P-4: Fredericksburg Artillery Group
The Tipton and Bloch Photograph
What These Trees Witnessed
The Fredericksburg Artillery held the southernmost, or right end, position of the five batteries of Pegram’s Battalion occupying this stretch of today’s West Confederate Avenue on July 2 (from 4 PM on), through July 3, and into July 4, when Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia began its long, slow retreat back to Virginia.
Like its sibling batteries, The Fredericksburg Artillery (led by Capt. Edward A. Marye) took part in the supporting artillery fire of July 2 and the cannonade of July 3 that preceded Pickett’s Charge. At the conclusion of the cannonade, the right flank of Col. John Brockenbrough’s brigade of four Virginia regiments passed through Marye’s guns. Please click here to read about the disgraceful conclusion to Brockenbrough’s advance towards Cemetery Ridge (hint: the brigade never even made it to the Emmitsburg Road).
Many photographic albums of Gettysburg were published in the early 20th century. One of these, published by an entity identified only as “Tipton and Bloch”, entitled Gettysburg: The Pictures and the Story, was published in 1911. “Tipton” is of course William H. Tipton, the most famous photographer of the Gettysburg battlefield, whose literally thousands of images, taken from the 1880’s until well into the 20th century (he died in 1929), form a miraculous record of the park’s early years.
One of the photographs in the album is actually a composite image showing a wide stretch of West Confederate Avenue, with the Fredericksburg Artillery in the center. In the left-hand picture (see Figure P-4), we can identify two witness trees standing just to the north of the Fredericksburg Artillery, one a very large white oak, and the second, standing just on the other side of the stone wall from the guns, a shagbark hickory.
What makes the photograph extraordinary is that there is a distinctive rock in the stone wall which appears in the Tipton image which can be still easily identified today. This rock allows us to make an accurate estimate of the relative diameters of the trees as they are measured today and as they appeared in 1911.
Go to Trees #15 and #16