1. Herbst Woods

The Herbst Woods was the scene of the Battle of Gettysburg’s first large-scale carnage, as the Union’s Iron Brigade came crashing into the trees to push back the attacking Confederates of Brigadier General James Archer’s brigade. The southerners counter-attacked with Brigadier General James Pettigrew’s brigade, part of an overall assault that sent the Yankee First Corps retiring back first to Seminary Ridge, then through town to the safety of Cemetery Hill.

The woods here have never been cut down, which means that the possibility of a large number of standing Witness Trees is great. The Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation (a subsidiary of the National Park Service), in its Cultural Landscape Report on the first day’s battle, wrote “Reynolds Grove, the earliest commemorative landscape on the 1st Corps battlefield, is a park-like area at the eastern end of Herbst Woods comprised of mown turf beneath mature oak and hickory trees, some of which may be witness trees.” (1)

(1) Auwaerter, John et al. Cultural Landscape Report for First Day – Union 1st Corps Battlefield, Gettysburg National Military Park, Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation, National Park Service, Boston, Massachusetts 2021. Page 271.