The Wheatfield (Battle of Gettysburg) The Battle of Gettysburg was known as the "turning point" of the Civil War. Although there were many fields surrounding the small town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, only one would be forever known only as the "Wheatfield". It was here that one of the bloodiest attacks of the Civil War was fought. The Wheatfield was located on Rose Farm, exactly in the middle of Devil's Den and the Peach Orchard. After the raid on Devil's Den earlier that day, General Longstreet of the Confederate army, ordered his troops forward against the Union Lines. General Philip De Trobriand of the Union Army was waiting for him. General Kershaw and General Anderson's confederate troops would be the ones to meet Trobriand"ÃÂs in battle. The attack started at around 4:30 p.m. on July 2nd, 1863. At first they had planned to attack at the Peach Orchard but when they realized that they could not win they withdrew to the Road along the Wheatfield where the major fighting took place.
Three brigade commanders from the Confederate army were killed during this first and fiercest fighting. At about 5:30 p.m., John C. Caldwell's soldier's were sent to reinforce the other Union soldiers already in the process of fighting at the Wheatfield. It was at this same time that the confederates were driving the troops from their positions. Caldwell barely had time to arrive before the Union soldiers came under another heavy attack, but they did fight well enough to temporarily drive the confederate army back. This however did not last long due to the fact that the confederates came back with a counter-attack led by William T. Wofford's brigade and aided with the help of Paul J. Semmes' troops. They broke the Union line at the Peach Orchard and Stony Hill and began to attack on the Wheatfield Road. Caldwell's troops could not fight back due to the disordered shape they were in. At this time Jacob B. Sweitzer's union soldiers were sent in to try to defend what was left of Caldwell's troops and to stop the advance of the confederates. They succeeded and for the moment the Wheatfield was in the hands of the Union soldiers. This victory was short lived though because at this moment Semme's started to put pressure on John Brook's, a general also sent in to help Caldwell, and Brook's found that the confederates were gaining ground again. After much hand to hand fighting, Sweitzer and Brook's soldiers failed and the Wheatfield was lost. At the time that Sweitzer and Brook's troops were retreating, Romeyn B. Ayres' division was entering the Wheatfield. They hoped to stall the Confederates long enough so that the retreating Union soldiers would be able to set up positions North of Little Round Top. During this fight the Union lost over 800 men and did not stop the confederates from reaching Plum Run at the base of Little Round Top. Once there, at Little Round Top, the Confederate troops were unable to proceed any farther. A Union brigade then took the liberty to drive the Confederates back across the Wheatfield but by this time the darkness had fallen and the Wheatfield still remained in the hands of the Confederates. It would stay this was until the end of the Battle of Gettysburg. Although not in great detail it is easy to see that with the complexity of this battle and the pure man power taken to fight each other, the Union and the Confederate troop's both suffered many casualties. Many of the commanders were also lost during this battle which makes it hard to write accurate reports of what actually went on that day in the Wheatfield. Although different resources have different views one thing we know is for sure. The battle that was fought on the Wheatfield that day in July would go down in History as being one of the most complicated and certainly the bloodiest battle of Gettysburg.