Looking West

This shot is looking down from well east of the field. In the distance, the foothills of South Mountain are visible. Note in the upper right corner the pattern of southwest to northeast running ridges extends. On Day One, Buford's cavalry made a series of delaying actions, holding one ridge, then dropping back to the next.

Mead's Pipe Creek line, 20 miles to the southeast, was also planned to run southwest to northeast. Behind Pipe Creek is another ridge, Parr's Ridge, again running well east of north. South Mountain itself is part of the Blue Ridge, again running southeast to northwest. Lee used the Blue Ridge to hide his initial march north.

It has been suggested that if the Union had not held Cemetery Hill after Day One, Gettysburg would be remembered as a minor skirmish, and that Pipe's Creek would have been a great decisive battle of the Civil War. The above shot backs this conjecture that if the Gettysburg line had not held, one would have to retreat quite some distance before encountering similar high ground.

The same shot without labels.

Next: Interior Lines. Switching from terrain to maneuver.