Little Round Top from Houck's Ridge

A closer view of Little Round Top shows what a good defensive position it could make. This view is from Houck’s Ridge, which is about 100 feet lower than Little Round Top. It looks east across the valley of Plum Run Creek toward the western slope of Little Round Top. At the time of the Battle of Gettysburg the slope had recently been logged, providing a clear line of sight and fire. It has been kept clear since the battle, but many other elements of the landscape have changed since 1863. The park roads have been added, and an electric railway was built and later removed from the foot of the hill. One hundred fifty years of heavy visitation has changed the landscape in subtle ways, wearing paths and beating down undergrowth. But it is still obvious that this would be a very difficult position to take from determined defenders.

The road coming from the left in the photo is Crawford Avenue, which becomes Sickles Avenue after it passes the intersection. Plum Run runs on the far side of the road from left to right, a small creek that can be easily hopped but which made the valley a boggy mess that slowed down troops from both sides.The road coming down from the flank of Little Round Top is Warren Avenue. Big Round Top is out of view to the right, as is the Devil’s Den, which is part of the ridge on which the photographer is standing.

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