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Little Round Top

A cache by Fireguy15 Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 9/18/2007
2 out of 5
1 out of 5

Size: Size: not chosen (not chosen)

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Geocache Description:

This is a very easy EarthCache that requires you to take in your surroundings and determine how the geology of the area affected a major Battle in the Civil War.

Gettysburg National Military Park is open from 6:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. from November 1 through March 31, and from 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. from April 1 through October 31. Only rated a 2 for what you're required to observe. Explore more and it goes up. Someone in a wheelchair with help could easily do this cache!

Please Note: It is against the law to disturb natural or historic features of the Park.

Do not go past the barriers that are in place.




The view


Geology. Both Little and Big Round Tops are underlain by diabase of the northwestward-dipping Gettysburg sill, which in this part of the battlefield has a mile-wide outcrop belt stretching from about the midpoint of the field between the Peach Orchard and Stony Hill in the west to a little beyond the far base of the Round Tops in the east The diabase is York Haven-type—mostly fine to medium grained, and composed predominantly of white or gray plagioclase and black pyroxene. Jointing is well developed and blocky, with spacing and orientation generally irregular. Physical and chemical weathering along the joints tends to create rounded boulders and cobbles ranging in size from a foot or less to twenty feet or more.

 These detached masses form great ramparts at the top of the hill and thickly strew the slopes. The surfaces of the larger boulders typically exhibit an “alligator-skin” like texture caused by cracking of thin concentric weathering rinds that develop through swelling of oxidized minerals, daily and seasonal temperature changes at the rock surface, and freezing of water in fine fractures.


The fight for Little Round Top (afternoon of July 2). Throughout the night of July 1 and the morning and early afternoon of July 2, Little Round Top was virtually unmanned except for a small party of signalmen. On the morning of the 2nd, Maj. Gen. Daniel Sickles’ 3rd Corps occupied the south end of Cemetery Ridge and the low topographic swale between that ridge and Little Round Top—but Sickles made no attempt of extend his line farther south. Maj. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren, Chief Engineer of the Army of the Potomac, arrived on Little Round Top at about 3:30 PM, just as Hood was deploying  for action in the woods on Warfield Ridge, and found only a small detachment of signalmen on the summit. He immediately recognized the critical importance of the hill in defending the Union position.

 According to Warren’s later statements, he asked the commander of an artillery section in his front to fire a shot into the woods on Warfield Ridge. (At that time the area beyond Devil’s Den was much more open then now.) The glint of sunlight off the enemy’s muskets when they moved as the shell passed over gave away their position! Warren then dispatched members of his staff to bring reinforcements. Col. Strong Vincent’s 5th Corps brigade (20th Maine, 83rd Pennsylvania, 44th New York, and 15th Michigan) arrived first and deployed his men along the “military crest” on the south side of the hill (i.e., down-slope from the summit where his men would have the maximum “field of fire”) in facing the extreme right of the Confederate attacking force. Warren himself then brought the 140th New York of Brig. Gen. Stephen Weed’s 5th Corps brigade and Battery D of the 5th U.S. Artillery to the summit just in time to halt a sweep of the 4th Texas Regiment of Brig. Gen. J. B. Robertson’s brigade around Vincent’s left. The rest of Weed’s brigade then took up positions to the right of Vincent’s line, facing west.

 The actions of Maj. Gen. Warren have been described as “the single most important tactical decision in the American Civil War”.  


Imagine that,  the greatest tactical decision of the American Civil War was made by an Engineer becuase he understood the impact the geology would have on the Battle!


 Be sure you visit the 44th and 12th New York Infantry Monument to look over the Battlefield.  It was dedicated July 3,1893 and is the largest regimental monument on the battlefield. The granite castle was built 44 feet high to represent the 44th NY Inf. and 12 feet square to represent two companies of the 12th NY Inf. The view from the top of this monument is amazing! The answers you need are not there but can be found on Little Round Top.




To Claim credit for the find:


1. List 8 Different settings in your view down the hill that would have had an impact on the Battle because of their geological significance. (The Peach Orchard is not one of them)

 2. Take a photo of the “Curious Rocks” on the West Slope (they make an arch) and tell me how you think they were formed.

 3. Tell me how you think the geologic setting here impacted the soldiers and how the Battle may have been different if not for Maj. Gen. Warren's decision.

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Gurer vf n fvta gung jvyy tvir lbh gur nafjref gb gur Trbybtvpny Frggvatf- Dhrfgvba 1.

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)



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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum

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