If you’ve studied the battle of Gettysburg, you’ve likely seen the photo of the “dead sharpshooter” posed in the “sharpshooter’s nest” above Devil’s Den. Though it’s been theorized many times that the photo was posed, that doesn’t diminish the memory of so many Texans and Alabamians (as well as men from Maine and probably others) that truly did die among the boulders. When I look at this photo I took just a few weeks ago, it’s very easy to see how soldiers could have secreted themselves between the rocks, taking advantage of the gigantic boulders for protection and using them as a hard place on which to balance their rifles. The branches visible in the background belong to the Devil’s Den witness tree.
I recently heard that a number of soldiers found dead at Devil’s Den had actually died from concussions. The Union gunners on Little Round Top, located across the "Valley of Death" from the ominous boulder den, attempted to silence pesky sharpshooters by lobbing cannonballs into the fray. The sound of ball against boulder was so deafening and jarring that a few men actually died from it. Whether or not the “sharpshooter” story is ever completely proven to be right or wrong, the area is certainty steeped in bloodshed.
CPL. JOSEPH PUFFER
Co. I, 14th Connecticut Infantry
Born August 18, 1840 --- Died July 03, 1863 at age 22
(c) 2013 Skies of Blue and Gray