Steuart's Brigade at the Battle of Gettysburg.--A Narrative by Rev. Randolph H. McKim,
D. D., late First Lieutenant and Aide-de-Camp, Confederate Army.
[Rev. J. Wm. Jones, D. D.,
Secretary Southern Historical Society
Dear Sir: The sketch which I send herewith has been prepared at the urgent request of several of the survivors of the Third brigade, (Second corps, A.N.V,) who think that justice to the memory of the heroic men of that command who gave up their lives at Gettysburg demands a more extended notice than has yet appeared of the part borne by them on that bloody field. (Owing to the fact that on the 3d July I was occupied chiefly on the right of the line, my narrative relates principally to the deeds of the regiments on the right.) In preparing the narrative my memory has been assisted by pocket memoranda, made on the field, and by letters written immediately after the events related. This enables me to hope that in all substantial points this account may be relied on as accurate.
It is proper to add that I was attached as aide-de-camp to the staff of the brigadier-general commanding the brigade, so that I had excellent opportunities of informing myself of its condition and its deeds.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Randolph H. McKim.
New York, March 4, 1878.]
The Third brigade of Johnson's division entered the battle of Gettysburg very much jaded by the
hard marching which fell to its lot the week previous. It formed part of an expeditionary force of
infantry, cavalry, and artillery which was detached from the Second corps on the 24th June, under
the command of Brigadier-General George H. Steuart and ordered to Mercersburg and
McConnellsburg. In the execution of the duty assigned it was required to perform some heavy
marching, as the following itinerary record will show :
Tuesday, June 23, 1863.--Broke camp near Sharpsburg, and passing through Hagerstown, halted 5 miles beyond at 3 o'clock. Distance, 17 miles.
Wednesday, June 24.--Moved at 4½ A. M. At Greencastle filed to the left on the road to Mercersburg. Entered McConnellsburg about 9 P. M., after a march of 24 miles,
Friday, June 26.--Marched from McConnellsburg to Chambersburg, 20 miles, through a steady rain. The cavalry under Major Gilmore captured 60 head of cattle, 40 horses, a few mules, and some militia.
Saturday June 27.--Column moved at 7½ A. M., through Shippensburg, to Springfield. Men much broken down, having marched 19 miles, many of them barefooted.
Sunday, June 28.--After a short march of 6 or 7 miles made camp at 2 P. M. about 5 miles south of Carlisle. Rejoined our division to-day.
Monday, June 29.--About 9 A. M. received orders to march back to Chambersburg. Great surprise expressed. Marched ll miles and camped 1 mile south of Stowstown.
Tuesday, June 30.--Column moved at 5 A. M. Passed through Shippensburg, to Greenvillage, where we took left road to Fayetteville.
Wednesday, July 1.--Column moved at 7 A. M. Passed through Fayetteville. On top of mountain
heard rapid cannonading. Soon saw the smoke of the battle, and then of burning houses. Hurried
to the front, but the battle was over. Distance from our camp on Monday to Gettysburg, 35
miles. This was marched by the brigade on Tuesday and Wednesday. It may have been greater
distance; it was not less. Our camp on the night of the 30th must have been not far east or west
Thus it appears that the men of the Third brigade had marched, within the nine days preceding the battle, at least 133, perhaps as much as 138 miles. But, though weary and footsore, they moved forward with alacrity to take part in the great conflict which was already begun. In the first day's action they were not engaged, the enemy having been driven from the field by A. P. Hill, Rodes, and Early before their arrival. The time of their arrival may be fixed by the circumstance which I distantly remember, viz: the arrival of General Lee upon the field, his survey of the enemy's position on Cemetery Hill with his glass, and the dispatch of one of his staff immediately in the direction of the town.
Passing over the scene of conflict, where the line of battle could be in some places distinctly traced by the ranks of dead Federal soldiers, they entered the town of Gettysburg a little before dusk. (The time of our entering the town I fix by the fact that I easily read a letter handed me by Major Douglas.) After considerable delay the brigade moved to the east and southeast of the town and halted for the night, the men lying down upon their arms in confident expectation of engaging the enemy with the morning light.
Greatly did officers and men marvel as morning, noon, and afternoon passed inaction--on our part, not on the enemy's, for, as we well knew, he was plying axe and pick and shovel in fortifying a position which was already sufficiently formidable. Meanwhile one of our staff conducted religious services, first in the Tenth Virginia, then in the Second Maryland regiment, the men gladly joining in the solemn exercises, which they knew would be for many of their number the last they should ever engage in on earth. At length, after the conclusion of that tremendous artillery duel which for two hours shook the earth, the infantry began to move. It was past 6 P. M. before our brigade was ordered forward--nearly twenty-four hours after we had gotten into position. We were to storm the eastern face of Culp's Hill, a rough and rugged eminence on the southeast of the town, which formed the key to the enemy's right-centre. Passing first through a small skirt of woods, we advanced rapidly in line of battle across a cornfield which lay between us and the base of the hill, the enemy opening upon us briskly as soon as we were unmasked. Rock creek, waist-deep in some places, was waded, and now the whole line, except the First North Carolina, held in reserve on our left flank, pressed up the steep acclivity through the darkness, and was soon hotly engaged with the enemy. After the conflict had been going on for some time, I ventured to urge the brigadier-general commanding to send forward the First North Carolina to reinforce their struggling comrades.*(*It was dark, and General Steuart detained one regiment in the field mentioned to prevent our flank being turned. The firing in the woods now became very rapid, and volley after volley echoed and re-echoed among the hills. I felt very anxious about our boys in front, and several times urged General Steuart to send the reserve regiment to the support of the remainder of the brigade.--Extract from a letter written after the battle.) Receiving orders to that effect, I led the regiment up the hill, guided only by the flashes of the muskets, until I reached a position abreast of our line of fire on the right. In front a hundred yards or so I saw another line of fire, but Owing to the thick foliage could not determine whether the musket flashes were up or down the hill. Finding that bullets were whistling over our heads, I concluded the force in our front must be the enemy, and seeing, as I thought, an admirable chance of turning their flank, I urged Colonel Brown to move rapidly forward and fire. When we reached what I supposed the proper position, I shouted, "Fire on them, boys; fire on them!" At that moment Major Parsley, the gallant officer in command of the Third North Carolina, rushed up and shouted, "They are our own men." Owing to the din of battle the command to fire had not been heard except by those nearest to me, and I believe no injury resulted from my mistake. I mention it only in order to assume the responsibility for the order. Soon after this the works*(*Let me tell you the character of their works. They were built of heavy logs, with earth piled against them to the thickness of five feet, and abattis in front.--Extract from a letter.) were gallantly charged and taken about 9½ P. M., after a hard conflict of two hours, in which the Second Maryland and the Third North Carolina were the chief sufferers.* (*Bates [author of The History of the Battle of Gettysburg] shows his ignorance of the real state of the conflict when he says "the fast-coming darkness drew its curtains around the vulnerable parts everywhere spread out." It was 9 or 9½ P. M. before the works to which he refers were taken by our brigade--two hours after dark.) Among those who fell severely wounded was Colonel James R. Herbert, of the Second Maryland. The losses in the, two regiments named were heavy, but the men were eager to press on to the crest of the hill. This, owing to the darkness and the lateness of the hour, it was resolved not to do.*(*Again and again did the rebels attack, in front and flank; but as often as they approached they were stricken down and disappeared.--Bates' Gettysburg, page 139. This is one of his many misstatement. I say of my own knowledge that the only troops in position to assault this work on the flank were those of the Third brigade, and they made no attempt to take it until the next day. This is, unhappily, too true. An assault then would have promised success.) A Federal historian (B. J. Lossing, in his Pictorial History of the Civil War,) gives the following account of this night, conflict: "Johnson moved under cover of the woods and deepening twilight, and expected an easy conquest by which a way would be opened for the remainder of Ewell's corps to the National rear; but be found a formidable antagonist in Greene's brigade. The assault was made with great vigor, but for more than two hours Greene, assisted by a part, of Wadsworth's command, fought the assailants, strewing the, wooded slope in front of the works with the Confederate dead and wounded, and holding his position firmly. Finally, his antagonist penetrated the woods near Spangler's Spring, from which the troops had been temporarily withdrawn."--Vol. III, p. 691. This statement needs correction. There is no doubt of the fact that the works taken by Steuart's brigade that night were occupied by Federal troops and that they poured a deadly fire into its ranks. After this fire had been kept up for two hours those troops were indeed "withdrawn"--but the orders came from the men of Steuart's brigade, and they were delivered at the point of the bayonet.*(*I find a similar statement in Swinton's Army of the Potomac, page 355, in a pamphlet by Dr. Jacobs, and in an article by General Howard in the Atlantic Monthly, July, 1876. I was at a loss to account for it until I observed that General Howard describes the vacated works as situated between McAllister's Mill and Culp's Hill. From these works part of the Twelfth corps had been withdrawn to reinforce Meade's left. But these were not the works occupied by Steuart's brigade, whose charge was made on Culp's Hill itself, to the north of Spangler's Spring. Bates says: "Passing over the abandoned breastworks further to the right, the enemy found nothing to oppose him, and pushed out through the woods in their rear over the stone fences that skirt the fields farther to the south, and had nearly gained the Baltimore pike. Indeed, the reserve artillery and ammunition, and the headquarters of General Slocum, the commander of the right wing of the army, were within musket range of his farthest advance." (Page 140 ) This statement, if true at all, must have reference to the movements of troops on our left. Steuart's men did not advance beyond those redoubtable works which, although vacant, belched forth flame and smoke and minnie balls, which were just as fatal as though they had been occupied by soldiers. Being dark, we cannot say we saw the men behind them, but we saw the musketry flashes and we felt the balls that came thick into our ranks, and some of the private soldiers who survive testify that when they leaped the works they saw dead and wounded Federal soldiers on the other side.)
It is sufficient answer to this statement of the Federal historian to quote the, language of General Lee's official report (Southern Historical Society Papers for July, 1876, page 42): "The troops of the former (Johnson) moved steadily up the steep ind rugged ascent under a heavy fire, driving the enemy into his entrenchments, part of which were carried by Steuart's brigade, and a number of prisoner's taken."
The position thus so hardly* (*Bates himself, on another page (147), makes an admission fatal to his former assertion: "On the extreme Union right he had effected a lodgment [this, remember, General Lee says was done by Steuart's brigade], and had pushed forward in dangerous proximity to the very vitals of the army; but . . . the night was sure to give opportunity for dispositions which would oust him FROM HIS ALREADY DEAR-BOUGHT ADVANTAGE." How was it "dear-bought" if occupied without opposition? Verily, unoccupied breastworks must have been fatal spots in that battle.) won and at so dear a cost was one of great importance. It was within a few hundred yards of the Baltimore turnpike, Which I think it commanded. Its capture was a breach in the enemy's lines through which troops might have been poured and the strong positions of Cemetery Hill rendered untenable. General Howard says: "The ground was rough. and the woods so thick that their generals did not realize till morning what they had gained." Dr. Jacobs says: "This might have proved disastrous to us had it not occurred at so late an hour." And Swinton declares it was "a position which, if held by him, would enable im to take Meade's entire line in reverse.*(* Bates is of the same opinion: "Had he known the advantage which was open to him, and all that we now know, he might, with the troops he had, have played havoc with the trains, and set the whole army in retreat; but he was ignorant of the prize which was within his grasp."--Page 140).--Page 355.
It is only in keeping with the haphazard character of the whole battle that the capture of a point of such strategic importance should not have been taken advantage of by the Confederates. It remains, however, no less a proud memory for the officers and men of the Third brigade, that their prowess gained for the Confederate general a position where "Meade's entire line might have been taken in reverse."
But if the Confederates did not realize what they had gained, the Federals were fully aware what they had lost. Accordingly, they spent the night massing troops and artillery for an effort to regain their works. '"During the night," says Swinton (page 356), "a powerful artillery was accumulated against the point entered by the enemy." Through the long hours of the night we heard the rumbling of their guns, and thought they were evacuating the hill. The first streak of daylight revealed our mistake. It wis scarcely dawn (the writer of this had just lain down to sleep after a night in the saddle) when their artillery opened upon us, at a range of about 500 yards, a terrific and galling fire, to which we had no means of replying, as our guns could not be dragged up that steep and rugged ascent.* (* "To one conversant with the ground, it is now apparent why the enemy did not reply. The creek, the forest, and the steep acclivities made it utterly impossible for him to move up his guns, and this circumstance contributed to the weakness of his position and the futility of his occupation of this part of the line......... But, though he fought with a determined bravery well worthy the name of the old-time leader, yet he gained no ground and had sustained terrible losses.") Then, a little after sunrise, their infantry moved forward in heavy force to attack us. "The troops of the Twelfth corps," says Swinton, "had returned from the left, and the divisions of Williams and Geary, aided by Shaler's brigade, of the Sixth corps, entered upon a severe struggle to regain the lost position of the line."* (* The enemy was evidently before us in immense numbers, and posted behind two lines of breastworks. To resist them we had but one division, which was subsequently strengthened by the brigades of Smith and Daniel.--Extract from a letter.) They drove in our skirmishers, but could not dislodge us from the works we had captured, although these were commanded in part by the works on the crest of the hill to our right, whence a galling fire was poured into our ranks. Next a strong effort was made to take us in flank, and I well remember that at one time our line resembled three sides of a pentagon, the left side being composed of some other brigade, centre and right composed of our own brigade, which thus occupied the most advanced position towards the crest of the hill.* (* "The crest of the hill to the right was still more difficult of approach, and from it the enemy were able to enfilade our whole line. . . . The struggle for the hill now became more and more fierce. The enemy endeavored to drive us out of the works. They attacked us in front and in flank, and opened a terrific cannonading upon us from a battery posted about 500 yards off. . . . On the right and left flank, where our lines were almost perpendicular to the front line, there were no breastworks, and the struggle was very fierce and bloody. Our men maintained their position, however, and received reinforcements." The Third North Carolina was on the right, and suffered most heavily during this part of the battle, so that but a handful were left to participate in the final charge.) About this time, I think, word came to General Steuart that the men's ammunition was almost exhausted. One of his staff immediately took three men and went on foot to the wagons, distant about a mile and a quarter, and brought up two boxes of cartridges. "We emptied each box into a blanket and swung the blanket on a rail, and so carried it to the front." It was now, I think, about half-past nine, and ever since 4 o'clock the fire of the enemy had been almost continuous, at times tremendous.*(* 'As the day wore on, the heat from the fire and smoke of battle, and the scorching of the July sun, became so intense as to be almost past endurance. Men were completely exhausted in the progress of the struggle, and had to be often relieved; but revived by fresh air and a little period of rest, again returned to the front."--Bates, page 142. No such refreshing rest had our brave men. They were never relieved for a moment during all that seven-hours unintermitting fire of which General Kane speaks.) Professor Jacobs says "the battle raged furiously, and was maintained with desperate obstinacy on both sides." He goes on to speak of the "terrible slaughter" of our men. General Howard says: "I went over the ground five years after the battle, and marks of the struggle were still to be observed--the moss on the rocks was discolored in hundreds of places where the bullets had struck; the trees, as cut off, lopped down, or shivered, were still there; stumps and trees were perforated with holes where leaden balls had since been dug out, and remnants of the rough breastworks remained. I did not wonder that General Geary, who was in the thickest of this fight, thought the main battle of Gettysburg must have been fought there."*(*Whitelaw Reid wrote as follows: "From 4 to 5 there was heavy cannonading also from our batteries nearest the contested points. . . . The rebels made no reply. . . The musketry crash continued with unparalleled tenacity and vehemence."--Bates, page 142, Later in the morning he says: "The batteries began to open again on points along our outer line. They were evidently playing on what had been Slocum's line of yesterday. The rebels then were still in our rifle-pits. Presently the battery on Slocum's Hill . . . opened too, aiming apparently in the same direction. Other batteries along the inner line, just to the left of the Baltimore pike [McAllister's Hill], followed the signal, and one after another opened up, till every little crest between Slocum's headquarters and Cemetery Hill began belching its thunder. . . . Still no artillery response from the rebels."--Page 143.)-Atlantic Monthly, July, 1876, page 66.
But all the efforts of the enemy failed to dislodge us. Unassisted, the Third brigade held the position they had won the night before. Several writers speak of Johnson being heavily reinforced. It may be. But I feel sure that that far-advanced line of earthworks into which Steuart had driven his brigade like a wedge the night before was held by him alone through all those terrible hours on the morning of the 3d July. The reinforcements which came to Johnson must have been employed on the flanks or on some other portion of the line than that occupied by us.* (*My memoranda says that Johnson was "subsequently" reinforced by the brigades of Smith and Daniel. Probably this was just before the last fatal charge. I remember the latter brigade coming up at that time. I did not see it before, and I did not see Smith's brigade at all. Or both brigades may have been employed on the right and left flanks at an earlier hour. I would only state it as my conviction that the captured works were held by the men who captured them from 9 P. M., July 2d, to 10 A. M., July 3d, and by none others. During the last hour of their occupation (10 to 11) the right of the works was held by the brigade of General Daniel.)
Then came General Ewell's order to assume the offensive and assail the crest of Culp's Hill, on our right. My diary says that both General Steuart and General Daniel, who now came up with his brigade to support the movement, strongly disapproved of making the assault. And well might they despair of success in the face of such difficulties. The works to be stormed ran almost at right angles to those we occupied.* (*They were confident of their ability to sweep him away and take the whole Union line in reverse. Fortunately, Greene had caused his flank to be fortified by a very heavy work, which the make of the ground favored, extending some distance at right angles to his main line.--Bates' Gettysburg, page 139.) Moreover, there was a double line of entrenchments, one above the other, and each filled with troops. In moving to the attack we were exposed to an enfilading fire from the woods on our left flank, besides the double line of fire which we had to face in front, and a battery of artillery posted on a hill to our left rear opened upon us at short range.*(*Professor Jacobs seems to allude to this when he says: "In this work of death, a battery of artillery placed on a bill to the right of the Baltimore turnpike, and some distance south of the Cemetery, was found to have performed a prominent part."--Page, 40.)
What wonder, then, if Steuart was reluctant to lead his men into such a slaughter-pen, from which be saw there could be no issue but death and defeat! But though he remonstrated, he gallantly obeyed without delay the orders he received, giving the command, "Left-face," and afterwards, "File right." He made his men leap the breastworks and form in line of battle on the other side at right angles, nearly, to their previous position, galled all the time by a brisk fire from the enemy. Then drawing his sword, he gave the command, "Charge bayonets!" and moved forward on foot with his men into the jaws of death. On swept the gallant little brigade, the Third North Carolina on the right of the line, next the Second Maryland, then the three Virginia regiments, (Tenth, Twenty-third, and Thirty-seventh,) with the First North Carolina on the extreme left. Its ranks were sadly thinned and its energies greatly depleted by those six fearful hours of battle that morning; but its nerve and spirit were undiminished. Soon, however, the left and centre was checked and then repulsed, probably by the severe flank fire from the woods; and the small remnant of the Third North Carolina, with the stronger Second Maryland (I do not recall the banners of any other regiment), were, far in advance of the rest of the line. On they pressed to within about twenty or thirty paces of the works--a small but gallant band of heroes daring to attempt what could not be done by flesh and blood. * (*Since writing the above I have met with the following account of this memorable charge in Bates' book (page 144): "Suddenly the quiet was broken by a yell bursting from thousands of lungs, and the next instant their grey lines emerged in sight dashing madly on. . . . They had scarcely come into easy musket range when the men in blue along the line sprang to their feet and poured in a deliberate volley. The shock was terrible. The on coming force was staggered, and for a moment sought shelter behind trees and rocks; but obedient to the voices of their officers, they struggled on, some of the most desperate coming within twenty paces of the Union front. 'It cannot be denied,' says Kane, 'that they behaved courageously.' They did what the most resolute could do, but it was all in vain. . . . Broken and well nigh annihilated, the survivors of the charge staggered back, leaving the ground strewn with their dead and desperately wounded.")
The end soon came. We were beaten back to the line from which we had advanced with terrible loss in much confusion, but the enemy did not make a counter charge. By the strenuous efforts of the officers of the line and of the staff order was restored, and we reformed in the breastworks from which we had emerged, there to be again exposed to an artillery fire exceeding in violence that of the early morning. It remains only to say that, like Pickett's men later in the day, this single brigade was hurled unsupported against the enemy's works. Daniel's brigade remained in the breastworks during and after the charge, and neither from that command nor from any other had we any support. Of course it is to be presumed that General Daniel acted in obedience to orders.* (*"As soon as we were unmasked a most terrific fire was opened upon us from three directions. In front, on a rising ground heavily wooded, the enemy were posted in two lines behind breastworks, one above the other, so that both lines faced upon us at once. On the left was a piece of woods, from which the enemy's sharpshooters opened a very galling fire, raking our whole line. This decided the failure of our attempt to storm their works, for the regiments on the left first halted [while the right of the line advanced], and then fell back. . . . Still we pressed on. General Steuart, Captain Williamson, and I were all on the right-centre, where was the Second Maryland and eight men of the Third North Carolina. Oh! it was a gallant band. We had our sabres drawn, and were cheering on the men, but there was little need of it. Their gallantry did not avail, and their noble blood was spilled in vain. . . . It was as if the sickle of Death had passed along the line and mown down the noblest and the bravest. Major Goldsborough fell [as we supposed], mortally wounded. That brave officer and noble gentleman, Captain Murray, fell dead. Friends dropped all around me, and lay writhing on the ground......... It was more than men could entire, and reluctantly they commenced falling back. Then our task was to prevent a rout, for the brigade was terribly cut up and the men much demoralized. Behind some rocks we rallied the scattered regiments and made a stand. Finally we took our old position behind the breastworks, supported by Daniel's brigade. Here we lay for about an hour under the most furious infantry and artillery fire I have ever experienced, but without much loss."-- Extract from a letter describing the battle. I give it just as I find it, adding that if the tattered battle flag of the Third North Carolina was followed by only a handful, it was because they had already suffered more heavily than any other regiment.) We remained in this breastwork after the charge about an hour before we, finally abandoned the Federal entrenchments and retired to the foot of the hill. The Federal historians say we were driven from our position. Thus Swinton affirms that 'it was carried by a charge of Geary's division." This statement I deny as an eye-witness and sharer in the conflict to the close, and as one of the staff who assisted in carrying out the order withdrawing the troops to the base of the hill. It was a very difficult thing to withdraw the fragments of a shattered brigade down a steep hill in the face of the enemy, and I have a vivid recollection of our apprehensions of the result of such a movement. But it was done, not before a charge of the enemy, but in obedience to orders, and we were not pursued, nor were the works occupied by the Federals until we reached Rock creek, at the base of the hill.
A few of our men on our left, rather than incur the danger of retiring down the hill under that very heavy fire, remained behind in the entrenchments and gave themselves up. The base of the hill reached, skirmishers were thrown out, and we remained on the west side of Rock creek till 11½ P. M., when we retired silently and unmolested. I find the following record in my diary referring to the time when we retired to the foot of the hill: "New troops were brought on, and fighting continued until now (5 P. M)." This must refer to picket firing.
It only remains that I give such statement Of our losses as my materials enable me to make. Unfortunately, I have returns only from three regiments recorded. In the Tenth Virginia (which I think was very small) the loss was (killed, wounded, and missing) 64. This I have not been able to verify. The Third North Carolina lost, according to my memoranda, killed, wounded, and missing, 207 out of 312 men. Dr. Wood, of that regiment, writes that this corresponds very nearly to statistics in his possession. The Second Maryland lost, according to my notes, 206 men. Other estimates (by Colonel Herbert and Major Goldsborough) put their loss, one at 250, the other at 222. One company, that of the lamented William H. Murray, carried into battle 92 men, and lost 18 killed, 37 wounded, total 55. Another estimate (by the orderly sergeant of Company A) puts it at 62. My diary states that the brigade mustered about 2,200 before the battle. At Hagerstown, on the 8th July, about 1,200 men reported for duty. It is probable that others subsequently came in, as I cannot think the loss was so high as 1,000 men, in the face of the following entry in my diary July 4: "Total loss in the brigade (killed, wounded, and missing) 680."
There were probably many stragglers on the march to Williamsport, some of whom may have been taken prisoners; but many no doubt afterwards came in. Perhaps the entire loss might be put at 800.*(*What a field was this! For three hours of the previous evening, and seven of the morning, had the most terrible elements of destruction known to modern warfare been wielded with a might and dexterity rarely if ever paralleled. The woods in which the battle had been fought was torn and rent with shells and solid shot and pierced with innumerable minnie balls. Trees were broken off and splintered, and that entire forest, where the battle raged most furiously, was, on the following year, leafless, the stately but mute occupants having yielded up their lives with those whom they overshadowed.--Page 145. And speaking of the state of the hill on the 4th: "We came upon numberless forms clad in grey, either stark and stiff or else still weltering in their blood......... Turning whichever way we chose, the eye rested upon human forms lying in all imaginable positions. . . . We were surprised at the accuracy as well as the bloody results of our fire. It was indeed dreadful to witness."--Bates' Gettysburg, page 145.)
These fearful losses sufficiently indicate the character of the work those brave men were called on
to do. The Light Brigade at Balaklava lost about one-third of their number (247 men out of 673
officers and men) in their famous charge. That, indeed, was over in twenty minutes, while these
two regiments sustained their loss of one-half and two-thirds during a conflict of ten hours
duration. But at least we may claim for the men of the Third brigade that they maintained a long
and unequal contest with a valor and a constancy worthy of the best troops.
(Source: Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. 5, pages 291-300)