Late June, 1863

Other Links to Action Before July 1 on the Gettysburg Discussion Group
Eric Wittenberg's 
Brandy Station Seminar
Heth- Shopping for Shoes?
Pipe Creek Circular
Strategic Positions JEB Stuart 's Ride John Buford and the 
Gettysburg Campaign

"And as June came to an end, fate was driving thousands of soldiers toward the point of deadly collision."

Bruce Catton, The Final Fury

Contributed by Esteemed member Mike Gallagher:

Esteemed member "Bill Cameron" contributes:
Here is some unpublished stuff from the diary of Sergt. Luther C. Furst, U.S. Army, Signal Corps:

June 27 1863:

Enroute by daylight and marched to Edwards Ferry in Md. The boys seem glad to get to this side of the river and are in the best of spirits. Our march today was about 10 miles., bring supply and baggage trains up with the corps. Segwick was arrested by a Corporals guard for riding through Engineer Camp. He had no epaulets on and looked more like a jack tar than a Major General. Hooker' Md Qrs at Frederick City tonight. Our horses in best of trim.

June 28 1863:

Today marched from Edwards ferry to within 11 miles of Frederick, making a march of about 20 miles. We passed through Poolsville, Barnsville and along the foot of Sugar Loaf Mountain. The report is that Hooker has been relieved and General Mead now in command. After leaving S.K. Mountain we marched to the right in direction of Baltimore. This is a beautiful country and cherries in abundance. An order read this evening that the troops should remember they were in a loyal state and (not) commit any unnecessary depredations. We are now marching toward South Mountain and the Penna line. Rebs said to be fortifying former place and in moving towards latter. Our Corps is the only one on this route [Furst was with the 2nd Corps. Bill]

June 29th 1863:

Made another march of 20 miles crossed the Baltimore and Ohio R.R. at Mourovia. Came through New Market and then to Ridgeville, leaving the Baltimore road at this point and taking the road on the left, leading to Westiminister. This is one of the finest countries I ever traveled thorough. Cherries for the whole corps; I never saw so any.


"if on the battlefield my bones should be left, and this diary of mine be found: let not the finder keep it as a theft, but send it home safe and sound" Luther C. Furst 

Esteemed member "Bill Cameron" contributes:

Tuesday, June 30th:

Today made another long march and tonight we are encamped within 7 mile of Penna line and 2 miles of manchester. We came through Westminister, which is a very beautiful town. Stuart and Lee passed through last night towards Pa and this morning as we entered one end of the town their skirmishers left the other and captured some 10 or 12. No straggling. Weather cloudy. On short rations.

Luther Furst 

Esteemed member "Bradley Eide" contributes:

The letter is written by General Zook (commanding the 3rd Brigade, 1st Div., 2nd Corps, AoP) to his father:

Frederick, Maryland, June 28th, 1863

Dear Major:

We have marched sixty miles in three days, and arrived here about 1 o'clock p.m. To-morrow we leave for New Market, eight or ten miles towards Baltimore. Our whole army is here or further on, except what is left to take care of Washington. We will fight inside of three days, if the enemy does not fall back. The men are in good spirits, and will fight splendidly. If Ewell is not reinforced before we reach him, he'll get warmed. I am well, except a slight cold, and shall be in Pennsylvania, if not hurt, before the week is over, or the rebs will be on their way home.


Esteemed member "Bradley Eide" contributes:

J.Favill _Diary of a Young Army Officer_

June 29th. The command marched at 6 A.M. and made the longest and most severe march in its history. We passed through Liberty and Jonhsville to Uniontown, a distance of fully thirty miles. Some say thirty-five. The roads were good but fearfully dusty. We rested occasionally, perhaps three hours all told, and went into bivouac in fair condition, although there were many stragglers. The day was beautiful, but the sun much too hot for comfort. ...

In passing through these towns, we usually resume the regular step, and with bands playing and colors flying make a stunning appearance. The Fifty-second [New York], as in days gone by, although now with fewer voices, sing their memorable songs, which creates more enthusiasm than do the bands.

[June 30th]. Weather very hot; remained all day in bivouac, awaiting orders. During the day the lame ducks came up and rejoined their colors.

This evening we hear Hooker has been relieved of the command, and that General Meade from the Fifth corps is appointed in his place. There is not an officer in the army, I think, who does not rejoice at the news. We saw enough of Hooker at Chancellorsville to assure us he was not capable of commanding an army like this.

Esteemed member "WELLS, WALTER" contributes:

From: Carolina Cavalier: the Life and Mind of James Jonston Pettigrew ( Clyde N. Wilson: U. of Georgia Press, 1990. - Wilson gives as his source for this passage a letter from Harry Heth in the SOuthern Historical Papers, October 1877.)

"On June 29...Pettigrew was ordered to take his brigade the next day to Gettysburg, a town 8 miles southeast...On the outskirts of the town Pettigrew encountered a strong picket line of Federal cavalry. Then he distinctly heard the drums of marching infantry behind the town...Pettigrew decided to return to Cashtown and report. Federal cavalry followed at a distance butr made no attack.

While Pettigrew was giving his report to Heth, General A.P. Hill, the corps commander, rode up. Hill doubted Pettigrew's report of enemy infantry at Gettysburg. He had recent word from Lee's scouts that the main body of federals was still at Middle burg. Pettigrew called to Louis Young, whom Hill knew from the Seven Days, to supplement his testimony, but he failed to convince either Hill or Heth that there was a large force of infantry around Gettysburg. Heth asked for and received permission to return next day with the whole division and see to the business of the shoes."

Esteemed member Dennis Lawrence contributes:

The land west of Gettysburg is a series of ridges, like waves in the earth. The first Rebel infantry came in that way, down the narrow gray road from the mountain gap. At noon they were in sight of the town. It was a small neat place: white board houses, rail fences, all in order, one white church steeple. The soldiers coming over the last ridge by the Lutheran Seminary could see across the town to the hills beyond and a winding gray road coming up from the South, and as the first gray troops entered the town there was motion on that southern road: a blur, blue movement, blue cavalry. They came on slowly around the last bend, a long blue smoking snake, spiked with guns and flags. The soldiers looked at each other across vacant fields. The day was very hot; the sky was a steamy haze. Someone lifted a gun and fired, but the range was too long. The streets of Gettysburg were deserted.

Just beyond the town there were two hills. One was wooded and green; the other was flat, topped by a cemetery. The Union commander, a tall blond sunburned man named John Buford, rode up the long slope to the top of the hill, into the cemetery. He stopped by a stone wall, looked down across flat open ground, lovely clear field of fire. He could see all the way across the town and the ridges to the blue mountains beyond, a darkening sky On the far side of the town there was a red brick building, the stately Seminary, topped with a white cupola. The road by the building was jammed with Rebel troops. Buford counted half a dozen flags. He had thought it was only a raiding party. Now he sensed power behind it, a road flowing with troops all the way back to the mountains.

The first blue brigade had stopped on the road below, by a red barn. The commander of that brigade, Bill Gamble, came up the hill on a muddy horse, trailed by a small cloud of aides, gazed westward with watery eyes. He wheezed, wiping his nose.

"By God, that's infantry.

Killer Angels

Esteemed member Dennis Lawrence contributes:

The make up of Gen. Archer was enigmatical. His exterior was rough and unattractive, small of stature and angular of feature, his temper was irrascible, and so cold was his manner that we thought him at first a Martinet. Very non-communicative, and the bearing and extreme reserve of the old army officer made him, for a time, one of the most hated of men. No sooner, however, had he led his brigade through the first Richmond campaign, than quite a evolution took place in sentiment... He had none of the politician or aristocrat, but never lost the dignity or bearing of an officer. While in battle he seemed the very God of war, and every inch a soldier according to its strictest rules, but when the humblest private approached his quarters he was courteous. There was no deception in him and he spoke his mind freely, but always with the severst dignity. He won the hearts of his men by his wonderful judgment and conduct on the field, and they had the most implicit confidence in him. He was dubbed "The Little Game Cock"

Captain F. S. Harris - January Issue, Confederate Veteran Vol. III (1895)
Quoted on the Archer Brigade Home page

Esteemed member jeff burk contributes:

Greetings esteemed members!

On this day june 28,1863 one of the most important parts of the Gettysburg campaign took place, the burning of the Columbia river bridge. This bridge that connected york and Lancaster was the best route the garden spot of Lancaster Co. and the major cities on the east coast.

Gen. Early had been ordered to seize the bridge, but the local Militia had other plans for the bridge. Maj. Granville O. Haller reported that "mechanics were employed to separte the roof and sides, leaving only the arches and a very small portion of the lower chords for crossing over. It was expected that holes bored into these arches and filled with powder would by exploding the powder, shiver the timber and cause the span, about 200 fet long, to drop into the river, and thus render the bridge useless to the enemy."

Thus the plan is set but something goes wrong, and again we read the report of battle. "Thr explosion unfortunately failed to drop the span into the river, and the enemys apporach required speedy action. Colonel Frick accordingly ordered the bridge set on fire, and the seasoned timbers readily took fire, carrying the flames towards Wrightsville and Columbia."

Gen Early would then move his men west towrds Gettysburg and the battle would begin. Pa would now play host to the greatest battle ever fought on our nation.

What is forgotten here is that the Longest covered bridge ever built was destoryed. At the muster I bought a print of the bridge burning, it know hangs in my dining room, a proud reminder of Lancaster Co. in the war.

One last thought Lancaster Co. was a major stop for the underground railroad, with this in mind lets again go to the records. "Before closing the report, justice compels me make mention of the excellint conduct of the company of Nergoes from Columbia. After working industriously in the rifle-pits all day, when the fight commenced, they took their guns and stood to their work bravely. They fell back only when ordered to do so."


Esteemed member contributes:

In light of the marathon commemoration, and although it is a day both late and early, I'd like to post the following dispatch:

Commanding Second Corps

Headquarters, Army of Northern Virginia
June 28, 1863
71/2 am


I wrote you last night stating that Genl Hooker was reported to have crossed the Potomac & is advancing by way of Middletown, the head of his column being at present in Frederick County. I directed you in that letter to move your forces to that point. If you have not already progressed on the road, and if you have no good reason against it, I desire you to move in the direction of Gettysburg, via Heidlersburg, where you will have turnpike most of the way & you can thus join your other division to Early's which is east of the mountains. When you come to Heidlersburg you can move either directly on Gettysburg or turn down to Cashtown. Your trains and heavy artillery you can send, if you think proper, on the road to Chambersburg. But if the roads on which your troops are good, they had better follow you.


Esteemed member contributes:

June 29th, 1863

Excerpted from Pvt. Theodore Gerrish:

. . . there came the most frantic appeals to the army. These men felt that it was a gross violation to their rights as American citizens to have the rebels so near, and their peaceful minds disturbed by scenes of bloodshed and fears of personal danger, and they called upon the soldiers to avenge their sufferings with Spartan-like courage and sacrifice, exhorting them to shed their last drop of blood if necessary, to hurl Lee's forces back across the Potomac.

comments of a Private in the AoP on the changed editorial stance in newspapers that he read in Frederick, Md. June 29, 1863. 

Esteemed member Dennis Lawrence contributes:

June 30.- Headquarters Army of the Potomac moved from Middleburg to Taneytown; the First Corps from Emmitsburg to Marsh Run; the Third Corps from Taneytown to Bridgeport; the Fifth Corps from Liberty, via Johnsville, Union Bridge, and Union, to Union Mills; the Sixth Corps from New Winds to Manchester; the Twelfth Corps from Taneytown and Bruceville to Littlestown; Gamble's and Devin's Brigades, of Buford's Cavalry Division, from Fairfield, via Emmitsburg, to Gettysburg; Gregg's Cavalry Division from New Windsor to Westminster, and thence to Manchester; Kilpatrick's Cavalry Division, from Littlestown to Hanover; and the Artillery Reserve from Bruceville to Taneytown. Kenly's and Morris's Brigades, of French's Division, left Maryland Heights for Frederick, and Elliott's and Smith's Brigades, of the same division, moved from the Heights, by way of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, for Washington. (Cavalry fight at Hanover, Pa., and skirmish near Harrisburg, Pa.)

from New York At Gettysburg Vol. 1 - p 117

Esteemed member contributes:

Washington DC

June 30, 1863 11:30 pm

Major General Meade
The following dispatch has just been received, which, although you may be informed on the subject, I have ordered to be sent to you by express:
Harrisburg, Pa.
June 30, 1863

Major General Halleck.

Lee is falling back suddenly from the vicinity of Harrisburg, and concentrating all his forces. York has been evacuated. Carlisle is being evacuated. The concentration appears to be at or near Chambersburg. The object apparently a sudden movement against Meade, of which he should be advised by courier immediately. A courier might reach Frederick by way of Western Maryland Railroad to Westminster. This information comes from T.A. Scott, and I think it reliable.

H. Haupt

It is proper you should know that General French this morning evacuated Maryland Heights, blowing up his magazine, spiking the large cannon, and destroying his surplus stores. A telegram from him received from him this morning indicates that he is still at Sandy Hook waiting orders, and doubtful what he should do with his force. Please instruct him what you wish him to do.

Edwin M. Stanton.
Secretary of War 

Esteemed member contributes:

Report of Maj. Gen. Henry Heth, C.S. Army. commanding division.

On the morning of June 30, I ordered Brigadier General Pettigrew to take his brigade to Gettysburg, search the town for army supplies (shoes especially) and return the same day. On reaching the suburbs of Gettysburg, General Pettigrew found a large force of cavalry in the town, supported by an infantry force. Under these circumstances he did not deem it advisable to enter the town, and returned, as directed, to Cashtown. The result of General Pettigrew's observation was reported to Lieutenant-General Hill, who reached Cashtown on the evening of the 30th. 

Esteemed member contributes:

inside the Confederat War Dept, Richmond. fro the diary of John Jones:

June 30 1863

5 O'Clock P.M. The city is now in good humor, but not wild with exaltation. We have what seems to be prettt authentic intelligence of the taking of HARRISBURG, the capital of Pennsylvania, the City of York, etc. etc. This comes on the flag of truce boat, and is derived from the enemy themselves. 

Esteemed member contributes:

from Genl John Buford, commanding cavalry division to Col. Thomas Devin, after Devin has said that he could hold his position (outside Gettysburg) against the Confederates, regardless of number.

No you won't. They will attack you in the morning and they will come booming-skirmishers three deep. You will have to fight like the devil to hold your own until supports arrive. 

Esteemed member contributes:

from "Gettysburg Culp's Hill & Cemetery Hill" by Harry Pfanz:

Schurz's division of the Eleventh Corps camped at Emmitsburg on the grounds of St Joseph's College, a Roman Catholic school for girls. Schurz had persuaded the school's mother superior to lend him the use of one of the "nunnery's" buildings for his headquarters staff . . . 

Esteemed member contributes:

Good morning, all!

The night of the 30th was a busy night for the division. No reliable information of value could be obtained from the inhabitants, and but for the untiring exertions of many different scouting parties, information of the enemy's whereabouts and movements could not have been gained in time to prevent him from getting the town before our army could get up. By daylight of July 1, I had gained positive information of the enemy's position and movements, and my arrangements were made for entertaining him until General Reynolds could reach the scene .... Between 8 and 9 a.m., reports came in from the First Brigade (Colonel Gamble's) that the enemy was coming down from ... Cashtown in force. Colonel Gamble made an admirable line of battle, and moved off proudly to meet him.

Jno. Buford

[Buford's report is from OR, XXVII, Part 1, pp. 926-27.]

My brigade ... about 1,600 strong ... was placed in line of battle about 1 mile in front of the seminary ... the Cashtown road being a little to the right of the center ... Three squadrons, part dismounted, were ordered to the front, and deployed as skirmishers to support the squadron on picket, now being driven back by the enemy's artillery and skirmishers. Our battery of six 3-inch rifled guns was placed in battery, one section on each side of the Cashtown road ... and the other section on the right of the left regiment, to cover that flank. The enemy cautiously approached in column on the road, with three extended lines on each flank, ... our skirmishers became engaged, and our artillery opened on the enemy's advancing column, doing good execution. The enemy moved forward; two batteries opened on us, and a sharp engagement of artillery took place. In a short time we were, by overpowering numbers, compelled to fall back about 200 yards to the next ridge and there make a stand. In the meantime our skirmishers, fighting under cover of trees and fences, were sharply engaged, did good execution, and retarded the progress of the enemy as much as could possibly be expected ...

Col. William Gamble, USA
commanding First Brigade
Buford's Division
[Gamble's report is from OR, XXVII, Part 1, p. 934]

Honor the day!! 

Esteemed member contributes:

A fateful decision is made 134 year ago today (from Coddington):

As for the cavalry Pettigrew had discovered at Gettysburg, Hill was of the opinion that it was probably a "detachment of observation." Heth then spoke up and asked, since that was the case, whether Hill would have any objection to his taking his division to Gettysburg again the next day to get those shoes. Hill replied: "None in the world".

Tom Shay - Schuylkill County DW Discussion Group 

Esteemed member "Theresa Stimson" contributes:

The following experience is described by Lydia Catherine Ziegler, who was a young girl living in the seminary, where her father was steward:

"That night...I stood in the Seminary cupola and saw, as in panoramic view, the campfires of the enemy all along the Blue Mountainside, only eight miles distant, while below us we beheld our little town...surrounded by...campfires of the Union. As we stood on that height and watched the soldiers on the eve of the battle, our hearts were made heavy. Many of the soldiers were engaged in letter writing, perhaps writing the last loving missives their hands would ever pen to dear ones at home. In the near distance we could see a large circle of men engaged in prayer, and, as the breezes came our way, we could hear the petitions which ascended to the Father in Heaven for His protecting care on the morrow. However, many of the boys seemed to be utterly oblivious to the dangers threatening them, and were singing with hearty good will "The Star Spangled Banner" and many of the other patriotic songs which we loved to hear."


Esteemed member "Theresa Stimson" contributes:

Elizabeth Plank, civilian, Plank Farm, west of Gettysburg:

"...all kinds of rumors...that soldiers were coming and a battle would be fought... Sometime in the afternoon on June 30th, 1863...looking west, saw a long dark fence, upon closer observance (I) saw the line move and small objects glittering in the sunlight. It really was the Confederate Army."


Esteemed member "Theresa Stimson" contributes:

In his book "Killed in Action," Gregory Coco recounts the story of Private Robert H. Clark (Company B, 7th Maine Infantry, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 6th Corps), who might be considered the 'first casualty' of the Gettysburg Campaign. The AoP's 6th Corps marched northward for nearly 40 miles in order to reach the other Northern forces in time to render aid.

"...R.H. Clark was from Presque Isle, Maine, and was at the time of his death in the U.S. Army. He was brought in an ambulance to McAllen's Hotel, corner of Baltimore & South Streets, with the 6th Army Corps June 30th, 1863 and died the same night. He was sun struck on the march from VA to PA from the effects of which with exhaustion, he seems to have died. ...He was buried at about 3:00 pm. He was a member of Co. B 7th Maine Volunteers..."


Esteemed member TJ Smith contributes:

Good Morning All,

On June 30th, Stuart and his Cavalry crossed into Pennsylvania. Chambliss' Brigade was in the lead, Fitz Lee's men rode the side roads to the left of the main body, watching for enemy activity and Hampton's men brought up the rear guarding the 125 wagons taken at Rockville, Md.

Their first stop would be at Hanover where they would encounter Gen. Elon J.Farnsworth. Stuart was nearly captured at Hanover but made good his escape by jumping his horse over a wide ditch and displaying his equestrian skills to the max.

While in Hanover Stuart picked up a Pennsylvania newspaper and saw a report stating Confederate infantry was seen in the York area as late as the 28th.

Portions of Ewell's, Gordon's, and Early's brigades were located just eleven miles west of Stuart in some little town called Gettysburg. But the intrepid Cavalry leader didn't know this. His orders were to head for York and following orders, he pointed his men in that direction.

from _Giant in Gray_

Esteemed member laurence dana schiller contributes:

Greetings - Thought you might be interested in the journal entries of Edward C. Reid, 3rd Indiana Cavalry over the Gettysburg campaign time period. The original is in the Illinois State Historical Society.

June 19, 1863:

Aldie-Dover-Middleboro. A terrible night - thunder and rain until morning when it became cold and drizzly. Mosby's old hdqtrs close to our camp. - Kilpatrick charges stone wals with the drawn sabre. Stampede among horses of the 16th PA

June 21: Left camp early

this morning marched thro Middleburg and over Goose Creek where we met the enemy's skirmishers fought hard all the way to Upperville on the right of which we charged with 8th Ill into a rebel brigade under heavy fire from their guns. Captured Lt. Col 9th Va and Major in all over 300 prisoners. Bivouwacked on battlefield buried dead - carried off wounded etc. Rebel loss heavy. Buford watched our charge anxiously - thought it rashness but when over said 'Ill be d--d, if I can't whip a little corner of hell with that 1st Brig.

June 30: Left Mt. Foos

and marched up to Fairfield on Millersburg - made a detour and passed through Emmitsburg - thence to (Tavern?) and into Gettysburg where we went into camp west of the town within sight of the rebs in the hills west of the Cashtown Road - Reception in Pa and especially in Gettysburg most enthusiastic.

July 1: Startled this morning by the report of the pickets that the rebs were advancing in force up the Chambersburg Road. Saddled in a hurry - and advanced towards the hills. I was detailed as a skirmisher under Maj Lemon - driven back - and then joined the reg't, just as Will Park was being carried off the field - - moved back and foward over the field between Getsbg and the Seminary avoiding exposure to shell with difficulty - At last our whole left wing was routed and we charged on the stone wall coming on the Seminary building. We held it for a time against a whole rebel brigade of infantry - but at last were forced to fall back Major Lemon mortally wounded - with Sgt Boyd seriously and Corp Story mortally wounded. The enemy entered the town. Total loss of regt 6 killed, 22 wounded, 9 missing.

July 2: Left the battlefield this morning to go to Westminster to get forage marched to Taneytown and camped for the night. Heavy attack on the left - 3rd Corps - Gen Sickles had his leg shot off below the knee - Longstreet killed also Gen Barksdale of Mississippi. Rebels repulsed Our loss 10000.

July 3: Rebels reported falling back. We marched to Westeminster. Rain very heavy - camped in woods West of town.

July 6: Marched into Middletown thence over South Mountain - on the summit of which is General Morris Brigade - We met Gen Kilpatrick's cavalry returning from Hagerstown with a large lot of prisoners - passed thro Boonesborough and halted on the hills beyond the town Artillery in position. Marched to near Williamsport when we met the rebels in force - rather sharp artillery fight. We captured 8 wagons and about 20 prisoners. Major Medill of 8th Illinois wounded seriously. Fell back slowly to Hagerstown pike at night.

July 7: Marched to Boonesboro where we encamped - Our pickets driven in about 800 of the enemy against 90 men of ours. Several wounded. Slept between Boonsbourough and Hagerstown - terrific rainstorm from midnight to morning

July 8: Terrible rainstorm - and immediately after the rebels were reported marching w/ heavy columns of infantry - cavalry w/ artillery down the Sharpsburg and Hagerstown roads - ordered in a hurry to the front - hard fighting all day- with varying success and defeat - Many wonderful escapes - Sam Gilfin and horse knocked down by explosion of a shell under his horse - Matt (illeg) had a spent bullet strike his body and drop between his pants and shirt. Corp Brown of Co F was knocked down by a spent minnie which cut his ear and gave him a headache. God is indeed with us to preserve and proteck - Blessed be his name. Camped to the right of Boonsboro. Rebels retreating rapidly and in confusion. News of surrender of Vicksburg.

July 9: Rations and forage issued this morning. In line of battle all day until 5o'c when we advanced and crossed Beaver Creek driving the enemy rapidly and camped at night on the hills beyond.

July 10 Left camp at 7o'c - had heavy skirmishing and artillery firing and finally drove the enemy to Frederick where they were reinforced and repulsed - when the 6th Corps Gen Sedgwick sent up a division of infantry and we retired. 1st-6th-11th and 12 Corps here.

William H Story died at Gettysburg this morning of wounds received near Gbg. On July 1st, Park and Boyd better. W. Smith captured and paroled to Gen Couch - sent to West Chester Penn.

July 14: Ordered for the whole line to advance. We went and found the rebs went - we captured about - 2000 prisoners. Gen Pettigrew killed and Kilpatrick charged and lost a squadron except 15 men - 2 guns were also taken by us. 140 horses

July 22: another fight with Longstreets men - 'Col Gamble an inefficient old fool.'