Today, despite the blazing heat, we thought we would show you some images of the work currently being done at Ziegler’s Grove and at the old National Cemetery Parking Lot. For background on why construction and rehabilitation is happening at this site read our previous blog post.
We begin near the Lydia Leister farm, used as the headquarters of George Meade, commander of the Army of the Potomac, and head due north towards the town of Gettysburg. The monument on the left honors the Oneida Cavalry of New York which served Meade’s headquarters during the battle, providing orderlies, couriers and guards. The monument was placed on the field in 1904.
As we make our way down the path, still heading north, we pass the site of the former Cyclorama Center. That structure once dominated the western view from this position and would have sat among the trees at center. The old Cyclorama building was removed in 2013, marking the first step in the rehabilitation of this section of the battlefield.
Tucked along the fence line observant visitors can find a marker for the 7th West Virginia Infantry. The 7th was the only West Virginia infantry unit to serve in the Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg. Originally positioned in this location, they were ordered to East Cemetery Hill during the twilight hours of July 2nd, 1863 to assist XI Corps units struggling to repulse the Confederate brigades of Hays and Avery.
Much of the work near the old National Cemetery parking lot necessitated the removal of vegetation, opening up new and unexpected view-sheds.
Work is currently underway to restore the battle-era topography of Ziegler’s Grove and the northern stretches of Cemetery Ridge, including a gentle ravine that separated Cemetery Ridge from Cemetery Hill. In the distance can be seen the Taneytown Road and the Soldiers’ National Cemetery.
Looking due west we can see the tablet to Battery G of the 2nd United States Artillery. Commanded on July 3rd by Lt. John Butler, they were not engaged during the battle. Held in reserve on July 2nd, they occupied this position on July 3rd after Pickett’s Charge had already been repulsed. The rear slope of Cemetery Ridge, near the camera position, would have been the location where the limbers for this battery were placed.
Looking west from the edge of the work zone we can see Hancock Avenue and the monument to the 126th New York. This particular regimental memorial, topped with a granite clover leaf – symbol of the II Army Corps, was placed on the battlefield in 1888.
The markers to Battery G of the 2nd US Artillery and Battery F of the 5th US Artillery, commanded by Leonard Martin, sit where the Cyclorama Center once dominated the landscape.