The Round Tops and Devil’s Den

While the 20th of Maine monument is hidden at the end of the line, the front of the hill facing the ancient battlefield are littered with monuments and memorials for the soldiers on the Union side who fought that day. It is very high, and still littered with boulders and rocks the defenders must have used to find cover during those terrible days.

When you look back at Little Round Top with its rocks and monuments, it looks very much like a ruined castle’s cemetery, with each memorial marking a place where brave men fought and died.

Far below Little Round Top was a scattering of giant cracked stones, emerging from the earth in the rocky valley below the open part of Little Round Top’s rocky summit. This was called Devils Den even before the battle, for a giant snake called Devil that supposedly resided in the cracks of these stones. The stones themselves – everywhere in the area – are of a crackling grey-red color, looking in some places as if they were stone walls squished and reshaped into boulders, in other places, cleaves in two, all with a sandpaper like finish. How much of it was from nature, and how much from the battle I could not tell.

As for the snake called “Devil” I didn’t see a trace of him, or any ghostly hauntings of wandering soldiers who had yet to find a place of rest. Overhead, large birds circled and soared in the summer skies. Pop identified them as vultures. Perhaps they still smelled the ancient deaths that filled this place.

It did make me antsy, and I was glad when we drove on to the next point on the tour.

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