An Interesting Incident of the Battle
Chapman Biddle's Gallantry
It may be interesting to your reader to know the counterpart of this incident, and as my investigation embrace the movements of both armies I will give it, together with my sources of information. Several years ago, while conversing with General Scales, of North Carolina, on the floor of the House of Representatives at Washington, regarding the battle of Gettysburg, he remarked that one of this colleagues, Captain Davis, was there, commanding a company in the Forty-seventh North Carolina Regiment, and, if agreeable to me, he would present him, which he did.
Captain Davis entered at once upon a warm discussion of the details of the historic event. Finally he said:
"Now you can tell me something that I very much want to know. At what part of the field was General Reynolds killed?"I will add that having alluded to this incident in a lecture, it attracted the attention of Colonel Biddle, who wrote to me to put him in communication with Captain Davis, which resulted in several letters passing between them on the subject.
I answered; "In the woods at your left, while engaging Archer's Brigade, in the morning at the very opening of the battle."
"Are you sure," said he "that he was not killed in front of Pettigrew's brigade?"
"As sure as one can be who did not see the act, but depend upon theirs for his information," I answered.
"Thank God!" exclaimed Captain Davis, " I have always feared I was responsible for his death."
After a moment he added: "What general officer was killed on my front?"
"None," I said.
"But," he replied, "I saw him, colors in hand, dash into his disordered ranks to rally his troops, and, calling to Frank Escue, a sharpshooter of my command, I directed the shot and saw him fall, and I have always feared that in the heat and excitement of battle I had been the direct cause of the death of a gallant officer."
"You can set your mind at rest upon that point," said I, "for there was no general officer killed in your front, but if you would like to see the man you thought dead, you can do so when you are in Philadelphia by calling on Colonel Chapman Biddle."
I have the honor to be very truly yours,
JOHN B. BACHELDER
Boston, Mass March 14, 1881