46th Pennsylvania Tree

What This Tree Witnessed

The 46th Pennsylvania did nothing at this location. When the 12th Corps was deployed on Culp’s Hill in the early morning hours of July 2, the 46th Pennsylvania was aligned here on the hill’s lower slopes. When the Confederates failed to attack that afternoon, the 46th PA, along with the other regiments of the two brigades of Col. Charles Candy and Brig. Gen. Thomas L. Kane, were removed from Culp’s Hill and sent to the Army of the Potomac’s left flank to assist in the fighting there.

For a few tantalizing hours, there were no Union troops at all on the lower half of the lesser Culp’s Hill. However, the Confederates did not know this. Late in the evening of the 2nd, the Confederate Maj. Gen. Edward Johnson finally ordered his division to attack along the entire front of Culp’s Hill. It was Brig. Gen. George H. Steuert’s brigade which had the luck to attack along this unoccupied section of the hill, and the 10th and 23rd Virginia Infantry crossed this sector as they moved north to engage whatever Union soldiers were left in the vicinity. When the fighting died down around 11 PM, Steuert’s Brigade had control of the breastworks on Lower Culp’s Hill, including the portion which can still be seen just a few yards to the east of the monument to the 46th Pennsylvania.


This tree was first photographically identified by Greg Gober, using a William Tipton image not reproduced here. The identification of the tree using the 1893 photograph of Figure P-1 below is by the author.

Col. Edward T.H. Warren (10th VA, CSA) Witness Tree

Figure P-1: The Col. Edward Warren Witness Tree. The older image appeared in 1893’s Pennsylvania at Gettysburg, Vol. I.

Tree Species: white oak
Circumference 2023: 93”
Diameter: 29.6”
Calculated Average Growth Rate: 6.4-6.7 years / inch diameter
Estimated age: 190-200 years
Estimated diameter in 1863: 4-6”
GPS: 39.816682N, 77.218659W

There are a few old photographs of the monument to the 46th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, but, with one exception, the dates of those photos is uncertain; this is a slight problem, as they show the tree in question to be too young to be able to say for sure if it is a witness tree or not. The exception is the image of the monument which appears in the 1893 publication, Pennsylvania at Gettysburg (see Figure P-1). Since this picture was taken no more than 30 years after the Batte of Gettysburg, it can give us a pretty good idea of the age of the tree. A careful study of the then-and-now images of the monument and the tree standing just a few feet behind it reveals a ratio of the tree’s diameter 1893:2023 to be about 0.31-0.32. A quick calculation shows that the tree, which now sports a diameter of 29.6 inches, to have grown at an average rate of halfway between 6 and 7 years to grow each inch of diameter since 1893, making the tree perhaps 190-200 years old. Its diameter at the time of the battle would have been about 4-6 inches.

Figure A: This collage of flags of the 10th Viriginia Infantry (CSA) was published in 1912’s A History of Rockingham County.

This witness tree is named for Col. Edward T.H. Warren, commander of the 10th Virginia Infantry (CSA) at the Battle of Gettysburg. Born in 1829 in Rockingham County, VA, Warren attended the University of Virginia, and was practicing law in Harrisonburg at the outbreak of hostilities. (1)

Warren had actually joined a militia company before the first shots were fired, one of seven companies which were organized into a regiment of state militia, of which Warren was appointed lieutenant colonel. The regiment was rechristened the 10th Virginia Infantry (CSA) after Fort Sumter. (2) 

Warren was promoted to colonel in May 1862. The regiment did not see much action until the Battle of Cedar Run (August 9, 1862), at which time the 10th was serving in Stonewall Jackson’s army. The regiment’s second battle was at Second Manassas, at which Warren was absent. The 10th did not experience battle again until the Battle of Chancellorsville, during which the 10th took part in Jackson’s famous flanking attack against the 11th Corps of the Army of the Potomac. Here, Warren was wounded for the first time.

The 10th, now part of Steuert’s Brigade, fought at Gettysburg and Mine Run in 1863, and then in 1864 at the Wilderness in Virginia, where on May 6, Warren was killed. His remains were buried at Woodbine Cemetery in his hometown of Harrisonburg. 

(1) Allardice, Bruce S. Confederate Colonels: A Biographical Register. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 2008. P. 385.
(2) Information for this and the succeeding paragraphs was adapted from A History of Rockingham County, published in 1912. An article contributed by Col. D.H. Lee Martz of the 10th Virginia details the history of the 10th VA on pages 134-155.