Gettysburg Quiz Answers

Longstreet's Attack

1. The Battle of Gettysburg was fought over a three-day span in the summer of 1863. The "Second Day" at Gettysburg was on what date?

  • June 15, 1863
  • July 2, 1863
  • August 28, 1863
  • May 31, 1863
  • July 15, 1863

Answer: July 2, 1863. The Battle of Gettysburg was fought between July 1, 1863 and July 3, 1863.

2. After a largely successful first day's fight at Gettysburg, commanding General Robert E. Lee directed his 1st Corps Commander, Lt. Gen. James Longstreet, to do what on the Second Day?

  • To make a rare night attack on the weakened Union forces on Cemetery Hill
  • To locate JEB Stuart's cavalry forces so that they could be directed into the Union rear
  • To unhinge the Union position by strongly attacking its left
  • To interpose his corps between the Union army and Washington DC
  • To provide a diversionary attack in support of Ewell's main attack on the right

Answer: To unhinge the Union position by strongly attacking its left. Robert E. Lee was particularly interested in attacking the Union left and by doing so pushing the Union out of their strong position on Cemetery Hill and Cemetery Ridge.

3. How would one describe Lt. Gen. James Longstreet's reaction to Lee's plan for the Second Day at Gettysburg?

  • Gratified that Lee had finally accepted his recommendation for an attack
  • Confused as to whether Lee wanted to attack or not
  • Longstreet never received Lee's orders. He was elsewhere on the battlefield
  • Opposed. Longstreet argued that Lee's forces should remain on the tactical defensive

Answer: Opposed. Longstreet argued that Lee's forces should remain on the tactical defensive. James Longstreet, a proponent of the "Strategic Offensive, Tactical Defensive" school of warfare, felt that an attack against a strengthening Union force that had had time to dig in would result in excessive casualties – much like the Battle of Fredericksburg in reverse. Longstreet on several occasions put forward his recommendation to remain more on the defensive. Lee, by most accounts, grew tired of Longstreet's repeated attempts to stop the July 2nd attack, would issue a preemptive order to attack.

4. Maj. Gen. Gordon Meade was the commander of the Army of the Potomac at the Battle of Gettysburg. On what day did Meade assume command?

  • July 1, 1863
  • July 1, 1862
  • May 1, 1863
  • June 28, 1863
  • May 5, 1864

Answer: June 28, 1863. Maj. Gen. Gordon Meade took command of the Army of the Potomac on June 28, 1863 – just 4 days prior to the start of the largest battle of the Civil War. Meade would assume command from Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker whose performance at the Battle of Chancellorsville in May of 1863 had greatly diminished his reputation and the trust of many of his key subordinates.

5. After reaching Cemetery Ridge with his 3rd Corps, Maj. Gen. Dan Sickles subsequently did what with his corps?

  • He expertly placed his corps along Cemetery Ridge, taking advantage of the rough terrain
  • He responded to an urgent plea to reinforce the Union right at Culp's Hill
  • He independently moved his corps forward to the Emmitsburg Road
  • Without orders, he directed one of his divisions to reinforce Little Round Top
  • He got lost and led his corps into the woods near Saunders Field

Answer: He independently moved his corps forward to the Emmitsburg Road. In what is still one of the most controversial actions by any Union corps commander in the Civil War, Maj. Gen. Dan Sickles would push his 3rd Corps to new positions along the Emmitsburg Road – far in advance of the Cemetery Ridge line that Meade had intended him to occupy. Sickle's thinking this advanced ground was a more defensible position. Unfortunately for his now vulnerable and exposed 3rd Corps, the fighting on the Second Day would lead to his serious wounding and the shattering of his corps.

See our interview of author Jim Hessler who recently published an insightful biography of Dan Sickles, Sickles at Gettysburg

6. The "Second Day" battles at Gettysburg would be fought over unique and memorable ground. Which of the following sites is not associated with Gettysburg and the Second Day?

  • Devil's Den
  • The Wheatfield
  • The Cornfield
  • The Peach Orchard
  • Rose's Woods

Answer: The Cornfield. The Cornfield is a key location within the Battle of Antietam

7. The Union positions on Little Round Top – a key defensive position for the Army of the Potomac – was not well secured at the outset of the attack. Personal initiative and strong resolve on the part of several Union officers helped to quickly plug this important vulnerability. Which of the following was NOT one of those events:

  • Gouvernor Warren climbed to the top of Little Round Top and alerted the Union command as to its vulnerability
  • Strong Vincent quickly moved his brigade onto Little Round Top and stoutly resisted strong Confederate attacks
  • Paddy O'Rorke led his 140th New York into a growing breach atop Little Round Top
  • George Greene hastily built strong trench lines along the top of the ridge
  • Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain led a desperate charge that drove back Confederate attackers

Answer: George Greene hastily built strong trench lines along the top of the ridge. While Brig. Gen. George Greene's action on July 2, 1863 would become known as one of the most courageous and important Union actions this day, Greene's efforts were in defense of the Union positions atop Culp's Hill.

So much of legend of the Union's defense of Little Round Top has been placed on the shoulders of Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain's shoulders. In reality, Chamberlain's remarkable defense was just one of many Union actions that saved this important defensive position. Unfortunately for Col. Strong Vincent and Paddy O'Rorke they would not survive the fight on Little Round Top.

8. Confederate Brig. Gen. William Barksdale led 1,600 veteran soldiers that attacked in the area of the Peach Orchard. From what state did most of Barksdale's troops come from?

  • Georgia
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia
  • Texas
  • Mississippi

Answer: Mississippi. Barksdale's Brigade was made up of the 13th, 17th, 18th, and 21st Mississippi Regiments Barksdale, one of the Confederate heroes as the Battle of Fredericksburg, would be mortally wounded in the attack on the Peach Orchard on July 2, 1863.

9. With his line breaking, Maj. Gen. Dan Sickles would be struck by a Confederate artillery shell and forced to leave the field. What body part did Dan Sickles lose as a result of this shot?

  • Right Arm
  • Left Arm
  • Left Leg
  • Right Leg
  • Left hand

Answer: Right Leg. With Barksdale's Mississipians bearing down on his headquarters at the Trostle Farm, Sickle's was struck by a solid shot artillery shell which shattered his right leg. Sickles, with a cigar clenched in his teeth, would be carried away on a stretcher where his leg was amputated that evening.

In what has to be one of the more macabre Civil War artifacts, Dan Sickles would donate his severed right leg to the Army Surgeon General. His preserved leg bone can be seen at the National Museum of Health and Medicine's museum in Washington DC.

Remains of Dan Sickles' Right Leg Bone

10. Fearing that the Confederates would break the Union left-center, Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock was compelled to sacrifice this unit in a successful attempt to gain more time to bring up reinforcements.

  • 20th Maine
  • 1st Minnesota
  • 1st US Sharpshooters
  • 5th Michigan Cavalry
  • 2nd Wisconsin

Answer: 1st Minnesota. With Dan Sickles and his shattered 3rd Corps heading for the rear a true emergency was faced Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock who had been ordered to stabilize the threatened Union left. Hancock, sensing that he needed time to bring up reinforcements, ordered the 260 men of the 1st Minnesota, a veteran unit that has fought in almost every Eastern Theater battle including Bull Run, to charge Cadmus Wilcox's advancing Alabamians. The 1st Minnesota was able to temporarily stem the Confederate attack, but lost almost 68% of its men in just 15 minutes of fighting.

The 1st Minnesota's sacrifice on July 2, 1863 is commemorated by one of the Gettysburg Battlefield's most revered monuments.

11. Despite early success, the Confederate forces under Longstreet failed to achieve their ambitious objectives. Which of the following was not a contributing factor to that setback on the Second Day?

  • Division commander John Bell Hood was mortally wounded at the summit of Little Round Top
  • The timely arrival of significant Union reinforcements
  • Few Confederate reinforcements were available to exploit breakthroughs
  • The rough terrain was a great advantage to the Union defenders
  • Supporting attacks by A.P. Hill failed to fix Union defenders

Answer: Division commander John Bell Hood was mortally wounded at the summit of Little Round Top. John Bell Hood, one of Longstreet's division commanders was indeed wounded during the attack on July 2, 1863, but his wound was not mortal. Hood would recover and later become the commander of the ill-fated Confederate Army of Tennessee which would fight at the Battles of Spring Hill, Franklin, and Nashville in the winter of 1864.

See our animated map of the Battles of Spring Hill and Franklin

Lt. General John Bell Hood
General John Bell Hood, CSA

12. In 1978 the National Park Service prepared a memorandum for the Secret Service indicating that they should secure the Devil's Den, a noted location for snipers during the battle, while these dignitaries visited Little Round Top.

  • President Jimmy Carter and Premier Leonid Brezhnev
  • President Jimmy Carter, Anwar Sadat, and Menachem Begin
  • President Jimmy Carter and Shah Pahlavi
  • President Dwight Eisenhower and Deng Xioaping
  • President Elect Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Stewart

Answer: President Jimmy Carter, Anwar Sadat, and Menachem Begin. Legends tied to Confederate snipers picking off Union officers on Little Round Top during the Battle of Gettysburg grew to greatly exceed the true fighting on July 2, 1863. Regardless, the National Park Service issued a brief to the Secret Service that recommended that they secure the Devil's Den during a visit to the summit of Little Round Top by President Jimmy Carter, Anwar Sadat, and Menachem Begin in 1978.

13. After the war, the Gettysburg Battlefield, and especially the area around Devil's Den became a significant tourist destination. Which was NOT one of the post-war tourist developments on the battlefield near Devil's Den?

  • A photographic studio
  • A saloon
  • An electric railway
  • A dancehall
  • A swimming pool

Answer: A swimming pool. While many of us can now view the Devil's Den in a condition that is close to its 1863 state, it's remarkable to think that shortly after the battle many structures and intrusions popped up to support the budding battlefield tourism industry. In the post-war years a photographic studio, a saloon, and even a dancehall were built near the Devil's Den. And the tracks of an electric railway, or trolly, was laid close to the very ground where Union and Confederate forces fought on July 2, 1863.

14. The Civil War Preservation Trust has been an active partner in working to preserve and protect the Gettysburg battlefield. Which of these actions is NOT one of CWPT's past accomplishments?

  • Preserving more than 270 acres of East Cavalry Field
  • Helping to stop the proposed Gettysburg Casino in 2006
  • Preserving 24 acres of battlefield land near Barlow's Knoll
  • Helping to erect observation towers near the battlefield
  • Saving 145 acres around the Daniel Lady farm

Answer: Helping to erect observation towers near the battlefield. Since its inception, the Civil War Preservation Trust has worked to preserve almost 698 acres of the Gettysburg battlefield. We are currently working with local preservation groups to stop a newly proposed casino. For more on this new threat to the hallowed ground at Gettysburg please visit our Stop the Gettysburg Casino page

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