"Who Saved Little Round Top? "
Col. Patrick Henry O'Rorke-
Stand Firm, Ye Boys From Maine -
"Our Principal Loss Was in This Place..."
The 140th New York on Little Round Top"
"Through Blood an Fire at Gettysburg"
"Anderson Attacks theWheatfield"
"Colonel George Cobham....Culp's Hill"
Saviors of Little Round
Captain Johnston's Reconnaissance
Greene v. Chamberlain
Little Round Top
Longstreet - Day 2
From Steven Benet's *John Brown's Body*, Book Seven:
August 16, 1888
To: M.S. O'Donnell, Boston
Yours of the 15th has just reached me here, having been forwarded from
The military wisdom and effect of the movement and position taken by Gen'l Sickles with the 3rd Corps at Gettysburg is a matter of controversy.
The facts are these: He advanced his corps, just before the action of the 2nd of July commenced, and before our general line was fairly taken up, to a broken piece of ground some half mile in advance of the left of the line General Meade intended on our left wing to occupy, on the ridge of hills which stretches southerly from Cemetery Hill to Round Top. Both flanks of the 3rd Corps were exposed to the enemy's immediate and heaviest assault, and after the most gallant and obstinate resistance and great losses, the 3rd Corps and all of its supports from the 2nd and 5th Corps, were forced back to the place in the line which Meade first intended Sickles to occupy. It is an open question whether the position taken and resistance offered by Sickles did not delay and break the force of Longstreet's attaack so as to do quite as good a work as if he had followed Meade's intention from the first. General Sickles claims that he did more than that, that his action compelled Meade to fight the battle at Gettysburg, and also that it saved the day on the 2nd of July. General Meade, and his friends after him, have vigorously denied this, and have maintained that General Sickles' course led to the needless sacrifice of his troops, and imperilled the success of the Union Arms. I have not been able as yet to study this question deeply enough to reach a perfectly satisfactory opinion.
On general military principles, and with a tolerably good knowledge
of the ground, I have been inclined to rest in the opinion of General Meade
and his friends. The burden of proof certainly is upon General Sickles.
It is for him to show that the position General Meade intended him to occupy
would be less favorable and less descisive of the result than the ground
he actually took up. I do not think as yet General Sickles has succeeded
in making this evident. No one questions his bravery or the good conduct
of his troops on that day. It is a question of grand tactics, and involves
many elements in its consideration. This is the best answer that I can
give at present to your inquiry.
I am, with much regard,
Yours very truly,
Joshua L. Chamberlain
Sgt. M.O. Young of the 9th Ga Inf, Co H., of George T. 'Tige' Anderson's Brigade
(spelling kept intact purposely :) )
"... here is the turn pointe of the late War Genl Lee lost his Army here and Vicksburg went up at the same time if any man could see any thing after that to fight for he could see further than I can... Genl Lee did not ask any difference as to what sort of a place he found... "
"... Genl Hood was in front of us he got a severe wound in the arme his adjutant was with him he caught Genl Hood and helped him off the field. Genl Hood looked at Genl Anderson' Brigade an said Go it Georgians and stand your ground. this made a little Georgian feel like he was as strong as an elephant and a devil of a site biger. We tried the hills twice repedely but could not stick so we had to fall back and form again all this time men were suffering, killed in piles and heapes... Brigadiers Barksdale and brigadier Sims were both killed going in. Genl Barksdale comand a Missippi Brigade Genl Sims Toombs Geo Brigade. the men fought with courage and done as they could to carry the hills but had to fall back while the fight was going on... "
from Col. Strong Vincent, commanding brigade, Fifth Corps, AoP:
"There could be worse fates than to die fighting here in Pennsylvania, with that flag over our heads."
At 1 a.m. he came out of his tent, mounted his horse, and rode the twelve miles north with his staff and escort, a full moon floodlighting the landscape of his native Pennsylvania. At 3 o'clock, barely an hour before dawn, he dismounted at the cemetery gate, through which there was a rather eerie view of soldiers sprawled in sleep among the tombstones. Across the way, on the western ridge and down in the moon-drenched town below, he saw another sobering sight: the campfires of the enemy, apparently as countless as the stars. Slocum, Howard and Sickles were there to greet him, and though he had seen but little of the position Hancock had so stoutly recommended, all assured him that it was a good one. "I am glad to hear you say so, gentlemen," Meade replied, "for it is too late to leave it."
Elisha Hunt Rhodes Diary July 2nd 1863
"On the morning of July 2nd we heard the firing in front and then we understood the reason for such great haste. I was taken sick upon the road and fell helpless to the ground. The Surgeon, Dr. Carr, gave me a remedy and a pass for admittance to an ambulance. I lay upon the road side until several Regiments had passed when I began to revive. I immediately hurried on and soon came up with my Co. "B". The boys received me well, and I went on without further trouble. The firing in our front grew loud and more distinct and soon we met the poor wounded fellows being carried to the rear. At a place called Littlestown we saw large numbers of our wounded men, and all kinds of carriages were being used to take them to hospitals. At about 2 o'clock PM we reached the Battlefield of Gettysburg, Penn. having made a march of thirty-four miles without a halt. The men threw themselves upon the ground exhausted, but were soon ordered forward. We followed the road blocked with troops and trains until 4 PM when the field of battle with the long lines of stuggling weary soldiers burst upon us. With loud cheers the old Sixth Corps took up the double quick and were soon in line of battle near the left of the main line held by the 5th Corps. The 5th Corps were in reserve, but as we took their place, they moved forward and took part in the fight. Our Division was finally sent to the front and relieved Gen. Sykes Division of Regulars. Picket firing was kept up until long after dark, when we were releived and returned a short distance. The men threw themselves upon the ground, and oblivious to the dead and dying around us we slept the sleep of the weary."
July 2nd 1863:
10 o'clock a.m. just halted, have been in the saddle since dark lastnight, nothing to eat for horse or man. No breakfast yet. 11 o'clock in saddle and off again, fighting at Gettysburg yesterday. Maj Gen Reynolds was killed and we suffered considerable loss, gaining no ground. The enemy still in possession of town. We have made another half for rest and are now within 4 mile of city. We got up to our line of battle about 4 o'clock p.m. making a march of 32 miles., the longest rest being one hour, and immediately reinforced our troops on the left, they being pressed very hard. We just reached the conflict in time; saving the round top m ountain and charging them off of it. The fighting now became general all along the lines, in which they were repulsed at every point. Our corps did some fine charging and we had six lines of battle, sending in one every 20 minutes. We immediately established a Signal Station on round top mountain, the other Signal officers being driven off and deeming it impracticable.
Esteemed member "Bill Cameron"
FITH CORPS SIGNAL STATION
[July] 2, 1863
Our line has been contracted. Our right rests on Rock Creek. I have
massed my troops in rear of our right.
Signal Station, July 2, 1863 -9,30 a.m.
The enemy are moving a brigade of five regiments from in front of our center to our right, accompanied by one four-gun battery and two squadrons of cavalry, at a point east-sourtheast of Second Division, Twelfth Corps, and in easy range. A heavy line of enemy's infantry on our right. Very small forces of infantry - enemy's infantry - visible in front of our center.
JAS. S. HALL
Captain, and Signal Officer
Note: James Hall was the 2nd Corps Signal Officer
Esteemed member "Bill Cameron"
Mountain Signal Station,
July 2, 1863 -11.45 a.m.
Enemy's skirmishers are advancing from the west, 1 mile from here.
Lieutenant, Signal Officer.
Note: This was sent from Little Round Top. Jerome was Buford's Signal
Officer and went up there when Buford was sent to the left.
Esteemed member "Bill Cameron"
ROUND TOP MOUNTAIN SIGNAL STATION
July 2, 1863 - 11.55 a.m.
The rebels are in force, and our skirmishers give way. One mile west of Round Top signal station, the woods are full of them.
Lieutenant, Signal Officer
Note: Jerome is reporting Berdan's foray
Esteemed member "Bill Cameron"
CEMETERY SIGNAL STATION July 2, 1863 - 12.35 p.m.
Numerous fires, apparently from the burning of wagons south-southeast from here. A wagon train can be seen in the same direction. I think our trains are being destroyed.
Captain, Signal Officer.
ROUND TOP MOUNTAIN SIGNAL STATION
July 2, 1863 - 1.30 p.m.
A heavy column of enemy's infantry, about 10,000 strong, is moving from opposite our extreme left toward our right.
Captain, Signal Officer
Brig. Gen. Alpheus S. Williams - Letter
"My Dear Daughters: .....
Thursday, July 2nd: Woke at daylight and soon after began to put my troops in better order than the dark permitted last night. Borrowed a little coffee from an orderly and a piece of hardtack, which made an excellent breakfast. Gen. Slocum came out form the front early with general directions as to the positions the 12th Corps was to take up. As I was placing the 1st Division, the head of the 5th Corps began to arrive and took up position on our right all of us facing to the east.
...... We had scarcely got into position before I was ordered to change a couple of miles or so toward the town and form the 1st Division on theright of the 2nd, already in position along the wooded ridge I have before mentioned. I was soon there, following up the pike, where it crosses the creek.
This ridge was a wild position, full of great detached masses of rock and huge boulders. I ordered at once a breastwork of logs to be built, having experienced their benefits at Chancellorsville. Looking at the spot, it seemed almost absurd that the enemy could attack there, as the approach was so rough and broken. Besides, the creek, dammed near the pike bridge, became almost the whole length of our front a stream quite unfordable, as far as we had been able to follow it. Still, though ridiculous the work, we were there, and our men had learned to love entrenching with logs. So at it they went and in a couple of hours had covered themselves with a good, substantial breastwork.
Matters went on all day pretty quietly. I had lost a few men in the morning in my skirmishers, sent out to feel the enemy, and on our left towards the front the artillery had been occasionally exchanging shots. Nothing to indicate the intentions of the Rebels had occurred....
It was as late as 3 o'clock PM when the Rebels began heavily with artillery at our front and then with infantry on our left, attacking at first the 3rd Corps. The battle raged fiercely until dark and several Corps or parts were ordered up to reinforce our line; the 5th, part of the 6th, and finally my division of the 12th Corps. I was in command of the corps and could properly have left the division with Gen. Ruger, temporarily commanding, but as I had also the new brigade of Gen. Lockwood, I preferred to accompany the division. We took the route promptly and marched rapidly, following the sound of the battle, for I could find no one on the way to give me intelligence as to the point I was most needed.
On we went, therefore, following the main line of the returning wounded and the skulkers. We soon came to signs of battle; broken-down fences, trodden fields, broken gun-carriages, scattered arms, knapsacks, blankets, and clothing of all kinds. I reached a considerable elevation upon the center of which heavy woods came down to a point, and in the rear spread out broad both ways. I followed the side where I heard infantry volleys, and as I came near the wooded apex an artillery officer rode rapidly towards me begging for assistance to protect his battery. It proved to be Maj. McGilary of Maine, who once commanded a battery in my division. He was delighted to see me and I heard, with the rapidity that such occasions require, that the infantry supports had just left him and that in the woods in front the Rebels had captured several pieces of our artillery, or rather dragged them there after capture. I had the new brigade leading and one regiment of it had fallen behind. The 1st Maryland Home Regiment, Col. Maulsby, was ahead and I ordered him to pitch into the woods. So he did, indeed, without waiting to form line of battle, but rushing forward in column. Fortunately, he met little resistance, for the Rebs. ran and left the captured guns, which were thus recaptured without firing a gun.
Leaving this regiment, I passed to the other side of the wooded triangle where the main road runs and after placing my 1st and 3rd brigades in the woods went forward to learn what was to be done, but it was fast growing dark and the battle was really over. I chanced, however, to meet Gen. Meade and a good many other officers on the field and to learn that we had successfully resisted all the Rebel attacks and had punished them serverly. There was a pleasant gathering in an open field, and gratification and gratulation abounded. One must see these events and anxious scenes to realize the joy of a successful termination, even of a single day's work, no matter how uncertain may be the morrow.
I returned toward my entrenchments after dark and was met with the astounding intelligence that they were taken possesion of by the Rebels in my absence! Gen. Geary (whom I left to guard them) had been ordered out after I left by Gen. Slocum, and though he did not reach the front, by mistaking his way, he was gone long enough for the Rebs. to seize upon two-thirds of our line, which we had prepared with so much care. Fortunately, Gen. Greene was left on this extensive left, adjoining Gen. Wadsworth, and on the highest part of the ridge at a point where our line came almost to the edge of a low morass, or swale, leaving but a narrow, rocky pass for the Rebs. to move up against Greene's position. They tried hard to drive him out, but failed, though keeping up [the attack] until nearly my return. I had had experience of trying to retake breastworks after dark, so I ordered all the brigades to occupy the open field in front of the woods, put our a strong picket line, and waited daylight for further operations.
In the mean time as temporary commander of the 12th Corps, I was summoned to a council at Gen. Meade's headquarters. I found present, Gens. Slocum, Sedgwick, Hancock, Howard, Newton, Sykes and Gibbon. It was to decide upon the next day's policy. I have no right to tell others' opinions, but mine (the second given) was to remain the following day, hold a defensive attitude, and await events. This was the decision, as the day showed. It was rather a serious question for one great reason, if not many others. We had but one single day's rations for the army. Many Corps had not even one...
But to come back to my narrrative! After returning from the council I met Gen. Geary and Col. Best and made arrangements for retaking our entrenchments in the morning. The plan was simply to open upon the ridge they occupied with several batteries of artillery at daylight, and after cannonading of fifteen minutes to attack them from the left (Greene's position) while the 1st Division held a threatening position on the right and felt them cautiously by skirmishers. The cannonading was to be kept up on the right woods so long as it could be done and not interfere with the advance of our troops.
We had high and admirable positions for our artillery, but the defense of the Rebs. on our right (opposite the 1st Division) was quite impregnable for assault. There was, besides our log entrenchments along the crest of the ridge, a strong stone wall parallel to it about one hundred feet on our side, but inside the woods, which was also in possession of the Rebels. They therefore had two lines of strong defenses against a front attack and the flank towards the creek could not be turned, as a morass and impassable stream protected it; and across the creek they had filled the woods with sharp-shooters behind rocks and in a stone house near the bank.
Thus unfavorably stood matters. It was 3.30 o'clock at night before I got through duty and then got a half hour or so of sleep on a flat rock sheltered by an apple tree."
WITH MALICE TOWARD NONE
Lincoln skipped Cabinet meeting and hurried to the War Department to wait it out as he'd done so often before. Through July 1 and 2 the telegraph chattered with continuous dispatches: the armies had come together at a town called Gettysburg and were grappling for positions on the ridges to the south. Later in the day of July 2, lincoln returned to the White House and had reports brought to him there. Chandler called, and they spoke intently about the distant battle and about how the fate of the Union hung on the outcome. Chandler noted Lincoln's "restless solicitude" as he walked back and forth, "reading dispatches, soliloquizing, and often stopping to trace positions on a map.
Word from the Soldiers' Home-an evil omen? Mary had been hurt in a carriage accident and was lying in the home in shock, her bead bruised and aching from the fall. Nobody knew for certain how it happened: evidently the seat came unbolted and threw the driver off, and the horses stampeded, throwing Mary to the ground. At first Lincoln thought her injury was slight and wired Robert so (later her head wound became infected and she lay in bed, sick and dazed, for three weeks). Lincoln saw to it that a nurse was present to care for her: he would like to stay at her bedside himself, as he always tried to do when she was ill but he couldn't leave Washington in the midst of Gettysburg.
From _With Malice Toward None_ - Stephen B. Oates
Esteemed member email@example.com contributes:
Good morning all!
Here's the entry for Thursday July 2, 1863 from the diary of Franklin Horner, Co. H, 12th PA Reserve Volunteer Infantry
we marched last night till one A.M. marched about twenty five mile in all yesterday[.] started this morning at six O clock and went about fifteen mile when we halted within sight of the rebs[.] now we expecting to march on the battlefield soon[.] evening[.] we are on the battlefield and in line of battle[.] the boys are determined to drive the rebels out of the state[.] the battle is rageing fiercely now[.] we will soon be in[.]
Here's the entry for July 2, 1863 from the diary of Thomas Lewis Ware, Co. G, 15th Georgia. Reportedly the handwriting in the diary changed after July 1, after the death of Thomas Ware and his diary was continued by his brother Robert of the same unit
We received orders to be ready to march at 7 O'clock. Soon we were in marching order and left for the Scene of action. Passing through Cashtown and marching one hour we came in sight of Gettysburg. Here we rested in an old field until 2 O'clock, at which time we left to Attack the Enemy. After passing through a very heavy shelling for 20 minutes we rested and then formed a line of battle ... Here at the foot of the mountain the engagement became general & fierce & lasted until 8 O'clock at night. And in the third and last charge the fatal blow was struck. My Brother: You have offered your life as a sacrifise upon your country's Altar.
Today concludes the term of life of my Brother. He now sleeps upon the battle field of Gettysburg with
Three Brothers, Fathers, small & great, Partake the same repose There in peace the ashes mix Of those who once were foes. Robert Ware
Diary entries from _35 Days to Gettysburg: The Campaign Diaries of Two American Enemies_ by Mark Nesbitt.
Let us not forget.
Esteemed member Rotbaron@aol.com contributes:
Good afternoon GDG on this glorious second of July! I wish central PA had better weather to offer for these hallowed days. It showered on/off yesterday, rained this morning, and this afternoon expects a shower, then plenty of showers tomorrow.
1st Lt Josiah Favill (Zooks Brigade) describing his view from Cemetery Ridge on the 2nd of July:
"The enemy lay in line of battle, some fifteen hundred yards in front of us, under cover of the woods, which fringed the open ground from right to left as far as we could see. On the whole, the field seemed worthy of the great contest now to be fought to the death upon its emerald slopes."
Also, a prophetic quote for July 2 comes from General Hancock as he watches Sickles advance. Resting on one knee leaning upon his sword, he smiles and remarks: "Wait a moment, you will soon see them tumbling back".
SPECIAL ORDERS Hdqrs. Army of Northern Va, NO. 176 Gettysburg, Pa., July 2, 1863
1. General Stuart's Cavalry will march by way of the right flank of this army and, using whatever cover the ground offers so as to conceal his movements from the enemy, secure with his artillery the roads to Baltimore and Taneytown, leaving behind enough cavalry to guide and protect the column of infantry which will follow.
II. General Ewell's Corps will withdraw from its present position, leaving behind a sufficient number of troops to maintain campfires and keep up a diversionary fire against the enemy. They will march by way of the town, behind our present lines along the west side of the ridge so as to conceal their movements from the enemy, following the route as improved by General Stuatt's march. They will take up positions across the road to Emmitsburg, generally following the high ground north of Marsh Creek. The men will immediately entrench and fortify their position with artillery along the Emmitsburg Road.
III. General Hill will follow with his Corps, behind the ridge, following the same route, then positioning his troops along the ridge that generally follows the road past St. Mark's Church, using the Rock Creek Plain to his defensive advantage. He will fortify his position by entrenching immediately and placing his artillery to cover the Taneytown Road.
IV. General Longstreet will march his Corps generally along the same route, using the roads behind the newly established line, and take up a position on the Rock Creek Plain in the vicinity of the road to Baltimore, with special attention given to fortifying the road to Baltimore with artillery.
V. The trains will follow moving by roads to Fairfield, thence along toads to the west of the army.
VI. This movement will be done with the utmost vigor and promptness. Silence will be maintained in all cases. No cheering or shouting will be allowed in ranks.
VII. The Army's base of operations will be changed to Fredericktown in Maryland.
VIII. All operations will be completed by noon, July 3, 1863.
By command of R.E. Lee, General:
Assistant Adjutant General
From _If The South Had Won_
Brig. Gen. John Gibbon - Personal recollections 2nd July
"Seated on my horse, and in company with Gen. Hancock, on the hill occupied by the right of my division, long lines of battle could be seen moving across the low ground to our left and front and in beautiful style, taking up position along the Emmetsburg road; batteries going into position as the line reached the road. We could not conceive what it meant, as we had heard of no orders for an advance and did not understand the meaning of making this break in our line. It was Humphrey's Division going forward. The movements of the rest of of the 3rd Corps, farther ot the left, were hidden from us by the intervening timber and undulations of the ground, so that from where we sat the whole movement looking like an immense "right wheel" of a line of battle whose right pivoted a short distance beyond the Codori House, the left reaching the Peach Orchard. This movement was performed quietly and almost without any firing except from the picket lines. But the quiet was soon to be broken. Noticing that beyond the Peach Orchard and directly on Humphrey's left was a body of timber, I turned Gen. Hancock and asked: "Do you suppose the enemy has anything in that woods?" The words were scarcely uttered when out ot the timber, puff after puff of smoke was seen to issue, and the shells came screaming and bursting along Humphrey's line. The battle had opened in all it's fury, the sounds of the contest reaching us from away off on the left beyond the reach of our eyes. Soon requests for help began to reach us and Caldwell's division of our corps was hastily detached and ordered to the front. Well might Lee think he had struck our left flank! As the fight progressed and Humphreys became heavily engaged, I sent two regiments from my division (the 15th Mass. and 82nd N.Y.) out to the Codori House to protect the right of his line so that his connection with the main line might not be entirely lost and later when Humphreys' line began to give way, two other regiments (42nd N.Y. and 19th Mass.) were sent directly to the front to assist in stemming the torrent of retreat. The pressure on Humphreys became so great, especiallyon his left, that the whole line commenced falling back, followed up almost immediately by lines of infantry marching from his left and alongside the Emmetsburg road. As Humphreys' men came back, I directed the fire of the two batteries in the right of my line, over the heads of Humphreys' men, at the enemy beyond, using. however, only round shot, for fear of bursting shells hurting our own people. This, of course, did not stop the enemy and they swept on, firing as they came close after our retreating troops and were only stopped when they came under fire of our main line.
In the midst of the confusion and turmoil of fight, Gen. Hancock received an order from Gen. Meade to take command of the 3rd Corps, it being understood that Sickles had been wounded. Hastily turning over the 2nd Corps to me, he started off towards the 3rd and I was not suprised that he should utter some expressions of discontent at being compelled at such a time to give up command of one corps in a sound condition to take command of another which, it was understood, had gone to pieces.
By the time the enemy's troops were well under the fire of our main line their propulsive force was pretty well spent, and they made no sensible impression upon it. As they fell back and the fire slackened, I met, just in the rear of my line Gen. Meade coming forward...and I assured him that the fight in our front was over...
Soon after all firing had ceased, a staff officer from Army Headquarters met Gen. Hancock and myself and summoned us both to Gen. Meade's Headquarters where a council was being held. We at once proceeded there soon after our arrival, all the corps commanders were assembled in the little front room of the Leister House...The twelve were all assembled in a little room not more than 10 or 12 ft. square with a bed in one corner, a small table on one side and a chair or two. Of course all could not sit down. Some did, some lounged on the bed, some stood up whilst Warren, tired out and suffering from a wound in the neck, where a piece of shell had struck him, lay down in the corner of the room and went sound asleep and I don't think heard any of the proceedings.
The discussion was at first very informal and in the shape of a conversation during which each one made comments on the fight and told what he knew of the condition of affairs. In the course of this discussion, Newton expressed the opinion that "this was no place to fight a battle in." Gen. Newton was an officer of Engineers...and was rated by me and, I suppose, by most of the others, very highly as a soldier. The assertion, therefore, coming from such a source, rather startled me, and I eagerly asked what his objections to the position were. The objections he stated ... related to some minor details of the line, of which I knew nothing except so far as my own front was concerned and with those I was satisfied, but the prevailing impression seemed to be that the place for the battle had been in a measure selected for us. "Here we are, now what is the best thing to do?" It soon became evident that everybody was in favor of remaining where we were and giving battle there. Gen. Meade, himself, said very little ecept now and then to make some comment but I cannot recall that he expressed any decided opinion upon any point, preferring, apparently, to listen to the conversation. After the discussion had lasted for some time, Butterfield suggested that it would, perhaps, be well to formulate the questions to be asked and Gen. Meade assenting, he took a piece of paper on which he had been making some memoranda and wrote down a question. When he had done so he read it off and formally proposed it to the council...
Butterfield read off his first question, the substance of which was should the army remain in its present position or take up some other, he addressed himself first to me for an answer. To say, "stay and fight," was to ignore the objections made by Gen. Newton and I, therefore, answered somewhat in this way. "Remain here, and make such corrections in our position as may be deemed necessary but take no step which even looks like retreat." The question was put to each member and his answer taken down and when it came to Newton who was the fifth in rank, he voted pretty much in the same way as I had done and we had some playful sparring as to whether he agreed with me or I with him and all the rest voted to remain.
The next question written by Butterfield was, should the army attack or await the attack of the enemy? I voted not to attack and all the others voted substantially the same and on the third question "how long shall we wait?" I voted "until Lee moved." The answers to this last question showed the only material variation in the opinion of the members.
When the voting was over Gen. meade said quietly, but decidedly "Such then, is the decision." ...
Before I left the house, meade made a remark to me that surprised me a good deal...Meade said to me, "If Lee attacks tomorrow, it will be in your front." I asked him why he thought so and he replied "Because he has made attacks on both our flanks and failed and if he concludes to try it again, it will be on our centre." I expressed a hope that he would and told Gen. Meade with confidence that if he did, we would defeat him. Meade's reliance upon the doctrine of chances, that having tried each of our wings, Lee would, if he made a third trial, make it upon our centre, struck me as somewhat remarkable. But he was right" --
"My last recollection of the day was the blood red sun sinking in the west through the smoke and haze of the battle. A sun I never expected to see again."
First Lieutenant Michael James Vreeland
4th Michigan Infantry
Vreeland was wounded in the arm and shot through the lung in a fight
for the colors of the 4th Michigan at the Wheatfield. The 4th's Colonel,
Harrison Jeffords was killed by a bayonet thrust in the melee, the only
regimental commander to die by bayonet in the war.
Esteemed member firstname.lastname@example.org (Jack Kelly) contributes:
Continuing the HISTORY OF BATTERY B, July 2nd,
"Shortly after we had ceased firing on the rebel battery a large force of the enemy was seen coming out of the woods, on our left flank, moving to the road in the direction of the gap. At first we mistook them for our own men, supposing that the Third Corps was falling back to its old position; but when we commenced to receive their fire and heard that well-known "rebel yell", as they charged for our battery, we were in doubt no longer, but sprang to our posts at the guns ready to receive them. This force of the enemy proved to be General Wright's brigade, of General Anderson' division, making for the gap between the Second and Third Corps.
The enemy were in solid front of two lines of battle. As our artillery fire cut down their men they would waver for a second, only to soon close up and continue their advance, with their battle flags flying in the breeze, and the barrels of their muskets reflecting the sun's dazzling rays. The violent forcing back of General Humphrey's division, of the Third Corps, brought destruction on the force under Col. George H. Ward, consisting of his own regiment, the Fifteenth Massachusetts, the Eighty-Second New York,Lieutenant-Colonel Huston, and Battery B under Lieut. T. Fred. Brown. As the enemy (Wright's brigade) advanced a desperate resistance was made by this little band, which was far overlapped on their flanks, and at last compelled to retreat.
While the enemy were forcing General Humphrey's right toward the line they first occupied, to the left of the first position occupied by Battery B in the morning, General Hancock came galloping up (going north) towards the right of his line, he saw a portion of the enemy (Wilcox's brigade) coming out into the opening from a clump of bushes. He looked right and left for troops, and turning round saw a regiment coming up from the rear. Dashing up to the colonel, and pointing to the enemy's column, he exclaimed: "Do you see those colors? Take them!" and the gallant First Minnesota (Colonel Colville) sprang forward and precipitating themselves upon the advancing foe, lost three-fourths of their regiment in the impetuous onset. Thus was the gap partially closed, but on came the advancing foe.
Lieutenant Brown ordered the battery to change front left oblique and to then begin firing four-second spherical case shell. By the change of fronts, only the left and center sections (four guns) of the battery could be brought to bear effectually on the advancing enemy, while the right section shelled the woods. By their exposed position the battery received the concentrated fire of the enemy, which was advancing so rapidly that our fuses were cut at three, two, and one second, and then canister at point blank range, and, finally, double charges were used. Then came the order "limber to the rear", and shouts from our infantry, "get out of that, you will all be killed". From the batterymen it was "Don't give up the guns".
During this time the enemy were advancing and firing by volleys. Having failed in their attempt to secure the gap, their objective point now seemed to be the capture of the battery, but, as we were well supported by the Sixty-Ninth and One Hundred and Sixth Pennsylvania boys, we succeeded in retiring with four pieces leaving two on the field, the horses having been killed.
In retiring, the battery came under heavy enfilading fire from the wing of the flanking foe, which had overlapped us, and many of our men and horses were wounded before we could retire behind our line of support, for only one piece at a time could go through the narrow gap in the stone wall which afforded breastworks for the infantry. [This is the stone wall in front of the Copse at the Angle-JK.]
The drivers of the sixth piece were forced to halt as they were approaching the gap, it being partially blocked by two pieces, the third and fifth, trying to get through at the same time. As a consequence one of the horses on the sixth piece was killed and another wounded causing such confusion that the drivers were forced to abandon their horses and the cannoneers their gun. The enemy were right upon them, and they sought safety by lying down, or making for the gap, from each side of which streamed a vivid flame sending forth messengers of death to the foe.
When the order was given by Lieutenant Brown to limber to the rear, Sergt. Albert Streight waited and had his piece, the fourth, loaded, then fired before executing the order, and, in consequence two of his horses were shot and fell making it impossible to withdraw. He then ordered the men to look out for themselves, leaving his gun in position on the field. In the diary of Sergeant Straight, under date of July 2, 1863, is written:
'We were ordered to limber to the rear when they (the rebs) had got very near to us, two of my horses got shot just as the order was given, and I could not get my piece off, and the boys had to look out for themselves, as the Johnnies were all around us, and the bullets flew very lively, with some shot and shell, all my horses were killed. David B. King was hit and lived but a few minutes, and one man was taken prisoner. I got my piece again after the charge was over.'
The other pieces which reached the rear of our battleline, got in battery at once and opened fire again upon the advancing foe, but soon stopped to enable our infantry to charge them. Then came a struggkle for the possession of those two guns. The gallant Sixty-Ninth Pennsylvania, backed by the One Hundred and Sixth, held their ground, and advancing, with the brigade on the charge, drove the foe back and held the guns. When the rebels were finally driven back across the Emmitsburg road, we withdrew our two pieces from the field to the third position occupied by the battery. After the charge, the brigade fell back at the wall, its old position on the ridge.
Owing to the loss of men and horses, the fifth and sixth pieces were sent to the rear, where the reserve artillery was parked, while the serviceable horses and men were put into the other four detachments making them complete.
Our casualties of July 2nd were one officer wounded, three men killed, seveteen wounded and one taken prisoner, viz. First Lieutenent T. Fred. Brown, commanding battery, wounded; Corp. Henry H. Ballou, acting sergeant, mortally wounded; died July 4th. Killed, privates Ira Bennett of the Nineteenth Maine; Michael Flynn, of the Fifteenth Massachusetts (both on detached service); and David B. King. [Rhodes lists the wounded, which I'll skip in the interest of brevity.-JK]"
Battery B, on the evening of July 2nd, occupied a position to the
left of the Copse of Trees,and on the left of the 69th PA, where it would
stay throughout the bombardment of July 3rd. July 2nd had been a tough
day, but the next day would be worse."It Struck Terror
To Us All" For a great treatment of the role of the 69th PA, be sure
to read Scott Hartwig's article on the GDG Website, .
Esteemed member email@example.com (Jack Kelly) contributes:
account of the Second Day's action, on a part of the Second Day's fight, about which not a lot has been written(except for the 1st Minnesota's charge):
"At two o'clock on the morning of July 2nd, the battery received marching orders, and the men on being suddenly aroused from slumber, tumbled out of their blankets, wondering if there was to be a night attack from the enemy. Soon everything was in readiness, all packed and hitched up, awaiting orders to move, but at sunrise we were still waiting while the infantry was moving forward. While waiting, we improved the time, small fires were built and a pot of hot coffee soon made to refresh the inner man for the work that was before us.
At five A.M. orders were received to move up to the front, and the battery was soon in motion on the Taneytown pike moving towards Gettysburg, which place we reached about ten o'clock, and were assigned position on the left of the Second Corps line, with General Harrow's Brigade (the first of the Second Division), on Cemetery Ridge, our left being joined by the Third Corps. Our pieces were placed in battery on slightly elevated ground, while the caissons were parked a few rods in our rear, in a hollow, the rolling nature of the ground making a slight protection for them.
General Sickles advanced the Third Corps to the front, about two o'clock P.M., thus making a gap, and leaving the Second Corps exposed on its extreme left flank with only Battery B to fill the space. While the Third Corps was engaged, at Devil's Den and Peach Orchard, in a struggle for possession of Little Round Top, the guns of Battery B, at four o'clock, were advanced to the right and front, a few hundred rods, to a ridge in front of the main battle line at General Gibbon's (Second Division of Second Corps) left front, known as the "Godori [sic] Field". [This position is about fifty yards WSW in front of the Copse of Trees at the Angle, and is the site of small monument to the Battery.-JK] On reaching the position Lieutenant Brown ordered us "in battery" at once, and we opened fire upon a rebel battery which had obtained a good range upon General Meade's headquarters. After a well-directed fire, of a few moments, the rebel battery could hold out no longer and withdrew, our fire made it so hot for them they did not even send us a parting salute.
The following will explain Battery B's position more clearly: General Gibbon's line at this place, ran nearly parallel with the Emmitsburg road; we were on General Gibbon's left flank, on a slight ridge in Godori's field, between his line and the road at an angle of about 45 degrees. The battery's left was nearest the road with the right extending back to within one hundred yards of the main line, at the stone wall, facing nearly northwest, our line of fire, thwerefore, was was diagonally across the Emmitsburg Road toward and to the left of the Lutheran Theological Seminary. The battery had been thrown forward toward the Godori house, by orders from General Gibbon, in order to get it out of the way for a time while he was trying to cover his left flank, which had become exposed by the abrupt advance of the Third Corps which had caused a gap in the main line. The Fifteenth Massachusetts and the Eighty-Second New York regiments lay along the road beside the fences.
"On the second, quite late, 4 p.m., Longstreet made his long deferred attack on the enemy's left. It was done in smashing style by McLaws's and Hood's divisions and a few of Hill's troops, Longstreet personally leading the attack with splendid effect.
His fine horsemanship as he rode, hat in hand, and martial figure, were most inspiring.
We gained ground rapidly and almost carried Round Top, but the morning delay was fatal. It had been heavily reinforced while we were pottering around in sullen inactivity. Undoubtedly, Lee's intention was to make the attack in the forenoon and support it with strong movements by Hill and Ewell. I think it would have won, notwithstanding the difficulties of position. The attempt was made to move troops to the right into position without discovery by the enemy, but it was abortive.
We were seen from the start and signaled constantly. Much valuable time was lost by this trial, which with better knowledge of the ground by General Lee's engineers would not have been attempted.
At night the combat was over and we were dragging off our captured cannon and standards, and caring for our dead and wounded.
The loss in storming the position on the right was heavy. When Hood's division was across the turnpike, under orders to attack, he begged me to look at it, report its extreme difficulty, and implore Longstreet to make the attack another way. This was done, but the answer I took to Hood was that the attack must instantly be made, that General Lee had so directed; and forward and upward the gallant Hood charged, almost gaining the plateau of Round Top, the key of the enemies left."
_Recollections of a Confederate Field Officer_ ~ General G. Moxley
Esteemed member "Bill Cameron"
ROUND TOP SIGNAL STATION,
July 2, 1863 - 2.10 p.m.
Those troops were passing on a by-road from Dr. Hall's house to Herr's tavern, on the Chambersburg pike. a train of ambulances is following them
Captain, Signal Officer
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC
July 2, 1863 - 5.30 p.m.
Commanding Officer Twelfth Corps:
The signal officer reports that a heavy column of infantry is moving round to the right, and in front of Slocum's corps.
About this time, 134 years ago...
Even as Barksdale's men broke for the rear, however, General Hancock saw trouble to the north: Cadmus Wilcox's Confederate brigade was heading straight for the gap on Cemetery Ridge that had been left when Caldwell's division departed for the Wheat Field. Hancock ordered Gibbon and Hays to send help from their divisions, but there was no way the men could get there before Wilcox did. As Hancock subsequently recalled his plight, "In some way five minutes must be gained or we were lost."
He was granted his five minutes, and a few more, by a small regiment that stood in line of battle on Cemetery Ridge behind an artillery battery. Galloping toward them, Hancock called out: "What regiment is this?" Colonel William Colvill shouted back that it was the 1st Minnesota, which had been detached earlier that day from the rest of Gibbon's division. "Colonel, do you see those colors?" asked Hancock, pointing to the Confederate battle flag in the front rank of Wilcox's brigade. Colvill nodded. "Then take them," Hancock ordered. As Lieutenant William Lochren of the Ist Minnesota recalled, "Every man realized in an instant what that order meant - death or wounds to us all, the sacrifice of the regiment to gain a few minutes time and save the position."
And so they charged, one undersized regiment against an entire brigade, down the ridge with muskets at a right shoulder shift, their bayonets flashing. Just before they reached the Confederate lines, Colvill shouted, "Charge bayonets," and the muskets were lowered, presenting a solid front of steel. Wrote Lochren: "The men were never made who will stand against leveled bayonets coming with such momentum and evident desperation. The ferocity of our onset seemed to paralyze them for a time." The Confederate line crumbled. Before the Confederates could recover from the shock of the mad countercharge, other regiments from Gibbon's division had filled the void on Cemetery Ridge and were pouring a withering fire into Wilcox's men. Of the 262 Minnesotans who had so fearlessly hurled themselves at Wilcox's brigade, only 47 men remained fit for combat.
Esteemed member firstname.lastname@example.org contributes:
Although the Fifth Corps of the Army of the Potomac was heavily engaged during the late afternoon of July 2 along the Millerstown crossover road, near and in the wheatfield, and through Plum Run valley, the 118th PA, which was part of that corps, fortunately lost only three men killed or mortally wounded that singularly bloody day. The fate of one of those soldiers, as related by a member of one of the New Jersey regiments in the Third Division, Sixth Corps, is here told....
Between perhaps 11:30 p.m. and midnight of July 4 a small burial party aided by the light of a low, pale moon and the stub of a small candle moved cautiously over the late battlefield near the Millerstown road and a little north of Rose's now badly trampled and sullied wheatfield. Here they found
.. one body, that of a young, light-haired boy, not over nineteen at the furthest, whose forehead was pierced by a ball; in his left hand he firmly grasped his rammer; his right hand or its forefinger was in the watch-pocket of his pantaloons. We examined this pocket and found in it a small silver shield with his name, company, and regiment engraved upon it. We took possession of this memento, and fortunately finding a fragment of a cracker-box, marked upon it in pencil, by moonlight, the inscription found on the shield. We buried him with two of his comrades, one of whom belonged to the Fifth Corps, and placed the rude board at the head of his grave in the hope that it would some day enable some pilgrim-friend to find the body. Since that day the shield has been sent to the soldier's father; its inscription was, "S. L. Caldwell, Company D, 118th Pennsylvania Volunteers."An actual witness to Caldwell's death stated that he was killed when the 21st Mississippi advanced upon the right flank of the 118th and was "so near, in fact, that Corporal S. M. Caldwell, Company E, was shot through the right side of the head at close quarters..."
Sam is buried in the National Cemetery at Gettysburg.
Esteemed member email@example.com (Timothy N Traver) contributes:
In memory of Pvt. Silas Gore, 141st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, who on this day in 1863, stood his ground with his regiment and made the ultimate sacrifice for his native state and his flag.
Uncle Silas, may your soul rest in peace, your final resting place known but to God.
"...and the cry of "Pennsylvania" ran up and down the line..."
- Regimental History of the 141st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry
Thanks to all for understanding,
"...they is a quite a large bering ground here I am glad I hante
one of them..."
Pvt. Silas Gore, 141st Penn. Vol. Inf. Jan. 10 1863 after Fredericksburg.....he was killed 6 months later at The Peach Orchard, Gettysburg.
Esteemed member "Bill Cameron"
ROUND TOP MOUNTAIN SIGNAL STATION
July 2, 1863
Saw a column of the enemy's infantry move into woods on ridge, 3 miles west of the town, near the Millerstown road. Wagon teams, parked in open field beyond the ridge, moved to the rear, behind woods. See wagons movig up and down on the Chambersburg pike, at Spangler's. Think the enemy occupies the range of hills 3 miles west of town in considerable force.
[P.S.] This is a good point for observation
This is the message that got Capt. Hall to move down to LRT. Norton
was the Chief Signal Officer of the AOP and Taylor worked for Hall.
Esteemed member "Theresa Stimson"
Pvt. J.W. Lokey, Co. B, 20th Georgia Regiment: "...about a dozen of us were in an exposed position and in advance of the regiment. ...I advanced up the hill to the right. ...I passed Col. Jack Jones, of my regiment, lying on his back with about half of his head shot off. I passed one of Co. K, of my regiment, lying flat on the ground. He said to me: "You had better not go up there; you'll get shot." I passed on to the top of the hill, and throwing up my old Enfield rifle, I was taking deliberate aim at a Yankee when a minie ball passed through my right thigh. I felt as if lightning had struck me. My gun fell, and I hobbled down the hill. Reaching the timber in the rear, I saw a Yankee sergeant running out in the same direction, being inside our lines. I called to him for help. Coming up, he said: "Put your arm around my neck and throw all your weight on me; don't be afraid of me. Hurry up; this is a dangerous place." The balls were striking trees like hail all around us, and as we went back, he said: "If you and I had this matter to settle, we would soon settle it, wouldn't we?" I replied that he was a prisoner and I was a wounded man, so I felt that we could come to terms pretty quick. ...We soon reached a good spring and shade trees, and I lay down to rest. He (a rear guard) took my prisoner, a sergeant belonging to the 4th Maine Regiment...I lay on the field that night."
from Col. Edward Everett Cross, commanding 5th New Hampshire, after receiving a mortal wound, to his troops:
"I did hope I should live to see peace restored to our distressed country. I think the boys will miss me. Say goodbye to all. "
(At the request of Dr. James Fulton, assistant surgeon of the 143rd PA Infantry) Sallie Myers found herself drawn into nursing the wounded. The sights and sounds inside the (St. Francis Xavier) Church were terrible at first.
"I went into the Roman Catholic Church. The men were scattered all over it, some lying in the pews and some on the bare floor. The suffering and groans of the wounded and dying were terrible to see and hear. I knelt by the first one inside the door and said 'What can I do for you?' He looked up at me with mournful, fearless eyes, and said 'Nothing; I am going to die.' ...I went hastily out, sat down on the church step and cried. In a little while...I controlled myself, re-entered the hospital, and spoke to the dying man. He was wounded in the lungs and spine and there was not the slightest hope. He was Sgt. Alexander Stewart (Co.D) of the 149th PA Vols."
Through the long hours of July 2, Sallie worked with little rest, tending to wounds and requests for water, comforting the men in their pain and misery. Back and forth between the Catholic Church, hospital, and home she traveled, for instructions and supplies, carrying food and linen in her arms. That evening, as the battle intensified ("What awful noises, heavy shell flying over the town from 4 to 9 o'clock.") south of Gettysburg, the order came once again that civilians were to go to their cellars, for the shelling and rifle fire had accelerated to tremendous proportions. ...The heat was oppressive, the air unbearably thick, and Alexander Stewart urged Sallie to go to the safety of the cellar. But Sallie would not leave Alexander, who lay in the front room of the first floor, and could not be moved below.
"...but I could not leave him to suffer in the stifling atmosphere, for we were obliged to close all doors and windows. While fanning him, being in an uncomfortable position, I changed it and a moment later a ball struck the floor where I had been sitting, scattering over us the plaster which it had displaced."
The following is a continuation of the letter from Thomas W. Hyde of Sedgwick's staff:
"...I lay down on top of a stone wall by the roadside and cought an hour's sleep, while someone stole my cap off my head and I had to wear Bennett's the rest of the day. The heat became intense and the dust blinding. About three p.m. we drew up in mass behind a range of hills beyond which was Gettysburg and above which continually curled the smoke we knew so well. While waiting here I went to several houses for something to eat but the people were too frightened or stingy to give or sell. We had marched 34 miles - I had ridden 67, with an hour's rest, but I did not feel tired, but fearfully hungry. While I was thus occupied I heard a furious storm of musketry upon the left and saw Gen. Sedgwick at the head of the column now again in motion, and making its way rapidly across the field in the direction of the fire. Few of the staff were there as I caught up, being sent to the rear to hurry up troops. On we went with utter disregard of roads - in a straight line to the hottest part of the music now seeming nearer and nearer. Passing up and over the steep ascents the men, almost barefoot, scrambling after, until three or four shells whistling and bursting overhead warned us that we were on the scene of action. Gen. Sedgwick formed the first Brigade himself, and said, 'Now some staff officer go in with these men.' There were only three of us there, so I started, rather reluctantly I must own, for the hole we were charging into was all that my imagination ever pictured the 'valley of the shadow of death.' I hastened on with the left of the line, and passing round it, and smoke being so thick I could not see, I found myself exposed to our own fire - so going more tot he left I became mixed up in a furious charge of the Pennsylvania Reserves, 5,000 strong. I remember seeing the lamented Col. Taylor on foot cheering his men. Finding I was where I had no business, I went further to the left, as I could not get back to our Corps without running the gauntlet of the most terrible musketry I had ever heard, and passing Gen. Weed, just killed by a sharp shooter and Hazlett's battery - disabled but still firing, I found myself though on horseback on the high peak of Devil's Den. The dead were lying thick and bullets from sharpshooters warned me from my exposed position. The sun was just setting and threw red glare upon the smoke in the deep and gastly valley beneath. You could see the strife dimly below, while hundreds of shells above sounded as if howling a constant death knell. This charge had already saved the day upon the left and reestablished our line. I went back to the General who was in earnest consultation with Gen. Sykes and was busied in the care of prisoners till 11 o'clock that night - when I lay down with my overcoat for blanket and pillow and slept peacefuly through rain and dropping shots till morning...."
Esteemed member "Theresa Stimson"
Sergeant Frank B. Nickerson was wounded on the afternoon of July 2 and was carried back to a hospital of the 2nd Corps near Round Top, where he was laid beside many desperately injured men. On his left was a Confederate:
"...a mere boy...not more than 17 years old; death's pallor was on his brow and the blood flowing from his mouth... Dr. McAbee seemed touched with his youthful appearance and disquietude of mind, and said to him, 'My poor fellow, you cannot be helped; you can live but a little time.'
The boy broke out in a despairing cry, 'My poor mother, what will she do? I cannot die; I cannot die. She will never know what became of me. I was shot on the skirmish line and no one knows it.'
The surgeon wrote into his notebook, his name as a member of a Georgia regiment, and his mother's address, and promised, if possible to write to his mother...
Twenty-two years have passed and I still have a tender memory...of that man that night. Last summer, in visiting the battlefield, I rode to the barn, noticed the bloodstains upon its sills, and asked the owner if any Confederates were brought here. He replied, 'Yes, one boy - and I buried him across that little rolling by the fence. I miss the place when I plow. He is there."
Suddenly, as we rose a hill on the road we were taking, the Round Top was plainly visible, with the flags of the signal men in rapid motion. I sent back and halted my division and rode with Major Johnson around the neighborhood to see if there was any rode by which we could go into position without being seen. Not finding any, I joined my command and met General Longstreet there, who asked, "What is the matter?" I replied, "ride with me and I will show you that we can't go on this route . . . "
from E.P. Alexander CSA commanding Artillery Battalion:
. . . At one point the direct road leading to this place came in sight of the enemy's signal station, but I turned out of the road before reaching the exposed part, and passing through some meadows a few hundred yards, regaining the road without coming in sight. . . .
. . . We rode to the top of the hill and he at once said. "Why, this won't do. Is there no way to avoid it?" I then told him of my reconnaissance in the morning and he said, "How can we get there?" I said, "Only by going back-by counter-marching." . . .
. . . While thus engaged I came upon the head of an infantry column standing halted in the road where it was in sight on Round Top. For some reason, which I cannot now recall, they would not turn back and follow the tracks of my guns, and I remember a long and tiresome waiting. My general recollection is that nearly three hours were lost in that delay and counter march
. . . General Longstreet rode up to me, and said "How are you going in?"and I replied "That will be determined when I can see what is in my front." He said, "There is nothing in your front; you will be entirely on the flank of the enemy." . . .
. . . I rode forward, and getting off my horse went to some trees in advance and took a good look at the situation, and the view presented astonished me, as the enemy was massed in my front, and extended to my right as far as I could see.
Favill in _Diary of a Young Army Officer_ describes the situation in the wheatfield as the 3rd Brigade, 1st Div. 2nd Corps advances:
"...we soon came to a standstill and a close encounter, when the firing became terrific and the slaughter frightful. We were enveloped in smoke and fire, not only in front, but on our left, and even at times on the right... Our men fired promiscuously, steadily pressing forward, but the fighting was so mixed, rebel and union lines so close together, and in some places intermingled, that a clear idea of what was going on was not readily obtainable. While trying to keep the lines as effective as possible, watching the situation in this pandemonium of death, I saw Zook a little towards the left, riding to the rear, supported by Broom and a mounted orderly. I rode over to him instantly, when he looked up with an expression I shall never forget, and said: 'It's all up with me, Favill.' ... The General was in great pain, and Broom told me he was shot through the bowels. ... Surgeon Wood, one of our best doctors, after examining the wound, told us it was fatal, and nothing could be done..."
2nd South Carolina Dead, Kershaw's Brigade, July 2, 1863
6th PA Reserve Infantry, 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 5th Corps
Citation: "...six volunteers who charged upon a log house near Devil's Den, where a squad of the enemy's sharpshooters were sheltered, and compelled their surrender..."
On the afternoon of July 2nd, the Union troops in the area north of Devil's Den were under a constant, deadly fire whose source could not be determined... It was finally discovered to be coming from a small log cabin on the flank of the regiment. (The six men named here-in) volunteered to charge the cabin and attempt to dislodge the Confederate sharpshooters. The 6 moved quietly toward the cabin but were soon discovered. Although under heavy fire, the 6 arrived at the cabin uninjured. They knocked down the barricades placed in front of the door by the rebels and charged inside, capturing the occupants.
"... The gallantry and skill displayed in capturing the whole party of sharpshooters, and the successful return to the regiment with 12 or 13 prisoners of war...was an act of bravery which the surviving comrades of the regiment desire to see recognized by a medal of honor."
"You could constantly see men falling on all sides and the terrible missiles of death were flying thick and fast everywhere, cutting off large trees and plowing the ground..... "
Pvt McNeil, 2 SC, action at the Rose Farm
...the Battery immediately enfiladed them with a rapid fire of canister, which tore through their ranks and sprinkled the field with their dead and wounded, until they disappear in the woods on our left, apparently a mob.
Cpt John Bigelow, 9th Mass,
engaging Kershaw's Bde on the Rose Farm.
from Col William C. Oates, CSA
commanding regiment: After crossing the fence, I received an order from Brigadier General Law to left-wheel my regiment and move in the direction of the heights on my left, which order I failed to obey, for the reason that when I received it I was rapidly advancing up the mountain . . . from Col James C. Rice, commanding regiment, then brigade: The brigade, under the command of the late Colonel Vincent was detached from the division and ordered into position at about 4 P.M. on the extreme left of our line of battle . . . Passing to the Southern slope of Little Round Top, Colonel Vincent indicated to me the ground my regiment was to occupy, informing me that this was the extreme left of our general line, and that a desperate attack was expected in order to turn this position, and concluded by telling me I was to "hold that ground at all hazards."
That was the last word I heard from him. . . . from Oates: . . . About five minutes after I halted, Captain Terell, assistant adjutant general to Gen. Law rode up by the only pathway on the southeast side of the mountain and inquired why I had halted. I told him. He then informed me that General Hood was wounded, Law was in command of the division and sent me his compliments, and said for me to press on, turn the Union left, and capture Little Round Top, if possible and to lose no time. from Chamberlain: . . .
In the midst of this, an officer from my command informed me that some
important movement of the enemy was going on in his front, beyond that
of the line with which we were engaged. Mounting a large rock, I was able
to see a considerable body of the enemy moving by the flank in the rear
of their lines engaged, and passing from the direction of the foot of Big
Round Top through the valley to the front of my left.. . . from Oates:
. . . Advancing rapidly, without any skirmishers, the woods being open
without undergrowth, I saw no enemy until within fort or fifty steps of
an irregular ledge of rocks- a splendid line of natural breastworks . .
The following is a continuation of the letter from Thomas W. Hyde of Sedgwick's staff: "
...I lay down on top of a stone wall by the roadside and caught an hour's sleep, while someone stole my cap off my head and I had to wear Bennett's the rest of the day. The heat became intense and the dust blinding. About three p.m. we drew up in mass behind a range of hills beyond which was Gettysburg and above which continually curled the smoke we knew so well. While waiting here I went to several houses for something to eat but the people were too frightened or stingy to give or sell. We had marched 34 miles - I had ridden 67, with an hour's rest, but I did not feel tired, but fearfully hungry.
While I was thus occupied I heard a furious storm of musketry upon the left and saw Gen. Sedgwick at the head of the column now again in motion, and making its way rapidly across the field in the direction of the fire. Few of the staff were there as I caught up, being sent to the rear to hurry up troops. On we went with utter disregard of roads - in a straight line to the hottest part of the music now seeming nearer and nearer. Passing up and over the steep ascents the men, almost barefoot, scrambling after, until three or four shells whistling and bursting overhead warned us that we were on the scene of action. Gen. Sedgwick formed the first Brigade himself, and said, 'Now some staff officer go in with these men.' There were only three of us there, so I started, rather reluctantly I must own, for the hole we were charging into was all that my imagination ever pictured the 'valley of the shadow of death.' I hastened on with the left of the line, and passing round it, and smoke being so thick I could not see, I found myself exposed to our own fire - so going more tot he left I became mixed up in a furious charge of the Pennsylvania Reserves, 5,000 strong. I remember seeing the lamented Col. Taylor on foot cheering his men.
Finding I was where I had no business, I went further to the left, as I could not get back to our Corps without running the gauntlet of the most terrible musketry I had ever heard, and passing Gen. Weed, just killed by a sharp shooter and Hazlett's battery - disabled but still firing, I found myself though on horseback on the high peak of Devil's Den. The dead were lying thick and bullets from sharpshooters warned me from my exposed position. The sun was just setting and threw red glare upon the smoke in the deep and ghastly valley beneath. You could see the strife dimly below, while hundreds of shells above sounded as if howling a constant death knell. This charge had already saved the day upon the left and reestablished our line. I went back to the General who was in earnest consultation with Gen. Sykes and was busied in the care of prisoners till 11 o'clock that night - when I lay down with my overcoat for blanket and pillow and slept peacefully through rain and dropping shots till morning...."
Esteemed member "Donald W. Kiszka, Jr."
...I immediately moved forward, and had gone but a short distance when my whole line became exposed to amost terrific fire from the enemy's batteries from the entire range of hills in front and to the right and left... ...but owing to the darkness of the evening, now verging into night, and the deep obscurity afforded by the smoke of the firing, our exact locality could not be discovered by the enemy's gunners, and we thus escaped what in the full light of day could have been nothing else than ahorrible slaughter. Ariving at the summit, by a simultaneous rush of my whole line, I captured several pieces of artillery, four stand of colors, and a number of prisoners.
...heavy masses of infantry were heard and perfectly discerned through the increasing darkness, advancing in the direction of my position. I gave the order to fire; the enemy was checked for a time....being beyond support, I gave the order to retire to the stone wall at the foot of the hill. I moved my brigade by the right flank, leading it around the hill, so as to escape the observation of the enemy, and conducted it to the right of my original position....this was about 10 o'clock.
BG Harry Hays,
Louisiana Bde, Early's Div, action at East Cemetery Hill.
From the Diary of Pvt. Nathan Clark, Co H, 20th Maine:
" After we had cared for [our] wounded and buried the dead we had orders to [ascend?] and hold a hill that was still in our front and on we went with but little opposition. We secured the position as ordered and threw out skirmishers down to the foot of the hill but none too soon for the rebs were just advancing to secure the same hill that we now had in our grasp. But it was so dark they could not see us and did not mistrust us for some time. They would challenge us and ask what regt. and we would answer by telling them one that we had taken as prisoners* and would get them so near that we would make them [surrender?] and we would take them in. The rebs made a blind move and marched a whole company through our lines and was prisoners before they knew it. We staid (sic) and held the position all night." * presumably taken earlier on
from Robert E Lee:
In this engagement our loss in men and officers was large. Major Generals Hood and Pender, Brigadier Generals Jones, Semmes, George T Anderson, and Barksdale, and Colonel Avery commanding Hoke's brigade were wounded, the last two mortally. Generals Pender and Semmes died after their removal to Virginia. The result of this days operations induced the belief that with proper concert of action, and with the increased support that the positions gained on the right would enable the artillery to render the assaulting columns we should ultimately succeed, and it was accordingly determined to continue the attack.
FASSETT, JOHN B. Rank and Organization:
Captain, Company F, 23rd Pennsylvania Infantry. Place and date: At Gettysburg,
Pa., 2 July 1863. Entered service at : Philadelphis, Pa. Birth: Philadelphia,
Pa. Date of issue: 29 December 1894. Citation: While acting as an aide,
voluntarily led regiment to the relief of a battery and recaptured its
guns from the enemy. Citation of Medal Of Honor
H. W Pfanz Gettysburg - The Second Day Chp10, pg240
"They carried Weed also to the aid station behind the crest, where surgeons might attend him. Lt. William H. Crennell of the 140th New York, who acted as Weed's aide that day, tried to comfort the general by saying, "General, I hope that your are not so very badly hurt." To this Weed replied, "I'm as dead a man as Julius Ceasar." Chp12 pgs269, 274, 280 "As the men of Zook's Brigade saw the Irish March away, a soldier of the 140th Pennsylvania called, "Tighten your belts, boys, our turn next". At this time, Lt Alexander M. Wilson, who lying on the ground by his place in the file-closers' rank of the 140th, sick and weak with dysentery, told Sgt. John R. Paxton, that the sergeant must help him into the fight. Wilson who had been the company's first sergeant, was recently commissioned, and was particularly sensitive about his image and reputation. He told Paxton that if he did not go in with the regiment, "the boys might think I funked." Soon the brigade moved off, and Sergeant Paxton, who must have had enough problems of his own, helped the sick lieutenant along..... Sergeant Paxton again tried to peruade the sick Lieutenant Wilson that he had come far enough, but Wilson was adamant. Like Ellis near Devil's Den and John Oates on Little Round Top, Wilson insisted that the "the boys must see me in it with them."... Another bullet struck poor, sick Alex Wilson in the forehead, but he at least had the satisfaction of dying with his men-he had not funked." Chp13, pg321 "From his chaffing Charger," a horse that mirrored its rider, Barksdale addressed his men, reminding them that each man was expected to do his duty. That done, he shouted, "Attention, Mississippians! Battalions, Forward!" And then, wrote Col. Humphreys, "Fourteen hundred rifles were grasped with firm hands, and as the line officers repeated the command "Forward March" the men sprang forward and fourteen hundred voices raised the famous "Rebel yell" which told the next brigade (Wilcox's Alabamians) that the Mississippians were in motion."
My thoughts were with Daniel Mahoney yesterday. Daniel was a young Irish immigrant who was the sole support of his mother, Johanna. Before the war they lived in a tenement in New York City. Daniel worked hard as a blacksmith to make it in this country. On the 19th of September in 1861 he answered the call to fight for his new home and enlisted as a private with Co. B. of the 69th NY Infantry. As a member of the famed "Irish Brigade" he saw plenty of fighting and witnessed the wounding and death of many comrades and friends. He always sent home a good portion of his soldier's pay to his mother so she could buy coal, groceries and the other necessities of life. Daniel was fatally wounded as the small remaining regiments of the Irish Brigade crossed the Wheatfield to meet the rebel attack at Gettysburg on July 2. He died of his wounds a few days later on the Jacob Schwartz farm south of town. The simple grave marker in the New York section of the National Cemetery marks the place where Daniel Mahoney is resting now. It is a small tribute to a life so gallantly given. Each time I visit Gettysburg I spend a few minutes at Daniel's grave. He is not a relative.....just a common civil war soldier I 'adopted' to research. Somehow he will always be a hero to me. My prayers are with you during these anniversary days, Daniel.