Main article: Battle of Gettysburg Further information: Gettysburg Battlefield, Confederate order of battle, and Union order of battle Culp's Hill is a key terrain feature in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, overlooking the main downtown area from the southeast. It consists of two rounded peaks, separated by a narrow saddle. The higher peak, at 627 feet (190 m) above sea level, is of similar height to its neighbor to the west, Cemetery Hill, but it is heavily wooded and has a steep slope east to Rock Creek, 160 feet (50 m) lower in elevation. The western slope is connected to East Cemetery Hill by a sagging crest line that includes a plateau (McKnight's Hill) that was named Stevens's Knoll after the battle, for Captain Greenleaf T. Stevens, the commander of the 5th Maine Light Artillery, stationed there. The lower peak is 100 feet (30 m) shorter than its companion. The hill was owned in 1863 by a local farmer named Henry Culp.
During the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1–3, 1863, Culp's Hill was a critical part of the Union army defensive line, the right flank, or "barbed" portion of what is described as the "fish-hook" line. Holding the hill was by itself unimportant because its heavily wooded sides made it unsuitable for artillery placement, but its loss would have been catastrophic to the Union army. It dominated Cemetery Hill and the Baltimore Pike, the latter being critical for keeping the Union army supplied and for blocking any Confederate advance on Baltimore or Washington, D.C.