GETTYSBURG'S PEACH ORCHARD: Longstreet, Sickles, and the Bloody Fight for the Commanding Ground Along the Emmitsburg Road
More books have been written about the battle of Gettysburg than any other engagement of the Civil War. The historiography of the battle's second day is usually dominated by the Union's successful defense of Little Round Top, but the day's most influential action occurred nearly one mile west along the Emmitsburg Road in farmer Joseph Sherfy's peach orchard. Despite its overriding importance, no full-length study of this pivotal action has been written until now. James Hessler's and Britt Isenberg's Gettysburg's Peach Orchard: Longstreet, Sickles, and the Bloody Fight for the 'Commanding Ground' Along the Emmitsburg Road corrects that oversight. Includes 20 images and 25 maps.
On July 2, 1863, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee ordered skeptical subordinate Lt. Gen. James Longstreet to launch a massive assault against the Union left flank. The offensive was intended to seize the Peach Orchard and surrounding ground along the Emmitsburg Road for use as an artillery position to support the ongoing attack. However, Union Maj. Gen. Daniel Sickles, a scheming former congressman from New York, misinterpreted his orders and occupied the orchard first. What followed was some of Gettysburg's bloodiest and most controversial fighting.
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