Gettysburg - East Cemetery and Culp’s Hill, July 2, 1863
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Gettysburg - East Cemetery and Culp's Hill, July 2, 1863
American Battlefield Trust’s map of the Battle of Gettysburg - East Cemetery and Culp’s Hill
In the early evening of July 2, as Jubal Early’s division attacked East Cemetery Hill, Ewell’s Second Corps division of Edward “Allegheny” Johnson moved against upper Culp’s Hill. The rocky, almost vertical terrain was nearly impossible for John Jones’ brigade to climb over, but Jesse Williams and George “Maryland” Steuart made progress with their brigades on lower Culp’s Hill.
George Greene’s New York brigade were the sole defenders of the entire hill. On his own initiative, Greene ordered his men to build stout breastworks along their front and stretched his line of five regiments to the south. Colonel David Ireland, commanding the right of Greene’s line with the 137th New York, bent his regiment back at an angle to prevent being flanked. Fighting raged until the late evening, continuing in the darkness as the Confederates held a tenuous grip on the hillside. With help from I Corps reinforcements, Greene was barely able to hold his position.
During the night, the Confederates were unknowingly dangerously close the Baltimore Pike, a critical Union communication and supply route.