Observation tower on the summit of Culp's Hill on the Gettysburg battlefield

Culp’s Hill is a rocky, heavily wooded hill whose summit is a little under a mile southeast of the town square of Gettysburg. (Tour map: Culp’s Hill North) The comma-shaped hill extends southeast about 0.2 mile in a descending ridge until it disappears in the lowlands around Spangler’s Spring. A western spur of the hill connects with Steven’s Knoll, which in turn connects with Cemetery Hill. Rock Creek runs along the eastern side of the Culp’s Hill.

During the Batle of Gettysburg Culp’s Hill anchored the right flank of the Union battle line. (Although the extreme right of the infantry of the Army of the Potomac was Neill’s Brigade of the Sixth Corps, who took their position on Wolf’s Hill on July 3rd.)

On July 2nd & 3rd, 1863, it was the target of attacks by the Confederate 2nd Corps. At various times it was held by Union defenders from the 12th Corps reinforced by regiments from the 6th and 1st Corps. At one point most of the 12th Corps was shifted to the threatened Union left flank around Little Round Top, and Brigadier General George S. Greene’s 1,500 man brigade was left almost alone to hold the hill.

Today the summit of the hill is topped with an observation tower and several Union monuments and markers, including a statue of Brigadier General George Greene. A small parking area loops around the summit. The tower is one of five put up in the 1890’s by the War Department, three of which still exist today. The sixty foot tower rises above the tall oak trees on the summit of the hill, giving a beautiful 360° view of the battlefield.