Saturday, March 8, 2008
This small monument near the southern end of Culp’s Hill on the Gettysburg Battlefield covers “Spangler’s Spring”, a natural water source. The Union 12th Army Corps who built earthworks nearby to provide an anchor for the Union Lines occupied this area initially. On July 2nd, the corps was repositioned to the “Peach Orchard” to bolster the crumbling lines there and Confederate troops moved into the Spring area and occupied the earthworks left by the Union soldiers. In the early morning hours of July 3rd the Union Troops counter attacked the position and by late morning after an extremely bloody battle the earthworks and the spring were again in Union hands.
Legends abound about impromptu truces being called in order for soldiers from both sides to fill their canteens and water vessels. There is in fact no record of these truces happening and just as factual is that there is no record that it didn’t. It is believed however the legends of such truces came into being years after the war when soldiers from both sides held reunions at the site.
The banks of the spring became trampled and eroded over the years with visitors to the site and the monument seen here was built in 1895 to protect it. A small metal trap door is at the base of the monument and a dipper was provided so visitors could sample the water that was held so dear to both sides during the conflict. The National Park Service sealed the trap door shortly after it assumed responsibility of the battlefield due to the fear of possible groundwater contamination.