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Cemetery Hill | by Soaptree
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Cemetery Hill

Gettysburg National Military Park

Gettysburg, PA., USA

 

Cemetery Hill is a key terrain feature in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the northernmost extent of Cemetery Ridge. It played prominent roles in all three days of the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1–3, 1863.

 

During the battle, Cemetery Hill was a critical part of the Union army defensive line, the curved portion of what is described as the "fish-hook" line. There were three important characteristics to the hill. First, its gentle slope made it excellent defensive ground against the infantry tactics of the era. Second, it was an outstanding artillery platform with good fields of fire (unlike the neighboring Culp's Hill, which was heavily wooded), dominating wide swaths of the town and other parts of the battlefield. Third, and most importantly, it was a concentration point for three major roads that led south: Emmitsburg Road, Taneytown Road, and the Baltimore Pike. These roads were critical for keeping the Union army supplied and for blocking any Confederate advance on Baltimore or Washington, D.C.

 

Before the battle, Cemetery Hill (originally named Raffensperger's Hill, after farmer Peter Raffensperger, who owned over 6 acres (24,000 m2) on the eastern slope, was the site of Evergreen Cemetery, a civilian burial ground established in 1854. It was joined afterward by the adjacent Gettysburg National Cemetery, which was dedicated by Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

  

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Taken on April 3, 2009