SSP GETTYSBURG – IVERSON’S PITS
A solitary marker is the only thing to suggest something happened here, and indeed, the size of the
marker belies its significance. The view, too, is deceiving; looking out over the gentle farm fields,
one is more apt to gaze at the South Mountain or the nearby Peace Light Memorial. But make no
mistake — there was nothing peaceful about this spot on July 1, 1863, the day General Alfred
Iverson’s North Carolina brigade (5th, 12th, 20th & 23rd NC) was annihilated.On July 1, 1863,
various elements of the Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of the Potomac were arriving to
join the escalating battle north of the town. On Oak Ridge, a brigade of infantry from Rhode’s
Division under the command of Alfred Iverson was advancing with the intention of attacking the
Federal line on their right flank. Much debate has ensued over Iverson’s actions and even state of
sobriety that day, but the undeniable fact remains that sending his brigade forward on unfamiliar
ground without skirmishers deployed eliminated any advance warning of a hidden enemy position
— they were sitting ducks!
Smoke from the surrounding fighting may have helped obscure the low stone wall and five Federal
Regiments which lie behind it. The last thing most of these North Carolinians saw — at least while
their spirits occupied their bodies — were the hundreds of Yankees rising up to fire, only 80 yards
away. In a matter of seconds, Iverson’s Brigade ceased to exist. Later that night, burial parties dug
four long, shallow trenches where their comrades’ bodies would remain until several years after the
war, when they and thousands of others were finally disinterred and sent South.
This narration of what happened here is much better than I would have done. They are right in saying there is hardly anything here to show what horrible carnage happened on that day. Just one monument to show that something did happen here.
There is also another story to this place that I found out about. It has been known that Iverson’s Pits are the scene of un-explained happenings. The grass in the burial area always seems to be green, even during the dead of Winter. It never changes. During the early morning hours, a low light fog is always present in the depression where those Soldiers were buried. Some visitors have reported seeing, what they thought, were misty apparitions moving thru the empty field during late evening hours. I have never seen anything like this, but would like to. This would prove to me that what is said is true.
Thanks for stopping by.