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Day 1 Tour 1
McPherson's Ridge

The battle begins
The first shot of the Battle of Gettysburg is fired down this road, the Chambersburg Pike, about a mile and three-quarters in front of us. A little after 7:30 in the morning on that July 1st, one lone 2nd lieutenant in the 8th Illinois Cavalry—his name was Marcellus Jones—will raise his carbine to his shoulder and squeeze off a shot at 6,500 Confederates marching down the road—in column by fours—at him. Jones doesn’t hit anyone, but the battle begins from that one simple shot. Upon hearing that shot, John Buford—realizing that the Confederates are coming en masse down that road from the west—realizes he needs help...

Day 1 Tour 2
Willoughby Run

General Archer’s Confederates meet the Iron Brigade
The infantry that hits Archer’s Brigade in these woods is one of the finest outfits in the entire Union army—mid-westerners from the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Indiana, known as the Iron Brigade. They earned their nickname, Iron Brigade, for their reputation of never taking a step back in battle during two years of fighting...

Day 1 Tour 3
The Railroad Cut

The fight for the colors of the Second Mississippi
There are 10,000 Union soldiers coming up from the Emmitsburg, Maryland area, arriving from the south and the southeast (through these fields front of us). First the Iron Brigade advances diagonally across these fields and into the woods, very close to the spot where General Reynolds is killed...

Day 1 Tour 4
Oak Hill

Confederate reinforcements arrive from the north
When 8,000 Confederates come in behind us, Robert Rodes finds himself in a remarkably good situation. He is on the flank of the Union position—like a big “T,” about as good as you can get, tactically speaking, in the American Civil War. This position is a general’s heaven, and Rodes has to be salivating at the prospect here. The very first thing he does is set up 14 cannons on top of this hill, to start firing down the Union battle line. From that fire, about 500 Union soldiers retreat from McPherson’s Ridge across these open fields and into that tree line—the Railroad Woods again. Rodes sees those men retreating into the woods, and he is determined to go after them...

Day 1 Tour 5
Barlow's Knoll

Union first breaks down from right to left
What we’re standing on right now is the Union right flank, at a place called Barlow’s Knoll. It was called Blocher’s Knoll at the time of the battle because it was named after the farmer who owned the property. It was renamed Barlow’s Knoll for the Union general, Frances Barlow, whose men fought and bled on this ground...

Day 1 Tour 6
Seminary Ridge

Union First Corp makes final stand before retreating through town
We’re now on Seminary Ridge, on the far left of the Union battle line. That battle line is breaking down on July 1st from right to left. The positions in front of you are the last to break, with Union soldiers making a final stand among the buildings behind us (the Lutheran Seminary), before their lines again break and they are driven through the streets of Gettysburg...

Day 1 Tour 7
Cemetery Hill

Union troops reorganize on high ground south of town
Confederates drive the Union soldiers back through the streets of Gettysburg to join their fellow soldiers who have retreated from the north. The retreat through town is a miserable affair for the Union army. The Confederates are no more than 300 yards away at any one point, and as a result, there are almost 3,000 killed, wounded, and captured Union soldiers in the streets of Gettysburg before they arrive at this position...

-Tours are-recorded on
the Battlefield

Gary Kross, author and businessman, is one of the most popular Licensed Battlefield Guides at the Gettysburg National Battlefield Park. A member of the advisory board of Blue & Gray magazine, he published special editions of that magazine in 1988, 1995, 1996 and 1997 on the Battle of Gettysburg. His vivid battlefield tours provide a level of dramatic realism to Virtual Gettysburg.

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