Reynolds Monument Group

How to Find These Witness Trees

Witness Tree #03 rises above the dense underbrush about 100 feet to the northwest of the Reynolds Death Monument (1886).

Walk to the Reynolds Death Monument at Stop 1 of the NPS official Auto Tour. Two witness trees can be seen in the woods behind the monument.

Links to These Trees

Find photographs (including then-and-now pictures) and detailed descriptions of these trees here:

What These Trees Witnessed

These trees witnessed the death of Maj. Gen. John F. Reynolds.

1 July 1863: morning: the 1st Corps commander had arrived on the field, and here on the eastern edge of Herbst Woods he was rushing the arriving troops of the Iron Brigade into the trees to push back the Confederate brigade of Brig. Gen. James J. Archer. Reynolds famously called out to the 2nd Wisconsin, “Forward men! Forward, for God’s sake, and drive those fellows out of those woods!” At this moment, a bullet went through his neck, killing him. A good account of the death of the popular and highly regarded general can be found here.

The Reynolds Grove

The area in front of the Reynolds Death Monument might rightfully be named The Reynolds Witness Tree Death Zone, considering how many of the witness trees in the grove have died over the last several years. However, unbeknownst to pretty much everybody – excepting those, including you, who have read this page – at least two witness trees have been confirmed to be still standing just about 80 feet behind and on either side of the Reynolds Monument.

If you wish to touch or hug these trees, though, you were best to visit them in the winter months. The dense undergrowth of the Gettysburg woodlots makes accessing these trees difficult once spring gets underway in April.