CAMPAIGNS OF THE CIVIL WAR.—VI.
BREVET MAJOR-GENERAL U.S.A., AND LATE MAJOR-GENERAL U-S.V.; COMMANDING THE FIRST CORPS AT GETTYSBUBG.
CHARLES SCRIBNER’S SONS
CHARLES SCRIBNER’S SONS
PRINTING AND BOOKBINDING COMPANY
201-213 East 12th Street
IN writing this narrative, which relates to the decisive campaign which freed the Northern States from invasion, it may not be out of place to state what facilities I have had for observation in the ful?lment of so important a task. I can only say that I was, to a considerable extent, an actor in the scenes I describe, and knew the principal leaders on both sides, in consequence of my association with them at West Point, and, subsequently, in the regular army. Indeed, several of them, including Stonewall Jackson and A. P. Hill, were, prior to the war, officers in the regiment to which I belonged’. As commander of the Defences of Washington in the spring of 1862, I was, owing to the nature of my duties, brought into intimate relations with the statesmen who controlled the Government at that time, and became well acquainted with President Lincoln. I was present, too, after the Battle of Gettysburg, at a very interesting Cabinet Council, in which the pursuit of Lee was fully discussed; so that, in one way and another, I have had better opportunities to judge of men and measures than usually fall to the lot of others who have written on the same subject.
I have always felt it to be the duty of every one who held a prominent position in the great war to give to posterity the bene?t of his personal recollections; for no dry official statement can ever convey an adequate idea to those who come after us of the sufferings and sacri?ces through which the country has passed. Thousands of men—the ?ower of our Northern youth—have gone down to their graves unheralded and unknown, and their achievements and devotion to the cause have already been forgotten. It is, therefore, incumbent upon us, who were their comrades in the ?eld, to do all in our power to preserve their deeds from oblivion.
And yet it is no easy task to relate contemporaneous events. Whoever attempts it must be prepared for severe criticism and the exhibition of much personal feeling. Some of this may be avoided, it is true, by writing a colorless history, praising everybody, and attributing all disasters to dispensations of Providence, for which no one is to blame. I cannot, however, consent to ful?l my allotted task in this way, for the great lessons of the war are too valuable to be ignored or misstated. It is not my desire to assail any of the patriotic men who were engaged in the contest, but each of us is responsible for our actions in this world, and for the consequences which ?ow from them ; and where great disasters have occurred, it is due both to the living and the dead that the causes and circumstances be justly and properly stated.
Richelieu once exclaimed, upon giving away a high appointment: “Now I have made one ingrate and a thousand enemies." Every one who writes the history of the Great Rebellion will often have occasion to reiterate the statement; for the military critic must necessarily describe facts which imply praise or censure. Those who have contributed to great successes think much more might have been said on the subject, and those who have caused reverses and defeats are bitter in their denunciations. Nevertheless, the history of the war should be written before the facts have faded from the memory of living men, and have become mere matters of tradition. In a narrative of this kind, resting upon a great number of voluminous details, I cannot hope to have wholly escaped error, and wherever I have misconceived or misstated a fact, it will give me pleasure to correct the record.
New York, January, 1882
PAGE LIST of MAPS, . . . . . . . . xiii
THE INVASION OF THE NORTH, . . . . . . 87
HOOKER’S PLANS—LONGETREET OCCUPIES THE GAPS IN THE BLUE RIDGE—ALARM IN RICHMOND—HOOKER SUPERSEDED BY MEADE, . . . . . . 98
STUART’S RAID—THE ENEMY IN FRONT OF HARRISBURG —MEADE’S PLANS, . . . . . . . 117
THE FIRST DAY OF THE BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG, WEDNESDAY, JULY 1, 1863, . . . . . . 124
BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG—THE SECOND DAY, . . . 156
THE BATTLE OF THE THIRD DAY—JOHNSON’S DIVISION DRIVEN OUT, . . . . . . . . 186
GENERAL RETREAT OF THE ENEMY—CRITICISM OF DISTINGUISHED CONFEDERATE OFFICERS, . . . 204
APPENDIX A, . . . . . . . . . 211
APPENDIX B, . . . . . . . . . 222
INDEX, . . . . . . . . . . 227
LIST OF MAPS.
FIELD OF OPERATIONS IN VIRGINIA, .
FROM THE POTOMAC TO HARRISBURG, .
DIAGRAMS OF POSITIONS IN THE BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG:
I., . . . . . . .
- , . . . . . . .
III. , . . . . . . .
IV., . . . . . . .
GETTYSBURG : FINAL ATTACK OF, THE FIRST DAY AND
BATTLE OF THE SECOND DAY, . .
DIAGRAM OF THE ATTACK ON SICKLES AND SYKES,
1?. 62 109 125 127 133 136 160 165
THE INVASION OF THE NORTH.
AN invasion of the North being considered as both practicable and necessary, it only remained to select the most available route.
There was no object in passing east of Hooker’s army, and it would have been wholly impracticable to do so, as the wide rivers to be crossed were controlled by our gunboats.
To attempt to cross the Rappahannock to the west, and in the immediate vicinity of Fredericksburg, would have been hazardous, because when an army is crossing, the portion which is over is liable to be crushed before it can be reinforced.
It would seem that Lee’s ?rst intention was to move along the eastern base of the Blue Ridge directly toward Washington. l The appearance of his army on Hooker’s flank would be a kind of taunt and threat, calculated to draw the latter out of his shell, and induce him to make an attack. In such a case, as the rebels were in the highest spirits, in consequence of their recent victory at Chancellorsville, their commander had little doubt of the result. This plan was feasible
1 See map facing page 1.
Page 88 enough, provided his cavalry could heat back that of Pleasonton and act as a screen to conceal his movements. This they were not in a condition to do after the battle of Brandy Station, and Lee was thus forced to take the route down the Shenandoah Valley, which had many advantages. The mountain wall that intervened between the two armies, was a sure defence against our forces, for it was covered by dense thickets, and the roads that lead through the gaps, and the gaps themselves, were easy to fortify and hold against a superior force. If Hooker had attempted to assail these positions, one corps could have held him in check, while the other two captured Washington.
The movement also favored the subsistence ‘of the troops, for the valley being a rich agricultural region, Lee was enabled to dispense with much of his transportation and feed his army off of the country.
There was one serious obstacle, however, to his further progress in that direction, and that was the presence of a gallant soldier, Milroy, with a very considerable Union garrison intrenched at Winchester.
It was essential to Lee’s advance that the valley should be cleared of Union troops, otherwise they would sally forth after he passed and capture his convoys.
With this object in view, on the 10th Ewell’s corps passed through Gaines’s Cross Roads, and halted near Flint Hill on their way to Chester Gap and Front Royal.
The possibility of an invasion had been discussed for some days in Washington, and Halleck had come to the conclusion that it was better to withdraw the stores and ammunition from Winchester, and retain the post there merely as a lookout, to give warning of the enemy’s approach. Accordingly, on the 11th, Milroy received orders from his department commander, General Schenck, to send his armament and
Page 89 supplies back to Harper’s Ferry. Milroy remonstrated, saying that he could hold the place against any force that would probably attack him, and that it would be cruel to sacri?ce the Union men who looked to him for protection.
In reply to this Schenck telegraphed him that he might remain, but must be in readiness to retreat whenever circumstances made it necessary.
Milroy, in answer to another inquiry, reported that he could move in six hours.
On the 12th he sent out two scouting parties, and learned there was a considerable force at Cedarsville, which he thought might form part of Stuart’s raid, information of which had been communicated to him.
He could not believe it possible that an entire rebel corps was near him, for he supposed Lee’s army was still at Fredericksburg. His superiors had not informed him, as they should have done by telegraph, that a large part of it had moved to Culpeper. He thought if Lee left Hooker’s front at .Fredericksburg, the Army of the Potomac would follow and he would receive full information and instructions. He telegraphed General Schenck late that night for speci?c orders, whether to hold his post or to retreat on Harper’s Ferry, stating there appeared to be a considerable force in front of him. As the enemy soon after cut the wires, he never received any answer. He sent a messenger the same night to notify Colonel McReynolds, at Berryville, that there was a large body of the enemy on the Front Royal road, and directed him to send out scouts to Millwood, and keep himself advised of its approach, in order that he might prepare to fall back on Winchester the moment he was attacked by superior numbers.
On the 13th Ewell marched with two divisions directly on Winchester, while he sent the third—that of Rodes—to take Page 90 Berryville. Thanks to the timely warning McReynolds had received, his brigade got off in time, his rear being covered by Alexander’s battery, the Sixth Maryland Infantry, and part of the First New York (Lincoln) Cavalry. These detained the enemy two hours, and then caught up with the main body. Jenkins’ cavalry came upon the retreating force at Opequan Creek, where he made a ?erce attack, which was promptly repulsed by the rear guard, aided by the artillery with canister. After this there was no further molestation, and McReynolds’ command reached Winchester at 10 an —a march of thirty miles.
Soon after the affair at the Opequan, Major Morris, with 200 men, was attacked at Bunker Hill, an outlying post of Winchester. He occupied a forti?ed church, but moved out to meet the enemy, under the impression it was only a small raiding party. When he found two thousand men in line of battle he retreated, ?ghting, to the church again. There, as the doors were barricaded, and the walls loopholed, the rebels could make no impression, and were obliged to fall back to a respectful distance. In the night Morris managed to steal away, and soon rejoined the main body at Winchester.
The arrival of these reinforcements seriously embarrassed Milroy; and it will be seen hereafter that it would have been much better for all concerned if they had retreated to Harper’s Ferry at once. They acted, however, strictly in obedience to orders.
Rodes’s division, after the taking of Berryville, kept on toward Martinsburg, and bivouacked at a place called Summit Point.
On the morning of the 13th Milroy had sent out a detachment under General Elliot on the Strasburg road, and another under Colonel Ely on the Front Royal road, to reconnoitre. Elliott found no enemy, and returned. An attempt Page 91 was made to cut him off from the town, but it was repulsed. His troops were then massed on the south side behind Mill Creek and a mill-race which ran parallel to it, and were protected by stone fences. Colonel Ely had a brisk artillery skirmish with Ewell’s’ advance, and then fell back to Winchester, taking post at the junction of the Front Royal and Strasburg roads. The enemy did not attempt to cross the creek that night, but at 5 P.M. they advanced and captured a picket-post which commanded the Strasburg road, but were soon driven out.
From a prisoner captured in this skirmish Milroy learned the’ highly important intelligence that he was confronted by Ewell’s corps and that Longstreet was rapidly approaching.
The most natural course under the circumstances would have been for him to retreat at once, but McReynolds’s brigade had just arrived, exhausted by their forced march, and could go no further, without some hours’ rest. To move without them would be to sacri?ce a large part of his force. He still cherished the hope that Hooker’s army would follow Lee up closely and come to his relief.
Ewell at night directed Early’s division to attack the works on the north and west of the town at daylight the next morning, while Johnson’s division demonstrated against the east and southeast.
Early on Sunday, the 14th, Milroy sent out a detachment to see if the enemy had established themselves on the Pughtown or Romney roads. The party returned about 2 P.M. and reported the roads clear, but soon after the rebels came in great force from that direction, so that Milroy’s hopes of escaping by the route leading to the northwest were dissipated. Immediately west of Winchester, and parallel with Applebie Ridge, on which the main forts were situated, there is another ridge called Flint Ridge, where
Page 92 ri?e pits had been commenced to command the Pughtown and Romney roads. These were held by one regiment, and part of another under Colonel Keifer of the One Hundred and Tenth Ohio, together with Battery “L" of the Fifth United States Artillery. Early’s division made a sudden attack there, preliminary to which he opened ?re with four batteries. He charged into these ri?e-pits and took them, but the garrison retreated successfully, under cover of the ?re, from the main works above, which were held by Elliot’s and McReynolds’s brigades. This was followed by an artillery due], which was kept up until 8 P.M. without any special results.
Johnson’s division at daybreak attacked the eastern side of the town, held by Colonel Ely’s brigade, but was gallantly met and repulsed by the Eighth Pennsylvania and Eighty-seventh Pennsylvania. These two regiments, by Milroy’s order, made a bold charge against the enemy as they were retiring, but the latter were so suddenly and strongly reinforced that the two regiments were glad to get back to their shelter in the forti?ed suburbs. They were followed up however, and after severe ?ghting Johnson gained possession of part of the town. This apparent success proved of no avail, for the forts above shelled him out. He therefore retired and made no further attempt in that direction.
Darkness ended the struggle for the day, Johnson then left one brigade to prevent Milroy from escaping toward the east and went off with the remainder of his division to form across the Martinsburg pike, about three miles north of Winchester, to intercept Milroy’s retreat in that direction.
While these events were going on in the Valley, Imboden’s cavalry was engaged in breaking up the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad near Romney, to prevent Milroy from receiving any reinforcements from the west.
Page 93 The latter now found himself in a perilous situation. His cannon ammunition was nearly exhausted, and he had but one day’s rations for his men. He resolved to give up all further attempts to defend the place, to abandon his wagon train and artillery, and to force his way through the hostile lines that night; taking with him only the horses and small arms. This involved his leaving also his sick and wounded, but it was unavoidable. He ordered all the guns spiked, and the ammunition thrown into the cisterns.
At 1 A.M. on the 15th, he moved silently out through a ravine and was not molested until he struck the Martinsburg road, about four miles from the town. There Elliot, who was in the advance with his brigade, met a rebel skirmish line, and soon ascertained that their main body were formed, partly on high ground in a woods east of the road, and partly in an open ?eld east of and adjoining the woods. The enemy were in effect sheltered by a stone fence which bordered a railroad cut, with their reserve and artillery principally posted on elevated ground in rear.
The only thing to be done was to break through their lines as soon as possible. It was now about 3.30 A.M. Elliot, whose record of long, careful, and brilliant service in the regular army is an exemplary one, formed line of battle with his three regiments and fought the six regiments that held the road for about an hour with varied success, encountering a severe artillery ?re and driving back their right in disorder by a gallant charge of the One Hundred and Tenth Ohio and One Hundred and Twenty-second Ohio; but unfortunately their left held ?rm, in spite of repeated attacks made by Colonel Shawl with two regiments, reinforced by two more and by part of Colonel Ely’s brigade. Their force in front, too, was sustained by heavy re’ serves both of infantry and artillery.
Page 94 A signal-gun ?red at Winchester showed that the enemy there were aware of the ?ight and were in full pursuit. The main road being blocked, Milroy determined to try another, and directed the troops to fall back a short distance and turn to the right. Part of them did so, but the greater number, through some misunderstanding, ?led to the left, and took the road to Bath. It was no longer possible to reunite the two columns and as Milroy’s horse was shot under him about this time, he could use no personal exertions to remedy the disorder. A portion of the command who were not pursued reached Harper’s Ferry by way of Smith?eld late in the afternoon. Those who moved out on the Bath road also made good their escape, crossed the Potomac at Hancock, and rallied at Bloody Run. The greater part of Colonel Ely’s brigade, and Colonel McReynolds’s brigade, however, were captured. Milroy claims to have brought off 5,000 men of the garrison, and that the 2,000 paroled by Early, consisted principally of the sick and wounded. Early says he sent 108 of?cers and 3,250 enlisted men as prisoners to Richmond. Johnson, who intercepted the retreat, says he captured 2,300 prisoners, 175 horses, and 11 battle ?ags.
While two-thirds of Ewell’s corps were attacking Winchester, the other division under Rodes, preceded by Jenkins’s brigade of cavalry, pursued McReynolds’s wagon train to Martinsburg, arriving there late in the afternoon of the 14th. The town was held as an outlying post of Harper’s Ferry by a small detachment of all arms under Colonel Tyler, a subordinate of General Tyler, who formed his men outside of the place and resisted Rodes’ attack until night, when his infantry escaped to Shepherdstown, and his artillery and cavalry to Williamsport. In carrying out these movements, however, he lost ?ve guns and ?ve caissons. He passed the Page 95 river and rejoined the main body at Harper’s Ferry. The latter place is wholly indefensible against an enemy holding the hills around it. It is like ?ghting at the bottom of a well. General Tyler had therefore very wisely moved across the river to Maryland Heights, where he had a strong forti?ed post. From that commanding eminence he could very soon shell out any force that attempted to occupy the town.
The Shenandoah Valley was now clear of Union troops, and soon became the great highway of the invasion. However disastrous Milroy’s defeat may be considered on account of the losses incurred, it was not without its compensation. The detention of Ewell’s force there gave time to the general Government and the Governors of the loyal States to raise troops and organize resistance, and it awakened the entire North to the necessity of immediate action. Hooker, having learned that Ewell had passed Sperryville, advanced his right to prevent any crossing in his immediate vicinity, and con?ne the enemy to the Valley route. He sent the Third Corps to hold the fords opposite Culpeper, and the Fifth Corps to guard those lower down.
On the 13th he gave up his position opposite Fredericks— burg, and started north toward Washington, giving orders to Sedgwick to recross and follow on to Dumfries. That night the First Corps reached Bealeton, and the Eleventh Catlett’s station. Reynolds was placed in command of the left wing of the army (the First, Third, and Eleventh Corps) and I relieved him in command of the First Corps. The right wing (that is the Second, Fifth, Twelfth and Sixth Corps) was accompanied by Hooker in person, who reached Dumfries on the 14th.
As soon as Hill saw Sedgwick disappear behind the Stafford hills, he broke up his camp and started for Culpeper.
Page 96 Some changes in the meantime had occurred in the Army of the Potomac, and General Hancock was assigned to the Second Corps instead of General Couch, who had been sent to organize the department of the Susquehanna at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
The teamsters and fugitives from Winchester, making for Chambersburg in all haste, told the inhabitants of the towns through which they passed that the rebels were close behind them. This created the wildest excitement. As many cases had occurred in which negros had been seized, and sent , South to be sold as slaves, the whole colored population took to the woods and ?lled up the roads in all directions. The appearance of Jenkins’ brigade, who crossed at Williamsport on the morning of the 15th and reached Chambersburg the same day, added to the alarm.
Jenkins was at the head of 2,000 cavalry, and soon became a terror to the farmers in that vicinity by his heavy exactions in the way of horses, cattle, grain, etc. It must be confessed he paid for what he took in Confederate scrip, but as this paper money was not worth ten cents a bushel, there was very little consolation in receiving it. His followers made it a legal tender at the stores for everything they wanted. Having had some horses stolen, he sternly called on the city authorities to pay him their full value. They did so without a murmur—in Confederate money. He pocketed it with a grim smile, evidently appreciating the joke. He boasted greatly of his humanity and his respect for private property, but if the local papers are to be believed, it must be chronicled to his everlasting disgrace that he seized a great many negroes, who were tied and sent South as slaves. Black children were torn from their mothers, placed in front of his troops, and borne off to Virginia to be sold for the bene?t of his soldiers. There was nothing out of character in that, he Page 97 thought, for it was one of the sacred rights for which the South was contending.
Prompt measures were taken by the Northern States to meet the emergency. Mr. Lincoln called on the Governors of West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York to raise 120,000 men for temporary service. It was easy to get the men, but difficult to arm them, as nearly all serviceable muskets were already in possession of the Army of the Potomac. As early as the 9th two new departments had been created for Pennsylvania: that of the Monongahela, with headquarters at Pittsburg, was assigned to Major-General W. T. H. Brooks; and that of the Susquehanna, with headquarters at Carlisle, to Major-General Darius N. Couch.
On the 15th Ewell reached Williamsport with a force estimated at twelve thousand men and sixteen guns. Before Couch could reach Carlisle it was already occupied by Jenkins’s cavalry, and the terri?ed farmers of that section of country were ?eeing in crowds across the Susquehanna, driving their horses and cattle before them.
HOOKER’S PLANS—LONGSTREET OCCUPIES THE GAPS IN THE BLUE RIDGE—ALARM IN RICHMOND—HOOKER SUPERSEDED BY MEADE.
A Shower of telegrams came to Hooker, notifying him of these untoward events, and demanding protection; but he simply moved one step toward the enemy. On the 15th he had three corps—the First, Sixth, and Eleventh—grouped around Centreville, with the Third Corps at Manassas, and the Second, Fifth, and Twelfth Corps in reserve at Fairfax Court House. The left ?ank of the army was guarded by Pleasonton’s cavalry, posted at Warrenton. Hooker was not to be drawn away from the defence at Washington by any clamorous appeal for his services elsewhere; his plan being to move parallel to Lee’s line of advance and strike his communications with Richmond at the ?rst favorable opportunity. He obtained some reinforcements at this time, Stannard’s Second Vermont brigade being assigned to my division of the First Corps, and Stahl’s cavalry division, about six thousand strong, being directed to report to General Pleasonton for duty.
As Harrisburg lay directly in the track of the invading army, Governor Curtin made strenuous efforts to collect a force there. He called upon all able-bodied citizens to enroll themselves, and complained that Philadelphia. Failed Page 99 to respond. New York acted promptly, and on the 15th two brigades arrived in Philadelphia on their way to the front.
On the same day Longstreet, having been relieved by Hill, left Culpeper with his corps and marched directly across the country east of the Blue Ridge to occupy Ashby’s and Snicker’s Gaps. Stuart’s cavalry were to guard his right ?ank, but did not leave until the next ‘day. The object of Longstreet’s movement was to tempt Hooker to abandon his strong position in front of ‘Washington and march against the Gaps, in which case it was hoped some opportunity might occur by which the rebels could either crush the Army of the Potomac in the open country or possibly outmanoeuvre it, so as to intervene between it and Washington; but Hooker remained stationary.
Rodes’s division of Ewell’s corps reached Williamsport and remained there during the 16th, 17th, and 18th, to support Jenkins, and receive, and transmit to the rear, the cattle, horses, negroes, and provisions, taken by him.
The commotion created by the approach of the invader was not all one-sided. General Dix, who commanded at Fortress Monroe, received orders to advance on Richmond, which was weakly defended at this time. As through their manifold offences in the way of starving our prisoners, etc., the rebel President and his cabinet were afraid of reprisals, there was great dismay at the weakness of the garrison there, and bitter denunciations of Lee for leaving so small a force behind; The Union troops for this counter-invasion were landed at Yorktown and sent on to the White House. General Getty, in command of one column of about seven thousand men, moved on the 13th as far as Hanover Junction to destroy the bridge over the North and South Anna, and as much of the railroad as possible, in order to make a break in Lee’s communications. At the same time Page 100 General Keys, with another column of about ?ve thousand men, moved from the White House to secure Bottom’s Bridge on the Chickahominy, and thus leave a clear road for Getty’s column to advance on the city. The Davis Government, however, called out the militia and concentrated enough men for defence by weakening the garrisons in South Carolina and elsewhere; but there is no doubt the fright at one time was so serious that it was in contemplation to recall Lee’s forces; especially on the 15th of June, when it was learned that General Keys’s column was at New Kent Court House within ?fteen miles of the city.
On the 16th Stuart’s cavalry left the Rappahannock—with the exception of the Fifteenth Virginia, which remained with Hill—and bivouacked at Salem with Fitz Lee’s brigade at Piedmont. Their orders were to keep along the eastern base of the Blue Ridge, and guard the front of Longstreet’s corps in the Gaps.
Our own cavalry were concentrated at Warrenton and Catlett’s.
On the 17th Fitz Lee’s brigade was sent forward from Piedmont to Aldie, via Middleburg, to anticipate our troops in holding the Gap there; it being considered important to occupy the Bull Run range of mountains as a screen for Lee’s further operations. Fitz Lee’s brigade was supported by that of Robertson which was moved to Rectortown, where it was also available as a reserve to W. H. F. Lee’s brigade which had gone forward to occupy Thoroughfare Gap. No opposition was anticipated in the latter place, Pleasonton having moved to Centreville with his main body. Stuart made his headquarters at Middleburg on the 17th.
Fitz Lee halted near Dover to close up his command, and sent his pickets on to Aldie Gap. Pleasonton, who was scouting Page 101 in the vicinity, had no orders to go through the pass, but felt prompted to do so by one of those presentiments which rarely deceive. He pushed on, therefore, with Gregg’s division until about 2.30 P.M., when he came upon the rebel pickets, who fell back on the main body. The latter had made a march of forty miles to reach the Gap, and Fitz Lee chose a strong position on a hill directly west of Aldie, in which to ?ght a defensive battle. His line covered the road to Snicker’s Gap, but could be turned by the road to Middleburg and Ashby’s Gap. A sanguinary contest ensued, which, including the pursuit, lasted until 9 P.M. The rebel front was strengthened by a ditch and a line of hay-stacks. After ?ghting for three hours the battle was ?nally decided by a gallant charge of the First Maine Cavalry, who, after our line had been broken and driven back, were led by Kilpatrick in person, against a regiment of mounted infantry on the Ashby’s Gap road, capturing four guns. The Harris Light Cavalry had been in disfavor for having failed in an attack at Brandy Station, but now they redeemed themselves, made several brilliant charges, and greatly contributed to the success of the day.
The rebels claim to have taken 134 prisoners, and some ?ags in this affair, and state that they only fell back to Middleburg in obedience to Stuart’s orders. Ascertaining that Colonel Duffie was advancing on that place with his regiment, l Stuart thought, by concentrating his entire force there, he could overwhelm him. This may account for the retreat, but it is very certain that the loss of the pass at Aldie was a serious blow to the rebel cause. This, supplemented by Colonel Duffie’s operations, which will be described hereafter, gave Hooker possession of London County, and threw the invading column far to the west. If the enemy had
1 Colonel Duffie had been relieved from the command of his division.
Page 102 succeeded in posting forces in the gaps of the Bull Run range of mountains, and in occupying the wooded country between Thoroughfare Gap and Leesburg, they would not only have hidden all their own movements from view, but would have had command of the Potomac from Harper’s Ferry to within thirty miles of Washington, so that they could have operated on either side of the river.
While Gregg’s division were thus engaged, Colonel Duf?e started under orders with his regiment from Centreville for Middleburg, by way of Thoroughfare Gap. The enemy (W. H. F. Lee’s brigade) were already there, but he forced them out, and kept on to Middleburg, which was reached about 9.30 AM. He found Stuart’s rear guard or escort there, and drove them out. Stuart fell back to Rector’s Cross Roads, and sent word to all his forces to concentrate against Duffie. Duffie barricaded the streets of the town and prepared to hold it until reinforcements could reach him from Aldie, not being aware that there was any impediment in that direction. At 7 PM. the different rebel brigades advanced on him from the direction of Aldie, Union, and Upperville. By sheltering his men behind stone walls and barricades, he repelled several assaults, but at last was surrounded by overwhelming forces, and compelled to retreat by the road upon which he had advanced in the morning. He fell back until he crossed Little River, picketed the stream and halted there to get some rest. This gave time to the enemy to surround him, and by half past one the next morning all the roads in the neighborhood were full of cavalry ; an entire brigade being formed on that which led to Aldie. He tried to force his way through the latter, but was received with heavy volleys on both ?anks, and with loud calls to surrender. He directed Captain Bliss and Captain Bixby, who were in advance, to Page 103 charge through everything in front of them, and the way was cleared for the main body, which at last gained the junction of the Aldie road with that which leads to White Plains. He then retreated on the latter, with his men all intermixed with those of the enemy and ?ghting every step of the way. He. ?nally disengaged his force from this mélée and made his way through Hopewell Gap back to Centreville, losing two-thirds of his command.
In this affair at Middleburg, Stuart states that he was unable with his entire force to drive the First Rhode Island regiment from a position it had chosen, and speaks with admiration of the gallantry it displayed.
On the 18th, Stuart took post outside of that town with Robertson and W. H. F. Lee’s brigade. Fitz Lee’s brigade was on his left at Union, and Jones’s brigade was ordered up as a reserve.
Pleasonton moved forward with all his available force and occupied Middleburg and Philemont on the road to Snicker’s Gap; releasing some of Duffie’s men who had been captured the day before. Gregg’s division encountered the enemy a short distance beyond Middleburg and drove them ?ve miles in the direction of Ashby’s Gap. There was no regular line formation, but the Indian mode of ?ghting was adopted on both sides, by taking advantage of every stone, fence, bush, or hollow, to shelter the men. Before the action was over Kilpatrick’s command came up and took a prominent part.
Buford’s division, which had advanced beyond Philemont on the Snicker’s Gap road, also became warmly engaged. They turned the left ?ank of the rebels and pressed on successfully, but the squadron left to guard the bridge over Goose Creek was overpowered by numbers and the bridge was burned. Part of Pleasonton’s force made a reconnoissance Page 104 toward Warrenton and engaged Hampton’s brigade there.
On the 19th Pleasonton held the positions he had gained and sent back for an infantry support.
As there were indications that the whole of Stuart’s cavalry would be thrown on Gregg’s division at Upperville, Pleasonton went forward with his entire force and a brigade of infantry to support it. After a series of brilliant engagements he drove Stuart steadily back into Ashby’s Gap, where he took refuge behind Longstreet’s Corps, a portion of which came up. Pleasonton then returned to Upperville and next day to Aldie. The object of these movements—to gain possession of London County—having been attained, Hooker was wary, and did not propose to be lured away from his strong position, to take part in cavalry battles at a distance without a de?nite object. He still found it difficult to realize that Lee would still further lengthen out his long line from Richmond, and endanger his communications, by invading Pennsylvania; and he therefore waited for further developments. Lee, however, impelled by public opinion behind him, which it was hardly safe to brave, still went forward, and directed Ewell to cross the Potomac with his main body and Longstreet to fall back behind the Shenandoah to act in conjunction with Hill, who had relieved Ewell at Winchester on the 17th, against any attempt to strike the rear of his long column. Like Achilles he felt that he was only vulnerable in his heel.
Several small skirmishes occurred about this time between detachments of General Schenck’s command, which picketed the north bank of the Potomac, and bands of rebel partisans. The former were surprised and captured in two or three instances. In one of these expeditions a locomotive Page 105 and twenty-three cars were disabled on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Imboden, too, who occupied Cumberland on the 17th, in order to favor the general plan of invasion, tore up some miles of the track west of that town, with a view to prevent any reinforcements coming from that direction.
It would have been much better for the interests of the Southern Confederacy if Lee, instead of making a downright invasion had been content to remain in the Valley and threaten Hooker with two corps, while he used the third to procure unlimited supplies in Pennsylvania, and to sever all connection between the East and the West, by breaking up the railroads and cutting the telegraph wires. Such a result, however, would hardly have been sufficient to meet the expectations of the Southern people, who were bent upon nothing else than the entire subjugation of the North and the occupation of our principal cities.
Pleasonton’s operations having cleared the way, Hooker moved forward promptly on the 18th to occupy the gaps. The Twelfth Corps were sent to Leesburg, the Fifth to Aldie, and the Second to Thoroughfare Gap. The other corps formed a second line in reserve. This covered Washington and gave Hooker an excellent base of operations.
In answer to his demand for reinforcements, Crawford’s division of Pennsylvania Reserves, and Abercrombie’s division were sent to him. As the latter was just going out of service, it was of no use. Hooker contended that his army constituted the proper defence of Washington, and that it was not necessary to keep a large. force inactive there, who could be of much more service at the front. The authorities were timid, however, did not see the force of this reasoning, and therefore refused to place Schenck’s and Heintzelman’s commands under his orders.
The enemy made a feeble attempt about this time to Page 106 occupy Harper’s Ferry, but were promptly shelled out by our batteries on Maryland Heights.
Lee having failed, on account of the discom?ture of his cavalry, in crossing the Potomac at Edwards’s Ferry, was forced either to remain where he was or go forward. Impelled by public opinion he kept on his way up the Cumberland Valley. Hooker being very desirous of keeping the invasion west of the Blue Ridge, asked Heintzelman to cooperate with him by sending the 2,000 men which seemed to be of no service at Poolesville to the passes of South Mountain, which is an extension of the same range; but Heintzelman said those passes were outside of his jurisdiction, and the men were needed in Poolesville. Hooker replied somewhat angrily that he would try and do without the men. The two generals had quarrelled, and there was not the best feeling between them.
All of Ewell’s corps were across the river on the 22d, and Jenkins’s cavalry pushed on to Chambersburg. He was ordered to remain there until reinforced, but failed to do so, as Union troops were approaching from the direction of Carlisle.
Longstreet and Hill were left behind to prevent Hooker from striking the rear of this long column. Hooker still remained quiescent, engaged in trying to obtain 15,000 men as reinforcements. He was but partially successful, for as soon as the New York regiments reached Baltimore, Lockwood’s brigade of Maryland troops, about three thousand, was ordered to join the Army of the Potomac, and was assigned to the Twelfth Corps.
The Army of the Potomac at this time was posted as follows: the Twelfth Corps at Leesburg, supported by the Eleventh on Goose Creek, between Leesburg and Aldie; the Fifth Corps near Aldie, and the Second at the next pass Page 107 below, both supported by the Third Corps at Gum Springs. The First Corps was behind the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps, near Guilford, on the Loudon and Hampshire Railroad. Our cavalry, which had left Aldie, covered the approaches to Leesburg. On the 23d they had a sharp engagement at Dover, on the road from Aldie to Leesburg, with part of Stuart’s force, who beat up their quarters, but they drove off their assailants without much difficulty.
Lee now, with a prudent regard to a possible defeat, requested the authorities at Richmond to have a reserve army under Beauregard assemble at Culpeper; a request which was looked upon by Davis as one quite impossible to carry out, owing to the scarcity of troops, and the necessity of reinforcing Johnson in the West and Beauregard in the South.
Two of Ewell’s divisions, those of Rodes and Johnson, reached the frightened town of Chambersburg on the 23d. The other, under Early, took the road to York, via Gettysburg, and halted on that day at Waynesborough.
By this time twenty regiments of militia were on their way from New York to Baltimore and Harrisburg.
Longstreet crossed the Potomac at Williamsport, and Hill at Shepherdstown, on the 24th. Their columns united at Hagerstown the next day. Thus supported, Ewell’s main body resumed its march to Carlisle, which it occupied on the 27th; gathering large supplies there and along the road by means of foraging parties sent out to depredate on the farmers. As soon as they reached the town, Jenkins’s brigade left for Harrisburg.
Hooker having now satis?ed himself that the Capital was safe from a coup-de-main, and that the main body of the rebels were still marching up the Cumberland Valley, determined to move in a parallel line on the east side of South Page 108 Mountain, where he could occupy the gaps at once, in case the enemy turned east, toward Washington and Baltimore. To carry out this design his army began to cross the Potomac at Edwards’s Ferry on the 25th, and at night Reynolds’s corps was in front and Sickles’s corps in rear of Middletown, in readiness to hold either Crampton’s or Turner’s Gap. Howard’s corps was thrown forward to Boonsborough.
On the 26th Slocum’s corps was sent to Harper’s Ferry to act in conjunction with the garrison there—supposed to be 10,000 strong—against the enemy’s line of communication with Richmond. The Second, Fifth, and Sixth Corps were advanced to Frederick, Md., as a support to the First, Third, and Eleventh Corps. Gregg’s cavalry division remained behind to cover the crossing, which was all completed the next day, after which they too marched to Frederick.
On the 25th, Early, leaving his division at Greenwood, went to Chambersburg to consult Ewell, who gave him de?nite orders to occupy York, break up the Central Railroad, burn the bridge over the Susquehanna at Wrightsville, and afterward rejoin the main body at Carlisle.
It seems strange that Lee should suppose that the Union army would continue inactive all this time, south of Washington, where it was only confronted by Stuart’s cavalry, and it is remarkable to ?nd him so totally in the dark with regard to Hooker’s movements. It has been extensively assumed by rebel writers that this ignorance was caused by the injudicious raid made by Stuart, who thought it would be a great bene?t to the Confederate cause if he could ride entirely around the Union lines and rejoin Lee’s advance at York. He had made several of these circuits during his military career, and had gained important advantages from them in the way of breaking up communications, capturing despatches, etc. It is thought that he hoped by threatening
Map. The Country from the Potomac to Harrisburg.
Page 110 Hooker’s rear to detain him and delay his crossing the river, and thus give time to Lee to capture Harrisburg, and perhaps Philadelphia. His raid on this occasion was undoubtedly a mistake. When he rejoined the main body, his men were exhausted, his horses broken down, and the battle of Gettysburg was nearly over. As cavalry are the eyes of an army, it has been said that Stuart’s absence prevented Lee from ascertaining the movements and position of Hooker’s army. Stuart has been loudly blamed by the rebel chroniclers for leaving the main body, but this is unjust ; Lee not only knew of the movement, but approved it ; for he directed Stuart to pass between Hooker and Washington, and move with part of his force to Carlisle and the other part to Gettysburg. Besides, Stuart left Robertson’s and Jones’ brigades behind, with orders to follow up the rear of the Union army until it crossed, and then to rejoin the main body. In the meantime they were to hold the gaps in the Blue Ridge, for fear Hooker might send a force to occupy them. These two brigades, with Imboden’s brigade, and White’s battalion, made quite a large cavalry force: Imboden, however, was also detached to break up the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to prevent forces from the West from taking Lee in rear; all of which goes to show how sensitive the Confederate commander was in regard to any danger threatening his communications with Richmond.
At 1 an on the 25th, Stuart started on his expedition and advanced to Haymarket, where he unexpectedly came upon Hancock’s corps, which had left Thoroughfare Gap, and was on its way to Gum Springs. He opened ?re against them but was soon driven off. He then returned to Buckland and Gainesville; for to keep on, in presence of our troops, would have frustrated the object of his expedition by indicating its purpose.
Page 111 This was the day in which Longstreet and Hill united their columns at Hagerstown. Some Union spies who counted the rebel forces as they passed through the town made their number to be 91,000 infantry, 280 guns and 1,100 cavalry. This statement, though much exaggerated, gained great credence at the time, and added to the excitement among the loyal people throughout the Northern States, while the copperhead element were proportionally active and jubilant.
On the 26th, General French assumed command of the garrison at Harper’s Ferry, then posted at Maryland Heights.
On the same day the Richmond Government were much alarmed by the unexpected appearance of Colonel Spear’s Eleventh Pennsylvania cavalry within eleven miles of the city. Spear had made quite a successful and very destructive raid on the railroads and other lines of communication. He made, too, a very important capture by bringing in General W. H. F. Lee, who was wounded at the battle of Brandy Station, and who was a son of General Robert E. Lee. The Davis Government had determined to hang one of our captains who was a prisoner in Libby, and the fact that a son of General Robert E. Lee was in our power prevented them from carrying out their intention for fear he might be hanged by way of retaliation.
Early’s division of Ewell’s corps, stopped at Gettysburg on its way to York. The other two divisions kept on toward Carlisle.
These movements at once caused Governor Curtin of Pennsylvania to call out 60,000 men for the defence of the State. They were styled the emergency militia. As there was little else than shot-guns for them, these hasty gatherings did not promise to be very effective.
Page 112 The Governor still complained of a lack of zeal in Philadelphia. The people there, said “Isn’t this awful!” but very few volunteered. They soon awoke from their apathy, however, and took prompt measures to defend the city.
On the 27th the commands of Longstreet’ and Hill reached Chambersburg, and Ewell’s two divisions occupied Carlisle, while Jenkins pushed on to Kingston, within thirteen miles of Harrisburg. At the same time Early was engaged in wreaking destruction upon the Northern Central Railroad, and by night he entered York. About the only opposition he encountered came from a militia regiment at Gettysburg, but this was soon driven away.
There was wild commotion throughout the North, and people began to feel that the beast of the Georgia Senator Toombs, that he would call the roll of his slaves at the foot of Bunker Hill Monument, might soon be realized. The enemy seemed very near and the Army of the Potomac far away.
On the same day Stuart succeeded with great difficulty in crossing the Potomac in the vicinity of Drainsville. He found our troops were now all north of the river, so that one object of his expedition—to detain them on the south side— had failed.
On the 28th he resumed his march, and as he passed close to Washington and Baltimore, he created considerable excitement in those cities. At Rockville he came upon a large train full of supplies, on its way to Frederick, Maryland, and captured it with its slender escort, after which he kept on in a northerly direction through Brookeville and Brookeville, travelling all night.
On this day the Adjutant-General at Richmond telegraphed for troops to be sent there at once from the Carolinas and elsewhere, for he estimated the Union forces at
Page 113 the White House at thirty thousand men, and considered the capital to be in great danger. Neither Davis nor his cabinet had the slightest desire to have any successes Lee might obtain at the North supplemented by their own execution at the South, a result they felt was not wholly improbable, in the excited state of public feeling at that time, if the city should be taken.
Lee, ignorant that Hooker was following him up, continued his aggressive advance. Early took prompt measures to seize the bridge over the Susquehanna at Wrightsville. If successful, he intended to cross over and amuse himself by destroying all direct connection between Philadelphia and the West, by railroad and telegraph. This done, he proposed to march along the north side of the river, capture Harrisburg and rejoin Ewell at Carlisle. As Gordon’s brigade approached the bridge, after driving away some militia, they found it in flames, the Union commander at Columbia, Colonel Frick, having given orders for its destruction. Early gained some compensation for his failure in this respect by levying a contribution on York of one-hundred thousand dollars in cash; two hundred barrels of ?our; thirty thousand bushels of corn; one thousand pairs of shoes, etc.
The Union army still remained in Frederick, with the left wing (three corps) under Reynolds thrown out toward the enemy, the Eleventh Corps under Howard at Boonsborough, the First Corps under my command at Middletown, supported by the Third Corps under Birney, two or three miles in rear, with Buford’s division of cavalry holding the passes of South Mountain, the remainder of the cavalry being at Frederick.
Hooker thought it useless to keep a garrison of 10,000 men in a passive attitude at Harper’s Ferry. I think he Page 114 was quite right, for the war could not he decided by the possession of military posts or even of cities, for hostilities would never cease until one army or the other was destroyed. He therefore applied to Washington for permission to add this force to that of Slocum, in order that the two might act directly against Lee’s communications by following up his rear while preserving their own line of retreat. Slocum had been already ordered there, for this purpose, but Halleck would not consent that the garrison of Harper’s Ferry should be withdrawn under any circumstances, and positively refused Hooker’s request. Hooker then considering himself thwarted in all his plans by the authorities at Washington, offered his resignation. It was promptly accepted, and Major-General George G. Meade, then the commander of the Fifth Corps, was assigned to the command of the Army of the Potomac. He was a general of ?ne intellect, of great personal bravery, and had had a good deal of experience in the war in handling troops, but had never achieved any brilliant success, or met with any serious reverse.
Upon ascertaining that the enemy were at York and Carlisle, Hooker had determined to throw out his different corps in a fan shape toward the Susquehanna, and advance in that direction with three corps on the left to defend that ?ank, in case Longstreet and Hill should turn East, instead of keeping on toward the North. At the same time it was his intention to have Slocum follow up Lee’s advance, by keeping in his rear, to capture his trains and couriers, and to cut off his retreat should he be defeated.
General Meade’s ?rst order was for all the troops to concentrate in Frederick, where he proposed to have a grand review; but at the urgent remonstrance of General Butter?eld, who had been Hooker’s Chief of Staff, and who Page 115 stated that this delay would give Lee time to cross the Susquehanna, and capture Harrisburg and Philadelphia, Hooker’s orders were allowed to stand, with some exceptions. Meade appears to have disapproved all movements against Lee’s line of retreat, for he ordered Slocum to re-join the main army, and had the hardihood to break up the post at Harper’s Ferry, in spite of the fact that Hooker had just been relieved from command for requesting permission to do so. The bulk of the garrison, under Major-General French, was directed to take post as a reserve at Frederick, when our forces moved forward. The general idea of our advance was to interpose between the enemy and Philadelphia if he went north, or between him and Baltimore and Washington in case he turned back. The orders at night were for Buford’s division of cavalry to take post on the left ?ank, in the direction of Fair?eld; Gregg’s division on the right ?ank at Westminster; and Kilpatrick’s division in advance of the centre, at Littlestown, the different corps to be posted between New Windsor and Emmetsburg.
Ewell’s corps, as stated, were at Carlisle and York, Lee and Longstreet’s at Chambersburg, and Hill’s corps at Fayetteville.
Lee was startled to learn from a countryman who came in on the 28th that Hooker was at Frederick, and not south of the Potomac, as he had supposed. He saw at once that his communications with Richmond, about which he was so solicitous, were greatly endangered, for the Union army could be formed to interpose between him and Williamsport, and still keep a safe line of retreat open to Washington. This might not be so great a misfortune to the enemy as regards food and forage; for they could probably live on the country for some time, by making predatory excursions in different directions, but when it came to obtaining Page 116 fresh supplies of ammunition, the matter would become very serious. An army only carries a limited amount of this into the ?eld and must rely upon frequent convoys to keep up the supply, which is constantly decreasing from the partial engagements and skirmishes, so prevalent in a hostile country.
The wisdom of Hooker’s policy in desiring to assail the rebel communications is demonstrated by the fact that Lee immediately turned back. The head of the serpent faced about as soon as its tail was trodden upon. He came to the conclusion to prevent an attack against his rear by threatening Baltimore with his whole force. This would necessarily cause the Union army to march farther east to confront him, and thus prevent it from operating in heavy force in the Cumberland Valley. Accordingly on the night of the 28th, Lee sent expresses to all his corps commanders to concentrate at Gettysburg. If he had known that Meade was about to withdraw all the troops acting against his line of retreat he would probably have gone on and taken Harrisburg.
As the new commander of the Union army was a favorite of General Halleck, no notice was taken of his disregard of instructions in detaching the garrison of Harper’s Ferry. General Couch, who commanded the Department of the Susquehanna, was also placed under his orders, a favor which had been denied to Hooker. The troubles of the latter were not quite over, for on his appearing in Washington to explain his action, he was immediately put under arrest for visiting the Capital without his (Halleck’s) permission; a piece of ‘petty persecution which might have been spared under the circumstances. It was, however, a short and easy method of settling all complaints that were inconvenient to answer.
STUART’S RAID—THE ENEMY IN FRONT OF HARRISBURG—MEADE’S PLANS.
AT dawn of day on the 29th, Stuart’s command, after riding all night, reached the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and commenced disabling it, so far as the limited time at their disposal would allow, by burning a bridge at Sykesville and tearing up a portion of the track at Hood’s Mill. They remained at the latter place during the day to rest, but started again in the afternoon, and reached Westminster about 5 PM. At this place they were gallantly attacked by the First Delaware Cavalry, which Stuart says was driven off after hard ?ghting and pursued some distance toward Baltimore, adding very much to the panic there. At night the head of his column halted at Union Mills, half way between Westminster and Littlestown. It may as well be stated here that Stuart found himself greatly embarrassed by attempting to hold on to the long train he had captured at Rockville. It lengthened out his column to such an extent that it became difficult to defend all parts of the line without scattering and weakening his command. As Kilpatrick’s division was waiting to intercept him at Littlestown, this consideration became a matter of considerable importance. Gregg’s division also moved in the morning to head him off at Westminster, but owing to the roads being very much blocked up by our infantry and trains marching in that direction, Page 118 Gregg did not succeed in reaching his destination until some hours after Stuart had passed.
At night two brigades of Buford’s division of cavalry covered the left ?ank of the Union army near Fair?eld, with one brigade at Mechanicstown. The First and Eleventh Corps were at Emmetsburg, the Third and Twelfth at Middleburg, the Fifth Corps at Taneytown, the Second Corps at Uniontown, and the Sixth Corps at New Windsor.
The advance of the rebel cavalry under Jenkins were now within sight of Harrisburg, and skirmishing only four miles from the town. Jenkins’s object was to make a thorough reconnoissance in order to ascertain the best positions to be taken for an attack. There was a perfect exodus from the city. All business was suspended, too, in Philadelphia, and the authorities there busied themselves in hastening the work on the forti?cations in the suburbs of the city. They were active enough now, and large numbers were enrolled. Pleasonton, who was under general orders to guard the ?ank nearest the enemy, directed Buford on the 29th to occupy Gettysburg the next day, and hold it until the Army of the Potomac came to his relief. He realized the importance of the position to the future success of our arms.
Hill’s corps was at Fayetteville on the 29th, but one division, that of Heth, was thrown forward on that day to Cashtown, within eight miles of Gettysburg. The object of the movement was to join Ewell at York, and co-operate with him in the destruction of the railroads on the other side of the Susquehanna, etc. This plan, as I have already stated, was suddenly changed on the evening of the 28th, when Lee found his communications endangered, and now all the advanced troops under his command turned back to concentrate at Gettysburg. Longstreet left Chambersburg and Page 119 marched to Fayetteville, leaving Pickett’s division behind to guard the trains. Early received the order to return in the afternoon of the 29th, recalled Gordon’s brigade from Wrightsville, and made preparations to start the next morning. Rodes’s and Johnson’s divisions left Carlisle and marched on Gettysburg; the former by the direct route, and the latter by way of Greenwood, to convoy the trains full of stolen property.
A number of partisan skirmishes took place during the day, which were creditable to our troops, particularly that at McConnellsburg, to the west of Chambersburg.
The raid against Richmond ended by the return of Colonel Spear’s regiment to the White House. Hooker had urged that General Dix assume command of all his available troops, march against Richmond, and plant himself ?rmly on Lee’s line of communications, but his recommendations were slighted by Halleck. There was much disappointment in the North at this failure to make a serious attack on the rebel capital, for it was generally believed that it might have been captured by a coup de main.
On the 30th General Meade advanced his army still nearer the Susquehanna. At evening his extreme left, the First Corps, was at Marsh Creek, on the Emmetsburg road, while the extreme right, the Sixth Corps, was away off at Manchester. The intermediate corps were posted, the Eleventh at Emmetsburg; the Second at Uniontown; the Third at Taneytown ; the Fifth at Union Mills, and the Twelfth at Frizzelburg. General French moved from Harper’s Ferry with the bulk of the garrison and occupied Frederick. The First Corps was ordered to Gettysburg, but General Reynolds halted it at Marsh Creek, as the enemy were reported to be coming from the direction of Fair?eld.
Meade now resolved to take up a defensive position on Page 120 Pipe Creek. He threw out his forces as before in a fan shape, but any corps encountering the enemy was ex— pected to ?ght in retreat until it reached the new line, where all the corps were to assemble. This line as laid out was a long one, extending from Manchester to Middleburg, a distance of about twenty-?ve miles. Falling back to ?ght again, is hardly to be commended, as it chills the ardor of the men ; nor is it certain that Lee would have attacked the intrenchments at Pipe Creek. If he found them formidable he might have preferred to ?ght on the defensive with two corps, while the Third Corps took Harrisburg, and broke up the railroad lines to the west, or marched directly against Philadelphia; or, as Pipe Creek did not interfere with his communications in any way he might have chosen to let it severely alone, and have kept on depredating in Pennsylvania, after capturing Harrisburg. This would have forced Meade sooner or later to attack him.
On the night of the 30th Ewell’s corps had reached Heidlersburg, nine miles from Gettysburg, with the exception of Johnson’s division, which was at Greenwood. Rodes’s division had marched direct from Carlisle by way of Petersburg. Longstreet with two divisions was at Fayetteville ; the other division, that of Pickett, was left at Chambersburg to guard the trains. Hill’s corps had reached Cashtown and Mummasburg, except Anderson’s division, which was still back at the mountain pass on the Chambersburg road.
Stuart, ascertaining that Early was no longer at York, and not knowing that the army was concentrating on Gettysburg, turned toward Carlisle. He had bivouacked half way between Westminster and Littlestown, but having ascertained that Kilpatrick was waiting for him at the latter place, attempted to avoid the encounter by going through Page 121 cross roads to Hanover. He found Farnsworth’s brigade of cavalry there, however, and charged their rear, driving them back and capturing some prisoners and ambulances. The Fifth New York made a counter-charge under Major Hammond and drove him out again. He claims to have taken the town by the aid of Hampton’s brigade, which arrived in time to reinforce him. Custer’s brigade then came up from Abbotstown. The battle lasted until night, when Stuart gave up the contest and retreated, leaving Kilpatrick in possession.
Part of his cavalry also attacked the Fifth and Sixth Michigan regiments at Littlestown, but were repulsed. He then, having no time to spare, kept on his way toward York to ?nd the army he had lost. He passed within seven miles of Ewell’s column on its way to Gettysburg, and neither knew that the other was near. Had they effected a junction it would have saved the rebel cavalry a long, fruitless, and exhausting march, which kept them out of the battle on the ?rst day. It was one of those accidental circumstances which seemed to favor us in this campaign, while almost every incident at Chancellorsville was against us.
Finding Ewell had left York, Stuart turned and marched on Carlisle, which he found occupied by our troops. He demanded the surrender of the place under a threat of bombardment. General W. F. Smith, one of the heroes of the Peninsula, was not to be affected by menaces; and Stuart, whose time was precious and who had no ammunition to spare, turned off in hopes of reaching Gettysburg in time to take part in the battle. He arrived there on the afternoon of the 2d, with horses and men worn out by their extraordinary exertions ; on their way whole regiments slept in the saddle. This force when it reached the ?eld found Page 122 Robertson’s, Jones’s, and Jenkins’s brigades, and White’s battalion ready to join it.
By evening Meade was fully apprised, by telegrams and Buford’s scouts, that the enemy were concentrating on Gettysburg. He knew that Reynolds at Marsh Creek was only about six miles from Hill at Cashtown, but he sent no orders that night. He simply stated that the enemy were marching on Gettysburg, and he would issue orders when they developed their intentions. Thus the opposing forces were moving in directions that would necessarily bring them in contact, and a ?ght or a retreat was inevitable.
Reynolds had the true spirit of a soldier. He was a Pennsylvanian, and, in?amed at seeing the devastation of his native State, was most desirous of getting at the enemy as soon as possible. I speak from my own knowledge, for I was his second in command, and he told me at Poolesville soon after crossing the river, that it was necessary to attack the enemy at once, to prevent his plundering the whole State. As he had great con?dence in his men, it was not difficult to divine what his decision would be. He determined to advance and hold Gettysburg. He directed the Eleventh Corps to come up as a support to the First, and he recommended, but did not order, the Third Corps to do the same.
Buford, with two of his cavalry brigades, reached the place that night, but not without considerable dif?culty. He left Fountaindale Gap early in the morning and attempted to move directly to his destination, but he came upon Pettigrew’s brigade of Hill’s corps, and was obliged to fall back to the mountains again. Later in the day he succeeded, by going around by way of Emmetsburg. Before evening set in, he had thrown out his pickets almost to Cashtown and Hunterstown, posting Gamble’s brigade across the Chambersburg Page 123 pike, and Devin’s brigade across the Mummasburg road, his main body being about a mile west of the town.
While these great movements were going on, some minor affairs showed great gallantry on the part of partisan officers. Captain Ulric Dahlgren made a raid upon the rebel communications, capturing some guns and prisoners, and gaining very important information which will be referred to hereafter.
The two armies now about to contest on the perilous ridges of Gettysburg the possession of the Northern States, and the ultimate triumph of freedom or slavery, were in numbers as follows, according to the estimate made by the Count of Paris, who is an impartial observer, and who has made a close study of the question:
The Army of the Potomac under General Meade, 82, 000 men and 300 guns.
The Army of Northern Virginia under General Lee’ 73,500 men and 190 guns.
Stuart had 11,100 cavalry and 16 guns.
Pleasonton had about the same number of cavalry, and 27 guns.
THE FIRST DAY OF THE BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG,
WEDNESDAY, JULY 1, 1863.
ON the morning of the 1st of July, General Buford, as stated, held the ridges to the west of Gettysburg, with his cavalry division, composed of Gamble’s and Devens’s brigades. His vedettes were thrown far out toward the enemy to give timely notice of any movement, for he was determined to prevent the rebels from entering the town it possible, and knew the First Corps would soon be up to support him. The enemy were not aware that there was any considerable force in the vicinity, and in the morning sent forward Heth’s division of Hill’s corps to occupy the place, anticipating no difficulty in doing so. Buford in the meantime had dismounted a large part of his force, had strengthened his line of skirmishers, and planted his batteries at the most commanding points.
General Reynolds, in consequence of the duties devolving upon him as commander of the Left Wing of the army, that is of the First, Third, and Eleventh Corps, had turned over the command of the First Corps to me. He now made immediate dispositions to go forward to assist Buford.
As my corps was largely engaged in the ?rst day’s operations, I must be excused for having a good deal to say in the ?rst person in relation to them. Reynolds sent for me about six o’clock in the morning, read to me the various despatches Page 125 he had received from Meade and Buford, and told me he should go forward at once with the nearest division—that of Wadsworth—to aid the cavalry. He then instructed me to draw in my pickets, assemble the artillery and the remainder of the corps, and join him as soon as possible. Having given these orders he rode off at the head of the column, and I never saw him again.
The position of the two armies on the morning of the 1st of July, was as follows: The First Corps at Marsh Creek; the Second and Third Corps at Taneytown ; the latter being under orders to march to Emmetsburg, to relieve the Eleventh Corps, which was directed to Join the First Corps at Gettysburg; the Twelfth Corps was at Two Taverns; the Fifth Corps at Hanover, and the Sixth Corps about thirty-?ve miles off to the right at Manchester. Kilpatrick’s and Gregg’s divisions of cavalry were also at Hanover. The Confederate army was advancing on Gettysburg from the west and north. The concentration of their troops and the dispersion of ours are indicated on the map.
It must be remembered that the enemy had but three corps, while the Union army had seven. Each of their corps represented a third, and each of ours a seventh, of our total force. The same ratio extended to divisions and brigades.
Heth’s division, which started early in the morning to Manchester Page 126 to occupy the town, soon found itself confronted by Buford’s skirmishers, and formed line of battle with Archer’s and Davis’s brigades in front, followed by those of Pettigrew and Brockenborough. At 9 A.M. the ?rst gun was heard. Buford had three cannon-shots ?red as a signal for his skirmish line to open on the enemy, and the battle of Gettys— burg began. l
As the rebels had had several encounters with militia, who were easily dispersed, they did not expect to meet any serious resistance at this time, and advanced con?dently and carelessly. Buford gave way slowly, taking advantage of every accident of ground to protract the struggle. After an hour’s ?ghting he felt anxious, and went up into the steeple of the Theological Seminary from which a wide view could be obtained, to see if the First Corps was in sight. One division of it was close at hand, and soon Reynolds, who had preceded it, climbed up into the belfry to confer with him there, and examine the country around. Although there is no positive testimony to that effect, his attention was doubtless attracted to Cemetery Ridge in his rear, as it was one of the most prominent features of the landscape. An aide of General Howard—presumably Major Hall--soon after Reynolds descended from the belfry, came up to ask if he had any instructions with regard to the Eleventh Corps. Reynolds, in reply, directed that General Howard bring his corps forward at once and form them on Cemetery Hill as a reserve. General Howard has no recollection of having received any
1 Lt.-Col. Kress, of General Wadsworth’s stall’, entered Gettysburg about this time and found General Buford surrounded by his staff in front of the tavern there. Buford turned to him and said. “ What are you doing here, sir? " Kress replied that he came on to get some shoes for Wadsworth’s division. Buford told him he had better return immediately to his command. Kress said, “ Why, what is the matter, general? " At that moment the far off sound of a single gun was heard, and Bu ford replied, as he mounted his horse and galloped off, " That’s the matter."
Page 127 such orders, but as he did get orders to come forward, and as his corps was to occupy some place in rear, as a support to the First Corps, nothing is more probable than that General Reynolds directed him to go there; for its military advantages were obvious enough to any experienced commander. Lieutenant Rosengarten, of General Reynolds’s staff, states positively that he was present and heard the order given for Howard to post his troops on Cemetery Ridge. The matter is of some moment, as the position in question ultimately gave us the victory, and Howard received the thanks of Congress for selecting it. It is not to be supposed that either Howard or Rosengarten would misstate the matter. It is quite probable that Reynolds chose the hill simply as a position upon which his force could rally if driven back, and Howard selected it as a suitable battle-?eld for the army. It has since been universally conceded that it was admirably adapted for that purpose.
It will be seen from the above map, that there are two roads coming into Gettysburg from the west, making a considerable angle with each other. Each is intersected by ridges running north and south. On that nearest to the town, and about three-fourths of a mile from the central square, there is a large brick building, which was used as a Lutheran Theological Seminary. A small stream of water called Willoughby’s Run winds between
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Page 128 the next two ridges. The battle on the ?rst day was principally fought on the heights on each side of this stream.
Buford being aware that Ewell’s corps would soon be on its way from Heidlersburg to the ?eld of battle was obliged to form line facing north with Devin’s brigade, and leave Gamble’s brigade to keep back the overpowering weight of Hill’s corps advancing from the west.
While this ?ghting was going on, and Reynolds and Wadsworth were presssing to the front, I was engaged in withdrawing the pickets and assembling the other two divisions, together with the corps artillery. As soon as I saw that my orders were in process of execution, I galloped to the front, leaving the troops to follow, and caught up with Meredith’s brigade of Wadsworth’s division, commonly called “The Iron Brigade,” just as it was going into action.
In the meantime the enemy approaching from the west were pressing with great force against Buford’s slender skirmish line, and Reynolds went forward with Cutler’s brigade to sustain it. He skilfully posted Hall’s Second Maine battery in the road, and threw forward two regiments, the Fourteenth Brooklyn and Ninety-?fth New York, a short distance in advance on the left. At the same time he directed General Wadsworth to place the remaining three regiments of the brigade, the One Hundred and Forty-seventh New York, the Seventy-sixth New York, and the Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania on the right of the road. When this formation was completed the cavalry brigade under Gamble, which had been ?ghting there, withdrew and formed in column on the left of the infantry; but the other cavalry brigade under Devin, which was not facing in that direction, still held its position, awaiting the advance of Ewell’s corps from the north.
As Davis’s rebel brigade of Heth’s division fronting Wadsworth Page 129 were hidden behind an intervening ridge, Wadsworth did not see them at ?rst, but formed his three regiments perpendicularly to the road, without a reconnoissance. The result was that Davis came over the hill almost directly on the right ?ank of this line, which being unable to defend itself, was forced back and directed by Wadsworth to take post in a piece of woods in rear on Seminary Ridge. The two regiments on the right accordingly withdrew, but the One Hundred and Forty-seventh New York, which was. next to the road, did not receive the order, as their Colonel was shot down before he could deliver it. They were at once surrounded and very much cut up before they could be rescued from their perilous position.
The two regiments on the right, which were forced back, were veterans, conspicuous for gallantry in every battle in which the Army of the Potomac had been engaged since the Peninsula campaign. As Wadsworth withdrew them without notifying Hall’s battery in the road, or the two regiments posted by Reynolds on the left, both became exposed to a disastrous ?ank attack on the right. Hall ?nding a cloud of skirmishers launched against his battery which was now without support, was compelled to retreat. The horses of the last gun were all shot or bayonetted. The non-military reader will see that while a battery can keep back masses of men it cannot contend with a line of skirmishers. To resist them would be very much like ?ghting mosquitoes with musket-balls. The two regiments posted by Reynolds, the Fourteenth Brooklyn and Ninety-?fth New York, ?nding their support gone on the right, while Archer’s rebel brigade was advancing to envelop their left, fell back lei~ surely under Colonel Fowler of the Fourteenth Brooklyn, who assumed command of both as the ranking officer present.
Page 130 I reached the ?eld just as the attack on Cutler’s brigade was going on, and at once sent my adjutant-general, Major Halstead, and young Meredith L. Jones, who was acting as aide on my staff, to General Reynolds to ask instructions. Under the impression that the enemy’s columns were approaching on both roads, Reynolds said, “ Tell Doubleday I will hold on to this road,” referring to the Chambersburg road, “and he must hold on to that one;” meaning the road to Fair?eld or Hagerstown. At the same time he sent Jones back at full speed to bring up a battery.
The rebels, however, did not advance on the Fair?eld road until late in the afternoon. They must have been in force upon it some miles back, for the cavalry so reported, and this caused me during the entire day to give more attention than was necessary to my left, as I feared the enemy might separate my corps from the Third and Eleventh Corps at Emmetsburg. Such a movement would be equivalent to interposing between the First Corps and the main army.
There was a piece of woods between the two roads, with open ground on each side. It seemed to me this was the key of the position, for if this woods was strongly held, the enemy could not pass on either road without being taken in ?ank by the infantry, and in front by the cavalry. I therefore urged the men as they ?led past me to hold it at all hazards. Full of enthusiasm and the memory of their past achievements they said to me proudly, “If we can’t hold it, where will you ?nd the men who can? ”
As they went forward under command of Colonel Morrow’ of the Twenty-fourth Michigan Volunteers, a brave and capable soldier, who, when a mere youth, was engaged in the Mexican War, I rode over to the left to see if the enemy’s
1 I sent orders to Morrow under the supposition that he was the ranking office: of the brigade. Colonel W. W. Robinson, Seventh Wisconsin, was entitled to the command, and exercised it during the remainder of the battle.
Page 131 line extended beyond ours, and if there would be any attempt to ?ank our troops in that direction. I saw, however, only a few skirmishers, and returned to organize a reserve. I knew there was ?ghting going on between Cutler’s brigade and the rebels in his front, but as General Reynolds was there in person, I only attended to my own part of the line; and halted the Sixth Wisconsin regiment as it was going into action, together with a hundred men of the Brigade Guard, taken from the One Hundred and Forty-ninth Pennsylvania, to station them in the open space between the Seminary and the woods, as a reserve, the whole being under the command of Lieut.-Colonel It. R. Dawes, of the Sixth Wisconsin.
It is proper to state that General Meredith, the permanent commander of the brigade, was wounded as he was coming up, some time after its arrival, by a shell which exploded in front of his horse.
Both parties were now trying to obtain possession of the woods. Archer’s rebel brigade, preceded by a skirmish line, was crossing Willoughby’s Run to enter them on one side as the Iron Brigade went in on the other. General Reynolds .was on horseback in the edge of the woods, surrounded by his staff. He felt some anxiety as to the result, and turned his head frequently to see if our troops would be up in time. While looking back in this way, a rebel sharpshooter shot him through the back of the head, the bullet coming out near the eye. He fell dead in an instant, without a word. The country sustained great loss in his ‘death. I lamented him as almost a life-long companion. We were at West Point ‘together, and had served in the same regiment—the old Third Artillery—upon ?rst entering service, along with our present Commander-in-Chief, General Sherman, and General George H. Thomas. When quite young we had fought in the same battles in Mexico. There was Page 132 little time, however, to indulge in these recollections. The situation was very peculiar. The rebel left under Davis had driven in Cutler’s brigade and our left under Morrow had charged into the Woods, preceded by the Second Wisconsin under Colonel Fairchild, swept suddenly and unexpectedly around the right ?ank of Archer’s brigade, and captured a large part of it, including Archer himself. The fact is, the enemy were careless and underrated us, thinking, it is said, that they had only militia to contend with. The Iron Brigade had a different head-gear from the rest of the army and were recognized at once by their old antagonists. Some of the latter were heard to exclaim “ There are those d—d black-batted fellows again ! ‘Taint no militia. It’s the Army of the Potomac.”
Having captured Archer and his men, many of the Iron Brigade kept on beyond Willoughby’s Run, and formed on the heights on the opposite side.
The command now devolved upon me with its great responsibilities. The disaster on the right required immediate attention, for the enemy, with loud yells, were pursuing Cutler’s brigade toward the town. I at once ordered my reserve under Lieutenant-Colonel Dawes to advance against their ?ank. If they faced Dawes, I reasoned that they would present their other ?ank to Cutler’s men, so that I felt quite con?dent of the result. In war, however, unexpected changes are constantly occurring. Cutler’s brigade had been withdrawn by order of General Wadsworth, without my knowledge, to the suburbs of Gettysburg. Fortunately, Fowler’s two regiments came on to join Dawes, who went forward with great spirit, but who was altogether too weak to assail so large a force. As he approached, the rebels ceased to pursue Cutler, and rushed into the railroad cut to obtain the shelter of the grading. They made a ?erce and obstinate resistance, Page 133 but, while Fowler confronted them above, about twenty of Dawes’ men were formed across the cut by his adjutant, E. P. Brooks, to ?re through it. The rebels could not resist this; the greater number gave themselves up as prisoners, and the others scattered over the country and escaped.
This success relieved the One Hundred and Forty-seventh New York, which, as I stated, was surrounded when Cutler fell back, and it also enabled us to regain the gun which Hall had been obliged to abandon.
The enemy having vanished from our immediate front, I withdrew the Iron Brigade from its advanced position beyond the creek, reformed the line on the ridge where General Reynolds had originally placed it, and awaited a fresh attack, or orders from General Meade. The two regiments of Cutler’s brigade were brought back from the town, and, notwithstanding the check they had received, they fought with great gallantry throughout the three days’ battle that ensued.
There was now a lull in the combat. I was waiting for the remainder of the First Corps to come up. and Heth was reorganizing his shattered front line, and preparing to bring his two other brigades forward. The remnant of Archer’s brigade was placed on the right, and made to face south against Buford’s cavalry, which, it was feared, might attack that ?ank. What was left of Davis’s brigade
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Page 134 was sent to the extreme left of the line, and Pegram’s artillery was brought forward and posted on the high ground west of Willoughby’s Run.
Thus prepared, and with Pender’s strong division in rear, ready to cover his retreat if defeated, or to follow up his success if victorious, Heth advanced to renew the attack.
As I had but four weak infantry brigades at this time against eight large brigades which were about to assail my line, I would have been justi?ed in falling back, but I determined to hold on to the position until ordered to leave it. I did not believe in the system, so prevalent at that time, of avoiding the enemy. I quite agreed with Reynolds that it was best to meet him as soon as possible, for the rebellion, if reduced to a war of positions, would never end so long as the main army of the Confederates was left in a condition to take the ?eld. A retreat, too, has a bad effect on the men. It gives them the impression that their generals think them too weak to contend with the enemy. I was not aware, at this time, that Howard was on the ground, for he had given me no indication of his presence, but I knew that General Meade was at Taneytown ; and as, on the previous evening, he had informed General Reynolds that the enemy’s army were concentrating on Gettysburg, I thought it probable he would ride to the front to see for himself. what was going on, and issue de?nite orders of some kind. As Gettysburg covered the great roads from Chambersburg to York, Baltimore, and Washington, and as its possession by Lee would materially shorten and strengthen his line of retreat, I was in favor of making great sacri?ces to hold it.
While we were thus temporarily successful, having captured or dispersed all the forces in our immediate front, a very misleading despatch was sent to General Meade by General Page 135 Howard. It seems that General Howard had reached Gettysburg in advance of his corps, just after the two regiments of Cutler’s brigade, which had been outflanked, fell back to the town by General Wadsworth’s order. Upon Witnessing this retreat, which was somewhat disorderly, General Howard hastened to send a special messenger to General Meade with the baleful intelligence that the First Corps had ?ed from the ?eld at the ?rst contact with the enemy, thus magnifying a forced retreat of two regiments, acting under orders, into the ?ight of an entire corps, two-thirds of which had not yet reached the ?eld. It is unnecessary to say that this astounding news created the greatest feeling against the corps, who were loudly cursed for their supposed lack of spirit and patriotism.
About 11 A.M. the remainder 0f the First Corps came up, together with Cooper’s, Stewart’s, Reynolds’s, and Stevens’s batteries. By this time the enemy’s artillery had been posted on every commanding position to the west of us, several of their batteries ?ring down the Chambersburg pike. I was very desirous to hold this road, as it was in the centre of the enemy’s line, who were advancing on each side of it, and Calef—exposed as his battery was—?red over the crest of ground where he was posted, and notwithstanding the storm of missiles that assailed him, held his own handsomely, and in?icted great damage on his adversaries. He was soon after relieved by Reynolds’s Battery “L” of the First New York, which was sustained by Colonel Roy Stone’s brigade of Pennsylvania troops, which I ordered there for that purpose. Stone formed his men on the left of the pike, behind a ridge running north and south, and partially sheltered them by a stone fence, some distance in advance, from which he had driven the rebel skirmish line, after an obstinate contest.
Page 136 It was a hot place for troops ; for the whole position was alive with bursting shells, but the men went forward in ?ne spirits and, under the impression that the place was to be held at all hazards, they cried out, “ We have come to stay ! ” The battle afterward became so severe that the greater portion did stay, laying down their lives there for the cause they loved so well. Morrow’s brigade remained in the woods where Reynolds was killed, and Biddle’s brigade was posted on its left in the open ground along the crest of the same ridge, with Cooper’s battery in the interval. Cutler’s brigade took up its former position on the right of the road. Having disposed of Wadsworth’s division and my which was now under command of Brigadier General Rowley, I directed General Robinson’s division to remain in reserve at the Seminary, and to throw up a small semicircular rail intrenchment in the grove in front of the building. Toward the close of the action this defence, weak and imperfect as it was, proved to be of great service.
The accompanying map shows the position of troops and batteries at this time.
It will be seen that Heth’s division is formed on the west ern ridge which bounds Willoughby’s Run and along a crossroad which intersects the Chambersburg road at right angles.
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Page 137 Pender’s division, posted in rear as a support to Heth, was formed in the following order by brigades : Thomas, Lane, Scales, and McGowan (under Perrin) ; the ?rst named on the rebel left and Perrin on the right. To sustain Heth’s advance and crush out all opposition, both Pegram’s and McIntosh’s artillery were posted on the crest of the ridge west of the Run.
While this was going on, General Howard, who was awaiting the arrival of his corps, had climbed into the steeple of the seminary to obtain a view of the surrounding country. At 11.30 A.M he learned that General Reynolds was killed, and that the command of the three corps (the First, Eleventh, and Third) constituting the Left Wing of the army devolved upon him by virtue of his rank. He saw that the First Corps was contending against large odds and sent back for the Eleventh Corps to come up at double-quick. Upon assuming command of the Left Wing he turned over his own corps to Major-General Carl Schurz, who then gave up the command of his division to General Barlow. Howard noti?ed General Meade of Reynolds’s death, but forgot to take back or modify the false statement he had made about the First Corps, now engaged before his eyes, in a most desperate contest with a largely superior force; so that General Meade was still left under the impression that the First Corps had ?ed from the ?eld.
Howard also sent a request to Slocum, who was at Two Taverns, only about ?ve miles from Gettysburg, to come forward, but Slocum declined, without orders from Meade. He probably thought if any one commander could assume the direction of other corps, he might antagonize the plans of the General-in-Chief.
Upon receiving the news of the death of General Reynolds Page 138 and the disorder which it was supposed had been created by that event, General Meade superseded Howard by sending his junior officer, General Hancock, to assume command of the ?eld, with directions to notify him of the condition of affairs at the front. He also ordered General John Newton of the Sixth Corps to take command of the First Corps.
The head of the Eleventh Corps reached Gettysburg at 12.45 P.M., and the rear at 1.45 P.M. Schimmelpfennig’s division led the way, followed by that of Barlow. The two were directed to prolong the line of the First Corps to the right along Seminary Ridge. The remaining division, that of Steinwehr, with the reserve artillery under Major Osborne, were ordered to occupy Cemetery Hill, in rear of Gettysburg, as a reserve to the entire line. Before this disposition could be carried out, however, Buford rode up to me with the information that’ his scouts reported the advance of Ewell’s corps from Heidlersburg directly on my right ?ank. I sent a staff officer to communicate this intelligence to General Howard, with a message that I would endeavor to hold my ground against A. P. Hill’s corps if he could, by means of the Eleventh Corps, keep Ewell from attacking my right. He accordingly directed the Eleventh Corps to change front to meet Ewell. As it did so, Devin’s cavalry brigade fell back and took up a position to the right and rear of this line just south of the railroad bridge.
The concentration of Rodes’s and Early’s divisions—the one from Carlisle and the other from York—took place with great exactness; both arriving in sight of Gettysburg at the same time. The other division, that of Johnson, took a longer route from Carlisle by way of Greenwood, to escort the trains, and did not reach the battle-?eld until sunset. Anderson’s division of Hill’s corps was also back at the pass in the mountains on the Chambersburg road. It had halted Page 139 to allow Johnson to pass, and then followed him to Gettysburg, reaching there about dusk.
The ?rst indication I had that Ewell had arrived, and was taking part in the battle, came from a battery posted on an eminence called Oak Hill, almost directly in the prolongation of my line, and about a mile north of Colonel Stone’s position. This opened ?re about 1.30 P.M., and rendered new dispositions necessary; for Howard had not guarded my right ?ank as proposed, and indeed soon had more than he could do to maintain his line. When the guns referred to opened ?re, Wadsworth, without waiting for orders, threw Cutler’s brigade back into the woods on Seminary Ridge, north of the railroad grading; a movement I sanctioned as necessary. Morrow’s brigade was concealed from the view of the enemy, in the woods where Reynolds fell, and Biddle’s brigade, by my order, changed front to the north. It could do so with impunity, as it was behind a ridge which concealed its left ?ank from Hill’s corps, and was further protected in that direction by two companies of the Twentieth New York State Militia, who occupied a house and barn in advance, sent there by the colonel of that regiment, Theodore B. Gates, whose skill and energy were of great service to me during the battle.
It would of course have been impossible to hold the line if Hill attacked on the west and Ewell assailed me at the same time on the north ; but I occupied the central position, and their converging columns did not strike together until the grand ?nal advance at the close of the day, and therefore I was able to resist several of their isolated attacks before the last crash came.
Stone’s brigade in the centre had a difficult angle to defend, but was partially sheltered by a ridge on the west. His position was in truth the key-point of the ?rst day’s Page 140 battle. It overlooked the ?eld, and its possession by the enemy would cut our force in two, en?lade Morrow’s and Biddle’s brigades, and compel a hasty retreat.
After Hall’s battery was driven back, no other artillery occupied the ground for some time, then General Wadsworth borrowed Calef’s regular battery from the cavalry, and posted it in rear of the position Hall had occupied. When the remainder of the division came up, Captain Reynolds’s Battery “L ” of the First New York Artillery, as already stated, was sent to assist Calef in keeping down the ?re of two rebel batteries on the ridge to the west; but when Ewell’s artillery also opened, the cross ?re became too severe. Calef was withdrawn, and Reynolds was severely wounded. The rebel batteries soon after ceased ?ring for the time being; and at Wadsworth’s request, Colonel Wainwright, Chief of Artillery to the First Corps, posted a section of Reynolds’s battery, under Lieutenant Wilbur, on Seminary Ridge, south of the railroad cut; Stewart’s Battery “ 13" Fourth United States being on a line north of the cut. Cooper’s battery was directed to meet Ewell’s attack from the north, and Stevens’s Fifth Maine battery was retained behind the Seminary in reserve.
Barlow’s division on the right and Schimmelpfennig’s on the left, formed somewhat hastily against Ewell, whose line of battle faced south. Barlow rested his right on a wooded knoll, constituting part of the western bank of Rock Creek. As there was an open country to the east he considered that ?ank secure, for no enemy was in sight there, and if they came from that direction, there would be time to make fresh dispositions. After the formation there was an interval of a quarter of a mile between their left and the First Corps which might have been avoided by placing the two divisions Page 141 farther apart. This was a serious thing to me, for the attempt to ?ll this interval and prevent the enemy from penetrating there, lengthened and weakened my line, and used up my reserves. It seems to me that the Eleventh Corps were too far out. It would have been better, in my opinion, if its left had been echeloned in rear of the right of the First Corps, and its right had rested on the strong brick buildings with stone foundations at the Almshouse. The enemy then could not have turned the right without compromising the safety of the turning column and endangering his communications ; a movement he would hardly like to make, especially as he did not know what troops might be coming up. Still they had a preponderating force, and as their whole army was concentrating on Gettysburg, it was not possible to keep them back for any great length of time unless the First and Eleventh Corps were heavily reinforced. The position of our forces and those of the enemy, will be best understood by a reference to the map on page 125.
About 2 P.M., after the Eleventh Corps line was formed, General Howard rode over, inspected, and approved it. He also examined my position and gave orders, in case I was forced to retreat, to fall back to Cemetery Hill. I think this was the ?rst and only order I received from him during the day.
Rodes’s division of ?ve brigades was formed across Seminary Ridge, facing south, with Iverson on the right, supported by Daniels and O’Neil in the centre, and Dole on the left, Ramseur being in reserve. Iverson was sent to attack the First Corps on Seminary Ridge, and O’Neil and Dole went forward about 2.45 P.M., to keep back the Eleventh Corps. When the two latter became fairly engaged in front, about 3.30 PAL, Early came up with his whole division and struck the Union right. This decided the battle in favor of the enemy.
Page 142 Barlow had advanced with Von Gilsa’s brigade, had driven back Ewell’s skirmish line, and with the aid of Wilkinson’s battery was preparing to hold the Carlisle road. He was not aware that Early was approaching, and saw Dole’s advance with pleasure, for he felt con?dent he could swing his right around and envelop Dole’s left; a manoeuvre which could hardly fail to be successful.
Schimmelpfennig now threw forward Von Amberg’s brigade to intervene between O’Neil and Dole, and to strike the right ?ank of the latter; but Dole avoided the blow by a rapid change of front. This necessarily exposed his left to Barlow, who could not take advantage of it as he was unexpectedly assailed by Early’s division on his own right, which was enveloped, and in great danger. His men fought gallantly, and Gordon, who attacked them, says, made stern resistance until the rebels were within ?fty paces of them. As Barlow was shot down, and their right ?ank enveloped, they were forced to retreat to the town. This isolated Von Amberg’s brigade, and Dole claims to have captured the greater portion of it.
The retrograde movement of the Eleventh Corps necessarily exposed the right ?ank of the First to attacks from O’Neil and Ramseur.
Howard sent forward Coster’s brigade, of Steinwehr’s division, to cover the retreat of the Eleventh Corps; but its force was too small to be effective; its ?anks were soon turned by Hays’s and Hokes’s brigades, of Early’s division, and it was forced back with the rest.
We will now go back to the First Corps and describe what took place there while these events were transpiring.
When the wide interval between the First and Eleventh Corps was brought to my notice by Colonel Bankhead of my staff, I detached Baxter’s brigade of Robinson’s division Page 143 to ?ll it. This brigade moved promptly, and took post on Cutler’s right, but before it could form across the intervening space, O’Neil’s brigade assailed its right ?ank, and subsequently its left, and Baxter was forced to change front alternately, to meet these attacks. He repulsed O’Neil, but found his left ?ank again exposed to an attack from Iverson, who was advancing in that direction. 1 He now went forward and took shelter behind a stone fence on the Mummasburg road, which protected his right ?ank, while an angle in the fence which turned in a southwesterly direction covered his front. As his men lay down behind the fence, Iverson’s brigade came very close up, not knowing our troops were there. Baxter’s men sprang to their feet and delivered a most deadly volley at very short range, which left 500 of Iverson’s men dead and wounded, and so demoralized them, that all gave themselves up as prisoners. One regiment, however, after stopping our ?ring by putting up a white ?ag, slipped away and escaped. This destructive effect was not caused by Baxter alone, for he was aided by Cutler’s brigade, which was thrown forward on Iverson’s right ?ank, by the ?re of our batteries, and the distant ?re from Stone’s brigade. So long as the latter held his position, his line, with that of Cutler and Robinson’s division, constituted a demi-bastion and curtain, and every force that entered the angle suffered severely. Rodes in his report speaks of it as “a murderous en?lade, and reverse ?re, to which, in addition to the direct ?re it encountered, Daniels’s brigade had been subject to from the time it commenced its ?nal advance.”
While Iverson was making his attack, Rodes sent one of his reserve brigades—the one just referred to, that of Daniels—against Stone. This joined Davis’s brigade of Hill’s corps, and the two charged on Stone’s three little regiments.
1 General Robinson states that these changes of front were made by his orders and under his personal supervision.
Page 144 Stone threw forward one of these—the One Hundred and Forty-ninth Pennsylvania, under Lieutenant-Colonel Dwight, to the railroad cut, where they were partially sheltered. Colonel Dana’s regiment, the One Hundred and Forty-third Pennsylvania was posted on the road in rear of Dwight and to the right. When I saw this movement I thought it a very bold one, but its results were satisfactory. Two volleys and a bayonet charge by Dwight drove Daniels back for the time being.1 In this attack Colonel Stone was severely wounded, and the command of his brigade devolved upon Colonel Wister of the One Hundred and Fiftieth Pennsylvania.
This attack should have been simultaneous with one from the nearest troops of Hill’s corps, but the latter were lying down in a sheltered position, and Daniels urged them in vain to go forward.
Not being able to force his way in front on account of Dwight’s position in the railroad cut, Daniels brought artillery to en?lade it, and threw the Thirty-second North Carolina across it. The cut being no longer tenable, Dwight retreated to the road and formed on Dana’s left.
Daniels had been originally ordered to protect Iverson’s right, but Iverson swung his right around without notifying Daniels, and thus dislocated the line.
Ramseur now came forward to aid Iverson, and I sent Paul’s brigade of Robinson’s division, which was preceded
1 Dwight was a hard ?ghter, and not averse to plain speaking. Once, when Secretary of War Stanton had determined to grant no more passes to go down to the army, Dwight applied for permission for an old man to visit his dying son. The request was refused; whereupon Dwight said: “My name is Dwight, Walton Dwight, Lieutenant-Colonel of the One Hundred and Forty-ninth Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers. You an me from the service as soon as you like, but I am going to tell you what I think of you,“ and he expressed himself in terms fur from complimentary; whereupon Stanton rescinded the order and gave him the pass.
Page 145 Robinson in person, to assist Baxter, and, if possible, to ?ll the interval between the First and Eleventh Corps, for I feared the enemy would penetrate there and turn my right ?ank.
When Paul’s brigade arrived, Baxter was out of ammunition, but proceeded to re?ll his cartridge-boxes from those of the dead and wounded.
General Howard has stated that the interval referred to was ?lled by Dilger’s and Wheeler’s batteries of the Eleventh Corps, but a glance at the official map will show that, before Paul’s advance, these batteries were several hundred yards distant from the First Corps.
Another attack was now made from the north and west by both Daniels’s and Davis’s brigades. Colonel Wister faced his own regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Huidekoper, to the west, and the other two regiments to the north. The enemy were again repulsed by two volleys and a gallant bayonet charge, led by Huidekoper, who lost an arm in the ?ght. Colonel Wister having been shot through the face, the command devolved upon Colonel Dana, another veteran of the Mexican war.
There had been a great lack of co-ordination in these assaults, for they were independent movements, each repulsed in its turn. The last attack, however, against Wister was extended by Brockenborough’s and Pettigrew’s brigades to Morrow’s front in the woods, but Morrow held on ?rmly to his position.
I now sent my last reserve, the One Hundred and Fifty-?rst Pennsylvania, under Lieutenant-Colonel McFarland, to take post between Stone’s and Biddle’s brigades.
So far I had done all that was possible to defend my front, but circumstances were becoming desperate. My line was very thin and weak, and my last reserve had been thrown in. As we had positive information that the entire rebel army
Page 146 was coming on, it was evident enough that we could not contend any longer, unless some other corps came to our assistance. I had previously sent an aide—Lieutenant Slagle—to ask General Howard to reinforce me from Steinwehr’s division, but he declined to do so. I now sent my Adjutant-General, Halstead, to reiterate the request, or to obtain for me an order to retreat, as it was impossible for me to remain where I was, in the face of the constantly increasing forces which were approaching from the west. Howard insisted that Halstead mistook rail fences for troops in the distance. The lorgnettes of his staff ?nally convinced him of his error; he still, however, refused to order me to retire, but sent Halstead off to ?nd Buford’s cavalry, and order it to report to me. The First Corps had suffered severely in these encounters, but by this additional delay, and the overwhelming odds against us, it was almost totally sacri?ced. General Wadsworth reported half of his men were killed or wounded, and Rowley’s division suffered in the same proportion. Stone reported two-thirds of his brigade had fallen. Hardly a ?eld officer remained unhurt. After ?ve color-bearers of the Twenty-fourth Michigan Volunteers had fallen, Colonel Morrow took the ?ag in his own hands, but was immediately prostrated. A private then seized it, and, although mortally wounded, still held it ?rmly in his grasp. Similar instances occurred all along the line. General Robinson had two horses shot under him. He reported a loss of 1,667 out of 2,500. Buford was in a distant part of the ?eld, with Devin’s brigade, covering the retreat of the Eleventh Corps, and already had all he could attend to. He expressed himself in unequivocal terms at the idea that he could keep back Hill’s entire corps with Gamble’s cavalry brigade alone.
As Howard seemed to have little or no con?dence in his troops on Cemetery Hill, he was perhaps justi?ed in retaining them in line there for the moral effect they would produce.
Page 147 About the time the Eleventh Corps gave way on the right, the Confederate forces made their ?nal advance in double lines, backed by strong reserves, and it was impossible for the few men left in the First Corps to keep them back, especially as Pender’s large division overlapped our left for a quarter of a mile; Robinson’s right was turned, and General Paul was shot through both eyes in the effort to stem the tide. They could not contend against Ramseur in front, and O’Neil on the ?ank, at the same time.
Under these circumstances it became a pretty serious question how to extricate the First Corps and save its artillery before it was entirely surrounded and captured.
Biddle, Morrow, and Dana were all forced back from the ridge they had defended so long, which bordered Willoughby’s Run. Each brigade was ?anked, and Stone’s men under Dana were assailed in front and on both ?anks. Yet even then Daniels speaks of the severe ?ghting which took place before he could win the position.
What was left of the First Corps after all this slaughter rallied on Seminary Ridge. Many of the men entered a semi-circular rail entrenchment which I had caused to be thrown up early in the day, and held that for a time by lying down and ?ring over the pile of rails. The enemy were now closing in on us from the south, west, and north, and still no orders came to retreat. Buford arrived about this time, and perceiving that Perrin’s brigade in swinging around to envelop our left exposed its right ?ank, I directed him to charge. He reconnoitered the position they held, but did not carry out the order; I do not know why. It was said afterward he found the fences to be an impediment; but he rendered essential service by dismounting his men and throwing them into a grove south of the Fair?eld road, where they opened a severe ?re, which checked the Page 148 rebel advance and prevented them from cutting us off from our direct line of retreat to Cemetery Hill.
The ?rst long line that came on from the west was swept away by our artillery, which ?red with very destructive effect, taking the rebel line en echarpe.
Although the Confederates advanced in such force, our men still made strong resistance around the Seminary, and by the aid of our artillery, which was most effective, beat back and almost destroyed the ?rst line of Scales’s brigade, wounding both Scales and Pender. The former states that he arrived within seventy-?ve feet of the guns, and adds:
“ Here the ?re was most severe. Every ?eld officer but one was killed or wounded. The brigade halted in some confusion to return this ?re.” My Adjutant-Generals Baird and Halstead, and my aides Lee, Marten, Slagle, Jones, and Lambdin had hot work carrying orders at this time. It is a marvel that any of them survived the storm of bullets that swept the ?eld.
Robinson was forced back toward the Seminary, but halted notwithstanding the pressure upon him, and formed line to save Stewart’s battery north of the railroad cut, which had remained too long, and was in danger of being captured.
Cutler’s brigade in the meantime had formed behind the railroad grading to face the men who were pursuing the Eleventh Corps. This show of force had a happy effect, for it caused the enemy in that direction to halt and throw out a skirmish line, and the delay enabled the artillery soon after to pass through the interval between Cutler on the north and Buford’s cavalry on the south.
As the enemy were closing in upon us and crashes of musketry came from my right and left, I had little hope of saving my guns, but I threw my headquarters guard, under
Page 149 Captain Glenn of the One Hundred and Forty-ninth Pennsylvania, into the Seminary and kept the right of Scales’s brigade back twenty minutes longer, while their left was held by Baxter’s brigade of Robinson’s division, enabling the few remaining troops, ambulances, and artillery to retreat in comparative safety. It became necessary, however, to abandon one gun of Captain Reynolds’s battery, as several of the horses were shot and there was no time to disengage them from the piece. Three broken and damaged caisson bodies were also left behind. The danger at this time came principally from Hokes’s and Hays’s brigades, which were making their way into the town on the eastern side, threatening to cut us off from Cemetery Hill. The troops in front of the Seminary were stayed by the ?rm attitude of Buford’s cavalry, and made a bend in their line, apparently with a view to form square.
I waited until the artillery had gone and then rode back to the town with my staff. As we passed through the streets, pale and frightened women came out and offered us coffee and food, and implored us not to abandon them.
Colonel Livingston of my staff, who had been sent on a message, came back to the Seminary, not knowing that we had left. He says the enemy were advancing toward the crest very cautiously, evidently under the impression there was an ambuscade waiting for them there. They were also forming against cavalry.
On the way I must have met an aide that Howard says he sent to me with orders to retreat, but I do not remember receiving any message of the kind.
I observe that Howard in his account of the battle claims to have handled the First and Eleventh Corps from 11 A.M. until 4 P.M.; but at 11 A.M. his corps was away back on the road, and did not arrive until about 1 PM.
Page 150 The map previously given on page 125 demonstrates that we were a mere advance guard of the army, and shows the impossibility of our defending Gettysburg for any length of time.
The First Corps was broken and defeated, but not dismayed. There were but few left, but they showed the true spirit of soldiers. They walked leisurely from the Seminary to the town, and did not run. I remember seeing Hall’s battery and the Sixth Wisconsin regiment halt from time to time to face the enemy, and ?re down the streets. Both Doles and Ramsey claim to have had sharp encounters there. Many of the Eleventh Corps, and part of Robinson’s division, which had been far out, were captured in the attempt to reach Steinwehr’s division on Cemetery Hill, which was the rallying point.
When I arrived there I found General Howard, surrounded by his staff, awaiting us at the main gate of the cemetery. He made arrangements to hold the road which led up from the town, and which diverged to Baltimore and Taneytown, by directing me to post the First Corps on the left in the cemetery, while he assembled the Eleventh Corps on the right. Soon after he rode over to ask me, in case his men (Steinwehr’s division) deserted their guns, to be in readiness to defend them. General Schurz about this time was busily engaged in rallying his men, and did all that was possible to encourage them to form line again. I understood they were told that Sigel had arrived and assumed command, a ?ction thought justi?able under the circumstances. It seemed to me that the discredit that attached to them after Chancellorsville had in a measure injured their morale and esprit-de-corps, for they were rallied with great difficulty.
About 3.30 P.M. General Hancock arrived with orders from Page 151 General Meade to supersede Howard. Congress had passed a law authorizing the President to put any general over any other superior in rank ‘if, in his judgment, the good of the service demanded it, and General Meade now assumed this power in the name of the President. Owing to the false despatch Howard had sent early in the day, Meade must have been under the impression that the First Corps had ?ed without ?ghting. More than half of them, however, lay dead and wounded on the ?eld, and hardly a ?eld of?cer had escaped.
Hancock being his junior, Howard was naturally unwilling to submit to his authority and, according to Captain Halstead of my staff, who was present, refused to do so. Howard stated in a subsequent account of the battle that he merely regarded Hancock as a staff officer acting for General Meade. He says “General Hancock greeted me in his usual frank and cordial manner and used these words, ‘ General Meade has sent me to represent him on the ?eld.’ I replied, ‘All right, Hancock. This is no time for talking. You take the left of the pike and I will-arrange these troops to the right.’ I noticed that he sent Wadsworth’s division, without consulting me, to the right of the Eleventh Corps to Culp’s Hill, but as it was just the thing to do I made no objection.” He adds that Hancock did not really relieve him until 7 P.M. Hancock, however, denies that he told Howard he was merely acting as a staff officer. He says he assumed absolute command at 8.30 P.M. I know he rode over to me and told me he was in command of the ?eld, and directed me to send a regiment to the right, and I sent Wadsworth’s division there, as my regiments were reduced to the size of companies.
Hancock was much pleased with the ridge we were on, as ‘ a defensive position, and considered it admirably adapted Page 152 for a battle-?eld. Its gentle slopes for artillery, its stone fences and rocky boulders to shelter infantry, and its rugged but commanding eminences on either ?ank, where far-reaching batteries could be posted, were great advantages. It covered the principal roads to Washington and Baltimore, and its convex shape, enabling troops to reinforce with celerity any point of the line from the centre, or by moving along the chord of the arc, was probably the cause of our ?nal success. The enemy, on the contrary, having a concave order of battle, was obliged to move troops much longer distances to support any part of his line, and could not communicate orders rapidly, nor could the different corps co-operate promptly with each other. It was Hancock’s recommendation that caused Meade to concentrate his army on this ridge, but Howard received the thanks of Congress for selecting the position. He, doubtless, did see its advantages, and recommended it to Hancock. The latter immediately took measures to hold it as a battle-ground for the army, while Howard merely used the cemetery as a rallying point for his defeated troops. Hancock occupied all the prominent points, and disposed the little cavalry and infantry he had in such a way as to impress the enemy with the idea that heavy reinforcements had come up. By occupying Culp’s Hill, on the right, with Wadsworth’s brigade, and posting the cavalry on the left to take up a good deal of space, he made a show of strength not warranted by the facts. Both Hill and Ewell had received some stunning blows during the day, and were disposed to be cautious. They, therefore, did not press forward and take the heights, as they could easily have done at this time, but not so readily after an hour’s delay, for then Sickles’s corps from Emmetsburg, and Slocum’s corps from Two Taverns, began to approach the position. The two rebel divisions of Anderson Page 153 and Johnson, however, arrived about dusk, which would have still given the enemy a great numerical superiority.
General Lee reached the ?eld before Hancock came, and watched the retreat of the First and Eleventh Corps, and Hancock’s movements and dispositions through his ?eld-glass. He was not deceived by this show of force, and sent a recommendation—not an order—to Ewell to follow us up ; but Ewell, in the exercise of his discretion as a corps commander, did not do so. He had lost 3,000 men, and both he and Hill were under orders not to bring on a general engagement. In fact they had had all the ?ghting they desired for the time being. Colonel Campbell Brown, of Ewell’s staff, states that the latter was preparing to move forward against the height, when a false report induced him to send Gordon’s brigade to reinforce Smith’s brigade on his extreme left, to meet a supposed Union advance in that direction.
The absence of these two brigades decided him to wait for the arrival of Johnson’s division before taking further action. When the latter came up, Slocum and Sickles were on the ground, and the opportunity for a successful attack had passed.
In sending Hancock forward with such ample powers, Meade virtually appointed him commander-in-chief for the time being, for he was authorized to say where we would ?ght, and when, and how. In the present instance, in accordance with his recommendation, orders were immediately sent out for the army to concentrate on Cemetery Ridge. Two-thirds of the Third Corps, and all of the Twelfth came up, and by six o’clock the position became tolerably secure. Stannard’s Second .Vermont brigade also arrived, and as they formed part of my command, reported to me for duty ;. a very welcome reinforcement to my shattered division. Sickles had taken the responsibility of joining us without Page 154 orders, knowing that we were hard pressed. His command prolonged the line of the First Corps to the left. Slocum’s Corps—the Twelfth—was posted, as a reserve, also on the left.
Hancock now relinquished the command of the ?eld to Slocum and rode back to Taneytown to confer with Meade and explain his reasons for choosing the battle-?eld.
Longstreet’s corps soon arrived and joined Ewell and Hill; so that the whole rebel army was ready to act against us the next morning, with the exception of Pickett’s division.
At the close of the day General John Newton rode up and took charge of the First Corps by order of General Meade, and I resumed the command of my division. Several incidents occurred during the severe struggle of the ?rst day which are worthy of record.
Colonel Wheelock of the Ninety-seventh New York was cut off during the retreat of Robinson’s division, and took refuge in a house. A rebel lieutenant entered and called upon him to surrender his sword. This he declined to do, whereupon the lieutenant called in several of his men, formed them in line, took out his watch and said to the colonel, “You are an old gray-headed man, and I dislike to kill you, but if you don’t give up that sword in ?ve minutes, I shall order these men to blow your brains out.” When the time was up the Colonel still refused to surrender. A sudden tumult at the door, caused by some prisoners attempting to escape, called the lieutenant off for a moment. When he returned the colonel had given his sword to a girl in the house who had asked him for it, and she secreted it between two mattresses. He was then marched to the rear, but being negligently guarded, escaped the same night and returned to his regiment.
Page 155 Another occurrence recalls Browning’s celebrated poem of “ An Incident at Ratisbon.” An officer of the Sixth Wisconsin approached Lieutenant-Colonel Dawes, the commander of the regiment, after the sharp ?ght in the railroad cut. The colonel supposed, from the ?rm and erect attitude of the man, that he came to report for orders of some kind; but the compressed lips told a different story. With a great effort the officer said, “ Tell them at home I died like a man and a soldier.” He threw open his breast, displayed a ghastly wound, and dropped dead at the colonel’s feet.
Another incident was related to me at the time, but owing to our hurried movements and the vicissitudes of the battle, I have never had an opportunity to verify it. It was said that during the retreat of the artillery one piece of Stewart’s battery did not limber up as soon as the others. A rebel officer rushed forward, placed his hand upon it, and presenting a pistol at the back of the driver, directed him not to drive off with the piece. The latter did so, however, received the ball in his body, caught up with the battery and then fell dead.
We lay on our arms that night among the tombs at the Cemetery, so suggestive of the shortness of life and the nothingness of fame; but the men were little disposed to moralize on themes like these and were too much exhausted to think of anything but much-needed rest.
BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG-THE SECOND DAY.
THE ridge upon which the Union forces were now assembling has already been partially described. In two places it sunk away into intervening valleys. One between Culps Hill and Cemetery Hill ; the other lay for several hundred yards north of Little Round Top, as the lesser of the two eminences on the left was called to distinguish it from the higher peak called Round Top.
At 1 A.M. Meade arrived from Taneytown. When I saw him, soon after daylight, he seemed utterly worn out and hollow-eyed. Anxiety and want of sleep were evidently telling upon him. At dawn he commenced forming his line by concentrating his forces on the right with a view to descend into the plain and attack Lee’s left, and the Twelfth Corps were sent to Wadsworth’s right to take part in the movement. It seems to me that this would have been a very hazardous enterprise, and I am not surprised that both Slocum and Warren reported against it. The Fifth and Sixth Corps would necessarily be very much fatigued after making a forced march. To put them in at once, and direct them to drive a superior force of Lee’s veterans out of a town where every house would have been loop-holed, and every street barricaded, would hardly have been judicious. If we had succeeded in doing so, it would simply have reversed the battle of Gettysburg, for the Confederate Page 157 army would have fought behind Seminary Ridge, and we would have been exposed in the plain below. Nor do I think it would have been wise strategy to turn their left, and drive them between us and Washington, for it would have enabled them to threaten the capital, strengthen and shorten their line of retreat, and endanger our communications at the same time. It is an open secret that Meade at that time disapproved of the battle-ground Hancock had selected.
Warren and Slocum having reported an attack against Lee’s left as unadvisable, Meade began to post troops on our left, with a view to attack the enemy’s right. This, in my opinion, would have been much more sensible. Lee, however, solved the problem for him, and, fortunately for us, forced him to remain on the defensive, by ordering an assault against each extremity of the Union line.
There has been much discussion and a good deal of crimination and recrimination among the rebel generals engaged as to which of them lost the battle of Gettysburg.
I have already alluded to the fact that universal experience demonstrates that columns converging on a central force almost invariably fail in their object and are beaten in detail. Gettysburg seems to me a striking exempli?cation of this; repeated columns of assault launched by Lee against our lines came up in succession and were defeated before the other parts of his army could arrive in time to sustain the attack. It realized the old fable. The peasant could not break the bundle of fagots, but he could break one at a time until all were gone.
Lee’s concave form of battle was a great disadvantage, for it took him three times as long as it did us to communicate with different parts of his line, and concentrate troops. His couriers who carried orders and the reinforcements he Page 158 sent moved on the circumference and ours on the chord of the are.
The two armies were about a mile apart. The Confederates—Longstreet and Hill—occupied Seminary Ridge, which runs parallel to Cemetery Ridge, upon which our forces were posted. Ewell’s corps, on the rebel left, held the town, Hill the centre, and Longstreet the right.
Lee could easily have manoeuvred Meade out of his strong position on the heights, and should have done so. When he determined to attack, he should have commenced at daybreak, for all his force was up except Pickett’s division; while two corps of the Union army, the Fifth and Sixth, were still far away, and two brigades of the Third Corps were also absent.
The latter were marching on the Emmetsburg road, and as that was controlled by the enemy, Sickles felt anxious for the safety of his men and trains, and requested that the cavalry be sent to escort them in. This was not done, however. The trains were warned off the road, and the two brigades were, fortunately, not molested.
There has been a great deal of bitter discussion between Longstreet, Fitz Lee, Early, Wilcox, and others as to whether Lee did or did not order an attack to take place at 9 A.M., and as to whether Longstreet was dilatory, and to blame for not making it. When a battle is lost there is always an inquest, and a natural desire on the part of each general to lay the blame on somebody else’s shoulders. Longstreet waited until noon for Laws’ brigade to come up, and afterward there was a good deal of marching and countermarching to avoid being seen by our troops. There was undoubtedly too much delay. The fact is, Longstreet saw we had a strong position and was not well pleased at the duty assigned him, for he thought it more than probable Page 159 his attempt would fail. He had urged Lee to take up a position where Meade would be forced to attack him, and was not in very good humor to ?nd his advice disregarded. The rebel commander, however, ?nding the Army of the Potomac in front of him, having unbounded con?dence in his troops, and elated by the success of the ?rst day’s ?ght, believed he could gain a great victory then and there, and end the war, and determined to attempt it. He was sick of these endless delays and constant sacri?ces, and hoped one strong sword-thrust would slay his opponent, and enable the South to crown herself queen of the North American continent.
By 9 A.M. our skirmish line, in front of the Peach Orchard, was actively engaged with that of the enemy, who ‘were making a reconnoissance toward the Emmetsburg road. No serious affair, however, occurred for some hours. Meade, as stated, was forming his lines on the right of the position he afterward occupied. The Fifth Corps, which came up about 1 P.M. was posted, as a reserve, south of the Twelfth Corps, with a view to the attack which has already been referred to. About 3 P.M. the Sixth Corps began to arrive from its long and toilsome march of thirty-four miles, and its tired troops were placed on the Taneytown road in the rear of Round Top, to reinforce the other corps in case our troops made an attack on the left. Lee, however, did not wait for Meade to advance against him, but boldly directed that each ?ank of the Union army should be assailed at the same time, while constant demonstrations against our centre were to be kept up, to prevent either wing from being reinforced. It was another attempt to converge columns with an interval of several miles between them upon a central force, and, like almost all such enterprises, failed from want of proper co-operation in the different fractions of his line.
Map. GETTYSBURG.—Fina1 Attack of the First Day, and Battle of the Second Day.1 1The ?rst day’s battle is represented north of the Fair?eld and Hanover roads. The second day’s battle south of the same roads.
REFERENCES TO THE FIRST DAY’S BATTLE.
MAJOR-GENERAL 0. 0. Howard commanding the First and Eleventh Corps.
MAJOR-GENERAL ABNER DOUBLEDAY commanding.
FIRST DIVISION—MAJOR-GENERAL JAMES S. WADSWORTH commanding.
- First Brigade. Colonel Henry A. Morrow. 24th Michigan.
- Second brigade. Brigadier-General Lysander Cutler.
SECOND DIVISION—MAJOR-GENERAL JOHN C. ROBINSON.
- First Brigade. Brigadier-General Gabriel R. Paul.
- Second Brigade. Brigadier-General Henry Baxter.
THIRD DIVISION—BRIGADIER-GENERAL THOS. A. ROWLEY.
- First Brigade. Colonel Chapman Biddle, 121st Pennsylvania.
- Second Brigade. Colonel Roy Stone, 149th Pennsylvania.
MAJOR-GENERAL CARL SHURTZ commanding.
FIRST DIVISION—BRIGADIER-GENERAL F. C. BARLOW commanding.
g First Brigade. Colonel Von Gilsa.
- Second Brigade. Brigadier-General Adelbert Amos.
SECOND DIVISION—BRIGADIER-GENERAL ALEXANDER SCHIMMELPFENNIG.
- First Brigade. Colonel Von Arnsberg.
- Second Brigade. Colonel Kryzanowski.
- Custer’s Brigade, of Steinwehr’s Division.
LIEUTENANT-GENERAL A. P. HILL commanding Third Corps.
MAJOR-GENERAL HENRY HETH commanding Division.
- Archer’s Brigade.
- Brockenborough’s Brigade.
- Davis’s Brigade. 4. Pettigrew’s Brigade.
MAJOR-GENERAL W. D. PENDER commanding Division.
- McGowan’s Brigade.
- Thomas’s Brigade.
- Scales’s Brigade.
- Lane’s Brigade.
LIEUTENANT-GENERAL BENJ. EWELL commanding Second Corps.
MAJOR-GENERAL R. E. RODES commanding Division.
- Daniel’s Brigade.
- Iverson’s Brigade.
- Ramseur’s Brigade.
- O’Neil’s Brigade.
- Dole’s Brigade.
MAJOR-GENERAL JUBAL A. EARLY commanding Division.
- Gordon’s Brigade.
- Hoke’s Brigade.
- Hays’s Brigade.
- Smith’s Brigade.
Page 162 Longstreet’s attack was over before Ewell came into action, and although Ewell succeeded in temporarily establishing himself on our extreme right, it was due to an unfortunate order given by General Meade, by which the force in that part of the ?eld was withdrawn just as Ewell advanced against it. But we are anticipating our narrative.
Hood, who commanded the division on the right of Longstreet’s corps, complains that he was not allowed to go past Round Top and ?ank us on the south, as he might have done, but was required by his orders to break in at the Peach Orchard and drive Sickles’s line along the Emmetsburg road toward Cemetery Hill; but it seems to me, as he started late in the afternoon, if he had made the detour which would have been necessary in order to attack us on the south, he would have met Sedgwick in front, while Sickles and Sykes might have interposed to cut him off from the main body.
Before describing Longstreet’s attack we will give the ?nal disposition made by General Meade when it became necessary to ?ght a defensive battle. The ridge was nearly in the shape of a horseshoe. The Twelfth Corps was on the extreme right ; next came one division of the First Corps on Culps Hill, then the Eleventh Corps on Cemetery Hill, with two divisions of the First Corps at the base; next the Second Corps ; then the Third, and the Fifth Corps on the extreme left, the Sixth Corps being posted in rear of Round Top as a general reserve to the army. Sickles, however, denies that any position was ever marked out for him. He was expected to prolong Hancock’s line to the left, but did not do so for the following reasons: First, because the ground was low, and second, on account of the commanding position of the Emmetsburg road, which ran along a cross ridge oblique to the front of the line assigned him, and
Page 163 which afforded the enemy an excellent position for their artillery; third, because the ground between the valley he was expected to occupy, and the Emmetsburg road constituted a minor ridge, very much broken and full of rocks and trees, which afforded excellent cover for an enemy operating in his immediate front. He had previously held an interview with General Meade and asked that an experienced staff officer be sent with him to assist in locating a suitable position for his corps. At his request, General Hunt, the Chief of Artillery, was sent for that purpose. They rode out to the ridge and Sickles directed that his troops should be posted along that road, with his centre at the Peach Orchard, which was about a mile from and nearly opposite to Little a: Round Top; his right wing, under Humphreys, extending along the road, while his left 5 Wing, under Birney, made a right angle at the Peach Orchard with the other part of the line, and bent around, so as to cover the front of Little Round Top at the base. The disadvantages of this position are obvious enough. It is impossible for any force to hold its ground when attacked at once on both sides which constitute the right angle. The diagram shows that the force A will have both its lines a and a en?laded by batteries at b b, and must yield. The ground, however, may be such that the enemy cannot plant his guns at b or b; but under any circumstances it is a weak formation and the enemy easily penetrate the angle. When that is the case, and it was so in the present instance—each side constituting the angle is ‘taken in ?ank, and the position is no longer tenable.
Page 164 If one side of the right angle lies behind a ridge where it cannot be en?laded, a temporary formation of this kind is sometimes permissible.
Sickles claimed that he acted with the implied sanction of General Meade, who, however, censured the movement afterward. As soon as Sickles took position, General Buford’s division of cavalry was sent to the rear at Westminster, to guard the trains there ; and Kilpatrick’s division was ordered to Hunterstown to attack the rebel left.
Sykes’s corps—the Fifth—came up from the right about 5 P.M., soon after Longstreet’s attack on Sickles was fairly under way, and formed along the outer base of Little Round Top, with Crawford’s Pennsylvania reserves at their right and front.
There had been a Council of War, or Conference of Corps Commanders, called at Meade’s headquarters, and it was universally agreed to remain and hold the position. As the Third Corps, in answer to the guns of Clark’s battery, was suddenly assailed by a terrible concentrated artillery ?re, General Sickles rode back to his command and General Meade went with him. The latter objected to Sickles’s line, but thought it was then too late to change it.
The severe artillery ?re which opened against the two sides of the angle at the Peach Orchard was a prelude to a furious attack against Ward’s brigade on the left. This attack soon extended to the Peach Orchard. The ?ght became very hot against Birney’s division from the left to the centre, but the troops on the right of the centre—Humphreys’s division—were not at ?rst actively engaged, and Humphrey reinforced Birney with one of his brigades, and subsequently with a regiment.
The battle which now raged among these trees, rocks, and ravines was so complicated that it is hard to follow and difficult Page 165 to describe the movements of the contestants. Some idea of it can probably be gained by an examination of the following diagram:
It will be seen that a long line of rebel batteries bears upon A, and that one of them was brought up to en?lade the side AB. The angle at A, attacked by Barksdale on the north and Kershaw on the west, was broken in. In consequence of this, several batteries on the line EF were sacri?ced, and Wofford’s brigade soon came forward and took the position DE.
Illustration. Diagram of the Attack on Sickles and Sykes.
Page 166 The Confederate line being very long, and overlapping Ward’s brigade on the left, the latter was forced back, and the exulting rebels advanced to seize Little Round Top. They attacked the force there with great fury, assailing it in front and rear, but they were ultimately repulsed, and ?nally took up the line GL. Two divisions of the Fifth Corps and one of the Second Corps were sent in, one after the other, to drive back the strong rebel force posted from D to G, but each one had a bitter contest in front, and was ?anked by the rebel line at DE, so that ultimately all were obliged to retreat, although each performed prodigies of valor. Indeed, Brooks’s brigade charged almost up to the enemy’s line of batteries, HI. The rebels gained the position LG, confronting our main line and close to it; but a ?ne charge made by Crawford’s division of the Pennsylvania Reserves, drove them farther back, and as part of the Sixth Corps came up and formed to support Crawford, the rebels gave up the contest for the night as regards this part of the ?eld.
The attack against Humphreys’s division which followed the breaking in of the angle at A will be described further on. The general result was that Sickles’s entire line, together with the reinforcements sent in at different times to sustain it, were all forced back to the ridge which was our main line of battle, with the exception of Crawford’s division which maintained a somewhat advanced position.
The details of this contest are full of incident, and too important to be wholly omitted.
About 3.30 P.M. the rebels commenced the movement against our left, by sending a ?anking force from Hood’s division, formed in two lines, around to attack Sickles’s left, held by General J. Hobart Ward’s brigade, which occupied the open ground covering the approaches to Little Round Page 167 Top; Ward’s line passing in front of the mountain, and his ?ank resting on a rocky depression in the ground called the Devil’s Den. The right extended to the minor spur or wooded ridge beyond the wheat-?eld. The engagement was furious; commencing on the rebel right, it extended to the left, until it reached the Peach Orchard, where it became especially violent. This central point of Sickles’s line was held by eleven regiments of Birney’s and Humphreys’s divisions. Birney’s two brigades, commanded by Graham and De Trobriand, held on bravely, for the men who fought with Kearny in the Peninsula were not easily driven ; but the line was too attenuated to resist the shock very long, and reinforcements became absolutely necessary to sustain that unlucky angle at the Peach Orchard. Sickles had authority to call on Sykes, whose corps was resting from a long and fatiguing march, but the latter wished his men to get their coffee and be refreshed before sending them in; and as those who are ?ghting almost always exaggerate the necessity for immediate reinforcements, Sykes thought Sickles could hold on a while longer, and did not respond to the call for three-quarters of an hour.
It would seem that Lee supposed that Meade’s main line of battle was on the Emmetsburg pike, and that the ?ank rested on the Peach Orchard, for he ordered Longstreet to form Hood’s division perpendicular to that road, whereas Sickles occupied an advanced line, and Sykes the main line in rear. McLaws says that Lee thought turning the Peach Orchard was turning the Union left. With this idea, he directed Longstreet to form across the Emmetsburg road, and push our troops toward Cemetery Hill. Kershaw, after the minor ridge was taken, reported to Longstreet that he could not carry out these orders Page 168 without exposing his right ?ank to an attack from Sykes’s Corps.
Ward fought bravely against Benning’s and Anderson’s brigades on the left, driving back two attacks of the latter, but his line was long and weak, and the enemy overlapped it by the front of nearly two brigades. Being concealed from view, from the nature of the ground they could concentrate against any point with impunity. He attempted to strengthen his force at the Devil’s Den by detaching the Ninety-ninth Pennsylvania from his right, and, although De Trobriand had no troops to spare, he was directed by General Birney to send the Fortieth New York, under Colonel Egan, to reinforce that ?ank. Egan arrived too late to perform the duty assigned him, as Ward had been already driven back, but not too late to make a gallant charge upon the rebel advance.
The ?ghting soon extended to the Peach Orchard, but as it commenced on the left, we will describe that part of the engagement ?rst.
General Warren, who was on Meade’s staff as Chief Engineer, had ridden about this time to the signal station on Little Round Top, to get a better view of the ?eld. He saw the long line of the enemy approaching, and about to overlap Ward’s left, and perceived that unless prompt succor arrived Little Bound Top would fall into their hands. Once in their possession they would ?ank our whole line and post guns there to drive our troops from the ridge ; so that this eminence was in reality the key of the battle-?eld, and must be held at all hazards. He saw Barnes’s division, which Sykes had ordered forward, formed for a charge, and about to go to the relief of De Trobriand, who held the centre of Birney’s line, and who was sorely beset. Without losing a moment he rode down the slope, over to Barnes, took the Page 169 responsibility of detaching Vincent’s brigade, and hurried it back to take post on Little Round Top. He then sent a staff of?cer to inform General Meade of what he had done and to represent the immense importance of holding this commanding point.
The victorious column of the enemy was subjected to the ?re of a battery on Little Round Top, and to another farther to the right; but it kept on, went around Ward’s brigade and rushed eagerly up the ravine between the two Round Tops to seize Little Round Top which seemed to be defenceless. Vincent’s brigade rapidly formed on the crest of a small spur which juts out from the hill, and not having time to load, advanced with the bayonet, in time to save the height. The contest soon became furious and the rocks were alive with musketry. General Vincent sent word to Barnes that the enemy were on him in overwhelming numbers, and Hazlett’s regular battery, supported by the One Hundred and Fortieth New York under Colonel O’Rorke of Weed’s brigade, was sent as a reinforcement. The battery was dragged with great labor to the crest of Little Round Top, and the One Hundred and Fortieth were posted on the slope on Vincent’s right. They came upon the ?eld just as the rebels, after failing to penetrate the centre, had driven back the right. In advancing to this exposed position, Colonel O’Rorke, a brilliant young officer who had just graduated at the head of his class at \Vest Point, was killed and his men thrown into some confusion, but Vincent rallied the line and repulsed the assault. In doing so he exposed himself very much and was soon killed by a rebel sharpshooter. General Weed, who was on the crest with the battery, was mortally wounded in the same way; and as Hazlett leaned over to hear his last message, a fatal bullet struck him also and he Page 170 dropped dead on the body of his chief. Colonel Rice of the Forty-fourth New York now took command in place of Vincent. The enemy having been foiled at the centre and right, stole around through the woods and turned the left of the line; but Chamberlain’s regiment—the Twentieth Maine—was folded back by him, around the rear of the mountain, to resist the attack. The rebels came on like wolves, with deafening yells, and forced Chamberlain’s men over the crest; but they rallied and drove their assailants back in their turn. This was twice repeated and then a brigade of the Pennsylvania Reserves and one of the Fifth Corps dashed over the hill. The Twentieth Maine made a grand ?nal charge and drove the rebels from the valley between the Round Tops, capturing a large number of prisoners. Not a moment too soon, for Chamberlain had lost a third of his command and was entirely out of ammunition. Vincent’s men in this affair took two colonels, ?fteen officers, and ?ve hundred men prisoners, and a thousand stand of arms. Hill in his official report says “Hood’s right was held as in a vise.”
We will now return to the Peach Orchard. In answer to a shot from Clark’s battery a long line of guns opened from the eleven batteries opposite. Graham’s infantry were partially sheltered from this iron hail, but the three batteries with him in the beginning, which were soon reinforced by four more from the reserve artillery, under Major McGilvery, were very much cut up ; and at last it became necessary to sacri?ce one of them—that of Bigelow—to enable the others to retire to a new line in rear. Graham still held the Peach Orchard, although he was assailed on two fronts, by Barksdale’s brigade on the north and Kershaw’s brigade on the west. A battery was brought forward to en?lade Sickles’s line on the Emmetsburg road, and under Page 171 cover of its ?re Barksdale carried the position, but was mortally wounded in doing so. l Sickles lost a leg about this time (5.30 P.M.), and Graham, who was also badly wounded, fell into the enemy’s hands. The command of the Third Corps now devolved upon General Birney.
The batteries under Major McGilvery, which lined the cross road below the Peach Orchard, were very effective, but were very much shattered. Kershaw captured them at one time but was driven off temporarily by a gallant charge of the One Hundred and Forty-?rst Pennsylvania of Graham’s brigade, who retook the guns, which were then brought off by hand. Bigelow was ordered by Major McGilvery to sacri?ce his battery to give the others time to form a new line. He fought with fired prolonge until the enemy were within six feet of him, and then retired with the loss of three officers and twenty-eight men. Phillips’s battery, which adjoined his, had a similar experience. McLaws bears testimony to the admirable manner with which this artillery was served. He says one shell killed and wounded thirty men, out of a company of thirty-seven.
The capture of the Peach Orchard necessarily brought the enemy directly on Humphreys’s left ?ank and De Trobriand’s right. The disaster then became irremediable, because every force thrown in after this period, had to contend with a direct ?re in front, and an en?lading ?re from the right.
While the Peach Orchard was assailed, several combats took place in the vicinity, which had a general relation to the defence of Sickles’s line. A little stream runs through a ravine parallel to the cross road, and about ?ve hundred yards
1 Barksdale soon after was brought into my lines and died like a brave man, with dignity and resignation. I had known him as an officer of volunteers in the Mexican war. As a member of Congress he was very in?uential in bringing on the Rebellion.
south of it, and then turns abruptly to the south at the corner of a wheat-?eld, passing through a rocky wooded country, to empty in Plum Run. De Trobriand held the north bank of this stream with a very insufficient force—a front of two regiments—and his contest with Semmes’s brigade in front and Kershaw’s brigade, which was trying to penetrate into the Peach Orchard, on his right, was at very close range and very destructive. At the same time as Ward’s left was turned and driven back the enemy came in on the left and rear of De Trobriand, and occupied the wheat-?eld. Barnes’ division of the Fifth Corps, composed of Sweitzer’s and Tilton’s brigades, soon came to his assistance. The former, by wheeling to the left and retaining several lines, kept up the ?ght successfully against the enemy who came up the ravine, but the latter was ?anked and obliged to give way. De Trobriand’s two regiments in front had a most determined ?ght, and would not yield the ground. When relieved by Zook’s force they fell back across the wheat-?eld. There Birney used them as a basis of a new line, brought up two fresh regiments, charged through the ?eld, and drove the enemy back to the stone fence which bounded it.
Caldwell’s division of Hancock’s corps now came on to renew the contest. Caldwell formed his men with the brigades of Cross and Kelly in front, and those of Zook and Brooke in rear. In the advance Colonel Cross was killed, and the front line being en?laded in both directions, was soon so cut up that the rear line came forward in its place, Zook was killed, but Brooke made a splendid charge, turning Kershaw’s right and driving Semmes back through the supporting batteries. Sweitzer’s brigade then came up a second time to aid Brooks, but it was useless, for there was still another line of batteries beyond, and as the Peach Orchard by this time was in possession of the enemy, Brooke’s advanced position was really a disadvantage, for both his Page 173 ?anks were turned. Semmes’s brigade, together with parts of Benning’s and Anderson’s brigades, rallied behind a stone wall, again came forward,. and succeeded in retaking the knoll and the batteries they had lost. Caldwell, under cover of our artillery, extricated his division with heavy loss, for both Zook’s and Kelly’s brigades were completely surrounded.
Then Ayres,1 who had been at the turning-point of so many battles, went in with his ?ne division of regulars, commanded by Day and Burbank, officers of courage and long experience in warfare. He struck the enemy in ?ank who were pursuing Caldwell, and who would have renewed the attack on Little Round Top, doubled them up, and drove them back to the position Caldwell had left; but his line from the nature of things, was untenable, for a whole brigade with ample supports had formed on his right rear, so that nothing remained but to face about and ?ght his way home again. This was accomplished with the tremendous loss of ?fty per cent. of his command in killed and wounded. His return was aided by the artillery on Little Round Top, and by the advance of part of the Sixth Corps. When the troops were all gone, Winslow’s battery still held the ?eld for a time, and withdrew by piece.
The enemy, Wofford’s, Kershaw’s and Anderson’s brigades, now swarmed in the front of our main line between the wheat?eld and Little Round Top. General S. Wiley Crawford, who commanded a division composed of two brigades of the Pennsylvania Reserve Corps, was ordered to drive them far— ther back. This organization, which at one time I had the honor to command, were veterans of the Peninsula, and were
1 General Ayres, whose service in the war commenced with the ?rst Bull Run and ended at Appomattox, may almost be called an impersonation of the Army of the Potomac, as he took part in nearly all its battles and minor engagements.
Page 174 among the most dauntless men in the army. Crawford called upon them to defend the soil of their native State, and headed a charge made by McCandless’ brigade, with the colors of one of the regiments in his hand. The men went forward with an impetus nothing could withstand. The enemy took shelter behind a stone fence on the hither side of the wheat-?eld, but McCandless stormed the position, drove them beyond the ?eld, and then, as it was getting dark, both sides rested on their arms. The other brigade of Crawford’s division—that of Fisher—had previously been sent to reinforce Vincent in his desperate struggle on the slope of Little Round Top. The enemy retired before it, so that it was not engaged, and it then took possession of the main Round Top on the left of Little Round Top and forti?ed it.
As Crawford charged, two brigades of Sedgwick’s corps, those of Nevins and Eustis, formed under Wheaton on the right and below Little Round Top. The sight of the ?rm front presented by these fresh troops thoroughly discouraged Longstreet, who went forward to reconnoitre, and he gave up all attempts at making any farther advance.
The enemy at night took post at the western base of the ridge, and held a forti?ed line as far south as the Devil’s Den, in which rocky cavern they took shelter.
It remains now to describe the effect of the loss of the Peach Orchard and the wounding of Sickles and Graham— which took place soon after—upon the fate of Humphreys’s division, posted on the right along the Emmetsburg road. When Sickles lost his leg, Birney assumed command of the corps, and ordered Humphreys to move his left wing back to form a new oblique line to the ridge, in connection with Birney’s division. Humphreys, up to the loss of the Peach Orchard, had not been actively engaged, as the enemy had merely demonstrated along his front; but now he was
Page 175 obliged, while executing the difficult manoeuvre of a change of front to rear, to contend with Barksdale’s brigade of McLaws’s division on his left at the Peach Orchard, and en?lading batteries there also, while his entire front was called upon to repel a most determined assault from Anderson’s division, which hitherto had not been engaged, and which now pressed with great force on his right, which still clung to the road. Four regiments were thrown in by Hancock to support that part of the line, but the attack was so sudden and violent that they only had time to ?re a few volleys before Humphreys received orders to give up his advanced position and fall back to the ridge itself. There he turned at bay. Hancock, who had been placed in command of the First, Second, and Third Corps, was indefatigable in his vigilance and personal supervision, “ patching the line ” wherever the enemy was likely to break through. His activity and foresight probably preserved the ridge from capture. Toward the last Meade brought forward Lockwood’s Maryland brigade from the right and sent them in to cover Sickles’s retreat. Humphreys was followed up by the brigades of Wilcox, Perry, and Wright—about the best ?ghting material in the rebel army. Perry was driven back by the ?re of our main line, and as his brigade was between the other two, his retreat left each of them in a measure unsupported on the ?anks. Posey’s and Mahone’s brigades were to advance as soon as the others became actively engaged, but failed to do so, and therefore Pender, who was to follow after them, did not move forward. Hence the great effort of Wilcox and Wright, which would have been ruinous to us if followed up, was fruitless’ of results. Both were repulsed for lack of support, but Wright actually reached the crest with his Georgians and turned a gun, whose cannoneers had been shot, upon Webb’s brigade of the Second Page 176 Corps. Webb gave them two staggering volleys from behind a fence, and went forward with two regiments. He charged, regained the lost piece, and turned it upon them. Wright, ?nding himself entirely isolated in this advanced position, went back again to the main line, and Wilcox did the same. On this occasion Wright did what Lee failed to accomplish the next day at such a heavy expense of life, for he pierced our centre, and held it for a short time, and had the movement been properly supported and energetically followed up, it might have been fatal to our army, and would most certainly have resulted in a disastrous retreat. It was but another illustration of the difficulty of successfully converging columns against a central force. Lee’s divisions seemed never to strike at the hour appointed. Each came forward separately, and was beaten for lack of support.
Wright attained the crest and Wilcox was almost on a line with him. The latter was closely followed up and nearly surrounded, for troops rushed in on him from all sides. He lost very heavily in extricating himself from his advanced position. Wilcox claims to have captured temporarily twenty guns and Wright eight.
As they approached the ridge a Union battery limbered up and galloped off. The last gun was delayed and the cannoneer, with a long line of muskets pointing at him within a few feet, deliberately drove off the ?eld. The Georgians manifested their admiration for his bravery by crying out “Don’t shoot,” and not a musket was ?red at him. 1 I regret that I have not been able to ascertain the man’s name.
1 As it is well to verify these incidents. I desire to state that this is a reminiscence of Dr. J. Robie Wood, of New York. a Georgian, 3 relative of Wendell Phillips, who was in the charge with Wright. Wood fell struck by six bullets but recovered.
Page 177 In the morning General Tidball, who was attached to the cavalry as Chief of Artillery, rode along the entire crest from Little Round Top to Culps Hill to make himself familiar with the lines. As he passed my headquarters he noticed some new troops, the Second Vermont brigade under General Stannard, which formed part of my command. They were a ?ne-looking body of men, and were drawn up in close column by division, ready to go to any part of the ?eld at a moment’s notice. After inquiring to what corps they belonged he passed over to the right. On his return late in the day he saw Sickles’s whole line driven in and found Wright’s rebel brigade established on the crest barring his way back. He rode rapidly over to Meade’s headquarters and found the general walking up and down the room, apparently quite unconscious of the movements which might have been discerned by riding to the top of the hill, and which should have been reported to him by some one of his staff. Tidball said, “ General, I am very sorry to see that the enemy have pierced our centre.” Meade expressed surprise at the information and said, “ Why, where is Sedgwick?” Tidball replied, “I do not know, but if you need troops, I saw a ?ne body of Vermonters a short distance from here, belonging to the First Corps, who are available.” Meade then directed him to take an order to Newton and put the men in at once; the order was communicated to me and I went with my division at double quick to the point indicated. There we pursued Wright’s force as it retired, and retook, at Hancock’s instigation, four guns taken by Wright earlier in the action. When these were brought in I sent out two regiments, who followed the enemy up nearly to their lines and retook two more guns. I have been thus particular in narrating this incident as Stannard’s Vermont brigade contributed greatly to the Page 178 victory of the next day and it is worthy of record to state how they came to be located in that part of the ?eld.
It is claimed that unless Sickles had taken up this advanced position Hood’s division would have turned our left, have forced us from the shelter of the ridge, and probably have intervened between us and Washington. The movement, disastrous in some respects, was propitious as regards its general results, for the enemy had wasted all their strength and valor in gaining the Emmetsburg road, which after all was of no particular bene?t to them. They were still outside our main line. They pierced the latter it is true, but the gallant men who at such heavy expense of life and limb stood triumphantly on that crest were obliged to retire because the divisions which should have supported them remained inactive. I must be excused for thinking that the damaging resistance these supports encountered on the ?rst day from the men of my command exerted a benumbing in?uence on the second day.
It is said, that Hood being wounded, Longstreet led the last advance against Little Round Top in person, but when he saw Sedgwick’s corps coming into line he gave up the idea of capturing the heights as impracticable. This eminence should have been the ?rst point held and forti?ed by us early in the day, as it was the key of the ?eld, but no special orders were given concerning it, and nothing but Warren’s activity and foresight saved it from falling into the hands of the enemy.
Meade was considerably startled by the fact that the enemy had pierced our centre. He at once sent for Pleasonton and gave him orders to collect his cavalry with a view to cover the retreat of the army. Indeed, in an article on the “ Secret History of Gettysburg," published in the “ Southern Historical Papers,” by Colonel Palfrey, of the Page 179 Confederate army, he states that the movement to the rear actually commenced, and that Ewell’s pickets heard and reported that artillery was passing in that direction. After a short time the noise of the wheels ceased. He also says that in a conversation he had with Colonel Ulric Dahlgren of our cavalry, who had lost a leg, and was a prisoner in Richmond, he was told that while the battle of Gettysburg was going on he (Dahlgren) captured a Confederate scout with a despatch from Jefferson Davis to General Lee, in which the former wrote of the exposed condition of Richmond owing to the presence of a large Union force at City Point. Dahlgren said a retreat had been ordered, but when Meade read this despatch, he looked upon it as a sign indicating the weakness of the enemy, and perhaps thinking it would not do to supplement the probable capture of Richmond by a retreat of the Army of the Potomac, countermanded the order. Sedgwick, who was high in the con?dence of General Meade, told one of his division commanders that the army would probably fall back on Westminster. General Pleasonton testi?es that he was engaged, by order of General Meade, until 11 P.M. in occupying prominent points with his cavalry, to cover the retreat of the army. Nevertheless it has been indignantly denied that such a movement was contemplated.
Although it was General Lee’s intention that both ?anks of the Union army should be assailed at the same time, while the intermediate forces made demonstrations against the centre, Ewell did not move to attack the right of our line at Culps Hill until Longstreet’s assault on the left had failed. Longstreet attributes it to the fact that Ewell had broken his line of battle by detaching two brigades up the York road. There is always some reason why columns never converge in time. Johnson’s division, which was on the extreme left of the rebel Page 180 army, and had not been engaged, made their way, sheltered by the ravine of Rock Creek, to assail the right at Culps Hill, held by Wadsworth’s division of the First Corps, and that part of the line still farther to the right where Geary’s division of the Twelfth Corps was posted.
In his desire to reinforce the Fifth Corps at the close of the con?ict with Longstreet, General Meade made the sad mistake of ordering the Twelfth Corps to abandon its position on the right and report to General Sykes for duty on the left. General Slocum, sensible that this would be a suicidal movement, reported that the enemy were advancing on his front, and begged permission to keep Geary’s division there to defend the position. General Meade ?nally allowed him to retain Greene’s brigade, and no more, and thus it happened that Ewell’s troops, ?nding the works on the extreme right of our line defenceless, had nothing to do but walk in and occupy them. If Meade was determined to detach this large force, there seems no good reason why two of Sedgwick’s brigades should not have been sent to take its place, but nothing was done.
Johnson’s division, as it came on, deployed and crossed Rock Creek about half an hour before sunset. It suffered so severely from our artillery, that one brigade, that of Jones, fell back in disorder, its commander being wounded. The other, however, advanced against Wadsworth, and Greene on his right ; but as these generals had their fronts well forti?ed, the attack was easily repulsed. Nevertheless, the left of Johnson’s line, not being opposed, took possession of Geary’s works about 9 P.M., and thus endangered our communications.
Gregg’s division of cavalry which was posted east of Slocum’s position saw this movement of Johnson. Gregg opened ?re on the column with his artillery and sent out his Page 181 men dismounted to skirmish on the ?ank of the enemy. Johnson detached Walker’s brigade to meet him, and the contest continued until after dark. Greene, in the meantime, swung his right around on the edge of a ravine, perpendicular to the main line and forti?ed it, to avoid being ?anked. He was an accomplished soldier and engineer, having graduated second in his class at West Point, and knew exactly what ought to be done and how to do it. He held on strongly, and as it was dark, and the enemy did not exactly know where they were, or where our troops were posted, they waited until daylight before taking any further action. Yet they were now but a short distance from General Meade’s headquarters, and within easy reach of our reserve artillery. A night attack on the rear of our army, in conjunction with an advance from the opposite side on Hancock’s front, would have thrown us into great confusion and must have succeeded.
During the night Ewell sent Smith’s brigade to reinforce Johnson. Geary, after all, did not reach Little Round Top or report to Sykes, and if he had done so, his troops would have been of no use, as the battle was over in that part of the ?eld. There was a mystery about his movements which needs to be cleared up.
To supplement this attack on the extreme right, and prevent reinforcements from being sent there, Early’s division was directed to carry Cemetery Hill by storm. Before it advanced, a vigorous artillery ?re was opened from four rebel batteries on Benner’s Hill, to prepare the way for the assault, but our batteries on Cemetery Hill, which were partially sheltered by earthworks, replied and soon silenced those of the enemy. Then Early’s infantry moved forth, Hays’s brigade on the right, Hoke’s brigade on the left, under Colonel Avery, and Gordon’s brigade in reserve. It was
Page 182 supposed Johnson’s division would protect Early’s left ?ank, while Rodes’s and Pender’s divisions would come forward in time to prevent any attack against his right. The enemy ?rst struck Von Gilsa’s brigade, which was posted behind a stone fence at the foot of the hill. Still farther to its left, at the base of the hill, was Ames’s brigade, both enclosing Rickett’s and Weidrick’s batteries on higher ground above. Stewart’s, Reynolds’s and Stevens’s batteries, which had been a good deal cut up on the ?rst day, were now brought to bear on the approaching enemy. Colonel Wainwright, Chief of Artillery to the First Corps, gave them orders not to attempt to retreat if attacked, but to ?ght the guns to the last. The enemy advanced up the ravine which was specially commanded by Stevens’s battery. Weidrick, Ricketts, and Stevens played upon the approaching line energetically. The rebel left and centre fell back, but the right managed to obtain shelter from houses and undulating ground, and came on impetuously, charging over Von Gilsa’s brigade, and driving it up the hill, through the batteries. In doing so Hays says the darkness and smoke saved his men from a terrible slaughter. Weidrick’s battery was captured, and two of Ricketts’s guns were spiked. The enemy, in making this movement, exposed their left ?ank to Stevens’s battery, which poured a terrible ?re of double canister into their ranks. The Thirty-third Massachusetts also opened a most effective oblique ?re. The batteries were penetrated but would not surrender. Dearer than life itself to the cannoneer is the gun he serves, and these brave men fought hand to hand with handspikes, rammer, staves, and even stones. They shouted, “ Death on the soil of our native State rather than lose our guns.” Hancock, all this time should have been kept busy on his own front repelling an attack from Rodes and Fender, but as Page 183 they did not come forward, and as he felt that there was great danger that Howard would lose Cemetery Hill and his own right be turned, he sent Carroll’s brigade to the rescue. Carroll was joined by the One Hundred and Sixth Pennsylvania and some reinforcements from Schurz’s division. For a few minutes, Hays says, there was an ominous silence and then the tramp of our infantry was heard. They came over the hill and went in with a cheer. The enemy, ?nding they were about to be overwhelmed, retreated, as no one came to their assistance. When they fell back our guns opened a very destructive ?re. It is said that out of 1,750 men of the organization known as “The Louisiana Tigers,” only 150 returned. Hays attributes his defeat to the fact that Gordon was not up in time to support him.
The failure to carry the Hill isolated Johnson’s division on our extreme right. As it could only be reached by a long circuit it was not easy for Lee to maintain it there, without unduly weakening other parts of his line. That Rodes’s division did not reach Cemetery Hill in time to co-operate with Early’s attack was not owing to any lack of zeal or activity on the part of that energetic officer. He was obliged to move out of Gettysburg by the flank, then change front and advance double the distance Early had to traverse, and by the time he had done so Early had made the attack and had been repulsed.
The day closed with the rebels defeated on our left, but victorious on our right. Fortunately for us, this incited Lee to continue his efforts. He could not bear to retreat after his heavy-losses, and acknowledge that he was beaten. He resolved to reinforce Johnson’s division, now in rear of our right, and ?ing Pickett’s troops, the élite of his army, who Page 184 had not been engaged, against our centre. He hoped a simultaneous attack made by Pickett in front and Johnson in rear, would yet win those heights and scatter the Union army to the winds. Kilpatrick, who had been resting the tired men and horses of his cavalry division at Abbotsford after the con?ict at Hanover, went on the afternoon of the 2d to circle around and attack the left and rear of the enemy by way of Hunterstown. This plan was foiled, however, by the sudden arrival of Stuart’s cavalry from its long march. They reached that part of the ?eld about 4 P.M. After a ?erce combat, in which Farnsworth’s and Custer’s brigades and Estes’s squadron were principally engaged against Hampton’s brigade supported by the main body, darkness put an end to the ?ght. Kilpatrick then turned back and bivouacked at Two Taverns for the night.
Gregg’s division of cavalry left Hanover and at noon took post opposite and about three miles east of Slocum’s Corps on the right. There, as stated, he saw Johnson’s division moving to the attack and after throwing some shells into their ranks deployed his own skirmish line and advanced against the one they threw out to meet him. At 10 P.M. he withdrew and took post on the Baltimore pike where it crosses Creek Run, near Rock Creek. By so doing he guarded the right and rear of the army from any demonstration by Stuart’s cavalry.
At night a council of war was held, in which it was unanimously voted to stay and ?ght it out. Meade was displeased with the result, and although he acquiesced in the decision, he said angrily, “ Have it your own way, gentlemen, but Gettysburg is no place to ?ght a battle in.” The fact that a portion of the enemy actually prolonged our line on the right and that our centre had been pierced during Page 185 the day, made him feel far from con?dent. He thought it better to retreat with what he had, than run the risk of losing all. 1
1 Since the above was written, the discussion has been renewed in the public prints as to whether General Meade did or did not intend to leave the ?eld. So far as the drawing up of an order of retreat is concerned, it was undoubtedly right and proper to do so, for it is the duty of a general to be prepared for every emergency. It is easy to criticise, and say what should have been done, after a battle has been fought, after the position of troops is all laid down on the maps, and the plans of every commander explained in official reports; but amid the doubt and confusion of actual combat, where there has been great loss of men and material, it is not always so easy to decide. On the night of the 2d the state of affairs was disheartening. In the combats of the preceding days, the First, Third, and Eleventh Corps had been almost annihilated; the Fifth Corps and a great part of the Second were shattered, and only the Sixth Corps and Twelfth Corps were comparatively fresh. It was possible therefore that the enemy might gain some great success the next day, which would stimulate them to extra exertions, and diminish the spirit of our men in the same proportion; In such a case it was not improbable that the army might be destroyed as an organization, and there is a vast difference between a destroyed army and a defeated army. By retiring while it was yet in his power to do so, General Meade felt that he would assure the safety of our principal cities, for the enemy were too exhausted to pursue: and being out of ammunition, and far from their base of supplies, were not in a condition to do much further damage, or act very energetically. Whereas our troops could soon be largely reinforced from the draft which had just been established, and, being in the centre of their resources, could be supplied with all that was necessary for renewed effort.
There is no question in my mind that, at the council referred to. General Meade did desire to retreat, and expressed fears that his communications with Taneytown might be endangered by remaining at Gettysburg.
It has also been stated that both General Gibbon and General Newton objected to our position at Gettysburg, but this is an error. They merely recommended some additional precautions to prevent the enemy from turning our left at Round Top, and thus intervening between us and Washington. Hancock, in giving his vote, said the Army of the Potomac had retreated too often, and he was in favor of remaining now to ?ght it out.
THE BATTLE OF THE THIRD DAY—JOHNSON’S DIVISION DRIVEN OUT.
AT dawn on the 3d the enemy opened on us with artillery, but the ?ring had no de?nite purpose, and after some hours it gradually slackened.
The principal interest early in the day necessarily centred on the right, where Johnson’s position not only endangered the safety of the army, but compromised our retreat. It was therefore essential to drive him out as soon as possible. To this end batteries were established during the night on all the prominent points in that vicinity. Geary had returned with his division about midnight, and was not a little astonished to ?nd the rebels established in the works he had left. He determined to contest possession with them at daylight. In the meantime he joined Greene and formed part of his line perpendicular to our main line of battle, and part fronting the enemy.
On the other hand, Ewell, having obtained a foothold, swore he would not be driven out, and hastened to reinforce Johnson with Daniels’s and O’Neill’s brigades from Rodes’s division.
As soon as objects could be discerned in the early gray of the morning our artillery opened ?re. As Johnson, on account of the steep declivities and other obstacles, had not been able to bring any artillery with him, he could not reply. Page 187 It would not do to remain quiet under this ?re, and he determined to charge, in hopes of winning a better position on higher ground. His men—the old Stonewall brigade leading—rushed bravely forward, but were as gallantly met by Kane’s brigade of Geary’s division and a close and severe struggle ensued for four hours among the trees and rocks. Ruger’s division of the Twelfth Corps came up and formed on the rebel left, taking them in ?ank and threatening them in reverse. Indeed, as the rest of our line were not engaged, there was plenty of support for Geary. Troops were sent him, including Shaler’s brigade, which took the front, and was soon warmly engaged in re-establishing the line.
At about 11 A.M., ?nding the contest hopeless, and his retreat threatened by a force sent down to Rock Creek, Johnson yielded slowly and reluctantly to a charge made by Geary’s division, gave up the position and withdrew to Rock Creek, where he remained until night.
Our line was once more intact. All that the enemy had gained by dogged determination and desperate bravery was lost from a lack of co-ordination, caused perhaps by the great dif?culty of communicating orders over this long concave line where every route was swept by our ?re.
Lee had now attacked both ?anks of the Army of the Potomac without having been able to establish himself permanently on either. Notwithstanding the repulse of the previous day he was very desirous of turning the left, for once well posted there he could secure his own retreat while interposing between Meade and Washington. He rode over with Longstreet to that end of the line to see what could be done. General Wofford, who commanded a brigade of McLaws’s division, writes in a recent letter to General Crawford, United States Army, as follows: “ Lee and Longstreet came to my brigade Friday morning before the artillery Page 188 opened ?re. I told him that the afternoon before, I nearly reached the crest. He asked if I could not go there now. I replied, “No, General, I think not.” He said quickly, “ Why not?” “Because,” I said, “General, the enemy have had all night to intrench and reinforce. I had been pursuing a broken enemy and the situation was now very different.”
Having failed at each extremity, it only remained to Lee to retreat, or attack the centre. Such high expectations had been formed in the Southern States in regard to his conquest of the North that he determined to make another effort. He still had Pickett’s division, the ?ower of Virginia, which had not been engaged, and which was full of enthusiasm. He resolved to launch them against our centre, supported on either ?ank by the advance of the main portion of the army. He had hoped that Johnson’s division would have been able to maintain its position on the right, so that the Union centre could be assailed in front and rear at the same time, but Johnson having been driven out, it was necessary to trust to Pickett alone, or abandon the whole enterprise and return to Virginia.
Everything was quiet up to 1 P.M., as the enemy were massing their batteries and concentrating their forces preparatory to the grand charge—the supreme effort—which was to determine the fate of the campaign, and to settle the point whether freedom or slavery was to rule the Northern States.
It seems to me there was some lack of judgment in the preparations. Heth’s division, now under Pettigrew, which had been so severely handled on the ?rst day, and which was composed in a great measure of new troops, was designated to support Pickett’s left and join in the attack at close quarters. Wilcox, too, who one would think had been pretty well fought out the day before, in his desperate enterprise Page 189 of attempting to crown the crest, was directed to support the right ?ank of the attack. Wright’s brigade was formed in rear, and Pender’s division on the left of Pettigrew, but there was a long distance between Wilcox and Longstreet’s forces on the right.
At 1 P.M., a signal gun was ?red and one hundred and ?fteen guns opened against Hancock’s command, consisting of the First Corps under Newton, the Second Corps under Gil» bon, the Third Corps under Birney, and against the Eleventh Corps under Howard. The object of this heavy artillery ?re was to break up our lines and prepare the way for Pickett’s charge. The exigencies of the battle had caused the First Corps to be divided, Wadsworth’s division being on the right at Culps Hill, Robinson on Gibbon’s right, and my own division intervening between Caldwell on the left and Gibbon on the right. The convex shape of our line did not give us as much space as that of the enemy, but General Hunt, Chief of Artillery, promptly posted eighty guns along the crest—as many as it would hold—to answer the ?re, and the batteries on both sides suffered severely in the two hours’ cannonade. Not less than eleven caissons were blown up and destroyed; one quite near me. When the smoke went up from these explosions rebel yells of exultation could be heard along a line of several miles. At 3 P.M. General Hunt ordered our artillery ?re to cease, in order to cool the guns, and to preserve some rounds for the contest at close quarters, which he foresaw would soon take place.
My own men did not suffer a great deal from this cannonade, as I sheltered them as much as possible under the crest of the hill, and behind rocks, trees, and stone fences.
The cessation of our ?re gave the enemy the idea they had silenced our batteries, and Pickett at once moved forward, to break the left centre of the Union line and Page 190 occupy the crest of the ridge.1 The other forces on his right and left were expected to move up and enlarge the opening thus made, so that ?nally, the two wings of the Union Army would be permanently separated, and ?ung off by this entering wedge in eccentric directions.
This great column of attack, it was supposed, numbered about seventeen thousand men, but southern writers have a peculiar arithmetic by which they always cipher down their forces to nothing. Even on the left, on the preceding day, when our troops in front of Little Round Top were assailed by a line a mile and a half long, they ?gure it almost out of existence. The force that now advanced would have been larger still had it not been for a spirited attack by Kilpatrick against the left of Longstreet’s corps, detaining some troops there which otherwise might have co-operated in the grand assault against our centre.
It necessarily took the rebels some time to form and cross the intervening space, and Hunt took advantage of the opportunity to withdraw the batteries that had been most injured, sending others in their place from the reserve artillery, which had not been engaged. He also replenished the ammunition boxes, and stood ready to receive the foe as he came forward—?rst with solid shot, next with shell, and lastly, when he came to close quarters, with canister.
General Meade’s headquarters was in the centre of this cannonade, and as the balls were ?ying very thickly there, and killing the horses of his staff, he found it necessary temporarily to abandon the place. Where nothing is to be gained by exposure it is sound sense to shelter men and officers as much as possible. He rode over to Power’s Hill,
1 The attack was so important, so momentous, and so contrary to Longstreet’s judgment, that when Pickett asked for orders to advance he gave no reply, and Pickett said proudly, “ I shall go forward, air ! "
Page 191 made his headquarters with General Slocum, and when the ?ring ceased rode back again. During his absence the
Map. Diagram of the Attack on the Left Centre, July 3d.
charge took place. He has stated that it was his intention to throw the Fifth and Sixth Corps on the ?anks of the attacking force, but no orders to this effect were issued,
Page 192 and it is questionable whether such an arrangement would have been a good one. It would have disgarnished the left, where Longstreet was still strong in numbers, and in forming perpendicular to our line of battle the two corps would necessarily have exposed their own outer ?anks to attack. Indeed, the rebels had provided for just such a contingency, by posting Wilcox’s brigade and Perry’s brigade under Colonel Lang on the right, and Pender’s division, now under Trimble, on the left, both in rear of the charging column under Pickett and Pettigrew. Owing to a mistake or misunderstanding, this disposition, however, did not turn out well for the enemy. It was not intended by Providence that the Northern States should pass under the iron rule of the slave power, and on this occasion every plan made by Lee was thwarted in the most unexpected manner.
The distance to be traversed by Pickett’s column was about a mile and a half from the woods where they started, to the crest of the ridge they desired to attain. They suffered severely from our artillery, which opened on them with solid shot as soon as they came in sight; when half way across the plain they were vigorously shelled; double canisters were reserved for their nearer approach.
At ?rst the direction of their march appeared to be directly toward my division. When within ?ve hundred yards of us, however, Pickett halted and changed direction obliquely about forty-?ve degrees, so that the attack passed me and struck Gibbon’s division on my right. Just here one of those providential circumstances occurred which favored us so much, for Wilcox and Lang, who guarded Pickett’s right ?ank, did not follow his oblique movement, but kept on straight to the front, so that soon there was a wide interval between their troops and the main body, leaving Pickett’s right fully uncovered.
Page 193 The rebels came on magni?cently. As fast as the shot and shell tore through their lines they closed up the gaps and pressed forward. When they reached the Emmetsburg road the canister began to make fearful chasms in their ranks. They also suffered severely from a battery on Little Round Top, which en?laded their line. One shell killed and wounded ten men. Gibbon had directed his command to reserve their ?re until the enemy were near enough to make it very effective. Pickett’s advance dashed up to the fence occupied by the skirmishers of the Second Corps, near the Emmetsburg road, and drove them back; then the musketry blazed forth with deadly effect, and Pettigrew’s men began to waver on the left and fall behind; for the nature of the ground was such that they were more exposed than other portions of the line. They were much shaken by the artillery ?re, and that of Hays’ division sent them back in masses. 1
Before the ?rst line of rebels reached a second fence and stone wall, behind which our main body was posted, it was obliged to pass a demi-brigade under Colonel Theodore B. Gates, of the Twentieth New York State Militia, and :1 Vermont brigade under General Stannard, both belonging to my command. When Pickett’s right became exposed in consequence of the divergence of Wilcox’s command, Stannard seized the opportunity to make a ?ank attack, and while his left regiment, the Fourteenth, poured in a heavy oblique ?re, he changed front with his two right regiments, the Thirteenth and Sixteenth, which brought them perpendicular to the rebel line of march. In cases of this kind, when struck directly on the ?ank, troops are more or less unable to defend themselves, and Kemper’s brigade crowded in toward the centre in order to avoid Stannard’s energetic and deadly attack.
1 The front line of Hays’ division, which received this charge, was composed of the Twelfth New Jersey, Fourteenth Connecticut, and First Delaware. The second line was composed of the One Hundred and Eleventh, One Hundred and Twenty-?fth, One Hundred and Twenty-sixth, and Thirty-ninth New York.
Page 194 They were closely followed up by Gates’ command, who continued to ?re into them at close range. This caused many to surrender, others to retreat outright, and others simply to crowd together. Simultaneously with Stannard’s attack, the Eighth Ohio, which was on picket, overlapping the rebel left, closed in on that ?ank with great effect. Nevertheless, the next brigade—that of Armistead—united to Garnett’s brigade, pressed on, and in spite of death-dealing bolts on all sides, Pickett determined to break Gibbon’s line and capture his guns.
Although Webb’s front was the focus of the concentrated artillery ?re, and he had already lost ?fty men and some valuable officers, his line remained ?rm and unshaken. It devolved upon him now to meet the great charge which was to decide the fate of the day. It would have been difficult to ?nd a man better ?tted for such an emergency. He was nerved to great deeds by the memory of his ancestors, who in former days had rendered distinguished services to the Republic, and felt that the results of the whole war might depend upon his holding of the position. His men were equally resolute. Cushing’s battery, A, Fourth United States Artillery, which had been posted on the crest, and Brown’s Rhode Island Battery on his left, were both practically destroyed by the cannonade. The horses were prostrated, every officer but one was struck, and Cushing had but one serviceable gun left.
As Pickett’s advance came very close to the ?rst line, young Cushing, mortally wounded in both thighs, ran his last serviceable gun down to the fence, and said : “Webb, I will give them one more shot ! ” At the moment of the last discharge he called out, “Good-by! ” and fell dead at the post of duty.
Webb sent for fresh batteries to replace the two that were disabled, and Wheeler’s First New York Independent Battery came up just before the attack, and took the place of Cushing’s battery on the left.
Page 195 Armistead pressed forward, leaped the stone wall, waving his sword with his hat on it, followed by about a hundred of his men, several of whom carried battle-?ags. He shouted, “Give them the cold steel, boys!” and laid his hands upon a gun. The battery for a few minutes was in his possession, and the rebel ?ag ?ew triumphantly over our line. But Webb was at the front, very near Armistead, animating and encouraging his men. He led the Seventy-second Pennsylvania regiment against the enemy, and posted a line of wounded men in rear to drive back or shoot every man that deserted his duty. A portion of the Seventy-?rst Pennsylvania, behind a stone wall on the right, threw in a deadly ?anking ?re, while a great part of the Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania and the remainder of the Seventy-?rst made stern resistance from a copse of trees on the left, near where the enemy had broken the line, and where our men were shot with the rebel muskets touching their breasts.
Then came a splendid charge of two regiments, led by Colonel Hall, which passed completely through Webb’s line, and engaged the enemy in a hand-to-hand con?ict. 1 Armistead was shot down by the side of the gun he had taken. Dying in the effort to extend the area of slavery over the free States, he may have felt that he had been engaged in an unjust cause; for he said to one of our officers who leaned over him: “Tell Hancock I have wronged him and have wronged my country.”
Both Gibbon and Webb were wounded, and the loss in of?cers and men was very heavy; two rebel brigadier-generals were killed, and more prisoners were taken than twice
1 Colonel Norman J. Hall, commanding a brigade in Hancock’s corps, who rendered this great service, was one of the garrison who defended Fort Sumter It the beginning of the war. At that time he was the Second Lieutenant of my company.
Page 196 Webb’s brigade; 6 battle-?ags, and 1,463 muskets were also gathered in.1
My command being a little to the left, I witnessed this scene, and, after it was over, sent out stretcher-bearers attached to the ambulance train, and had numbers of wounded Confederates brought in and cared for. I was told that there was one man among these whose conversation seemed to indicate that he was a general officer. I sent to ascertain his rank, but he replied: “ Tell General Doubleday in a few minutes I shall be where there is no rank.” He expired soon after, and I never learned his name.
The rebels did not seem to appreciate my humanity in sending out to bring in their wounded, for they opened a savage ?re against the stretcher-bearers. One shell burst among us, a piece of it knocked me over on my horse’s neck, and wounded Lieutenant Cowdry of my staff.
When Pickett—the great leader—looked around the top of the ridge he had temporarily gained, he saw it was impossible to hold the position. Troops were rushing in on him from all sides. The Second Corps were engaged in a furious assault on his front. His men were ?ghting with clubbed muskets, and even banner staves were intertwined in a ?erce and hopeless struggle. My division of the First Corps were on his right ?ank, giving deadly blows there, and the Third Corps were closing up to attack. Pettigrew’s forces on his left had given way, and a heavy skirmish line began to accumulate on that ?ank. He saw his men surrendering in masses, and, with a heart full of anguish, ordered a retreat. Death had been busy on all sides, and few indeed
l The spirit of the men was remarkable. Lieutenant Woodruff, of the First United States Artillery, whose battery had been very efficient in repelling the enemy’s charge, was leaning against a tree, mortally wounded, when his second in command came to see if he could be of any service. The dying officer told him to go back to his guns, as the ?ghting there was more important than his own fate.
Page 197 now remained of that magni?cent column which had advanced so proudly, led by the Ney of the rebel army, and these few fell back in disorder, and without organization, behind Wright’s brigade, which had been sent forward to cover the retreat. At ?rst, however, when struck by Stannard on the ?ank, and when Pickett’s charge was spent, they rallied in a little slashing, where a grove had been cut down by our troops to leave an opening for our artillery. There two regiments of Rowley’s brigade of my division, the One Hundred and Fifty-?rst Pennsylvania and the Twentieth New York State Militia, under Colonel Theodore B. Gates, of the latter regiment, made a gallant charge, and drove them out. Pettigrew’s division, it is said, lost 2,000 prisoners and 15 battle-?ags on the left.
While this severe contest was going on in front of Webb, Wilcox deployed his command and opened a feeble ?re against Caldwell’s division on my left. Stannard repeated the manoeuvre which had been so successful against Kemper’s brigade by detaching the Fourteenth and Sixteenth Vermont to take Wilcox in ?ank. Wilcox thus attacked on his right, while a long row of batteries tore the front of his line to pieces with canister, could gain no foothold. He found himself exposed to a tremendous cross ?re, and was obliged to retreat, but a great portion of his command were brought in as prisoners by Stannard l and battle-?ags were gathered in sheaves.
A portion of Longstreet’s corps, Benning’s, Robertson’s, and Law’s brigades, advanced against the two Round Tops to prevent reinforcements from being sent from that vicinity to meet Pickett’s charge. Kilpatrick interfered with this
1 As Stannard’s brigade were new troops, and had been stationed near Washington, the men had dubbed them The Paper Collar Brigade, because some of them were seen wearing paper collars, but after this ?ght the term was never again applied to them.
Page 198 programme, however, for about 2 P.M. he made his appearance on our left with Farnsworth’s brigade and Merritt’s brigade of regulars, accompanied by Graham’s and Elder’s batteries of the regular army, to attack the rebel right, with a view to reach their ammunition trains, which were in that vicinity. The rebels say his men came on yelling like demons. Having driven back the skirmishers who guarded that ?ank, Merritt deployed on the left and soon became engaged there with Anderson’s Georgia brigade, which was supported by two batteries. On the right Farnsworth, with the First Vermont regiment of his brigade, leaped a fence. and advanced until he came to a second stone fence, where he was checked by an attack on his right ?ank from the Fourth Alabama regiment of Law’s brigade, which came back for that purpose from a demonstration it was making against Round Top. Farnsworth then turned and leaping another fence in a storm of shot and shell, made a gallant attempt to capture Backman’s battery, but was unable to do so, as it was promptly supported by the Ninth Georgia regiment of Anderson’s brigade. Farnsworth was killed in this charge, and the First Vermont found itself enclosed in a ?eld, with high fences on all sides, behind which masses of infantry were constantly rising up and ?ring. The regiment was all broken up and forced to retire in detachments. Kilpatrick after ?ghting some time longer without making much progress, fell back on account of the constant reinforcements that were augmenting the force opposed to him. Although he had not succeeded in capturing the ammunition train, he had made a valuable diversion on the left, which doubtless prevented the enemy from assailing Round Top with vigor, or detaching a force to aid Pickett.
The Confederate General Benning states that the prompt action of General Law in posting the artillery in the road Page 199 and the Seventh and Ninth Georgia regiments on each side, was all that saved the train from capture. “There was nothing else to save it.” He also says two-thirds of Pickett’s command were killed, wounded, or captured. Every brigade commander and every ?eld officer except one fell. Lee and Longstreet had seen from the edge of the woods, with great exultation, the blue ?ag of Virginia waving over the crest occupied by the Union troops. It seemed the harbinger of great success to Lee. He thought the Union army was conquered at last. The long struggle was over, and peace would soon come, accompanied by the acknowledgment of the independence of the Southern Confederacy. It was but a passing dream ; the ?ag receded, and soon the plain was covered with fugitives making their way to the rear. Then, anticipating an immediate pursuit, he used every effort to rally men and officers, and made strenuous efforts to get his artillery in position to be effective.
The Confederate General A. R. Wright criticises this attack and very justly says, “The difficulty was not so much in reaching Cemetery Ridge or taking it. My brigade did so on the afternoon of the 2d, but the trouble was to hold it, for the whole Federal army was massed in a sort of horse shoe, and could rapidly reinforce the point to any extent; while the long enveloping Confederate line could not support promptly enough.” This agrees with what I have said in relation to the convex and concave orders of battle.
General Gibbon had sent Lieutenant Haskell of his staff to Power’s Hill to notify General Meade that the charge was coming. As Meade approached his old headquarters he heard ?ring on the crest above, and went up to ascertain the cause. He found the charge had been repulsed and ejaculated “ Thank God! ”
When Lee learned that Johnson had yielded his position Page 200 on the right, and therefore could not co-operate with Pickett’s advance, he sent Stuart’s cavalry around to accomplish the same object by attacking the right and rear of our army. Howard saw the rebel cavalry moving off in that direction, and David McM. Gregg, whose division was near White’s Creek where it crosses the Baltimore pike, received orders about noon to guard Slocum’s right and rear.
Custer had already been contending with his brigade against portions of the enemy’s force in that direction, when Gregg sent forward McIntosh’s brigade to relieve him, and followed soon after with J. Irvin Gregg’s brigade. Custer was under orders to join Kilpatrick’s command, to which he belonged, but the exigencies of the battle soon forced Gregg to detain him. McIntosh, having taken the place of Custer, pushed forward to develop the enemy’s line, which he found very strongly posted, the artillery being on a commanding ridge which overlooked the whole country, and covered by dismounted cavalry in woods, buildings, and behind fences below. McIntosh became warmly engaged and sent back for Randol’s battery to act against the rebel guns on the crest, and drive the enemy out of the buildings. The guns above were silenced by Pennington’s and Randol’s batteries, and the force below driven out of the houses by Lieutenant Chester’s section of the latter. The buildings and fences were then occupied by our troops.’ The enemy attempted to regain them by a charge against McIntosh’s right ?ank, but were repulsed. In the meantime Gregg came up with the other brigade, and assumed command of the ?eld. The battle now became warm, for W. H. F. Lee’s brigade, under Chambliss, advanced to support the skirmish line, and the First New Jersey, being out of ammunition, was charged and routed by the First Virginia. The Seventh Michigan, a new regiment which came up to support
Page 201 it, was also driven in; for the enemy’s dismounted line reinforced the First Virginia. The latter regiment, which had held on with desperate tenacity, although attacked on both ?anks, was at last compelled to fall back by an attack made by part of the Fifth Michigan. The contending forces were now pretty well exhausted when, to the dismay of our men, a fresh brigade under Wade Hampton, which Stuart had kept in reserve, made its appearance, and new and desperate exertions were required to stem its progress. There was little time to act, but every sabre that could be brought forward was used. As Hampton came on, our artillery under Pennington and Randol made terrible gaps in his ranks. Chester’s section kept ?ring canister until the rebels were within ?fty yards of him. The enemy were temporarily stopped by a desperate charge on their ?ank, made by only sixteen men of the Third Pennsylvania Cavalry, under Captains Treichel and Rogers, accompanied by Captain Newhall of McIntosh’s staff. This little band of heroes were nearly all disabled or killed, but they succeeded in delaying the enemy, already shattered by the canister from Chester’s guns, until Custer was able to bring up the First Michigan and lead them to the charge, shouting “Come on, you wolverines!” Every available sabre was thrown in. General McIntosh and his staff and orderlies charged into the mélée as individuals. Hampton and Fitz Lee headed the enemy, and Custer our troops. Lieutenant Colonel W. Brooke-Rawle, the historian of the con?ict, who was present, says, "For minutes, which seemed like hours, amid the clashing of the sabres, the rattle of the small arms, the frenzied imprecations, the demands to surrender, the undaunted replies, and the appeals for mercy, the Confederate column stood its ground.” A fresh squadron was brought up under Captain Hart of the First New Jersey, and the enemy at last gave Page 202 way and retired. Both sides still confronted each other, but the battle was over, for Pickett’s charge had failed, and there was no longer any object in continuing the contest.
Stuart was undoubtedly baffled and the object of his expedition frustrated; yet he stated in his official report that he was in a position to intercept the Union retreat in case Pickett had been successful. At night he retreated to regain his communications with Ewell’s left.
This battle being off of the official maps has hardly been alluded to in the various histories which have been written ; but its results were important and deserve to be commemorated.
When Pickett’s charge was repulsed, and the whole plain covered with fugitives, we all expected that Wellington’s command at Waterloo of “ Up, guards, and at them ! ” would be repeated, and that a grand counter-charge would be made. But General Meade had made no arrangements to give a return thrust. It seems to me he should have posted the Sixth and part of the Twelfth Corps in rear of Gibbon’s division the moment Pickett’s infantry were seen emerging from the woods, a mile and a half off. If they broke through our centre these corps would have been there to receive them, and if they failed to pierce our line and retreated, the two corps could have followed them up promptly before they had time to rally and reorganize. An advance by Sykes would have kept Longstreet in position. In all probability we would have cut the enemy’s army in two, and captured the long line of batteries opposite us, which were but slightly guarded. Hancock, lying wounded in an ambulance, wrote to Meade, recommending that this be done. Meade, it is true, recognized in some sort the good effects of a counter—blow ; but to be effective the movement Page 203 should have been prepared beforehand. It was too late to commence making preparations for an advance when some time had elapsed and when Lee had rallied his troops and had made all his arrangements to resist an assault. It was ascertained afterward that he had twenty rounds of ammunition left per gun, but it was not evenly distributed and some batteries in front had ?red away all their cartridges. A counter-charge under such circumstances is considered almost imperative in war, for the beaten army, running and dismayed, cannot, in the nature of things, resist with much spirit ; whereas the pursuers, highly elated by their success, and with the prospect of ending the contest, ?ght with more energy and bravery. Rodes says the Union forces were so long in occupying the town and in coming forward after the repulse of the enemy that it was generally thought they had retreated. Meade rode leisurely over to the Fifth Corps on the left, and told Sykes to send out and see if the enemy in his front was ?rm and holding on to their position. A brigade preceded by skirmishers was accordingly sent forward, but as Longstreet’s troops were well forti?ed, they resisted ‘the advance, and Meade—?nding some hours had elapsed and that Lee had closed up his lines and was fortifying against him—gave up all idea of a counter-attack.
GENERAL RETREAT OF THE ENEMY—CRITICISMS OF DISTINGUISHED CONFEDERATE OFFICERS.
LEE was greatly dispirited at Pickett’s failure, but worked with untiring energy to repair the disaster.
There was an interval of full a mile between Hill and Longstreet, and the plain was swarming with fugitives making their way back in disorder. He hastened to get ready to resist the counter-charge, which he thought was inevitable, and to plant batteries behind which the fugitives could rally. He also made great personal exertions to reassure and reassemble the detachments that came in. He did not for a moment imagine that Meade would fail to take advantage of this golden opportunity to crush the Army of Virginia and end the war.
The most distinguished rebel officers admit the great danger they were in at this time, and express their surprise that they were not followed up.
The fact is, Meade had no idea of leaving the ridge. I conversed the next morning with a corps commander who had just left him. He said: “Meade says he thinks he can hold out for part of another day here, if they attack him.”
This language satis?ed me that Meade would not go forward if he could avoid it, and would not impede in any way the rebel retreat across the Potomac. Lee began to make Page 205 preparations at once and started his trains on the morning of the 4th. By night Rodes’s division, which followed them, was in bivouac two miles west of Fair?eld. It was a difficult task to retreat burdened with 4,000 prisoners, and a train ?fteen miles long, in the presence of a victorious enemy, but it was successfully accomplished as regards his main body. The roads, too, were bad and much cut up by the rain. .
While standing on Little Round Top Meade was annoyed at the ?re of a rebel battery posted on an eminence beyond the wheat-?eld, about a thousand yards distant. He inquired what troops those were stationed along the stone fence which bounded the hither side of the wheat-?eld. Upon ascertaining that it was Crawford’s division of the Fifth Corps, he directed that they be sent forward to clear the woods in front of rebel skirmishers, who were very annoying, and to drive away the battery, but not to get into a ?ght that would bring on a general engagement. As Crawford unmasked from the stone fence the battery opened ?re on his right. He sent Colonel Ent’s regiment, deployed as skirmishers, against the guns, which retired as Ent approached. McCandless, who went forward with his brigade, moved too far to the right, and Crawford ordered him to change front and advance toward Round Top. He did so and struck a rebel brigade in ?ank which was behind a temporary breastwork of rails, sods, etc. When this brigade saw a Union force apparently approaching from their own lines to attack them in ?ank, they retreated in confusion, after a short resistance, and this disorder extended during the retreat to a reserve brigade posted on the low ground in their rear. Their ?ight did not cease until they reached Horner’s woods, half a mile distant, where they immediately intrenched themselves. These brigades belonged to Hood’s division, then under Law.
Page 206 Longstreet says, “When this (Pickett’s) charge failed, 1 expected that, of course, the enemy would throw himself against our shattered ranks and try to crush us. I sent my staff officers to the rear to assist in rallying the troops, and hurried to our line of batteries as the only support that I could give them.” . . . “I knew if the army was to be saved these batteries must check the enemy.” . . . “For unaccountable reasons the enemy did not pursue his advantage.”
Longstreet always spoke of his own men as invincible, and stated that on the 2d they did the best three hours’ ?ghting that ever was done, but Crawford’s attack seemed to show that they too were shaken by the defeat of Pickett’s grand charge.
In regard to the great bene?t we would have derived from a pursuit, it may not be out of place to give the opinion of a few more prominent Confederate officers.
Colonel Alexander, Chief of Longstreet’s artillery, says in a communication to the “Southern Historical Papers: ”
I have always believed that the enemy here lost the greatest opportunity they ever had of routing Lee’s army by a prompt offensive. They occupied a. line shaped somewhat like a horseshoe. I suppose the greatest diameter of this horseshoe was not more than one mile, and the ground within was entirely sheltered from our observation and ?re, with communications by signals all over it, and they could concentrate their whole force at any point and in a very short time without our knowledge. Our line was an enveloping semi-circle, over four miles in development, and communication from ?ank to ?ank, even by courier, was difficult, the country being well cleared and exposed to the enemy’s view and ?re, the roads all running at right angles to our lines, and, some of them at least, broad turnpikes where the enemy’s guns could
1 Crawford was also one of those who took a prominent part in the defence of Fort Sumter, at the beginning of the war. We each commanded detachments of artillery on that occasion.
Page 207 rake for two miles. Is it necessary now to add any statement as to the superiority of the Federal force, or the exhausted and shattered condition of the Confederates for a space of at least a mile in their very centre, to show that a great opportunity was thrown away? I think General Lee himself was quite apprehensive the enemy would riposte, and that it was that apprehension which brought him alone out to my guns, where he could observe all the indications.
General Trimble, who commanded a division of Hill’s corps, which supported Pickett in his advance, says, “ By all the rules of warfare the Federal troops should (as I expected they would) have marched against our shattered columns and sought to cover our army with an overwhelming defeat.”
Colonel Simms, who commanded Semmes’s Georgia brigade in the ?ght with Crawford just referred to, writes to the latter, “ There was much confusion in our army so far as my observation extended, and I think we would have made but feeble resistance, if you had pressed on, on the evening of the 3d.”
General Meade, however, overcome by the great responsibilities of his position, still clung to the ridge, and fearful of a possible disaster would not take the risk of making an advance. And yet if he could have succeeded in crushing Lee’s army then and there, he would have saved two years of war with its immense loss of life and countless evils. He might at least have thrown in Sedgwick’s corps, which had not been actively engaged in the battle, for even if it was repulsed the blows it gave would leave the enemy little inclination to again assail the heights.
At 6.30 P. M. the ?ring ceased on the part of the enemy, and although they retained their position the next day, the battle of Gettysburg was virtually at an end.
The town was still full of our wounded, and many of our surgeons, with rare courage, remained there to take charge of them, for it required some nerve to run the risk of being Page 208 sent to Libby prison when the ?ght was over, a catastrophe which has often happened to our medical officers. Among the rest, the chief surgeons of the First Corps, Doctor Theodore Heard and Doctor Thomas H. Bache, refused to leave their patients, and in consequence of the hasty retreat of the enemy were fortunately not carried off.
After the battle Meade had not the slightest desire to recommence the struggle. It is a military maxim that to a ?ying enemy must be given a wall of steel or a bridge of gold.. In the present instance it was unmistakably the bridge of gold that was presented. It was hard to convince him that Lee was actually gone, and at ?rst he thought it might be a device to draw the Union army from its strong position on the heights.
Our cavalry were sent out on the 4th to ascertain where the enemy were, and what they were doing. General Birney threw forward a reconnoitering party and opened ?re with a battery on a column making their way toward Fair?eld, but he was checked at once and directed on no account to bring on a battle. On the 5th, as it was certain the enemy were retreating, Sedgwick received orders to follow up the rear of the rebel column. He marched eight miles to Fair?eld Pass. There Early, who was in command of the rear guard, was endeavoring to save the trains, which were heaped up in great confusion. Sedgwick, after a distant cannonade, reported the position too strong to be forced. It was a plain, two miles wide, surrounded by hills, and it would not have been difficult to take it, but Sedgwick knew Meade favored the “bridge of gold” policy, and was not disposed to thwart the wishes of his chief. In my opinion Sedgwick should have made an energetic attack, and Meade should have supported it with his whole army, for our cavalry were making great havoc in the enemy’s trains in rear;
Page 209 and if Lee, instead of turning on Kilpatrick, had been forced to form line against Meade, the cavalry, which was between him and his convoys of ammunition, in all probability might have captured the latter and ended the war. Stuart, it is true, was following up Kilpatrick, but he took an indirect route and was nearly a day behind. I do not see why the force which was now promptly detached from the garrisons of Washington and Baltimore and sent to Harper’s Ferry could not have formed on the Virginia side of the Potomac opposite Williamsport, and with the co-operation of General Meade have cut off the ammunition of which Lee stood so much in need. As the river had risen and an expedition sent out by General French from Frederick had destroyed the bridge at Falling Waters, everything seemed to favor such a plan. The moment it was ascertained that Lee was cut off from Richmond and short of ammunition the whole North would have turned out and made a second Saratoga of it. As it was, he had but few rounds for his cannon, and our artillery could have opened a destructive ?re on him from a distance without exposing our infantry. It was worth the effort and there was little or no danger in attempting it. Meade had Sedgwick’s fresh corps and was reinforced by a division of 11,000 men under General W. F. Smith (Baldy Smith). French’s division of 4,000 at Frederick, and troops from Washington and Baltimore were also available to assist in striking the ?nal blow. The Twelfth Corps was also available, as Slocum volunteered to join in the pursuit. Meade, however, delayed moving at all until Lee had reached Hagerstown and then took a route that was almost twice as long as that adopted by the enemy. Lee marched day and night to avoid pursuit, and when the river rose and his bridge was gone, so that he was unable to cross, he gained six days Page 210 in which to choose a position, fortify it, and renew his supply of ammunition before Meade made his appearance.
In consequence of repeated orders from President Lincoln to attack the enemy, Meade went forward and confronted Lee on the 12th. He spent that day and the next in making reconnoissances and resolved to attack on the 14th ; but Lee left during the night, and by 8 A.M. the entire army of the enemy were once more on Virginia soil. The Union loss in this campaign is estimated by the Count of Paris, who is an impartial observer, at 2,834 killed, 13,709 wounded, and 6,643 missing; total, 23,186.
The rebel loss he puts at 2,665 killed, 12,599 wounded, 7,464 missing; total, 22,728.
Among the killed in the battle on the rebel side were Generals Armistead, Barksdale, Garnett, Pender, and Semmes; and Pettigrew during the retreat.
Among the wounded were Generals G. T. Anderson, Hampton, Jenkins, J. M. Jones, Kemper, and Scales. Archer was captured on the ?rst day.
Among the killed on the Union side were Major- General Reynolds and Brigadier-Generals Vincent, Weed, Zook, and Farnsworth.
Among the wounded were Major-Generals Sickles (losing a leg), Hancock, Doubleday, Gibbon, Barlow, Warren, and Butter?eld, and Brigadier-Generals Graham, Stannard, Paul (losing both eyes), Barnes, Brooke, and Webb.
Roster of the Federal Army engaged in the Battle of Gettysburg, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, July 1st, 2d, and 3d, 1863.
MAJOR-GENERAL GEO. GORDON MEADE, Comma.
MAJOR-GENERAL DANIEL BUTTERFIELD, Chief of Staff.
BRIG.-GENERAL M. R. PATRICK, Provost Marshal-General.
“ “ SETH WILLIAMS, Adjutant-General.
“ “ EDMUND SCHRIVER, Inspector-General.
“ “ RUFUS INGALLS, Quartermaster-General.
COLONEL HENRY F. CLARKE, Chief Commissary of Subsistence.
MAJOR JONATHAN LETTERMAN, Surgeon, Chief of Medical Department.
BRIG.-GENERAL G. K. WARREN, Chief Engineer.
MAJOR D. W. FLAGLER, Chief Ordnance Officer.
MAJOR-GENERAL ALFRED PLEASONTON, Chief of Cavalry.
BRIG.-GENERAL HENRY J. HUNT, Chief of Artillery.
CAPTAIN L. B. NORTON, Chief Signal Officer.
MAJOR-GENERAL JOHN F. REYNOLDS, 1 Commanding the First, Third, and Eleventh Corps on July l st.
MAJOR-GENERAL HENRY W. SLOCUM, Commanding the Right Wing on July 2d and July 3d.
MAJOR-GENERAL W. S. HANCOCK, Commanding the Left Cen’ ?re on July 2d and July 3d.
1 He was killed and succeeded by Major-General O. O. Howard.
BRIGADIER-GENERAL ALPHEUS S. WILLIAMS COMMANDING.
BRIGADIER-GENERAL THOMAS H. RUGER COMMANDING.
First Brigade—Colonel ARCHIBALD L. MCDOUGALL Commanding. 5th Connecticut, Colonel Warren W. Packer; 20th Connecticut, Lieut.-Colonel William B. Wooster: 123d New York, Colonel A. L. McDougall, Lieut.-Colonel James C. Rogers; 145th New York, Colonel E. L. Price; 46th Pennsylvania, Colonel James L. Selfridge; 3d Maryland, Colonel J. M. Sudsburg.
Second Brigade. 1—Brigadier-General HENRY H. Lockwood Commanding. 150th New York, Colonel John H. Ketcham; 1st Maryland (P. H. B.), Colonel William P. Maulsby ; 1st Maryland (E. S.), Colonel James Wallace.
1 Unassigned during progress of battle; afterward attached to First Division as Second Brigade.
Third Brigade—Colonel SILAS COLGROVE Commanding. 2d Massachusetts, Colonel Charles R. Mudge (killed), Lieut.-Colonel Charles F. Morse; 107th New York, Colonel Miron M. Crane; 13th New Jersey, Colonel Ezra A. Carman (wounded), Lieut.-Colonel John R. Fesler; 27th Indiana, Colonel Silas Colgrove, Lieut.-Colonel John R. Fesler; 8d Wisconsin, Lieut.-Colonel Martin Flood.
BRIGADIER-GENERAL JOHN W. GEARY, COMMANDING.
First Brigade—Colonel CHARLES CANDY Commanding. 28th Pennsylvania, Captain John Flynn; 147th Pennsylvania, Lieut.-Colonel Ario Pardee, Jr.; 5th Ohio, Colonel John H. Patrick; 7th Ohio, Colonel William R. Creighton; 29th Ohio, Captain W. F. Stevens (wounded ). Captain Ed. Hays; 66th Ohio, Colonel C. Candy, Lieut.-Colonel Eugene Powell.
Second Brigade—(1) Colonel GEORGE A. COBHAM, JR.; (2) Brigadier-General THOMAS L. KANE. 29th Pennsylvania. Colonel William Rickards; 109th Pennsylvania, Captain Fred. L. Gimber; 111th Pennsylvania, Lieut.—Colonel Thomas M. Walker, Lieut.-Colonel Frank J. Osgood.
Third Brigade.—Brigadier-General GEORGE S. GREENE Commanding. 60th New York, Colonel Abel Godard; 78th New York, Lieut.-Colonel Herbert Von Hammerstein: 1020 New York, Lieut.-Colonel James C. Lane (wounded); 137th New York, Colonel David Ireland ; 149th New York, Colonel Henry A. Barnum, Lieut.-Colonel Charles B. Randall.
Artillery Brigade—Lieutenant EDWARD D. MUHLENBERG Commanding. Battery F, 4th United States, Lieutenant E. D. Muhlenberg, Lieutenant S. T. Rugg; Battery K, 5th United States. Lieutenant D. H. Kinsie; Battery M, l st New York, Lieutenant Charles E. Winegar; Knap’s Pennsylvania Battery, Lieutenant Charles Atwell.
Headquarter Guard—Battalion 10th Maine.
Organization of the Army of Northern Virginia, June 1, 1863.
GENERAL ROBERT E. LEE COMMANDING.
COLONEL W. H. TAYLOR, Adjutant-General.
COLONEL C. S. VENABLE, A.D.C.
COLONEL CHARLES MARSHALL, A.D.C.
COLONEL JAMES L. CORLEY, Chief Quartermaster.
COLONEL R. G. COLE, Chief Commissary.
COLONEL B. G. BALDWIN, Chief of Ordnance.
COLONEL H. L. PEYTON, Assistant Inspector-General.
GENERAL W. N. PENDLETON, Chief of Artillery.
DOCTOR L. GUILD, Medical Director.
COLONEL W. PROCTOR SMITH, Chief Engineer.
MAJOR H. E. YOUNG, Assistant Adjutant-General.
MAJOR G. B. COOK, Assistant Inspector-General
LIEUTENANT-GENERAL JAMES LONGSTREET COMMANDING.
MAJOR-GENERAL L. McLAWS COMMANDING.
Kershaw’s Brigade.—Brigadier-General J. B. KERSHAW Commanding. 15th South Carolina Regiment. Colonel W. D. De Saussure; 8th South Carolina Regiment, Colonel J. W. Mamminger; 2d South Carolina Regiment. Colonel John D. Kennedy; 3d South Carolina Regiment, Colonel James D. Nance: 7th South Carolina- Regiment, Colonel D. Wyatt Aiken ; 3d (James’s) Battalion South Carolina Infantry. Lieut.-Colonel R. C. Rice.
Banning’s Brigade.—Brigadier-General H. L. BENNING Commanding. 50th Georgia Regiment, Colonel W. R. Manning; 5151: Georgia Regiment, Colonel W. M. Slaughter; 53d Georgia Regiment, Colonel James I’. Some; 10th Georgia Regiment, Lieu Colonel John B. Weems.
Barksdale’s Brigade.—Brigadier-General Wu. BARKSDALE Commanding. 13th Mississippi Regiment, Colonel J. W. Carter; 17th Mississippi Regiment, Colonel W. D. Holder; 18th Mississippi Regiment, Colonel Thomas M. Griffin; 21st Mississippi Regiment. Colonel B. G. Humphreys.
Woffard’s Brigade.—Brigadier-General W. T. WOFFARD Commanding. 18th Georgia Regiment. Major E. Griffs; Phillips’s Georgia Legion, Colonel W. M. Phillips; 24th Georgia Regiment. Colonel Robert McMillan; 16th Georgia Regiment, Colonel Goode Bryan ; Cobb’s Georgia Legion, Lieut.-Colonel L. D. Glewn.
MAJOR-GENERAL GEORGE E. PICKETT COMMANDING.
Garnett’s Brigade.—Brigadier-General R. B. GARNET Commanding. 8th Virginia Regiment, Colonel Eppa Hunton; 18th Virginia Regiment, Colonel R. E. Withers; 19th Virginia Regiment. Colonel Henry Gantt; 28th Virginia Regiment, Colonel R. C. Allen ; 56th Virginia Regiment, Colonel W. D. Stuart.
Armistead’s Brigade—Brigadier-General L. A. ARMISTEAD Commanding. 9th Virginia Regiment, Lieut.-Colonel J. S. Gilliam; 14th Virginia Regiment. Colonel J. G. Hodges: 38th Virginia Regiment, Colonel E. C. Edmonds; 53d Virginia Regiment, Colonel John Grammar; 57th Virginia Regiment, Colonel J. B. Magruder.
Kemper’s Brigade —Brigadier-General J. L. KEMPER Commanding. 1st Virginia Regiment. Colonel Lewis B. Williams. Jr. : 3d Virginia Regiment, Colonel Joseph Mayo, J r.; 7th Virginia Regiment, Colonel W. T. Patton; 11th Virginia Regiment, Colonel David Funston; 24th Virginia Regiment, Colonel W. R. Terry.
Toomb’s Brigade—Brigadier-General R. Toombs Commanding. 2d Georgia Regiment, Colonel E. M. Butt; 15th Georgia Regiment, Colonel E. M. DuBose; 17th Georgia Regiment, Colonel W. C. Hodges; 20th Georgia Regiment, Colonel J. B. Cummings.
Coarse’s Brigade—Brigadier-General M. D. Coarse Commanding. 15th Virginia Regiment. Colonel T. P. August; 17th Virginia Regiment. Colonel Morton Marye; 30th Virginia Regiment, Colonel A. T. Harrison; 32d Virginia Regiment, Colonel E. B. Montague.
MAJOR-GENERAL J. B. HOOD.
Robertson’s Brigade.—Brigadier-General J. B. Robertson Commanding. 1st Texas Regiment, Colonel A. T. Rainey; 4th Texas Regiment, Colonel J. C. G. Key: 5th Texas Regiment, Colonel R. M. Powell; 3d Arkansas Regiment, Colonel Van H. Manning.
Laws’s Brigade.—Brigadier-General E. M. Laws Commanding. 4th Alabama Regiment, Colonel P. A. Bowls; 44th Alabama Regiment, Colonel W. H. Perry; 15th Alabama Regiment, Colonel James Canty; 47th Alabama Regiment, Colonel J. W. Jackson ; 48th Alabama, Colonel J. F. Shepherd.
Anderson’s Brigade. -Brigadier-General G. T. ANDERSON Commanding. 10th Georgia Battalion. Major J. E. Rylander; 7th Georgia Regiment, Colonel W. M. White: 8th Georgia Regiment, Lieut.-Colonel J. R. Towers; 9th Georgia Regiment. Colonel B. F. Beck; 11th Georgia Regiment, Colonel F. H. Little.
Jenkins’s Brigade—Brigadier-General M. Jenkins Commanding. ‘2d South Carolina Ri?es, Colonel Thomas Thompson; 1st South Carolina Regiment. Lieut.-Colonel David Livingstone; 5th South Carolina Regiment. Colonel A. Coward; 6th South Carolina Regiment, Colonel John Bratton ; Hampton’s Legion, Colonel M. W. Gary.
ARTILLERY OF THE FIRST CORPS.
COLONEL J. B. WALTON Commanding.
Battalion—Colonel H. C. CABELL; Major HAMILTON. Batteries: McCarty’s, Manly’s, Carlton’s, Fraser’s.
Battalion—Major Dearing; Major Reed. Batteries: Macon’s, Blount’s Stribling’s, Caskie’s.
Battalion—Major HENRY. Batteries: Bachman’s, Rielly’s, Latham’s, Gordon’s.
Battalion.—Colonel E. P. Alexander; Major Huger. Batteries: Jordan’s, Rhett’s, Moody’s, Parker’s, Taylor’s.
Battalion.—Major Eshleman. Batteries: Squires’s, Miller’s, Richardson’s Norcom’s.
Total number of guns, Artillery of the First Corps, 83.
LIEUTENANT—GENERAL R. S. EWELL.
MAJOR-GENERAL J. A. EARLY Commanding.
Hays’s Brigade.—Brigadier-General H. S. Hay’s Commanding. 5th Louisiana Regiment, Colonel Henry Forno; 6th Louisiana Regiment, Colonel William Monaghan; 7th Louisiana Regiment, Colonel D. B. Penn; 8th Louisiana Regiment, Colonel Henry B. Kelley; 9th Louisiana Regiment, Colonel A. L. Stafford.
Gordon’s Brigade—Brigadier-General J. B. GORDON Commanding. 13th Georgia Regiment, Colonel J. M. Smith; 26th Georgia Regiment, Colonel E. N. Atkinson; 312st Georgia Regiment, Colonel C. A. Evans; 38th Georgia Regiment, Major J. D. Matthews; 60th Georgia Regiment, Colonel W. H. Stiles; Gist Georgia Regiment, Colonel J. H. Lamar.
Smith’s Brigade.—Brigadier-General WILLIAM SMITH Commanding. 13th Virginia Regiment, Colonel J. E. B. Terrill; 3lst Virginia Regiment, Colonel John S. Hoffman; 49th Virginia Regiment, Colonel Gibson; 52d Virginia Regiment, Colonel Skinner; 58th Virginia Regiment, Colonel F. H. Board.
Hokes Brigade.—Colonel J. E. AVERY Commanding (General B. F. Hons being absent, wounded). 5th North Carolina Regiment, Colonel J. E. Avery; 2115!: North Carolina Regiment, Colonel W. W. Kirkland; 54th North Carolina Regiment, Colonel J. C. T. McDowell; 57th North Carolina Regiment, Colonel A. C. Godwin; 151’. North Carolina Battalion, Major R. H. Wharton.
MAJOR-GENERAL R. E. RODES Commanding.
Daniel’s Brigade.—Brigadier-General JUNIUS DANIEL Commanding. 32d North Carolina Regiment, Colonel E. C. Brabble; 43d North Carolina Regiment, Colonel Thomas S. Keenan; 45th North Carolina Regiment. Leut.-Colonel Saml. H. Boyd; 53d North Carolina Regiment, Colonel W. A. Owens; 2d North Carolina Battalion, Lieut.-Colonel H. S. Andrew.
Doles’s Brigade.—Brigadier-General GEORGE DOLES Commanding. 4th Georgia Regiment, Lieut.-Colonel 1). R. E. Winn; 12th Georgia Regiment, Colour-l Edward Willie; 218i) Georgia Regiment, Colonel John T. Mercer; 44th Georgia Regiment, Colonel S. P. Lumpkin.
Iverson’s Brigade.—Brigadier-General ALFRED IVERSON Commanding. 5th North Carolina Regiment, Captain S. B. West; 12th North Carolina Regiment, Lieut.-Colonel W. S. Davis; 20th North Carolina Regiment, Lieut.-Colonel N. Slough; 23d North Carolina Regiment, Colonel D. H. Christie.
Ramseur’s Brigade.—Brigadier-General S. D. RAMSEUR Commanding. 26 North Carolina Regiment, Major E. W. Hurt; 4th North Carolina’ Regiment, Colonel Bryan Grimes; 14th North Carolina Regiment, Colonel R. T. Bennett; 30th North Carolina Regiment, Colonel F. M. Parker.
Rodes’s Brigade.—Colonel E. A. O’NEAL Commanding. 3d Alabama Regiment, Colonel C. A. Battle; 5th Alabama Regiment, Colonel J. M. Hall; 6th Alabama Regiment, Colonel J. N. Lightfoot; 12th Alabama Regiment, Colonel S. B. Pickens; 26th Alabama Regiment, Lieut.-Colonel J. C. Goodgame.
MAJOR-GENERAL ED. JOHNSON Commanding.
Steuart’s Brigade.—Brigadier General Geo. H. Stewart Commanding. 10th Virginia Regiment, Colonel E. T. H. Warren: 23d Virginia Regiment, Colonel A. G. Taliaferro; 27th Virginia Regiment. Colonel T. V. Williams: 1st North Carolina Regiment, Colonel J. A. McDowell; 3d North Carolina Regiment, Limit.- Colonel Thurston.
“Stonewall” Brigade.--Brigadier-General JAMES A. WALKER Commanding. 2d Virginia Regiment, Colonel J. Q. A. Nadenbousch; 4th Virginia Regiment, Colonel Charles A. Ronald ; 5th Virginia Regiment. Colonel J. H. S. Funk, 27th Virginia Regiment, Colonel J. K. Edmondson; 33d Virginia Regiment, Colonel F. M. Holladay.
Jones’s Brigade—Brigadier-General J mm M. JONES Commanding. 21st Virginia Regiment. Captain Moseley; 42d Virginia Regiment, Limit-Colonel Withers: 44th Virginia Regiment, Captain Buckner; 48th Virginia Regiment, Colonel T. S. Garnett; 50th Virginia Regiment, Colonel Vandeventer.
Nicholls’s Brigade—Colonel J. M. WILLIAMS Commanding (General F. T. Nicholls being absent, wounded). let Louisiana Regiment, Colonel William R. Shirers: 2d Louisiana Regiment, Colonel J. M. Williams ; 10th Louisiana Regiment, Colonel E. Waggaman; 14th Louisiana Regiment, Colonel Z. York ; 15th Louisiana Regiment, Colonel Edward Pendleton.
ARTILLERY OF THE SECOND CORPS.
COLONEL S. CRUTCHFIELD, Commanding.
Battalion.—Lieut.-Colonel Thomas H. Carter; Major Carter M. Braxton. Bat- (cries: Page’s, Fry’s, Carter’s, Reese’s.
Battalion.—Lieut.-Colonel H. P. J ONES; Major BROCKENBOROUGH. Batteries; Carrington’s, Garber’s, Thompson’s, Tanner’s.
Battalion.—Lieut.-Colonel S. ANDREWS; Major LATIMER. Batteries: Brown’s, Dermot’s, Carpenter’s, Raine’s.
Battalion.—Lieut.-Colonel NELSON; Major PAGE. Batteries: Kirkpatrick’s, Massie’s, Millege’s.
Battalion—Colonel J. T. Brown; Major HARDAWAY. Batteries: Dauce’s, Watson’s, Smith’s, Hull’s, Graham’s.
Total number of guns, Artillery of the Second Corps, 52.
LIEUT-GENERAL A. P. HILL, COMMANDING.
- H. ANDERSON’S DIVISION.
Wilcox’s Brigade—Brigadier-General C. M. Wilcox Commanding. 8th Alabama Regiment. Colonel T. L. Royster; 9th Alabama Regiment, Colonel S. Henry; 10th Alabama Regiment, Colonel W. H. Forney; 11th Alabama Regiment, Colonel J. C. C. Saunders; 14th Alabama Regiment, Colonel L. P. Pinkhard.
Mahone’s Brigade.—Brigadier-General WILLIAM MAHONE Commanding. 6th Virginia Regiment, Colonel G. T. Rogers: 12th Virginia Regiment, Colonel I). A. Weisiger; 16th Virginia Regiment, Lieut.-Colonel Joseph H. Ham ; 41st Virginia Regiment, Colonel W. A. Parham; 61st Virginia Regiment, Colonel V. D. Groner.
Posey’s Brigade.—Brigadier-General Canot Poser Commanding. 46th Mississippi Regiment. Colonel Jos. Jayne: 16th Mississippi Regiment, Colonel Sam1. E. Baker; 19th Mississippi Regiment, Colonel John Mullins; 12th Mississippi Regiment, Colonel W. H. Taylor.
Wright’s Brigade.—Brigadier-General A. R. Wright Commanding. 2d Georgia Battalion. Major G. W. Ross; 3d Georgia Regiment, Colonel E. J. Walker; 22d Georgia Regiment, Colonel R. H. Jones; 48th Georgia Regiment, Colonel William Gibson.
Perry’s Brigade.—Brigadier-General E. A. PERRY Commanding. 2d Florida Regiment, Lieut.-Colonel S. G. Pyles; 5th Florida Regiment, Colonel J. C. Hately; 8th Florida Regiment, Colonel David Long.
First, Pettigrew’s Brigade—42d. 11th, 26th, 44th, 47th, 52d, and 17th North Carolina Regiments.
Second, Field’s Brigade—40th, 55¢, and 47th Virginia Regiments.
Third, Archer’s Brigade.—l st, 7th, and 14th Tennessee, and l3th Alabama Regiments.
Fourth, Cook’s Brigade.—15th, 27th, 46th, and 48th North Carolina Regiments.
Fifth, Davis’s Brigade.—2d, 11th, 42d Mississippi, and 55th N. Carolina Reg’ts.
First, McGowan’s Brigade—12¢, 12th, 13th, and 14th North Carolina Regiments.
Second, Lane’s Brigade.—7th, 18th, 28th, 33d, and 37th Georgia Regiments.
Third ,Thomas’s Brigade—Nth, 35th. 45th, and 49th Georgia Regiment=.
Fourth, Pender’s Old Brigade—13m, 16th, 22d, 34th, and 38th North Carolina Regiments.
ARTILLERY OF THE THIRD CORPS.
COLONEL R. LINDSEY WALKER COMMANDING.
Battalion.—Major D. G. McIntosh; Major W. F. POAGUE. Batteries: Hurt’: Rice’s, Luck’s, Johnson’s.
Battalion.—Lieut.-Colonel GARNETT; Major RICHARDSON. Batteries: Lewis’s, Maurin’s, Moore’s, Grandy’s.
Battalion—Major Cutshaw. Batteries: Wyatt’s, Woolfolk’s, Brooke’s.
Battalion—Major WILLIE P. PEGBAI. Batteries: Brunson’s, Davidson’s, Crenshaw’s, McGraw’s, Marye’s.
Battalion.—-Lieut.-Colonel Cutts; Major LANE. Batteries: Wing?eld’s Ross’s, Patterson’s.
Total number of guns, Artillery of the Third Corps, 83.
Total number of guns, Army of Northern Virginia, 248.
LIEUT.-GENERAL J. E. B. STUART’S CAVALRY CORPS.
Brigadier-General Wade Hampton’s Brigade.
Brigadier-General Fitz Hugh Lee’s
Brigade. Brigadier-General W. H. F. Lee’s Brigade, under Colonel Chambliss.
Brigadier-General B. H. Robertson’s Brigade.
Brigadier-General William E. Jones’s Brigade.
Brigadier-General J. D. Imboden’s Brigade.
Brigadier-General A. G. Jenkins’s Brigade. Colonel White’s Battalion. Baker’s Brigade. [Note —The regimental roster of this Cavalry Corps is unfortunately unobtainable.]