Devil's Den and the Slaughter Pen - Gettysburg, PA
N 39° 47.489 W 077° 14.514
18S E 308042 N 4407018
Quick Description: A portion of the battlefield of Gettysburg, located in front of Little Round Top, is known as the Slaughter Pen. Upon the conclusion of that engagement, the ground was found in many places to be almost covered with the dead and wounded.
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Date Posted: 7/22/2013 6:48:16 PM
Waymark Code: WMHM82
The Slaughter Pen can be found at the foot of Little Round Top across from Devil's Den, a location that figured prominently in the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, July 2, 1863. Devil's Den is a huge collection of randomly scattered boulder, gigantic and stacked up offering protection from Union troops on Little Round Top and an excellent piece of real estate for sharpshooter (called snipers today).
The interpretive is located at the corner summit or foot of the Den. It is along Skyes Road, on the right or west side of the road if traveling south, before the road turns back upon itself and proceeds higher up the hill. To the immediate right of the marker is the walking path which takes visitors through the rocks to the monuments above. Parking is available at the base of the rock pile which is limited to a dozen or so. It that is filled, and it usually is in the summer, continue forward of Sykes Road and wrap around to the rear of the Den and up here will be a large shoulder area on the right side of the road, next to the four Parrott rifles. Take care to not park on anything remotely green looking as Park Police will happily ticket you. I visited this site on Monday, July 1, 2013 on the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg @ 5:00 PM, EDT & @ an altitude of 527 feet, ASL. As always, I used my trusty and oft abused Canon PowerShot 14.1 Megapixel, SX210 IS digital camera for the photos.
Each interpretive is held in a thick, black frame, about 3 feet high and tilted at such an angle for suitable and easy reading. This particular series, the large ones with b & w photos on the right and text on the left, were constructed and erected by the Gettysburg National Military Park. The marker offers some insight as to the fighting that occurred up here on July 2 1863. On the right is a drawing of the scene in the late afternoon @ the Saughter Pen accompanied by a vintage, b & w photo of the site. The marker reads:
The interpretive Reads:
"Awful, awful rocks!!"
For weeks after the battle, a delirious Alabama soldier suffering from his wounds repeated these words
The labyrinth of boulders and crevices in front of you was known to local residents as "Devil's Den," a name that would become famous in the history of the Civil War. The rocky gorge to your left and behind you earned the name "Slaughter Pen" for the great number of Confederates killed there.
Late on the afternoon of July 2, Confederates of Hood's Division captured Devil's Den and the ridge above here in a bloody struggle that lasted an hour and a half. Devil's Den then became a nest of Confederate sharpshooters who took aim at Union officers and men on Little Round Top behind you to the right. The sniping continued until the end of the battle on July 3.
As historic photos demonstrate, the rocks of Devil's Den and the Slaughter Pen have changed little since the time of the battle. A trail beginning here winds up through the boulders 1/10 mile to the top of Devil's Den and a fine viewpoint of Little Round Top.
More About the Marker:
In the upper right is a drawing captioned, Confederate infantry overran Devil's Den on the afternoon of July 2. Below it a photo shows the Slaughter Pen. During the fight for Devil's Den and Little Round Top, scores of soldiers fell dead among the rocks. This Timothy O'Sullivan photo taken three days after the battle shows Confederate dead lying in the "Slaughter Pen," the valley behind you.