Gettysburg (WHTM) Just north of Gettysburg, along Howard Avenue between Biglerville Road and Old Harrisburg Road, you will find Barlow’s Knoll.

The area, part of Gettysburg National Military Park, is a quiet place. It sees little tourist traffic compared to the southern part of the battlefield, where much of the fighting took place on the second and third days of the battle.

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But on July 1, 1863, Barlow’s Knoll was the scene of some of the most vicious fighting during the first day of the battle. Originally named Blocher’s Knoll, it was renamed in honor of Brigadier General Francis Barlow, Commander of the 1st Division, 11th Corps of the Union Army of the Potomac.

Barlow placed his division at the knoll to fend off a Confederate advance. But while the knoll was the high ground in the area, Barlow’s men were spread thin. Worse still, his right flank was “in the air.”

Barlow’s Division was attacked by units of two Confederate divisions, commanded by Major General Robert Rodes and Major General Jubal Early. The Union right flank folded, the rest of the line collapsed, and scattered parts of the division retreated in disorder through Gettysburg to the Union Line forming on high ground south of the town.

Both sides suffered hundreds of casualties, killed, wounded, or captured. Barlow himself was wounded and left for dead. He was saved, ironically enough, by a Confederate General, John B. Gorden, who spotted him on the field and sent him to a field hospital. He was left behind when the Confederates retreated, and recovered by Union forces.

He spent months in the hospital, and eventually returned to service in April of 1864, and took part in some of the hardest fighting of 1864 and 1865.