield Ridge it became clear that the exposed flank of Dan Sickles’ tenuous twisted line was in jeopardy.  At the urging of Captain James Smith, who feared the loss of his 4th NY Battery, General Hobart Ward ordered Col. Elijah Walker and his regiment down into the valley behind Houck’s Ridge.
                       Walker was not happy to leave his strong position but he moved his 241 troops(leaving one company to secure the rocks) into the  valley behind the ridge.  From there the Regiment faced south toward an unseen but inevitable attack. To the left was the wooded lower ledge of Big Round Top. To the right was a small gorge filled with boulders.  A broken line of Southern troops could be seen picking their way up the gorge.  More dangerous was the report of troops coming from the woods to the left.
                      In the foreground is left flank of the 4th Maine. The 48th Alabama is threatening their left and the Jones detachment of the 44th has just cleared the rocky gorge.  In the background is the Slyder Farm and on the right is the Devils Den “table “rock.  The 4th would hold this position long enough for Vincent’s Brigade to establish its position on Little Round Top.  Later the 4th fixed bayonets and charged up Houck’s Ridge (to the right) to retake Smith’s Battery, which had ironically fallen to a frontal attack. The 4th took 50% casualties that day including a severe wound to Colonel Walker. The valley they defended eventually became known as the Valley of Death, as 3 more hours of battle ended with the area a no man’s land of dead and wounded from each side.

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48th Alabama Above the Den

11"x 22" Framed/Signed Limited Edition Canvas Print-$59.95

                 The 48th Alabama was recruited from the Sand Hill region of Northeast Alabama and sometimes were known as the “Mountaineers.” The new regiment came east in the Spring of 1862 and were part of Stonewall Jackson’s “foot cavalry.” With some fortune prior to Gettysburg the 48th only took heavy losses at Sharpsburg. At Gettysburg the 48th was part of Law’s Brigade in Hood’s Division. In the early hours of July 2, 1863 the 48th arose and its 374 men made a 26 mile march from Chambersburg to the scene of battle. Barely having time to rest the 48th took its spot on the far right wing of Longstreet’s attack on the Union line.  Due to some misdirection within the Brigade the 48th was moved off the left and directed to assist the 44th Alabama in taking a Union battery perched atop the rocks of Devil’s Den. Taking a path to flank the battery they moved, true to their nickname, through the wooded lower portion of Round Top.             
            In the scene above the 48th emerges from the woods to attack the 4th Maine. Below are the rocks of Devil’s Den. In the far distance is South Mountain, which the 48th had marched over that morning.   To the left the 44th Alabama struggles through the rocks of the Slaughter Pen. Colonel James Sheffield observes the attack as a courier approaches him with a vital message. Shortly before General Hood was wounded by an exploding artillery shell and forced off the field.  With that Evander Law would assume command of the Division and Sheffield would take over Law’s Brigade. This change caused great confusion for the rest to the day for the entire division. The 48th continued pushing back both the 4th Maine and later the 40th New York from what became known as the Valley of Death. The day was not over for the Mountaineers as they then joined in on the attack on the most valuable territory in the sector-Little Round Top. After clearing the Union Troops out of the Valley the 48th wheeled right and attacked straight up the open rocky slope. Initially, the 48th seemed to turn the tide. The 16th Michigan began to turn and withdraw. The summit and Hazlett’s battery were open for conquest. In moments the 48th came under heavy fire from its left as Paddy O’Rourke’s large 140th NY poured over the crest of the hill sending the Southerners back.  The attacks resulted in 106 casualties. Officers were hit especially hard and by evening the Regiment was commanded by Lieutenants Burk and Ewing.
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Charge of the Mozart Regiment

11"x 22" Framed/Signed Limited Edition Canvas Print- $59.95

  The 40th New York was organized in 1861. It's nickname “The Mozart Regiment” came from it’s sponsor, the New York Mozart Hall, a political opponent of Tammany Hall.    The 40th was part of as part of French-born Colonel Philippe Regis DeTrobriand’s Brigade of the III Corps. As the fighting commenced on July 2nd 1863 the 40th , commanded by  Colonel Thomas Egan, was stationed in the woods on Stony Hill.  As the pressure increased on Ward’s brigade in the Devils Den area, Division Commander General David Birney pulled the 40th from its position near the center of the III corps line to shore up the left. The 40th moved across the relatively placid Wheatfield and over a stone wall into the valley due East of Little Round Top.

         There they formed a battle line straddling Plum Run facing south. On Little Round Top the struggle for that vital hill had just commenced, but in the valley below only 2 cannons of Smith’s 4th NY Artillery opposed the southern forces that had flanked Devil’s Den and threatened to sweep below and past Little Round Top. Reacting aggressively the 40th charged down the valley that was to become known as the “Valley of Death.” The 430 New Yorkers swept the Confederate forces back into the Woods and the rocks of the Slaughter Pen Gorge.  With Ward’s Brigade starting to withdraw on their right, the 40th had to abandon their advanced position having suffered 150 casualties. Covering Ward's brigade as they retired they witnessed the arrival of  fresh Union troops from the II and V Corps who assured that Southern forces were unable to make significant progress in the valley that devolved into a bloody no man’s land. 

            Here we see the Mozart Regiment at their furthest point of advance. The rocks of Devils Den are just out of sight to the right. In the center background is a curious boulder known as Elephant Rock. Amid the smoke on either side the Georgians of Benning’s Brigade move to tip the scales to the South and the Alabama regiments of Law’s Brigade blunt the 40th’s charge from behind the rocks of the Slaughter Pen. The Slyder Farm is visible in the distance.


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