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Civil War Trust

First Day at Gettysburg Quiz Answers

Test your knowledge of the July 1 fighting at Gettysburg

1. Why did mighty armies converge upon Gettysburg in the summer of 1863?

  • Shoes
  • Ladies
  • Food
  • Roads


Answer: Roads. The network of ten roads that converged upon Gettysburg made it difficult to pass through south central Pennsylvania without coming through Gettysburg and when Robert E. Lee concentrated his army from near Chambersburg, York and Harrisburg, Gettysburg was the logical choice. The idea that shoes were the aim of the Confederate army in coming to Gettysburg is pure myth spawned from comment written by Confederate General Henry Heth more than a dozen years after the battle.

2. Soldiers from whose Union cavalry division were positioned north and west of Gettysburg on the morning of July 1?

  • George A. Custer
  • David M. Gregg
  • John Buford
  • William Gamble


Answer: John Buford. On July 1 near Gettysburg, Buford had two brigades under Thomas Devin and William Gamble which he positioned north and west of the town to guard and screen the roads leading into the town and the heights to the south.

3. A soldier from which regiment is credited with firing the first shot of the Battle of Gettysburg?

  • 1st Michigan Cavalry
  • 2nd New York Artillery
  • 8th Illinois Cavalry
  • 24th Michigan


Answer: 8th Illinois Cavalry. At around 7:30am, roughly four miles west of Gettysburg, Lt. Marcellus Jones of the 8th Illinois Cavalry supposedly “took Serg[ean]t Shafer's carbine, rested it across a fence rail and fired at the commanding officer as the column of rebel infantry came across the Marsh Creek bridge.” A marker notes Jones’ supposed position when he fired the shot.

4. Which of the following terrain features did NOT figure prominently in the first day’s action?

  • The Railroad cut
  • Willoughby’s Run
  • Plum Run
  • Barlow’s Knoll


Answer: Plum Run, which flows through the Valley of Death and then south of Devil’s Den, figured prominently in the massive Confederate assault on the afternoon of July 2.

5. The quote “I am not glad to see you by a damned sight”  is associated with which two generals?

  • Abner Doubleday and James Archer
  • George Meade and Robert E. Lee
  • John B. Gordon and Francis Barlow
  • Alfred Iverson and Henry Baxter


Answer: Abner Doubleday and James Archer. Confederate General James J. Archer was the first general captured at Gettysburg. When brought inside Union lines he met his West Point classmate, Union General Abner Doubleday who remarked "Good morning, Archer! How are you? I am glad to see you!"  A frustrated Archer  tersely replied "I am not glad to see you by a damned sight, Doubleday."

Dress Hat Iron Brigade
Hardee Hat worn by a member of the 2nd Wisconsin (Wisconsin Veterans Museums)
6. What distinctive headgear was worn by the Iron Brigade?

  • Deer tails on forage caps
  • Hardee Hats
  • Slouch Hats
  • Brain Buckets


Answer: Hardee Hats. By the summer of 1863, the regulation Army dress hats worn by the Iron Brigade, known as Hardee hats, were recognized by troops of both armies. Confederates who saw these hats in battle knew that hard fighting was ahead. At Gettysburg, one was heard to say "Taint no militia. It's the Army of the Potomac!"

7. Col. Henry Morrow is to Gen. Solomon Meredith as Col. Henry K. Burgwyn is to____?

  • Gen. J.J. Pettigrew
  • Gen. Joseph Davis
  • Gen. Edward Johnson
  • Capt. Frank Haskell


Answer: Gen. J.J. Pettigrew. Morrow and Burgwyn commanded the 24th Michigan and 26th North Carolina, respectively. These regiments were within brigades under Merideth and Pettigrew respectively. Pettigrew took over Gen. Henry Heth’s Division after the latter was wounded.

McPherson Barn Article
The McPherson Barn was at the center of some of the hottest fighting on July 1. (Steve Stanley)

8. What was the name of this famous First Day barn?

  • Wills
  • McPherson
  • Herbst
  • Alms

Answer: McPherson. Located along the Chambersburg Pike, the McPherson Barn is all that remains of Edward McPherson's farm, which served as a rallying point for the arriving Union troops, a focal point for the attacking Confederates, and was later used as a hospital. 

9. After a lull in the battle, a division under which Confederate commander renewed the assault from Oak Hill?

  • Dorsey Pender
  • Edward Johnson
  • James Lane
  • Robert Rodes


Answer: Robert Rodes. The morning's fight involved Confederate units from A.P. Hill's corps west of Gettysburg. As part of the Confederate concentration at Gettysburg, however, Richard Ewell's Corps began to arrive from the north. Robert Rodes’ lead division took position on and attacked from Oak Hill.

10. Who was the highest ranking officer killed at Gettysburg?

  • Dan Sickles
  • John Reynolds
  • Dorsey Pender
  • Lewis Armistead


Answer: John Reynolds. Maj. Gen. John Reynolds was the senior corps commander in the Army of the Potomac and had even been offered command of the army. Arriving in advance of the rest of the Union infantry, Reynolds was killed while directing the Iron Brigade into the fight on McPherson's Ridge.

11. Which of the following states was NOT represented in the Iron Brigade at Gettysburg?

  • Indiana
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Wisconsin


Answer: Minnesota. The only Minnesota infantry unit at Gettysburg was in Harrow's 2nd Corps Brigade. The Iron Brigade consisted of troops from Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin

12. Which Confederate general was hit in the head with a  bullet in McPherson's Woods but lived to tell the tale?

  • James Archer
  • Henry Heth
  • Alfred Iverson
  • Richard Ewell


Answer: Henry Heth. On the march to Gettysburg, Heth procured a new hat but, it being too large, he rolled up newspaper inside for a better fit. When Heth was shot in the head just inside McPherson's woods on July 1, the  spent ball struck the newspaper and only knocked him senseless instead of killing him.

13. What local citizen was popularly known as the “Hero of Gettysburg” for actions on the First Day’s Field?

  • Michael Jacobs
  • David Wills
  • John Burns
  • Jennie Wade


Answer: John Burns. The nearly 70-year old citizen took his old musket and fought alongside Wisconsin men in McPherson's Woods and was thrice wounded and captured. Burns was released and soon became the Hero of Gettysburg—known as the only civilian to help defend the town.

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