On July 2, 1863, the once serene orchard of local Gettysburg farmer Joseph Sherfy was bathed in the blood that forever changed its name to the “Peach Orchard.” Under the blazing sun and screaming shells that afternoon, the Confederate veterans of Lieutenant General James Longstreet charged Major General Daniel Sickles’ III Corps troops to occupy the critical high ground of the Peach Orchard. On Thursday, August 1, 2019, at 7:15 PM, the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle, PA will host award-winning author James A. Hessler to speak about his latest book, co-written with Britt C. Isenberg, Gettysburg’s Peach Orchard: Longstreet, Sickles, and the Bloody Fight for the “Commanding Ground” Along the Emmitsburg Road. Mr. Hessler will discuss the critical importance of occupying the high ground at the Peach Orchard and the influence of that action on the tactical decisions of commanders throughout the famed Battle of Gettysburg.
On July 2, 1863, General Robert E. Lee’s plan to attack the southern flank of the Federal line on Cemetery Ridge outside Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, crashed upon the strong point defenses of the Army of the Potomac’s III Corps commander, Major General Daniel Sickles. Mr. Hessler will explore this ferocious attack and defense of the Peach Orchard based on extensive primary sources and his personal knowledge of the terrain. Hessler will relate this microcosm of brutal fighting to the broader scope of the Battle of Gettysburg and will explore the controversial action that nearly lost this great battle for the Union Army.
James A. Hessler, a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg National Military Park, is the co-author of Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg and the recipient of the Bachelder-Coddington Award. He received the Gettysburg Civil War Round Table Distinguished Book Award for Sickles at Gettysburg, and has written several articles for publication. He has made guest appearances on National Public Radio, the Travel Channel, Pennsylvania Cable Network-TV, Breitbart News, and Civil War Radio.