What is Little Round Top?

Little Round Top, situated high above the Gettysburg Battlefield, is known as a key location where one of the Battle’s most pivotal attacks took place. It is the setting for the popular Civil War novel, “Killer Angels” by Michael Shaara, which won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1975.

Gen. Joshua Chamberlain and his soldiers from Maine repelled Gen. Robert E. Lee’s July 2, 1863, advance on Little Round Top, despite its challenging terrain. Their successful defense protected a vulnerable Union left flank and changed the fate of the battle and of the Civil War.

(While the brave soldiers of the 20th Maine deserve much credit for this victorious swing in the battle, it needs to be added that U.S. Sharpshooters stationed in the woods below Big Round Top helped repulse the flank and rear of advancing 15th Alabama Regiment led by William Calvin Oates.)

Today, visitors to the Gettysburg Battlefield can learn more historic details about Little Round Top. They can stand on Little Round Top and experience much of the same challenging terrain as the soldiers. It’s a fantastic vantage point to imagine events of the Civil War and contemplate its significance.

A rehabilitation project is set to take place later in 2022, which will close the site for a year or so. If you hope to check out Little Round Top for yourself, we recommend visiting soon!

What Happened at Little Round Top?

On July 2, 1863, General Gouverneur Warren discovered that Confederate soldiers were moving toward the hill. He quickly organized a defense.

Although the Union soldiers were outnumbered and outgunned, they managed to hold off the Confederate attack.

This battle was significant because it prevented the Confederates from taking control of Cemetery Hill, which would have given them a strategic advantage in the war. Over time, Little Round Top has become an important historical landmark because of its role in the Battle for Gettysburg.

While Chamberlain and the 20th Maine deserve much credit for the Union’s success at Little Round Top, so too does Brig. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren. His recognizance work prior to Lee’s advance revealed that it was a key location yet completely undefended hours before the battle began.

Historic Images of Little Round Top

Gettysburg Little Round Top
Title: Dead on Little Round Top, Gettysburg. photographed between 1861 and 1865, printed between 1880 and 1889

 

little round top mountain
Little Round Top (1863)

Little Round Top from Devil's Den
View of Little Round Top from Devil’s Den

Map of the Area near Little Round Top

Following is a Google Map showing the location of Little Round Top and other nearby landmarks at Gettysburg National Park:

Little Round Top Map & Nearby Landmarks

Monuments Nearby

In addition to the fascinating history of Little Round Top, a visit to Gettysburg National Park offers the opportunity to see the more than 1,300 monuments on the battlefield. Following is a list of important monuments located near Little Round Top:

  • The Portrait Statue of General Gouverneur K. Warren
  • The Monument to the 5th United States Artillery, Battery D
  • The Monument to The 155th PA. Infantry
  • The Monument to the Michigan Sharpshooters
  • The Monument to the 44th New York
  • New Jersey Brigade Monument
  • 98th Pennsylvania Infantry Monument
  • Monument to Joseph Bartlett’s Brigade
  • 20th Maine Infantry Marker End of Union Line & two monuments to 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment
  • The monument to the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division of the 5th Corps

There are additional monuments to regiments, batteries, Union headquarters, and individuals along Sykes Avenue, which runs along the east flank of Little Round Top.

Visit Little Round Top in Person

Spring is less than a month away! Soon our bus tours of the historic Gettysburg Battlefield will be in full swing. Reservations can be made by calling our toll-free number at 877-680-8687. You can also purchase bus tour tickets online.  Tours depart from the Gettysburg Tour Center located at 778 Baltimore Street across from the National Cemetery.