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1863 July, The
Brigade Positions Gettysburg 1863
BATTERY B FOURTH UNITED STATES ARTILLERY AT GETTYSBURG.
BY JAMES STEWART
REMINISCENCES OF THE BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG.
By First Lieutenant Cornelius Wheeler, U. S. V.
THE BATTLES OF GETTYSBURG
Interesting details of Wednesday's and Thursday's battles
Correspondence of the Pennsylvania soil has been fought one of the most
desperate and bloody battles of this cursed rebellion.
This morning early the First and Eleventh corps which had been during the night
encamped near Emmetsburg, advanced. The First corps marching in the following
order: First division under Gen. Wadsworth; Third division Gen. Doubleday, these
followed by five full batteries under Col. Wainwright; bringing up the rear was
the really splendid division of Gen. Robinson, this corps having been in the
advance during the whole time of our march from Falmouth were the first force of
infantry to reach Gettysburg and to come up with and fight the enemy.
During the day this corps had been under the direction of Major Gen Doubleday,
Gen. Reynolds being in command of the right wing comprising the First, Third,
Eleventh and Twelfth corps.
When some three miles from town and while quietly marching along, the sound of
heavy and rapid cannon firing was heard coming from the direction beyond Gettysburg.
Almost at the same instant Captain Mitchell, Aide upon Gen. Reynolds's Staff, came
dashing down the road with orders to the various division commanders to push forward their divisions as rapidly as possible-
The order was given to double quick
which was instantly obeyed and kept up until the intervening space where our
batteries were engaged was passed over. Those batteries, two in number, were a
part of the artillery belonging to Gen. Buford's division and were stationed
some half a mile to the south of the Gettysburg Theological Seminary while the
opposing force were stationed and strongly entrenched upon the east side of Marsh
Creek and at about the same distance from the Seminary as were our own forces.
The latter was the first to open fire and were, for a time, compelling our batteries
to retire from their position. This they were quietly doing and in good order
when the division of Gen. Wadsworth came to their support; the two able regiments
the Second Wisconsin and Twenty Fourth Michigan regiments rushing up and driving
from in front of them the infantry force who were making desperate efforts to
capture the pieces--
When these supports arrived the batteries again took up a commanding position
which they were enabled to hold during the day.
In rear of the position so taken up and to the right, the division of Gen.
Wadsworth were drawn up in line of battle with the division of Gen. Robinson
holding the second line. At the moment that these formations were completed, the
rebels, emboldened by their partial success in driving from position the Batteries,
attempted another charge with the object of seizing the pieces when the brigades
of the Second division with fixed bayonets made a charge upon them and such as
were not killed were taken prisoners
Two entire regiments, a Tennessee and a Missouri regiment, were then bagged.
Immediately after the arrival and going into position of the First Corps, the
Eleventh under Gen. Howard, who had been in the rear and marching on the same
road as the First, made their appearance, marched directly through the town and
at once formed a line of battle on the right of the Chambersburg road and some
half a mile west of the college, which is located at the extreme end of
the town. After some three hours of artillery dueling the rebels commenced to
retire. There were massed two infantry corps and in this formation a pursuit driving them back towards the mountain, something
under a mile soon after
four o'clock it was discovered that with an extensive force of infantry and
cavalry they were endeavoring to turn our left flank with a view, probably, to get
between us and our supply trains. Upon this being noticed, and it being evident
that our reinforcements, the Third and Twelfth corps, who had been anxiously
inquired after during the entire day, were not yet up, no other alternative was
offered us than to return to the east of the town and take up a better position
upon the top of a hill and along the line of road leading to Emmetsburg. This was
done but in admirable order, no unusual haste being apparent while at the same
time all ammunition and supply wagons which were up to the front were sent to
A little after 4 o'clock, the Third under command of Gen. Sickles, came upon the
field and went into position to then right of that held early in the morning by
the First corps. The Twelfth under Gen. Slocum as well arrived about the same
time and were stationed upon the right of the Eleventh corps After those two
corps, as well as those who had borne the heat and burden of the day were foemen
in array. They made an advance and with but little resistance succeeded in
driving the rebels from the town and back into the position they occupied early
in the morning. In this manner, and in these locations, both armies are resting
for the night.
The Second, Fifth and Sixth corps are moving this way and by morning will be up
and ready to do battle with us.
While the latter mentioned movement was being made, the enemy kept up a continual
rain of shot and shell upon the town and when ceasing, their cavalry dashed
through the town capturing all stray parties there, congregated together with the
wounded who were occupants of and the surgeons and nurses who were in attendance
in the many hastily organized hospitals there located.-
While the firing was in progress some few buildings were set on fire but the
town not being compactly built only such buildings as were struck by the shells
were consumed. In the confusion and excitement occasioned by the charge of
cavalry and our approach to the main hospitals being cut off, it is impossible at
the present writing to obtain anything like a correct list of casualties. Our
losses through are enormously heavy, especially among field and line officers,
are we warranted in guessing how seriously the rebels have suffered.
THE DOING OF THE FIRST CORPS
Upon reaching the scene of the engagement this corps found the cavalry division
under Gen. Buford drawn up in line on the Chambersburg road about three miles
from Gettysburg with their batteries in the position as before stated.
Gen. Reynolds, then being in command of the entire right wing, immediately rode to
the front for the purpose of making a reconnaissance and learning the position
of the opposing force when he was struck with the missile that ended his life.
The command of the corps then devolved upon Gen. Doubleday who immediately
hurried up to the front. In the meantime the cavalry kept the enemy's infantry
fully employed until the corps was well in position.
The first and third divisions first reached the front and, after being placed in
position, the Second, still keeping up its double quick, coming immediately up to
the right of the line. Soon after, the rebels advance and opened fire along the
entire line. Meredith's brigade, all Western troops, dashed forward and with fixed
bayonets and solid Union cheer succeeded in capturing near six hundred prisoners.
The First and Third divisions holding their own and, finding no impression could
be made upon them, the enemy turned their attention to the splendid division
under command of General Robinson. This division, being situated on a ridge and
having no support, was obliged not only to fight the front but had also to
protect his flank.
Suddenly a strong column of rebels come upon this division's front. Volley
after volley was pored into them but steadily they advanced. Finding the rifle balls
no no effect upon them a recourse was had to cold steel. The brigade under the
gallant Baxter was ordered to charge bayonets upon them and so well did they
obey this order that the rebels were compelled to retire with a loss, in
prisoners taken alone, of some four hundred and eighty men.
At this untrue the rebels were seen advancing in force on the right flank of the
division but finding himself hard pushed in that direction, he sent for the excellent
brigade under command of General Paul who immediately came up but not a moment
too soon as the rebels were found to be coming out of the dense woods on both
flanks as well as in front and in immense force. Again did the Second repel them.
It was while bravely leading the latter charge that the noble Gen. Paul received
the fatal wound.
All this time the First and Third divisions were being hard pushed but still
held their ground. The Second division doing all the hard work requiring frequent
changes and prompt decisions of its commanding officer. So rapid and frequent had
they been firing at at this time, they were completely out of ammunition and were
compelled to get that then very useful article from the cartridge boxes of their
dead and wounded comrades.
While the fight was progressing and the firing the hottest, a lieutenant of the Eighty-eighth
Pennsylvania came up to General Robinson. After saluting him, gave prompt
speech, presented the flag of the Sixteenth Alabama. Another flag was captured by
the Ninety-seventh New York.
So rapidly were the rebels reinforced with fresh troops in those attempts to turn
the First's left that it obliged the order to be given to fall back a distance
of perhaps a mile, fighting the whole time.
The Second division went into the fight at 11 o'clock A. M. and their remained
all the time subject to a galling fire without support or reinforcement
until 5 o'clock.
The Staff attached to Gen. Robinson's command was all actively engaged and
exhibited a bravery seldom met with under such peculiarly distressing and harassing
circumstances. Among the wounded of the staff are Capt. Charles Harvey and
James Mead, the latter of your city, thought but slightly wounded being able to
attend to his duties. The amiable Dr. Nordquist and the agreeable Captain Gerker
are no doubtless entertained by the Rebels...
July 3rd dawns upon the army about the same
position as the night before. Gettysburg. Most unmercifully punished, thwarted in every
point and worsted in every encounter, they fall back to gather their remnants and prepare
to evacuate the Key Stone State. We lay down in laurels of victory.
July 4th the enemy are reported on retreat,
and a portion of our army march out in pursuit.
July 4th, 1863
The Change in the
of the Army of the Potomac
(Correspondence of the New York Times)
The report of the change soon extended to the several corps and their commanders
hastened to bid farewell to the General. by three o'clock a large number of officers had
assembled and soon after Gen. Hooker appeared in the avenue before his tent. Some time was
spent in social intercourse, and to the last all formalities were dispensed with.
This parting was painful to every one, particularly
to those who had become endeared to the General by old associations. Gen. Hooker was deeply
grieved, He had been identified with the Army of the Potomac he said since its
organization, and had hoped to continue with it to the end. It was the best army of the
country, worthy of the confidence of the nation, and could not fail of success in the
He spoke of his successor as a glorious soldier and
urged all to hive him their earnest support. At the conclusion of the leave-taking, the
more prominent officers lingered at the General's tent, and spent the evening in reviewing
the pleasant reminiscences of the past, and plans for the future campaign.
leaves at once for Baltimore to which place he has been ordered to report. His personal
staff, including General Butterfield will accompany him. The officers of the several
departments at headquarters will doubtless remain.
General Mead was totally surprised by the order
appointing him commander of the army and deeply felt the weight of the responsibility
resting upon him. His appointment gives universal satisfaction, and all express the
heartiest determination to extend their heartiest co-operation.
The new leader of the Army of the Potomac, is the
grandson of George Meade, of Philadelphia, an eminent Irish American merchant, whose firm
(Meade & Fitzsimmons) contributed, in 1781, $10,000 to fund for the relief of the
famishing army of Gen. Washington
Special dispatch to the New York Times
BATTLE FIELD, GETTYSBURG, PA.,
via Baltimore, Friday, July 3
My brief dispatches regarding the desperate engagement of yesterday have
hardly conveyed a true idea of its magnitude and character. We have now had two
Nearly the whole of Wednesday was thus employed by the First and Eleventh corps
with varying success, they finally being obliged to fall back before greatly
This morning there were strong premonitions of an early engagement with the
enemy in force but as the day wore away and no positive exhibition was made by
the enemy, we began to think that perhaps there would be no immediate battle
after all. We were hardly in a condition to give battle as all our dispositions
had not been made, General Mead not coming on the ground until two o'clock in the
morning. The position of our forces after the fight of Wednesday was to the
eastward and southward of Gettysburg, covering the Baltimore Pike, the Sharpsburg
and Emmetsburg roads and still being nearly parallel with the latter. The
formation of the ground on the right and centre was excellent for defensive
purposes. On the extreme left the ground sloped off until the position was no higher
than the enemy, the ground in front of our line was a level field, country
interspersed here and there, within an orchard or a very small tract of timber,
generally oak, with the underbrush cut away. During the day, a portion of the
troops threw up temporary breastworks and in a battle Gen. Meade's headquarters
were at an old house on the Taneytown road immediately in retreat of the centre.
Our line was not regular in shape, indeed this center protruded out toward the
enemy so as to form almost the two sides of a triangle before sundown. General
Meade's headquarters proved to be the hottest place on the battle field so far
as careless shelling was concerned.
Gen. Howard occupied, with his corps, a beautiful cemetery on the hill to the
south of Gettysburg. Cannon thundered, horses pranced and men carelessly trampled
over the remains of the dead. From this hill, a beautiful view could be obtained
of the valley and also of goodly portion of the enemy's line of battle.
Our forced march had all been concentrated on Tuesday night save the Fifth and
corps, the former arrived during the morning and the latter soon after noon.
were all massed immediately behind our centre.
Whether or no it was Gen. Meade's intention to attack I can not say but he was
hardly ready for it before the afternoon of yesterday the day had become almost
dull. Skirmishing was now and then brisk and the sharpshooters in the steeples
and belfries of the churches persistently blazed away at officers and artillery
horses. It was by a sharpshooter in a barn just opposite Wadsworth's division yesterday
that Capt. Stephens of the Fifth Maine Battery got hit. A bullet passed through
both legs below the knee inflicting a severe but not a dangerous wound.
At half past three o'clock, Gen. Meade had received sufficient assurances so
justify him in the belief that the rebels were concentrating their forces on our
left flank which all felt to be secure under the protection of the invincible
third corps. Our line was immediately strengthened on that flank, General Sickles
Corps being sent to its support and several batteries from the reserve being
bro't out and placed in position.
At about half past four o'clock P.M. the enemy sent his first compliments by a
salvo of artillery his first shells falling uncomfortably near Gen. Mead's
Headquarters. From this hour forth to half past eight o'clock occurred by all
odds the most sanguinary engagement yet chronicled in the annals of the war
considering its short duration the artillery attack which was made by the enemy
of the left and centre was rapidly followed by the advance of his infantry. The
third corps received the attack with great coolness. The rebels at once made for
our flank and kept moving heavy columns in that direction This necessitated
support which was quickly given by the Fifth corps. The division of Gen Arnes
being sent to the right and that of Gen. Ayres regulars to the left with Gen.
Crawford in reserve.
The battle now became perfectly fearful, the armies engaged each other at very
short range and for three long hours the war of musketry was incessant. I have
heard more noise, louder crashes, in other battles but I never saw or heard of
such desperately tenacious fighting as took place on this flank. The enemy would
often bring up suddenly a heavy column of men and force our line back only to be
in turn forced back by our own line of glittering steel. Our gallant columns
covered themselves with glory over and over again, they fought a superior force
in numbers, the dispositions of the enemy were very rapid, for look where you
would on that field, a body of rebels would be advancing. Our dispositions were
equally rapid and the enemy found more than their equal in such gallant veterans
as Sickles and Birney and Humphrey's. At half past six Gen Sickles was struck in
the right leg by a piece of shell and bone from the field. The injury was so
great that amputation became necessary and it was performed successfully, the
limb being taken off below the knee. The struggle grew hotter and hotter,
the Second corps was called on for aid and tho' its own position was
strongly threatened yet the First division, formerly Gen. Hancock's, flung
themselves into the fight with desperation and after a long and obstinate
conflict, the enemy slowly and sullenly gave way. In this last charge, the brigade
of Gen. Caldwell, Second corps and that of Col. Switzer from the Fifth corps won
great honors. The charges made by our men deserve mention but want of time
forbids. The rebels made frequent attempts to capture our artillery and, at one
time, had Watson's battery in their possession but it was retaken in a furious
our charge by Birney's division.
The battle lasted till fully half past seven o'clock when the enemy fell back to
its old position and left our veterans the ensanguined victors of that field.
Our pickets were thrown out and our lines covered most of the field including a
great number of the enemy dead and wounded.
I visited some portions of the line by moon light and can bear personal witness
to the terrible ferocity of the battle. In front of some of our brigades who had
good protection from stone walls or fences the rebel dead laid piled in lines
like win rows of hay. In front of Gen. Webb's, the Philadelphia Brigade, they lay
so thick as to literally cover the ground. Not far from here was found the body
of Gen. Barksdale, that once haughty and violent rebel who cried ,as a dying
a cup of water and a stretcher from an ambulance boy. He is literally cut to
pieces with wounds and must die.
A great and magnificent feature of this fight is the splendid use of artillery
though our line of battle was only a mile and a half long yet almost every
battery belonging to the army of the Potomac was more or less engaged. Everyone
of the reserve batteries was brought into action the positions for use being
numerous. The enemy also used artillery largely but not to near so great an
extent as we did, from this they suffered immensely and especially on the left,
where canister was largely used. I believe we lost no artillery unless it was
two or three disabled pieces though it was very wonderful we did not.
THE GREAT BATTLES
Sam Wilkison formerly correspondent of the New York Tribune, not of the
gives an account of the late battles of Wednesday and Thursday which although we
have given something with reference, seems worth republishing for the graphic and
thrilling details. The allusion in the opening is to his son who was
Who can write the history of a battle whose eyes are immovably fastened upon a
central object of transcendently absorbing interest, the dead body of an eldest
born crushed by a shell in a position where a battery should never have been
sent and abandoned to death in a building where surgeons dare not stay?
THE BATTLE OF WEDNESDAY
The battle of Gettysburg, I am told that it commenced on the 1st of July, a mile
north of the town between two weak brigades of infantry and some doomed
artillery and the whole force of the rebel army. Among other costs of this error
was the death of Reynolds. Its value was priceless, however through priceless was
the young and old blood with which it was bought. The error put us on the
defensive and gave us the choice of position from the moment that our artillery
rolled back through the main streets of Gettysburg and tolled out of the town to
the circle of eminences south of it we were not to attack but to be attacked.
The risks and the disadvantages of the coming battle were the enemy's. Ours were
the heights for artillery, our the short inside lines for maneuvering and
reinforcing, ours the covers of stonewalls, fences and the crests of hills. The
ground upon which we were driven to accept battle was wonderfully favorable to
us. A popular description of it would be to say that it was in form an elongated
and somewhat sharpened horseshoe with the toe to Gettysburg and the heel to the
Lee's plan of battle was simple. He massed his troops upon the east side of this
shoe, or position, and thundered on it obstinately to break it. The shelling of
our batteries from the nearest overlooking hill and the unflinching courage and
complete discipline of the Army of the Potomac repelled the attack. It was
reviewed at the point of the shoe, reviewed desperately at the southwest heel, renewed
on the western side with an effort consecrated to success by Ewell's earnest
oaths and on which the fate of the invasion of Pennsylvania was fully put at
stake. Only a perfect infantry and an artillery educated in the mists of charges
of hostile brigades could possibly have sustained this assault.
Hancock's corps did sustain it and has covered itself with immortal honors by
its constancy and courage the total wreck of Cushing's battery and the list of
its killed and wounded, the heavy losses of officers men and horses Cowen
sustained and the marvelous out spread upon the beat of of death of dead soldiers
and dead animals, of dead soldiers in blue and dead soldiers in gray, more
marvelous to me than anything I have seen in war are a ghastly and shocking
testimony to the terrible fight of the 2d corps that none will gainsay that
corps will ever have the distinction of breaking the pride and power of the
THE FORM OF THE BATTLEFIELD
The battle commenced at daylight on the side of the horseshoe position exactly
opposite to that which Ewell had sworn to crush through Musketry proceeded the
raising of the sun. A thick wood veiled this fight but out of its leafy darkness
arose the smoke and the surging and swelling of fire, from intermittent to
continuous and crushing, told of the wise tactics of the rebels of attacking in
force and changing their troops. Seemingly the attack of the day was to be made
through that wood, the demonstration was protracted, it was absolutely preparative
but there was no artillery fire accompanying the musketry and shrewd officers in
our western front mentioned with the gravity due to the fact that the
rebels had felled trees at intervals upon the edge of the wood they occupied in
face of our position; these were breastworks for the protection of artillerymen.
THE FIRING CEASES
Suddenly and about to in the forenoon, the firing on the East side and everywhere
about our lines ceased. A silence as of deep sleep fell upon the field of battle,
our army cooked, ate and slumbered, the rebel army moved one hundred and twenty
guns to the West and pressed there Longstreet's corps and Hill's corps to hurl
them upon the really weakest point of our entire position
THE SCENE AT HEADQUARTERS
Eleven o'clock, twelve o'clock, one o'clock in the shadow cast by the tiny farm
house, 16x20, which Gen. Meade had made his headquarters lay wearied staff
officers and tired reporters! there was not wanting to the peacefulness of the
scene, the singing of a bird which had a nest in a peach tree, writhing the tiny
yard of the the whitewashed cottage.
SHELLING BY THE ENEMY
In the midst of its warbling, a shell screamed over the house instantly followed
by another and in a moment the air was full of the most complete artillery
prelude to an infantry battle that was over exhibited. Every size and form of
shell known to British and to American gunnery shrieked ,whirled, moaned, whistled
and wrathfully fluttered over our ground as many as six in a second, constantly
two in a second, bursting and screaming over and around the head quarters made a
very hell of fire that amazed the oldest officers.
FEARFUL EFFECT OF THE FIRE
They burst in the yard, burst next to the fence on both sides, garnished as usual
with the hitched horses of aids and orderlies, the fastened animals reared and
plunged with terror, then one fell, then another, sixteen laid dead and mangled
before the fire ceased, still fastened by their halters which gave the impression
of being wickedly tied up to die painfully there, brute victims of a cruel war
touched all hearts. Through the midst of a storm of screaming and exploding
shells ,an ambulance driven by its frenzied conductor at full speed presented to
all of us the marvelous spectacle of a horse going rapidly on three legs, a hind one had been shot off at the hock.
A shell tore up the little step of the headquarters cottage and ripped bags of
oats as with a knife, another soon carried off one of its pillars, soon a spherical
case burst near the open door, another ripped through the low gates, the remaining
pillar went almost immediately to the howl of a fixed shot that Whitworth must
have made during this fire. The horses, at twenty and thirty feet distant, were
receiving their death and soldiers in federal blue were torn to pieces in the
road and died with the peculiar yells that blend the extorted cry of pain with
horror and despair. Not an orderly, not a ambulance, not a straggler was to
be seen upon the plain swept by this tempest of orchestral death thirty minutes
after it commenced.
Were not one hundred and twenty pieces of artillery trying to cut from the field
every battery we had in position to resist their purposed infantry attack and to
sweep away the slight defenses behind which our infantry were waiting? Forty
minutes, fifty minutes counted on watches that ran on o so languidly, shells
through the two or rooms. A shell into the chimney the daringly did not
exploded. Shells in the yard the air thicker and fuller and more deafening with
the howling and whirring of these infernal missiles. The chief of staff struck
Seth Williams loved and respected through the army separated from instant death
by two inches of space vertically measured an aid bored with a fragment of iron
through the bone of the arm Another cut with an exploded peace and the time
measured on the sluggish watches was one hour and fifteen minutes.
THE INFANTRY CHARGING
Then there was a lull and we knew that the rebel infantry was charging and
splendidly they did this work, the highest and severest test of the stuff that
soldiers are made of. Hill's division to line of battle came first on the double
quick, their muskets at the right shoulder shift. Longstreet's came as the
support, at the usual distance, with war cries and a savage insolence as yet untutored
by defeat. They rushed in perfect order across the open field up to the very
muzzles of the guns which tore lanes through them as they came.
But they met men who were their equals in spirit and their superiors in
tenacity. There never was better fighting since Thermopile than was done
yesterday by our infantry and artillery. The rebels were ever at our defenses.
had cleaned cannoneers and horses from one of the guns and were whirling it
around to use upon us. The bayonet drove them back but so hard pressed was this
brave infantry that at one time, from the exhaustion of their ammunition, every
battery upon the principal crest of attack was silent except Cowen's.
EXCELLENT SERVICE BY ARTILLERY
His service of grape and canister was awful. It enabled our line, outnumbered two
to one, first to beat back Longstreet and then to charge upon him and take a
great number of his men and himself prisoners, Strange sight! So terrible was
our musketry and artillery fire that when Armistead's brigade was checked in its
charge and stood reeling, all its men dropped their muskets and crawled on their
hands and knees under the stream of shot till close to our troops where they
made signs of surrendering. They passed through our ranks, scarcely noticed, and
slowly went down the slope to the road in the rear.
THE CHARGE FALLS
Before they got there, the grand charge of Ewell solemnly sworn to and carefully prepared,
had failed. The rebel had retreated to their lines and opened anew the storm of
shell and shot from their 120 guns. Those who remained at the riddled
headquarters will never forget the crouching and dodging and running of the
Butternut-colored captive when they got under this, their friends, fire. It was
appalling to us, good soldiers even as they were.
What remains to say of the fight? It straggled surlily on the middle of the
horse shoe on the west grew big and angry on the heel at the southwest, lasted
there until 8 o'clock in the evening when the fighting 6th Corps went joyously
by as a reinforcement through the wood, bright with coffee pots on the fire.
A SAD REMINISCENCE
I leave details to my excellent friend and associate Mr. Henry, my pen is heavy.
Oh, you dead who at Gettysburg have baptized with your blood the second birth of
freedom in America, how you are to be envied. I rise from a grave whose wet clay
I have passionately kissed and I look up and see Christ spanning this
battlefield with his feet and reaching fraternal and lovingly up to heaven. His
right hand opens the gates of Paradise, with his left he beckons to these
mutilated, bloody, swollen forms to ascend.
THE DECISIVE BATTLE OF FRIDAY
Mr. L. L. Crouse furnishes the following details of the decisive engagement of
Friday under date of Saturday, July 4.
Another great battle was fought yesterday afternoon resulting in a magnificent
success to the national arms.
At two o'clock P.M., Longstreet's whole corps advanced from the Rebel centre
against our centre. The enemy's forces were hurled upon our position by columns
in mass and also in lines of battle. Our centre was held by Gen. Hancock with the
noble old 2d army corps aided by Gen. Doubleday's division of the 1st corps.
TERRIFIC ARTILLERY FIRE
The rebels first opened a terrific artillery bombardment to demoralize our men
and then moved their forces with great impetuosity upon our position. Hancock received
the attack with great firmness and after a furious battle lasting until five
o'clock, the enemy were driven from the field, Longstreet's corps being almost annihilated.
THE SCENE OF STRIKE
The battle was a most magnificent spectacle. It was fought on an open plain just
South of Gettysburg with not a tree to interrupt the view. The courage of our
men was perfectly sublime.
THE ENEMY RETREAT
At five P.M. what was left of the enemy retreated in utter confusion leaving
dozens of flags and Gen. Hancock estimated at least 5,060 killed wounded on the
THE BATTLE FOUGHT BY HANCOCK
The battle was fought by Gen. Hancock with splendid valor. He won imperishable
honor and Gen. Meade thanked him in the name of the army and the country. He was
wounded in the thigh but remained on the field. The number of prisoners taken is
estimated at 3,000, including at least two brigadier generals, Armistead
of Georgia and another both wounded.
The conduct of our veterans was perfectly magnificent. More than twenty battle
flags were taken by our troops. Nearly every regiment has one, the 19th
Massachusetts captured four. The repulse was so disastrous to the enemy that
Longstreet's corps is perfectly used up. Gen. Gibbon was wounded in the
shoulder, Gen Webb was wounded and remained on the field, Col. Hummel of the 66th
New York was wounded in the arm.
THE FIGHT RENEWED
At seven o'clock last evening Gen. Mead ordered the 3d corps supported by the
6th to attack the enemy's right, which was done, and the battle lasted until dark
when a good deal of ground had been gained.
During the day Ewell's corps kept up a desultory attack upon Slocum on the right
but was repulsed.
Our cavalry is to-day playing savagely upon the enemy flank and rear.
Private Letter from the Iron Brigade
Headquarters Second Brigade
First Division First Army Corps
Gettysburg, July 5, 1863
DEAR BROTHER-I am all safe yet. This brigade commenced the battle on the 1st. We
had to march five miles and were thrown immediately forward into the fight without
support. We were exposed to a very heavy artillery fire and were scarcely on the
field before my horse was killed by a shell. This division only was engaged and
this brigade was on the extreme right of the line. We came in at a double quick
and found ourselves within two hundred yards on the rebel line of battle as soon
as we reached the top of the ridge in our front. Of course the musketry
immediately commenced and I must say I was never in a hotter fire in my life. We
lost a proportion of over a third of all the men we had engaged in the first
onset. D. H. Hill's whole corps was opposed to us and his line extended at least
half a mile beyond our right. In less than half an hour, the right of our brigade
was completely enclosed, Gen. Reynolds had been killed in our immediate front and
we were ordered to fall back, which we did. After my horse was killed, I mounted an
Orderly's. We formed a new line and again advanced but I cannot give details now.
We commenced fighting at ten o'clock A. M. and continued almost constantly
engaged till four in the afternoon when we fell back through the town. I had two
horses killed under me during the day, the General had one killed and two wounded.
Two of his staff were wounded. There were nine horse killed and wounded in the
staff during the day. In that day's fight, the 11th corps which came up on our
right about two o'clock P.M. proved themselves a set of arrant unmitigated
cowards and lying wretches.
The miserable cowardly pups fought about an hour and then fell back leaving us
to be almost completely surrounded by the rebels; yet they claim to have covered
our retreat. We fought forty minutes after they left us and would never have
gone back had not the 11th corps uncovered our right flank On the second I was
knocked off my horse by a flattened ball but immediately mounted again. It did
not hurt me much, we were behind breastworks at the time.
Your brother Tom
July 4th 63
THE LATE CAMPAIGN IN PENNSYLVANIA
A graphic and thrilling Account of the Three day's Great battle -
Terrible Battle scenes - terrible fighting -- a Great Union victory
(correspondence of the N.Y. World)
THE PRELIMINARY CAMPAIGN
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC
Near Gettysburg, Saturday, July 4
The campaign which has particularly terminated in the rout whose last sullen
echoes are now dying away among the hills beyond Gettysburg was the most
significant and remarkable of the war.
It has solved more riddles; it has taught more lessons; it has been a brighter advantage
to the cause of the Union; and a more signal disaster to that of the rebellion
than any victory won by the federal armies since McClellan hurled back the rebel
legions to Virginia from the memorable fields of Antietam. The Army of the
Potomac, under a cloud since the slaughter at Fredericksburg and the blunder at
Chancellorsville, has redeemed itself, in the eyes of the patron and the world, to
a level with the standard of the days when it was led to victory by the leader
whose heart may well leap within him as he contemplates this last achievement of
his beloved old time comrades.
Theories of its inferiority, born of the mistakes
of Pope, Burnside and Hooker and nurtured by the contrast of its failures with
the recent victories of Western troops, are effectually shattered.
It is shown to
the public, as it has always been evident to military judges, that this army has the
capacity for fight, the Endurance, the
Elan, and the
Energy to render it
invincible in the hands of a cool and skillful General.
The first movement towards the invasion of Pennsylvania was opened soon after
the battle of Chancellorsville by a cavalry movement which was met and quashed
at Brandy Station by General Pleasanton about the 1st of June. On the 13th
ultimo. General Milroy was attacked at Winchester by the advance of Lee's Army
under General Ewell, and fled disgracefully, after a short conflict, to Harper's
Ferry, abandoning all his stores and cannon to the rebels. This opened the way
for the advance of the foe across the Potomac. Another force of Cavalry crossed
the upper Potomac on the 15th causing great consternation in Maryland and lower
It entered Chambersburg and Mercersburg in the evening. The alarm caused by this
raid was unnecessarily great for the main army of Lee had not yet reached the
south side of the Potomac. The Union garrison at Frederick, Md., fell back to
the Raley House on the 16th. A detachment of the enemy attacked Harper's
the same day but was shelled back by Gen. Tyler from the Maryland Heights. Ten
thousand rebel infantry crossed the Potomac at Williamsburg in the night,
beginning in earnest the great invasion which was now fully shown to be
The fights at Aldie on the 18th and 19th were between Gen. Pleasanton's and a
body of the enemy's cavalry which is supposed to have flanked the rear. More
rebels constantly poured across the Potomac and on the 19th, Ewell's entire
division occupied Sharpsburg in Maryland.
By this time Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey began their great effort to
repel Lee's advance from the North. Hooker, reposing in pastoral quiet at Fairfax
Station in Virginia, did not disturb himself with any such activity. He watched
waited and was puzzled!
Milroy's stampede, the clamor of which it seems might have come to him from over
the western mountains; the cries of help from Harrisburg, Pittsburg, Carlisle,
and other minor Pennsylvania towns ; the tremendous appeals from Philadelphia
and Baltimore - all this did not serve to rouse him from his lethargy or give him
the least idea of where the enemy was. It was not until a voice of command from Washington,
inspired, it is believed, from the midst of his own army, came sounding in his
ears like a fire bell in the night, that be ordered up his tent stakes and began
his march northward over the Potomac. Meanwhile Gen. Couch had commenced the
organization of a militia force at Gettysburg and check of the twenty thousand men
under Ewell who were raiding like banditti through the country. The main rebel
army was entirely across the Potomac below Williamsburg and on the 26th moved
northward viz McConnelsburg and Chambersburg, and began, in partially scattered
columns, its advance through Pennsylvania in the direction of Philadelphia and
Baltimore. The rashness and audacity of this movement seemed to confound the
General then in command of this army! Every mile over which Lee now marched
lengthened his lines of communication in such a degree as would have imperiled
it beyond peradventure had Hooker seen fit to improve his advantage, forty thousand
troops and a hundred pieces of artillery passed through Chambersburg on the
27th. On Sunday York was occupied by Gen. Early who made his famous levy on its
citizens. Harrisburg, long threatened, was not yet attacked.
Gen. Meade took command of this army on Sunday the 28th inst. At that time his
headquarters were at Frederick and Lee's at Hagerstown; It will be seen that he
was in the southwest and, consequently, in the rear of the foe imminently threatening
his line of retreat. The army of the Potomac began its campaign from that
Orders were issued to the several corps to move early in the evening and on the
morning of the 29th, our whole brilliant and hopeful host was in motion toward Pennsylvania.
The 1st, 3d and 11th corps encamped on Tuesday at Emmetsburg ; the 2d and 12th
also pitched their tents near by. The 6th corps marched to Carlisle Wednesday
morning, the first day of this month forever memorable.
The 1st. Corps., under Major Gen. Reynolds, and the 11th, under Major Gen. Howard,
started for Gettysburg, Reynolds in command, where they arrived at 10 o'clock
AM. The 1st Corps, in advance, marched directly through the town. The enemy was
discovered posted in a wood to the westward near the Lutheran Theological
Seminary. The beginning of the three days conflict was at hand.
THE BATTLE OF WEDNESDAY
One who has been in the presence, who now sits among the echoes and whose brain
teems with rushing memories of a conflict so recent and so vast, may well pause
before attempting to indicate its magnitude, to describe its progress. Rash as the
advance of Gen Reynolds has been pronounced by many brother officers who now
lament his death, I question whether it was not, after all, for the best; It served
at once as a reconnaissance showing the enemy's exact position and probable force
and as a cheek upon an offensive movement which that enemy might have been
intent upon. It secured the Army of the Potomac the commanding position of Cemetery
Hill from which the battles of the two succeeding days were chiefly fought and
which, had the rebel commander anticipated the engagement, he would doubtless have
secured for himself. Not less, perhaps, than the skill on our side, it gave us the
victory. When, therefore, the
HEROIC 1ST CORPS AND ITS FATED COMMANDER PLACED THEMSELVES IN THE TERRIBLE
DILEMMA OF WEDNESDAY MORNING, THEY WON A KNOWLEDGE, BY THEIR SACRIFICE, WORTHY
OF THE WORLD TO US THEREAFTER.
THE CORPS MARCHED IN THE FOLLOWING ORDER: 1ST DIVISION UNDER GEN.
WADSWORTH; 2RD DIVISION UNDER GEN. DOUBLEDAY; FIVE FULL BATTERIES UNDER COL.
WAINWRIGHT; 4TH DIVISION UNDER GEN. ROBINSON.
A portion of our artillery took position half a mile south of the seminary. The
enemy opened fire upon it with such fierceness as forced the batteries to
retire, which they commenced doing in good order.
Gen. Wadsworth immediately came to their aid, two of his regiments, the 2d
Wisconsin and the 24th Michigan, charged the rebel infantry forcing them, in turn,
to retire. The batteries assumed an excellent position further in the rear
which they held during the day. Gen. Reynolds now rode forward to inspect the
field and ascertain the most favorable line of the disposal of his troops. One
or two members of his staff were with him. The enemy, at that instant, poured in a
cruel musketry fire upon the group of officers; a bullet struck Gen. Reynolds's
in the neck wounding him mortally. Crying out with a voice that thrilled the hearts
of his soldiers, "Forward! for God's sake forward!" he turned for an instant,
beheld the order obeyed by a line of shouting infantry and falling into the arms
of Capt. Wilcox, his aide, who rode beside him, his life went out with the words,
"Good God, Wilcox I am killed."
The Command of the Corps devolved upon Gen. Doubleday who hurried to the front,
placed it in position and awaited a charge which, it was seen, the rebels were
about to make. An eminence, whereon stood a piece of woods, was the important
point thenceforth to be defended. The rebels advanced and opened fire from their
entire line. They were instantly charged upon by Meredith's Western brigade who,
without firing a shot, but with a tremendous cheer, dashed forward with such
swiftness as to surround nearly 600 of the foe who were taken prisoners.
A strong column immediately advanced against us from the woods and through
volley after volley was poured into them, did not waver. Their proximity and
strength at last became so threatening that the brigades of the 2d Division were
ordered to make another charge which was even more successful that the first.
Their momentum was like an avalanche, the rebels were shot, bayoneted and driven
to partial retreat, more that two regiments falling into our hands alive. Our
ranks suffered fearfully in this demonstration ant it was evident that such
fighting could not go on.
The 11th Corps now made its appearance and its General Howard assumed command of
the forces. Steinwehr was ordered to hold Gettysburg and Cemetery Hill - all his
artillery being paced in the latter position. The other two divisions of the
11th Corps, under Schurz and Barlow, then supported the First Corps on the right
in time to resist two desperate charges by Ewell's troops.
A third charge was now made by the entire rebel force in front, which comprised
the corps of Ewell and Hill, sixty-two thousand strong. The shock was awful. The
superior numbers of the foe enabled them to overlap both our flanks threatening
us with surrounding and capture.
Their main effort was directed against our left wing and not withstanding the
gallant fighting done by our soldiers at that point, they at last obtained such
advantage that Gen. Howard was forced to retire his command through the town to
the east, which was done in good order, the compliments of the rebels meanwhile
falling thick among it, in the shape of shells, grape and canister. The two
Corps were placed in line of battle on Cemetery Hill at evening, having withstood during the entire day the assault of an enemy outnumbering them three to
Not without grief, not without misgiving did the officers and soldiers of those
Corps contemplate the day's engagement and await the onset they believed was to
come. Their comrades lay in heaps beyond the village whose spires gleamed
peacefully in the sunset before them.
Reynolds, the beloved and the brave, was dead and Zook slumbered beside him. Barlow,
Paul, many field and scores of line officers had been killed.-
The men of the 1st Corps alone could, in few instances, turn to speak to the ones
who stood beside them in the morning without meeting with a vacant space.- the
havoc in that Corps was so frightful as to decimate it fully one-half and that
in the 11th Corps, nobly rescued from the suspicion which rested upon it before
- was scarcely less great. Yet the little army flinched not but stood ready
to fall, as others had fallen, even to the last man. With what a thrill of relief
Gen. Howard, who had sent messenger after messenger during the day to Slocum and
Sickles, saw in the distance, at evening, the approaching bayonets of the 3d and
12th Corps only those can tell who fought beside him. Those corps arrived and
assumed positions to the right and left of the 1st and 11th on the heights about
Cemetery Hill at dusk. The enemy made no farther demonstration that night. Gen.
Meade and staff arrived before 11 o'clock, the commander then examined the
position and posted the several corps in the following order: the 12th (Slocum)
on the right, the 11th (Howard) next, the 2d (Hancock), 1st (Doubleday), and 3d
(Sickles) in the centre, the 5th (Sykes) on the extreme left.
The situation was brilliant commanding for almost the first time in the history
of this army's career belonged the advantage in the decisive battles which
The heights on which our troops were posted sloped gently downward from our
grand line stretched in a semi-circle - its convex centre towards Gettysburg, the
towards the southwest and south. Ledges on the interior sides gave our soldiers,
in some instances, a partial shelter from artillery, every road was commanded by
our cannon and the routes by which Lee might otherwise retreat in case of his
defeat were all in our possession. At every one weaker that others, our reserves
were judiciously posted and the cavalry - an arm of the service scarcely brought
into play in some recent and destructive battle - protected both our flanks in
Thus the great army lay down to sleep at midnight and awoke on the morn of a day
more sanguinary than the last.
THE BATTLE OF THURSDAY
On what a spectacle the sun of Thursday rose. The memory of at least that portion
of our forces who witnessed it from Cemetery Hill will linger forever. From its
crest the muzzles of fifty cannon pointed toward the hills beyond the town. -
the bluffs, the other right and left, additional artillery frowned and away on
either side in a graceful and majestic curve, thousands of infantry moved into
battle line, their bayonets gleaming like serpent's scales. The roofs of
Gettysburg in the valley below, the rifts of woodland along the borders of Rock
Creek, the orchards far down on the left, the fields, green and beautiful, in which
the cattle were calmly grazing composed a scene of such peace as it appeared was
never made to be marred by the clangor of battle.-
I strolled out to the cemetery 'ere the dew was yet melted from the grass and
leaned against a monument to listen to the singing of birds. One note milder
than the rest had just broken from the throat of a oriole in the foliage above
me when the sullen rattle musketry on the left told that skirmishing had begun.
- Similar firing soon opened along the entire rebel line and although no
notable demonstration was made during the forenoon, it was apparent that the
enemy was feeling our strength preliminary to some decisive effort.
The day wore on full of anxious suspense. It was not until 4 o'clock in the
afternoon that the enemy gave voice in earnest.
He then began a heavy fire on Cemetery Hill. It must not be thought that this
wrathful fire was unanswered. Our artillery began to play within a few minutes
and hurled back defiance and like destruction upon the rebel
lines. Until 6 o'clock the roar of
cannon, the roar of missiles and the bursting of bombs filled all the air. The
clangor alone of this awful combat might well have confused and awed a less cool
and watchful commander than Gen. Meade. It did not confuse him. With the
calculation of a tactician and the eye of an experienced judge, he watched from
his headquarters on the hill whatever movement under the murky cloud which
enveloped the rebel lines might first disclose the intention which it was
this artillery firing covered. About 6 o'clock p.m., silence, deep, awfully
impressive but momentary was permitted, as if by magic, to dwell upon the field.
Only the groans, unheard before, of the wounded and dying only the murmur - a
morning memory - of the breeze through the foliage, only the low rattle of
preparation for what was to come embroidered this blank stillness. Then, as the
smoke beyond the village was lightly borne to the eastward, the woods on the left
were seen filled with dark masses of infantry, three columns deep, who advanced at
a quickstep. Magnificent! Such a charge by such a force, full
45,000 men under Hill and Longstreet - even though it threatened to pierce and
annihilate the 3d Corps, against which it was directed, drew forth cries of
admiration from all who beheld it. Gen. Sickles and his splendid command
withstood the shock with a determination that checked, but could not fully
restrain, it. Back, inch by inch, fighting, falling, dying, cheering, the men retired.
The rebels came on more furiously, halting at intervals, pouring volleys that struck
our troops down in scores. Gen. Sickles, fighting desperately, was struck in the
leg and fell. The 2d corps came to the aid of his decimated column. The battle
then grew fearful. - Standing firmly up against the storm, our troops, though still
outnumbered, gave back shot of death. Still the enemy was not be restrained. Down
he came upon our left with a momentum that nothing could check. The rifled guns
that lay before our infantry on a knoll were in danger of capture. General
Hancock was wounded in the thigh; General Gibbon in the shoulder. The 5th Corps,
as the 1st and 2d, wavered anew, went into the breach with such shouts and such
volleys as made the rebel column tremble at last. Up from the valley behind
another battery came rolling to the heights and flung its contents in an instant
down in the midst of the enemy's ranks.
Crash! Crash! with discharges deafening terrible, the musketry firing went
on; the enemy, re-forming after each discharge with wondrous celerity and
firmness, still pressed up the declivity. What hideous carnage filled the minutes
between the appearance of the 5th Corps and the advance to the support of the
rebel columns, of still another column from the right. I cannot bear to tell. Men
fell as the leaves fall in autumn before those horrible discharges. Faltering
for an instant, the rebel columns seemed about to recede before the tempest. But
their officers who could be seen through the smoke of the conflict galloping and
swinging their swords along the lines, rallied them anew and the whole line
sprang forward as if to break through our own by mere weight of numbers.
A division from the 12th corps on the extreme right reached the scene at this
instant and at the same time Sedgwick came up with the 6th Corps, having finished
a march of nearly thirty six consecutive hours. To what rescue they came their
officers saw and told them. Weary as they were, barefooted, hungry, fit to drop for
slumber as they were, the wish for victory was so blended with the thought of
exhaustion that they cast themselves in turn en masse into the line of battle
and went down on the enemy with death in their weapons and cheers on their lips,
the rebel camel's back was broken by this "feather".
His line staggered, reeled and drifted slowly back while the shouts of our
soldiers lifted up amid the roar of musketry over the bodies of the dead and
wounded, proclaimed the completeness of their victory. Meanwhile as the division
of Slocum's corps on the extreme right left its post to join in the triumph,
another column of the enemy under command of General Ewell had dashed savagely
against our weakened right wing and as the failure to turn our left became known
it seemed as if determination to conquer in this this part of the field overcame
alike the enemy's fear of death and his plans for victory elsewhere.
The fight was terrific and for fifteen minutes the attack to which the three
divisions of the 12th Corps were subjected was more furious than anything ever
known in the history of this army. The 6th corps came to their support, the 1st
Corps followed and from dusk into darkness until half past nine o'clock, the
battle raged with varied fortune and unabated fury. Our troops were compelled by
overpowering numbers to fall back a short distance abandoning several rifle pits
and an advantageous position. The enemy, who, haughty over his advantage and made
desperate by defeat in other quarters, made a last struggling charge against
that division of our right wing commanded by Gen Greary. Gen. Greary's troops immortalized
themselves by their resistance to this attempt. They stood like adamant, a
moveless death dealing machine before whose volleys the rebel column withered
and went down by hundreds. After a slaughter inconceivable, the repulse of Ewell
was complete and he retired at 10 o'clock PM to the position before referred to.
The firing from all quarters of the field ceased soon after that hour and no
other attack was made until morning.
THE BATTLE OF FRIDAY
As one who stands in a tower and looks down upon a lengthy pageant marching
through a thoroughfare finds it impossible at the close to recall, in order, the
appearance and the incidents of the scene, so I, who sit this evening on a camp
stool beside the ruins of the monument against which I leaned, listening to the
robin of yesterday, find it impossible to recall with distinctness the details
of the unparalleled battle just closed. The conflict waged by 160,000 men which
has occupied with scarce an interval of rest the entire day from 4AM until 6
o'clock this evening contains so much, so near and such voluminous matter of
interest as one mind cannot grasp with out time for reflection.
This last engagement has been the fiercest and most sanguinary of the war. It
was begun at daylight by General Slocum whose troops, maddened by the loss of
many comrades and eager to retrieve the position lost by them on the preceding
evening, advanced and delivered a destructive fire against the rebels under Ewell.
That General's entire force responded with a charge that is memorable even
beyond those made by them yesterday. It was desperation against courage! The
fire of the enemy was mingled with yells pitched even above its clangor. They
came on and on and on, while the National troops, splendidly handled and well
posted, stood unshaken to receive them. The fire with which they did receive them
was so rapid and so thick as to envelope the ranks of its deliverers with a pall
that shut them from sight during the battle, which raged thenceforward for six
dreary hours. Out of this pall no straggler came to the rear. The line scarcely
flinched from its position during the entire conflict. Huge masses of rebel
infantry threw themselves into it again and again in vain. Back as a ball hurled
against a rock these masses recoiled and were re-formed to be hurled anew
against it, with a fierceness unfruitful of success - fruitful of carnage, as
The strong position occupied by General Geary and that held by General Burney
met the first and hardest assaults but only fell back a short distance before
fearful odds to re-advance to reassume and to hold their places in company with
Sykes Division of the 5th Corps and Humphrey's, Berry's old division of the 3d,
when judiciously reinforced with artillery, they renowned and continued the
contest until its close.
It seemed as if the gray-uniformed
troops, who were advanced and re-advanced by their officers up to the very edge
of the smoke in front of our infantry, were impelled by some terror in their rear
which they were as unable to withstand as they were to make headway against the
fire in their front. It was hard to believe such desperation voluntary. It was
harder to believe that the courage which withstood and defeated was mortal.
The enemy gradually drew forward his
whole line until, in many places, a hand to hand conflict raged for minutes. His artillery
answered by ours played upon one column with frightful result yet they did not
waver,, the battle was in this way evenly contested for a time but at a moment
when it seemed problematical which side would gain the victory, a reinforcement
arrived and were formed in line at such a position as to enfilade the enemy and
teach him, at last, the futility of his efforts. Disordered, ratted and confused, his
whole force retreated and at 11 o'clock the battle ceased and the stillness of death
This silence continued until 2pm. At
this moment the rebel artillery from all points, in a circle radiating around our
own, began a terrific and concentrated fire on Cemetery Hill which was held, as I have
previously stated, by the 11th and 2d Corps. The flock of pigeons, which not ten
minute previous had darkened the sky above, were scarcely thicker than the flock
of horrible missiles, that now instead of sailing harmlessly above, descended upon
our position. The atmosphere was thick with shot and shell. The storm broke
upon us so suddenly that soldiers and officers - who leaped, as it began, from their
tents or from lazy siestas on the grass - were stricken in their rising with
mortal wounds and some some with cigars between their teeth, some with pieces of
food in their fingers and one at least - a pale young German from Pennsylvania -
with a miniature of his sister in his hands that seemed more meet to grasp an artist's
pencil than a musket. Horses fell shrieking, such awful cries as Cooper told of
and writhing themselves about in hopeless agony. The boards of fences, shattered
by explosions, flew in splinters through the air. The earth torn up in clouds,
blinded the eyes of hurrying men; and through the branches of the trees and
among the grave-stones of the cemetery, a shower of destruction crashed
carelessly. As with hundreds of others, I groped through this tempest of death
for the shelter of the bluff, an old man, a private in a company belonging to
the 24th Michigan was struck scarcely ten feet away by a cannon ball which tore
through him extorting such a low intense cry of mortal pain as I pray God I may
never again hear. The hill, which seemed alone devoted to this rain of death, was
clear in nearly all its unsheltered places within five minutes after the fire
Our batteries responded immediately
Three hours of cannonading ensued exceeding in fierceness any ever known.
Probably three hundred cannon were fired simultaneously until 4 o'clock when the
rebel infantry were again seen massing in the woods fronting our centre, formed
by the 1st and 2nd Corps. Gen. Doubleday's troops met this charge with the same
heroic courage that had so often repelled the enemy in his desperate attempts,
the charge was made spiritedly but less venomously than before. Gen. Webb
commanding the 2d Brigade, 2d Division of the 2d Corps met the stern fury of the
attack with a steady fire that served to retard the enemy's advance for a
That moment was occupied by the
Gen. Armitage in steadying his troops behind the fence. Gen Webb immediately
ordered a charge which was made with such eagerness and swiftness and supported
by such numbers of our troops as enabled us partially to surround the enemy and
capture Gen. Armitage and 3,000 of his men.
The carnage which accompanied this
charge and the terror inspired by it were so great as to reduce numbers of the
foe to actual cowardice. They fell upon their knees and faces, holding forward
their guns and begging for mercy while their caped comrades, panic stricken and
utterly routed, rushed down across the ditches and fences through the fields and
through Gettysburg. Not a column remained to make another start. The triumph
fought for during these three terrible days belonged at last to the noble Army
of the Potomac.
With a pen that falters; with a hand
and a heart heavy, even in the presence of this great conquest, saddened by the
death of not a few friends and sick of the sights and sounds that have so long
shocked my eyes and numbed my thoughts with a vision deceived, perhaps, in many
instances by the mere tumult of the conflict; and with ears filled by divers reports
and estimates of officers and surgeons, I cannot , I dare not, attempt to give you
an account of our losses, They are great, But compared with those of the enemy
they are like as pebbles to grains of sand along the shore.
FROM THE OLD LIGHT GUARD
Lieut. W. H. Harris of the glorious old Light Guard writes the following to Mr.
Van Valkenburg of this city in relation to the Gettysburg fight and the losses
of his company
From the letter it appears that there are but "THREE
MUSKETS" remaining of the Light Guard!
"I have reason to thank God from the depths of my heart for my safety. I never saw men fall so thick and fast as they did in the 2d Wisconsin
regiment on the first instant. My belt and plate probably saved my life. It was
struck and bent considerably. I thought that the ball went through me until I examined
myself. I saw ten rebels flags that ware captured by our men. Any amount of
small arms are being brought in from the battle field. The rebels cleaned the
stores all out in Gettysburg. The citizens are very thankful that their building
were not any worse injured. No buildings were burned in the city, the injury done
to most of them can soon be repaired.
Nearly everybody in Gettysburg is acquainted with Theodore Rudolf who is now at
Harrisburg with the Militia. They say he is very patriotic.
Our regiment went into the fight on the 1st inst. with 270 men. Out of that
number 26 were killed, 150 wounded and 51 prisoners. Those taken prisoners were
taken in and near the town. The rebels came in on both sides had a great many of
our men were shot in the streets of the city.
The senior Captain G. H. Otis is
in command of what there is left of the 2d Regiment, about 40 muskets:
Below you will find a list of casualties in Co. "B", 2d Wis:
Killed-Corpl; Oscar M. Bradford, M. Brennan, Geo. Fox.
Wounded: R. Bradford, arm; L.M. Baker, leg; Silas Coster, leg amputated; G. H.
Easterbrook, leg amputated; G. T. Marshall, slight; Corp'l E. Markle, slight;
Corp'l James Woodward, slight to knee; R. A. Scott, foot; Sergt. C. W. Farrand,
foot; Corp'l C. C. Bushee, side; Cyrus Van Cott, severely in breast.
the following named were taken prisoners;
Prisoners-Capt. Robt. Hughes, Lient. D. B. Balley, Sergt. Mil J. Pitkin, Sergt.
E. W. Burns, Thos. B. Rand, Harline Goffine, D. B. Pieon, G. H. Hollenbeck and
E. D. Weeks.
All the officers of Co. "D" were wounded and I have
command of Col "B" and "D" In Co. "B" there are THREE
MUSKETS all the rest are either killed or wounded or prisoners
CASUALTIES IN WISCONSIN REGIMENTS IN THE BATTLE OF
U.S. General Hospital
York, Pa., July 6th, 1863
Editor Janesville Gazette:-Having just left the field of battle at Gettysburg, I
send you the list of casualties from such of the Wisconsin regiments as I saw
after the engagement.
Second Wisconsin Regiment-Colonel Fairchild, left arm
amputated; Lieut Col. Geo. H. Stephens, wounded, supposed mortally; Major John
Mansfield, hip and leg; Lieut W. H. Winegar, Co. H. killed; 1st Lt Levi Showater,
Co. C., Wounded; Capt E. P. Perry, Co. D., wounded; 1st Lt W. A Jameson, Co. D, in
foot; 1st Lt. A. T. Lee, wounded; Capt W. F. Parsons, Co. F, in the knee; Lieut
S. A Morrison, Co G., wounded; Capt J. Speery, Co. K, severe;
Missing.-Capt. R Hughes, Co. B; 1st Lieut. B. Deuly, Co. B; Capt. M. R. Baldwin,
Co. E; 1st Lieut. Ash, Co. E; Cpt. N. Rollins, Co. H; 2d Lieut. W. R. Noble, Co.
Enlisted men killed, as far as known, 21; wounded, 133; missing, 62.
Sixth Wisconsin Regiment- Capt Elckner, Co. K, killed;
2d Lt. Chapman, Co. C., killed; 1st Lt. Pruyn, Co. A, wounded slight; 1st Lt.
Harris, Co. C, wounded slight; 2d Lt. Morgan, Co. E, wounded; 1st Lt. Balley; Co.
H,. wounded; 2d Lt Merchant, wounded; 1st Lt. Rennington, Co. I, wounded.
Enlisted men killed as far as known, 20; wounded, 106; missing, 25.
Seventh Wisconsin Regiment- Lt Col Callis, wounded
severely; Lt. James Johnson, Co. A, Wounded, heel; Lt. Weeks, Co. B, wounded,
Capt Hubbard, Co. B, prisoner; Capt Beomy, Co. D, wounded in hand, slight; 2d Lt
Estes, Co D, wounded in neck, severe; 1st Lt. Compton, Co D, wounded in shoulder,
severe; Capt Pond, Co. E, wounded in right side; 1st Lt Gibson, Co E, wounded; 2d
Lt Kind, Co E, wounded in side; 1st Lt Fulks, Co H, wounded, severe; Lt Bruce, Co K.,
Enlisted men killed as far as known; 25; wounded, 110; missing, 53. The battle was
one of the hardest fought engagements of the war. The Wisconsin men fought
like tigers, unwilling to yield in the least to the overwhelming force thrown
against them by the rebels.
Respectfully yours Henry Palmer, Surgeon U.S.A.
July 7, ' 63
FURTHER FROM THE "OLD SECOND."-A letter from Captain Otis to the
Governor says that "when the regiment made the charge in the first part of
the engagement, driving the enemy through the woods, it captured upwards of 150
prisoners and also Brig. General Archer who surrendered to Private
Malony , of
Co. G., several field and line officers were also made prisoners. Capt Otis also
says that Lieut. D. B. Daily, who was reported as missing, succeeded in escaping
from the rebels, and rejoined his regiment at South Mountain, July 6th
July 8, '63
THE LATE LIEUTENANT COLONEL GEORGE H. STEVENS OF THE SECOND WISCONSIN
This officer who died July 5th from a wound received at the battle of
Gettysburg, July 1st was born in New York City, December 8d, 1831.
Soon after the Astor Place riot in '48, he joined the celebrated 7th Regiment,
National Guard, and not long after was promoted to fourth Sergeant. After four
years service, during which time he evinced considerable tact, he resigned his
position and in company with other adventurous spirits left his native city for
Australia from which place he returned in the summer of '55.
He again presented himself for membership to his old company and was immediately
accepted. In '56 he removed to Milwaukee, and went into business with Mr. V.
V. Livingston. While in this city, he became a prominent member of the
Second Company Light Guard and during the latter portion of his membership was
Orderly Sergeant of the same. At an exhibition drill given by the company, a
prize medal was to be awarded to the best drilled member which was won by Sergeant
Stevens. Late in the Fall of '58, he removed to the village of Fox Lake where he
established himself in business. During the winter months he organized and afterwards brought to a state of perfection, the Citizens Guard which, owing to their
perfect discipline, was said to be one of the best drilled companies among the
interior towns. On the breaking out of the present rebellion he closed his store
and offering his services to Gov. Randall, they being accepted, not many weeks
after, he marched his company through the streets of Madison and quartered at
Camp Randall. His company became "A" of the 2d Regiment.
A correspondent in the Sentinel speaks as follows of his actions in the First
"Capt. George H. Stevens who, in addition to his many superior military
accomplishments, knows no such word as 'fail' and 'cowardice' is not akin to his
nature. His vocabulary contains no such feeling as fear and his collected self-possession
and undaunted bravery have been more than once tested. On the 21st of July 1861,
on the bloody plains of Bull Run, at the head of his company, he faced the lion in
his lair and was among the last who reluctantly left the hotly contested
In the spring campaign of '62 his regiment was with the army under McDowell and
altho they had but little fighting to do, they had their share of marching and
reconnoitering. At the Second Bull Run, after the loss of the Colonel at
Gainesville and the wounding of the Lieutenant Colonel and Major, the command of
the regiment devolved on Captain Stevens.
It was in this fight that the Iron Brigade was so highly spoken of by the
General Commanding .
On account of illness he was not present at the Antietam battle but joined his company
soon after. During the Fall of the year he was promoted to Major and was
present at Fredericksburg under Burnside. He was promoted to Lieutenant
Colonel early in 1863 and was with his regiment at the second battle of
Fredericksburg under Gen. Hooker and engaged in a sharp skirmish on the left
before Chancellorsville took place, in which action the regiment, however, took no
active part, altho' on the the ground. He closed a glorious military career
at the battle of Gettysburg where, as above stated, he received a
Wherever Col. Stevens was personally known, he has left many warm friends while
in his regiment he was greatly respected and beloved by all.
His remains were interred at Gettysburg in Evergreen Cemetery from whence they
will be removed at some future day to Wisconsin. He leaves a wife and two
FROM THE 2D REGIMENT
We give below a letter from one of the Belle City Rifle boys to his mother in
this city. It contains some particulate of their march from the Rappahannock
which we have not before seen:
South Mountain, Md.
July 9th, 1863
I received your letter yesterday and as we are not on the march today I
will try and answer it. We took up our line of march from the Rappahannock River
on the 12 of June and on the 30th inst found ourselves within five miles of Gettysburg,
Pa. after traveling a distance of about 200 miles. We had some very hard marches.
It has rained every day since we crossed the Potomac excepting to day on the 1st
of July. We moved on in the direction of Gettysburg our division taking the lead.
At Gettysburg we found the enemy in force. Our Division immediately engaged them
we fought them two hours before the rest of the Corps came up. The 11th Corps
came up and took position on our right, the fight lasted six hours. The 11th Corp
(Flying Dutchmen) broke and run, the enemy were flanking us from both ways and we
were obliged to fall back, which we did in the best of order.We fell back about
half a mile and took a new position on a ridge.
Our brigade lost heavy and took a large number of prisoners. Our regiment took a
large number of prisoners also General Archer. On the morning of the 2d they
opened on our left; the battle soon raged along the whole line. We beat them at
every point. On the 3d inst they attacked us again and such fighting was never
before known. They made 11 different charges on our front and were badly beaten
On the 4th everything was quiet. On the 5th we found that the enemy were making
tracks for the Potomac. Some of the Corps were put in motion. We did not leave
until the morning of the 6th. We are now on the south side of South Mountain, two
miles from Boonsborough. The river is so high I do not think the enemy can cross
and most likely to morrow we will have more fighting. Our division now numbers
1,100 men. I do not think they will send us into another fight unless they are
Up to this time we have captured about 14,000 prisoners. This raid has cost them
heavy in killed, wounded and missing. They have last about 40,000 men; we have
captured a good deal of their train, also destroyed their bridges across the
Potomac. Our cavalry is now fighting them beyond Boonsborough.
In the fight on the 1st inst our regiment lost 214 men and 18 officers, I
will try and give you the list of wounded in our Company.
Capt. Parsons, wounded slight in the leg; with the company.
Sergeant Wormington , missing
Sergeant Jewett, wounded, leg slight
Corporal Christy, foot
Corporal North, arcris
Henry Powles, head
Thos. Lyons, thigh
Thos. Cloff, thigh
Adams, ankle, slight
John D. Leidy, killed
Sergeant Graham, with Company
Mead, with Regiment
Sheldon, Carlin and Cadwell in Washington, sick.
WISCONSIN WOUNDED AT GETTYSBURG THEIR CONDITION AND FEELING
Although we have before published lists of the casualties in our Wisconsin
regiments in the battle of Gettysburg, we publish the following lists of the
wounded giving the following lists of the wounded giving the character of each
injury with a delayed letter from Mr. Taylor who accompanied Mr. Selleck to the
battle-field on behalf of the Wisconsin Soldier's Aid Society at Washington. The
lists were alluded to in a letter from Mr. Selleck to the Governor published
some days since.
A note from Mr. Taylor to xGov Farwell dated Washington the 18th says: "The
Wisconsin wounded at Gettysburg were better attended to and cared for than those
of any other State not even excepting Massachusetts," and that the boys
were highly gratified and cheered by the visit of Gov. Farwell and other
Wisconsin people in Washington. A list of Wisconsin wounded at Baltimore and
Wilmington is promised shortly.
LETTER FROM MR. TAYLOR
GETTYSBURG, PA. JULY 9, 63
W. Y. Selleck, Esq, Washington, D. C.
Dear Sir:-According to your instructions, I have drawn up a list of the wounded
in the 2d, 6th, and 7th regiments which I send you.
I have been very busy supplying the poor fellows who lie three miles from town
with bread and butter and other necessaries.
They are almost starving. At first I had to buy bread at any price, but here let
me mention a lady - Mrs. Dr. Horner - who must think the world of all the
Badgers. She has placed at
my disposal wines, jellies, bread, butter, tea, sugar, in fact anything and
everything that could in any manner add to the comfort of our boys. She is a
noble lady and may they never forget her name.
This is not a full one by any means as many who were slightly wounded have been
sent to Baltimore and other cities. I got the names of a few who were on the
road to the depot and for some I had to resort to the list made out for the
whole corps; but I saw nearly all myself and vouch for the reliability of the
statements as to condition &c,.-When those who have been transferred to
Baltimore arrive at their final destination, a much fuller list can be obtained.
Drs. Ward, Arudt and Andrews are hard at work day and night.
The Colonel (Lush) came around to the Court House hospital to -day to see the
boys. It was a sad sight to those boys to see that left sleeve dangling at his
side but he cheered them up in their sad condition by going to each one and
shaking him by the hand. He looks as jolly and cheerful as if he had as many
arms as "any other man." You ought to have seen the poor fellows
endeavor to raise themselves up off their little bunch of straw to greet him. I
hope to see a little "star" twinkling at you and me over that
stump before long.
Major Mansfield is also doing first-rate but wants newspapers and reading
When I told the boys that you had gone back to Washington for stories. they all
said "bully for Selleck"; they all say also that you have done nobly in
coming so soon to their relief and leaving me to attend to them; and you and
they may depend that I will do all I can to out do any other State commission in
caring for our wounded.
They all forgot their wounds this morning when informed of the certainty of the
capture of Vicksburg and burst out into three good cheers, and burst out in the
"They drafted him into the army,"
Led by Bob Scott of Co. B, 2d who is wounded in the foot. I tell you it takes
(as a Dutchman remarked) "pooty much balls to kill dem fellers."
respectfully, yours, &c.,
W. M. P. Taylor.
July 5th we advance to the Emmetsburg
road, and toward eve pitch tents. In three or four days we have marched about 10 miles.
July 6th, march to Emmetsburg, ten miles.
July 7th, through Adamsville and Lewiston across
Catoctin Mountain at Hampberry and camp, twenty miles.
July 8th, through Middletown to
Turner's Pass in South Mountain, where we take position on the west slope and entrench,
July 10th, march down to Boones borough and again entrench a position on the
Hagerstown road, five miles.
July 12th, march to Funkstown, and after changing position
for the second time, finally halt on the west bank of the Antietam River, having come upon
the rebels, and a skirmish follows; four miles.
List of wounded in the Second Regiment Wisconsin volunteers at the Battle of
July 1st, 2d and 3d
Col. Lucius Fairchild, left arm amputated above the elbow.
Lieut. Col. George H, Stevens, left side, died on the 5th
Major John Mansfield, left leg, near knee
Capt. John Sporrie, K, head, slightly
E. S. Williams, leg, amputated above knee
Thos Malcomses, F, both knees
James F. Chase, C, left knee
Corp Chas Montgomery, E, calf, left leg
Warren L Pratt, G, left leg ,below knee
Chas A Garland C, left thigh and right leg
Alson Parody, C, right leg, below knee
Corp Thomas H. Kelly, H, left thigh
Corp. Edward Loney, H, left shoulder
T. H. Powland, L, left thigh
Gilman Clindinnin, E, right thigh and left arm
R. Bradford, B, left elbow
Robert A. Scott, B, left foot
G. F. Marshall, left hip, slight
Serg. C . W. Farrand, B, right foot
Corp. C. C. Bushe, B, left side
Silas Carter, B, right leg, amputated
Lewis M Baker, B, right leg, amputated
Lewis M. Baker, B, right thigh, bad
Henry W. Powles, F, head, bad
A. S. Baker H, bowels, slight
Corp. John Paschke stomach, cannot live
Thomas Lyons F, right thigh
V. F. Kinney, left leg amputated below knee
Priv. John M. Ambruster, K., right
leg below knee
Serg. A. T. Morgan, B, left thigh
Capt. Wm L. Parsons, F, leg
Lieut. Morrison, G, both legs
Corp. John Furse, I, intestines
Geo A. Estabrook, B, leg
Corp. James Woodward, B, knee, slight
Samuel Schlenker, arm and side
J. W. Hyde, bruised
S. A. Nichols, G, foot
T. W. C. Cliff, H, knee
W. H. Church, G
Joseph Weber, G, foot
Thomas Daly, H, Knee
John Smith, H, right thigh, slight
Serg. Jos White, E, right shoulder
Corp. Luke English, E, hip
John Berch, E, left side
John Saxton, E, right arm
Ben B Haitt, E, attendant on hospital
Corp. Wm H. Boyd, E, right thigh, bad
Sebastian Ostertay, E, through both cheeks, an awful face.
?hil Smith, E, attendant in hospital
Wm Rampton, K, right arm amputated below the elbow. died
Serg. Wandry, K , right leg amputated
Serg. W. S. Rouse, E, left groin, bad
Chas Rayner, A, left foot
Rufus W. Clark, A, right thigh
Nathan Heath, A, right arm
Corp. Wm Thomas, A, right leg above the knee
Richard Leiser, A, left by near ankle
Wm Frawley, C, right ankle
Serg P. B. Wright, C, left thigh and arm
S. E. Wilson, H, left ankle
Geo. W. Stone, left toe
Corp. John Banderop, E, left below knee
Corp. Henry M. Hunting, A, left ankle slight
Hugh Murray, D, left shoulder
Hetmann G. Langhoff, D, left ankle slight
John Mason, A, right leg calf
Luther M. Preston, A, left breast
C. E. Reilley, G, left leg, calf
Samuel Creek, D, hand
Fred A. Zahn, E, face and head
John T. Chritty, F, foot
Serg. T. D. Bohn, H, side
Richard L. Gidley, I, hip
John Whelsad, K, knee
Jacob Whitting, K, leg
Edward Riley, G, leg
Serg. Andrew Douglas, D, head
John G. Chalton, H, knee
Lieut. Wm Jamieson, D, foot
H. Picksley, G, both thighs
Jefferson C. Dillon, C, leg
List of wounded in the 6th reg. Wis. Vols. at the battles of Gettysburg,
July 1st, 2nd, and 3d.
Lieut. M. Mangan, E, right leg, amputated.
T. Huntington, B, abdomen and right hip
Eugene P. Rose, K, right leg, amputated
James McEwen, B, breast
Lyman Halford, C, knee, right leg
L. K. W. Kaulkner, C, arm
C. A. Crawford, K, left side
Abraham Fletcher, K, thigh
Serg't Jacob Lemons, C, head
Corp. Frank Young, C, breast
Joseph Heidorf, F, left thigh
Peter Nelson, B, leg
James H. McHenry, D, thigh
Franklin J. Hall, B, shoulder
J. R. W. Harvey, B, arm
Corp John A. Crawford, K, right leg
Corp. L. T. Kelly, B, sick
George Wilcox, K, right arm
Frances A. Deleglise, E, right hip
Ole Gunderson, B, right leg
Daniel North, A, hand and wrist
S. W. Temple, K, leg
C. A. Green, C, arm
Corp, Wm Day, C, arm
Serg't L. A. Polleys, H, knee
P. A. Everson, K, thigh
Gotlfied Schriver, I, thigh
J. Hedger, A, leg, arm and neck
Corp. Joseph Facks, B, leg
I Sevelfel, F, right knee, bad
Serg't Henry Schildt, F, left side, rib broken
Serg't Simon Marrgg , B, leg
Bernard McGinty, H, right thigh
John goodwin, G, left hip
Corp, Wugene Bullard, B, left leg, below knee
Serg't Robert Lewes, H, left groin
John Hertig, H, debility
August Schott, F, right forearm, slight
John Davis, F, left arm and breast, full of buck shot
James Scovil, K, died July 6th
A. Fowler, A, left thigh
Chauncey Wilcox, K, right arm amputated near shoulder
Wm Sweet, I, left side
F. Willey, I, left side
F. Willey, I, attendant in Hospital
L. Pratt, K, both knees
List of wounded in the 7th Regiment Wis, Vols. at the Battle of
Gettysburg, Pa,. July 2d and 3d, 1863
Lt. Col. John B. Callis, right breast and side
Charles Hankie, B, left arm, amputated
Wm Barumnm, K, bowels, very bad
John Straight, E, head
Corp. John M. Allizer, C, right thigh
Robert K. Jones, I, right ankle
Charles Foster, B, left arm
Corp Malcolm Ray, C right knee
P. F. Babcock, G, left leg and knee
Patrick Kelly, I, debility
Serg't M. C. Monore Ray, c, right thigh
Lieut. John W. Bruce, K, left breast, slight
Gorge Crocker, G, left leg
Fred T. Best, G, left leg above knee
Wm Sylvester, D, face, bad
John J. Hibbard, D, left foot, not bad
Allen Vanwalker, A, head, near right eye
W. Neal, C, left arm
Serg. Daniael Moriarty, K, neck
Chas, A. Osborn, E. left arm and hip, not bad
John Warbert, K, hip, flesh wound
Serg. Alex Levy, D, left leg, amputated at knee
Corp. Philonas Kinsman, K, right side, not bad
John D. McMullen, B, top of head, left side paralyzed
Musician John Doty, I, attendant
A. T. McKalvey, A, right foot
Joseph Brother, G, debility
Chas, F. Dean, F, left shoulder
Serg. Wm D. Acres, B, debility
Geo. Fritzmeyer, C, head, slight
Homer Newall, B left breast, not bad
Corp. Wm J. Cummings, A , left arm, bad and side, slight
G. f. Trucky, A, left hand
Andrew J. Smith, C, lost right eye
P. H. Walker, D, face and leg
Henry Barney, A, right knee
J. A. Carrier, F, left thigh
John Stadler, A, right arm, slightly
John Bladckburn, F, left leg, calf
Serg Thomas Buchannan, A, left arm
John Schultz, H, nose and neck
Serg N. B. Prentice, E, right breast
Corp J. F. Wolrod, A., left wrist
Geo H. Hamer, B, hip and arm
Capt Pond, E, breast
1st Lieut Charles Fulkes, H, thigh
Alex Fox, Knee
Herbrt Lull, A, abdomen
Jefferson Coates, H, forehead
Charles Brumstedder, A, bowels
Mr, Selleck:-The following names have been handed in from another Hospital since
I made my first report:
Phillip Shore, F, 6th, right hand
Corp. James Kelley, B, 6th, left breast
Charles Hilyers, C, 2d, left foot
Michael Hayden, B, 6th, head, serious
Sergt. Blrcham, A, 7th, arm
Vergel Holmes, H, 2d, left shoulder and leg
Lieut. Charles E. Weeks, B, 7th, left elbow
Corp. W. Pierce, D, 7th, left hand
David Spears, D, 7th, right hand
John Selger, F, 6th, face
Sergt. Hrisler, H, 6th, left hand
Augustus Holt, F, 6th, shoulder, serious
John Lagerman, F, 6th, left hand
Wm Fox, H, 7th, face.
Wm Pawson, K, 6th, right thigh
G. M. Marlett, H, 2d, right hip
Cornellus N. Okey, C, 6th, left wrist slight
Thomas Maloney, I, 2d, attendant
O. Davis, H, 2d, attendant
W. Strife, F, 6th, head slight
2d Lieut Hiram B. Merchant, H, 6th, right leg
Jerome F. Johnson, I, 2d, right shoulder
Corp. Richard Batson, G, 2d, leg
Sergt. Ole Strand, H, 2d, neck
Wm. L. Black, H, 2d, right hand
Sergt. George W. Blanchard, G, 2d, right hand and tore finger
John C. Johnson, K, 6th, right arm
Royal E. Atwood, G, 6th, right shoulder
Fred Tuttle, G, 6th, right elbow
John O'Hare, G, 6th, right thigh
J. R. W. Harwood, G, 6th, left arm
Corp. William Richards, G, 7th, right hip
Sergt. K Estus, D, 7th, neck and shoulder, bad
Sergt. N.B. Prentice, E, 7th, breast
V. McLane, G, 7th, right leg
Corp. Charles E. Kelley, D, 7th, breast
Serg't D. McDaman, K, 7th, right leg
C. M. Brooks, C, 2d, neck
Lewis Miller H, 6th, right leg and head, serious
Charles A, Keeler B, 6th, both ankles
Hugh Falty, K, 6th, left leg
George W Stalkes, G, 2d, right leg
Fred Kerstel, D, 2d, left arm
Serg't S. M. bond, H, 2d, right arm
Fred Lythson, H, 2d, left arm
Corp. Wm. Evans, B, 6th, left thigh, serious
Lewis P Norton, A, 2d, right leg
Wallace Enion, C, 7th, genital
2d Lieut. Levi Showalter, C, 2d, left foot
Lieut, A. F. Lee, C, 2d, right thigh
Corp. Alex Clark 2d, right arm
A little known
fact of the Battle of Gettysburg
Is that the famed Iron Brigade had a 6th
regiment/battalion/detachment known as the "Brigade Guard" on July 1,
1863 during its infamous "Last Stand". Formed by the politician
Long Sol Meredith to control foraging and meet M. G. Wadsworths Circular
Order of June 20th, this Guard was composed of roughly 130 men from all
5 Black Hat regiments, as follows:
| 1- Captain, Guard
Officer of the Day
| 1- First
| 1- 2nd
On the morning of July 1, 1863 roughly 100 men and 2 officers fell in as the Brigade
Guard, marching LAST in the Brigade column behind the 6th WVI. Commanding was
harmonica playing Lt. Lloyd Harris of Prairie du Chien, WI.
As the Black Hats joined the battle
on McPhersons Ridge, the 6th WI was
formed into a reserve column of companies, and the Guard was formed into two companies of
50 men. The 6th was then double quicked forward and formed battle line, and the two guard
companies were sent to the flanks of the 6th WVI, under the express orders of Major Rufus
Dawes, CO of the 6th WVI.
So when the 6th charged the Railroad
cut and captured the flag of the 2nd MS, they not only had the Red Legs of the 14th
Brooklyn and Cutlers Brigade with them.....they also had another 80+ effectives (we
dont want to double count the 6th WVI soldiers that were in Guard....) from the Iron
Brigade Guard, for a total battalion strength of about 425 men.
This courageously successful action by a
single regiment having such an effect on the outcome of a major battle has not received
the publicity of say, the 20th Maines fight at L R T. And the Eastern press (read that
NYC newspaper reporters) stressed that Col. Fowler of the 14th Brooklyn ordered the
charge!! But, It would be good and right to honor these Badger warriors for their
relatively unknown accomplishments in this the 135th Anniversary of the battle along with
the 150th year Anniversary of Wisconsins Statehood.
R. J. Samp,2d WI Vol. Infty
July 14th, the enemy has retreated to the
south side of the Potomac; we move to Williamsburg and camp, four miles.
Burns of Gettysburg
This was but a moment, for that respect,
Which clothes all courage, their voices checked:
And something the wildest could understand,
Spoke in the old man's strong right hand,
And his corded throat and lurking frown
"Lancaster, April 14, 1885
Received your note of inquiry some days
ago, but the changeable weather of this winter has so disturbed me that I have not been
able to answer sooner, and now prevents my writing with pen and ink.
Old John Burns came to the Seventh
Wisconsin Volunteers of the Old Iron Brigade at Willoughby's Run, west of Gettysburg, on
the 1st of July, 1863, after we, the Iron Brigade, had captured Gen. Archer's brigade in
the first charge in the morning about ten oclock. The man came up and asked me if
that was my regiment. I answered, yes.
He had and old flint lock gun in his hands
and came to a present arms and said, " Can I fight in your regiment? I replied,
"Old man, you had better go to the rear, you may get hurt." He replied,
"Hurt, tut, tut, I've heard the whistle of bullets before." I insisted on his
going to the rear. He insisted on fighting.
I then said, "Where's your cartridge
box? He patted his pants pocket and said, "There's my bullets, and here's my powder
horn," pulling and old-fashioned powder horn from his blue swallow-tail coat
pocket, "and I know how to use them." "Well, old man, if you will fight,
take this gun," and handing him a nice silver-mounted rifle we had captured with some
of Archer's men, I gave him the cartridge belt.
He declined to wear the belt, but filled
his pockets with ammunition. At this time nothing but skirmishing was going on in our
front and he got restless, went toward the skirmish line and to it and fought nobly until
I called the skirmishers in and made preparations to get out of that little end of a V, as
we were flanked on right and left.
We fought our way out as best we could,
and in this move John Burns was wounded three times and I lost sight of him and was shot
my self, and John Burns and I were left on the battlefield badly wounded, where I lay
Burns told me afterwards his friends took
him off home after the rebels had advanced over him and through the town.
General John B. Callis
The Hero of Gettysburg
The following thrilling narrative was related by B. D.
Beyea, who spent several days on the battle-field in search of the body of Captain C. H.
Flagg, who fell in that terrible fight:
"In the Town of Gettysburg live an
old couple by the name of Burns. the old man was in the war of 1812, and is now nearly
seventy years of age; yet the frosts of many winters have not chilled his patriotism, nor
diminished his love for the old flag under which he fought in his early days. When the
rebels invaded the beautiful Cumberland Valley, and were marching on Gettysburg, old Burns
concluded that it was time for every loyal man, young or old, to be up and doing all in
his power to beat back the rebel foe, and , if possible, give them a quiet resting-place
beneath the sod they were polluting with their unhallowed feet. The old hero took down an
old State musket he had in his house, and commenced running bullets. The old lady saw what
he was about, and wanted to know what in the world he was going to do. "Ah,"
said Burns, "I thought some of the boys might want the old gun, and I am getting it
ready for them." The rebels came on. Old Burns kept his eye on the lookout until he
saw the Stars and Stripes coming in, carried by our brave boys. This was more than the old
fellow could stand. His patriotism hot the better of his age and infirmity. Grabbing his
musket, he started out. The old lady hallooed to him: ,Burns, where are you going? O, says
Burns, I am going out to see what is going on. He immediately went to a Wisconsin
regiment, and asked them if they would take him in. They told him
they would, and gave him three rousing cheers.
The old musket was soon thrown aside, and
a first-rate rifle given him, and twenty-five rounds of cartridges.
The engagement between the two armies soon
came on, and the old man fired eighteen of his twenty-five rounds, and says he killed
three rebels to his certain knowledge. Our forces were compelled to fall back and leave
our dead and wounded on the field; and Burns, having received three wounds, was left also,
not being able to get away. There he lay in citizen's dress and if the rebs found him in
that condition, he knew death was his portion; so he concluded to try strategy as his only
hope. Soon the rebs came up, and approached him saying: Old man what are you doing here? I
am lying here wounded, as you see, he replied. Well but what business have you to be here?
and who wounded you? our troops, or yours? I don't know who wounded me; but I only know
that I am wounded, and in a bad fix. Well what were you doing here?- what was your
business? If you will hear my story, I will tell you. My old woman's health is very poor,
and I was over across the country to get a girl to help her; and coming back, before I
knew where I was, I had got right into this fix, and here I am. Where do you live?
inquired the rebels. Over in town, in such a small house. They then picked him up, and
carried him home and left him. But they soon returned, as if suspecting he had been lying
to them, and make him answer a great many questions; but he stuck to his old story, and
they failed to make anything out of old Burns, and then left him for good.
He says he shall always feel indebted to some of
his neighbors for the last call; for he believes some one had informed them of him. Soon
after they left a bullet came into his room, and struck in the wall about six inches above
where he lay on his sofa but he don't know who fired it. His wounds proved to be only
flesh wounds, and he is getting well, feels first-rate and says he would like one more
good chance to give them a rip.
July 15th, by
Keedysville to Crampton's Gap, eighteen miles.
JULY 15 63
A CHARACTERISTIC INJUSTICE
We have not, as our readers well know, the slightest disposition to excite any ill
feeling between east and west. The man who does, or attempts this, is as devoid of
good sense and patriotism as of filial feeling for the land which has given
birth to the best of our Western men. But we cannot pass by in silence the
distorted accounts by correspondents of eastern papers of the relative achievements
of eastern and Western soldiers on the late glorious battle fields in
Pennsylvania. If these correspondents had not systematically ignored the achievements
of the western troops in the Army of the Potomac or at least overshadowed them
by partial accounts of less deserving portions of that Army, we should be willing
to pass by this last instance of neglect and misrepresentation as due to an
honest misapprehension of the facts. This had not, unfortunately, been the case in
every battle that has been fought by the Army of the Potomac, our small
detachment of Western men have been called on to bear the hardest knocks, to
stand in their ranks and cover the retreat of brigades and divisions composed of
inferior fighting material and to contribute to the fame of divisions and corps
saved by their unflinching bravery while their own share in these achievements
has been generally overlooked by those who make the popular history of the war.
The official reports and the facts which come to light after the first newspaper
reports have always shown the real merits of our men but the impressions given
in the first accounts remain unaltered in the minds of most readers and the a
cruel injustice is perpetrated and never fully remedied.
Our old Iron Brigade containing the Second, Sixth and Seventh Wisconsin Regiments
has again and again suffered this injustice. It is a brigade the like of which
for endurance, indomitable pluck and thorough soldierly qualities cannot be
watched in all of the Armies of the Union. The history of Napoleon's immortal
"Old Guard " is not richer with instances of stubborn heroism in the
face of inevitable disaster than is that of this now sadly decimated brigade.
Yet we have often looked in vain for any fair recognition of its deeds in the
battle reports furnished to the Eastern journals. So at the capture of
Fredericksburg Heights under Hooker although our Fifth regiment led the van, we
were unable to find any eastern account which mentioned this fact. Other
regiments occupying less dangerous positions in this movement were mentioned in
the most glowing terms but our was neglected.
In the account of the first day's battle at Gettysburg, the same injustice has
been perpetrated. We see in the eastern papers glowing eulogiums upon the action
of the Eleventh Corps but little allusion to what was done by Meredith's (the
old Iron") and Cutler Brigades, both western Brigades. There is no doubt
that the Eleventh Corps measurably redeemed the reputation it acquired at Chancellorsville
but its importance in repelling the rebel advance has, as we believe, been
considerable overestimated and in consequence the work actually done by the
Western brigades has been underestimated. Thus we find in the report of Agate,
the well known correspondent of the Cincinnati Gazette, whose description of the
battle of Shiloh remains the best newspaper battle sketch of the war, that this
Eleventh Corps stood well until Ewell's Corps, "Stonewall's"
veterans, came up, but them to give his own words.
"Small resistance is made on our right, the Eleventh does not flee wildly from its
old antagonists as at their last meeting when Stonewall Jackson scattered them
as if they had been pigmies foolishly venturing into the war of the Titans. It
even makes stout resistance for a little while but the advantage of position, as
of numbers, be all with the rebels and the line is forced to retire. It is done
deliberately and without confusion till they reach the town. Here the evil genius
of the Eleventh falls upon it again to save the troops from the terrible
enfilading fire through the streets, the officers wheeled them by detachments
into cross streets and attempt to march them thus around one square after
another, diagonally through the town. The Germans are confused by the maneuver,
perhaps the old panic at the battle cry of Jackson's flying corps comes over
them, at any rate they break in wild confusion, come pouring through the town a
rout and are with difficulty formed again on the heights to the southward. They
last over twelve hundred prisoners in less than twenty minutes. One of their
Generals, Schlemiel, immigrant old officer in the Russian service in the Crimean
war is cut off but he shrewdly takes to cover, conceals himself somewhere in the
town and finally escapes.
The reports we have subsequently received incline us to believe that this account
is substantially correct.
Now let us see what troops stayed the onset of these hitherto irresistible
veterans of the rebel army says" Agate"
"But while our right is thus suddenly wiped out how fares it with the left
and Doubleday and sturdy Wadsworth with the western troops? Sadly enough, By half past three, as they counted the time, the whole of A. P. Hill's corps
acting in concert, now with Ewell, precipitated itself upon their line. These men
are as old and tried soldiers as there are in the war and they describe the fire
that followed as the most terrific they have ever known in a single brigade
(Cutler's) in twenty minutes every staff officer had his horse shot under him,
some of them two and three. In thirty minutes not a horse was left to General or
staff, save one, and that one, as if the grim mockery of War there sought to
outdo itself, had his tail shot off! Gen. Cutler himself had three horses shot
Few troops could stand it. All of the First Corps could not. Presently the thin
line of fire began to waver and bend and break under those terrible volleys from
the dark woods above. The officers, brave almost always to a fault, sought to keep
them in. One, his name deservers to be remembered- Capt. Richardson on the 7th Wisconsin,
seized the colors of a retreating Pennsylvania regiment and strove to rally the
men around their flag. It was in vain, none but troops that have been tried as by
fire can be reformed under such a storm of death; but the Captain, left alone and
almost in the rebels hands, held on to the flaunting colors of another regiment
that made him so conspicuous target and brought them safely off.
"This last desperate attack lasted nowhere along the line over forty minutes with
most of it hardly half so long. One single brigade that Iron Column that held the
left went in, 1,820 strong. It came out with 700 men A few were prisoners; a few
concealed themselves in houses and escaped near a thousand of them were killed
and wounded. Its fellow brigade went in fifteen hundred strong it came out with
forty-nine officers and five hundred and forty-men killed and wounded and six
officers and five hundred and eighty four men missing and their fate unknown.
Who shall say that they did not go down into the very valley of the shadow of
death on terrible afternoon."
The accounts of losses thus far received confirm this account which being given
by a western man does justice to the deeds of western men.
We have brought up this matter as due to the matchless valor of the brave sons
of our State who have on so many hard fought field so proudly maintained the old
flag and the honor of Wisconsin and because we wish as far as possible to remedy
the neglect of eastern journals. We should urge upon them that it is neither
fair or wise to neglect or underrate the share of our Western troops in the
battles of the Army of the Potomac. They cannot alter or affect the final
judgment of impartial history but they may succeed in partially alienating the
people of the west if they allow their correspondents to systematically ignore
the achievements of our solders.
July 16th to Petersville, four miles.
Correspondence of the Gazette
THE FIRST AND ELEVENTH CORPS AS THE BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG
B Office hospital
Gettysburg, Pa., July 17,
The rebel army is again in Virginia, the soil of Pennsylvania and Maryland did
not suit their taste as they have learned by their rashness in making so
fool-hardy a move as the one of June and July, they have learned by experience
that rebels are not men of the north. One more invasion like this last one would
utterly ruin the army of Northern Virginia. They have lost, since the 30th of
June, 45,000 men by casualties of war, desertion &c. and, of this number, I
think I can safely say 15,000 are wounded and in our hands.
The morning of the first was sultry and warm. We had orders to march at day-break
but for some cause we did not move until sunrise. The First Corps moved from
near Green Mount on the road to Gettysburg, our first division in the lead. When
within one mile of the town, firing began on our left and front. The rebels were driving
in Buford's cavalry which had moved forward on the Chambersburg road. Leaving the
road, passing through a wheat field and through a piece of timber some 80
rods ahead were our cavalry and flying artillery, contesting the advance of the
rebels who were pushing forward to gain a high eminences in our front,
commanding the road by which we were approaching. At this point an order came
along the line, the non combatants to the rear. The contrabands understood it and
made them selves scarce.
About that time the division moved on and entered a field a quarter of a mile to
the left of Gettysburg Seminary, the 1st Brigade being in the advance in the
following order, 2d Wisconsin, 7th Wisconsin, 19th Indiana, 24th Michigan and
6th Wisconsin. The rear was brought up by Major Wright of the 24th Michigan with
a guard of 100 men.
At this point we were ordered to double-quick in line, loading our guns and
fixing bayonets as we went. As we came to the brow of the hill some messengers
came whistling along. Directly is our front and about 40 rods away was a
regiment of rebel skirmishers. They were advancing so rapidly that it was
necessary to make a charge to spoil the advantageous position they had gained.
With a yell, the brigade went down through a piece of timber as if a nest of
hornets had got loose.
At this point I fell wounded being struck below the knee by a Minnie ball which
had the tendency of stopping my fun for a brief space of time as my limb
has since been amputated. With the help of two rifles I got off the field to the
Seminary where my wound was dressed shortly after being taken to town. Since
then I have not seen the brigade nor heard of the exact loss but I know it was
very heavy. Our three field officers were wounded and taken from the field.
Lieut Col. Stevens has since died. His body I learn has been sent home. Col. Fairchild
had lost an arm but is doing well. He was out the street a few days ago.
During this action, our corps general, Major General J.F. Reynolds, was killed
being shot in the neck the ball severing an artery. The brigade here captured
two rebel regiments but I am unable to learn what states they were from. The 6th
Wisconsin and rear guard captured a regiment colors and commander. The rebel
Gen. Archer also fell into their hands. Only the 1st and part of the 11th Corps
were engaged and, true to its former tradition, the latter failed to stand
up to a hearty support of the troops of the 1st Corps. The day for us was a
fearful one but upon whom the responsibility rests of pushing a single corps
into the face of an enemy whose strength and position were unknown yet remains
to be known. Some of the Baltimore and Philadelphia papers reserved not only insinuate,
but directly charge, that the 1st Corps gave way first and compelled them, Carl
Schurz' division, to fall back and that 5,000 good men in the place of the 1st
Corps would have saved the day; and this is spoken against men who fought for a
long time against great odds after their right flank had been exposed to the
attacks of the enemy, who hurled whole brigades upon the thus exposed portion of
the line composed of only ten brigades of the 1st Division, Gen. Cutler and
General Meredith's brigades first formed in line of battle to the left of the
town and gallantly engaged the enemy as your readers already know with a
gallantry too, which was highly praised by Gen. Hill who witnessed it; and a
rebel colonel expressed great surprise to Col. Morrow of the 24th that any stand
should have been made at all for our position was such it seemed
impossible for a single man to escape. So sure, he said, were they of our capture
that they withheld their fire until they received a volley from our men. While
the division was forming this line and advancing to the attack, the 11th Corps
was ordered to proceed through the town and take up their position on the right
our our division. Instead of doing this, only one division of that corps advanced
and this did not once get into line of battle, only the head of the column
engaged the enemy a short time, leaving the line of battle incomplete and then
falling back without cause or reason. This accounts of the confused and hurried
retreat of our men through the city and their loss while in the the street. The
troops of the 11th Corps left their position before any order to retire was
given, our line was unsupported and the enemy taking advantage of our unprotected
right wing poured in a destructive fire upon our flanks.
Battery "B" lost 25 men.
The First and Second brigades were cut up
and scattered, only a small portion saving themselves from capture by a
precipitate retreat through the town. Thus much for the 11th Corps.
Had they remained silent and not outraged the honor of the gallant dead who were
slaughtered by their neglect, we should not perhaps have taken even this notice
of them and their conduct would be remembered only by the surviving comrades of
the gallant dead. They basely fled and their conduct was made the means of
inspiring a brigade of rebels to charge our right wing. On Friday, their officers,
believing that only the 11th Corps held the breastwork when they rushed forward
with a yell to put them to flight and only discovered their mistake in the bold
front and well directed fire of the 1st Corps which scattered them like chaff.
This much is only scanty justice to the men of the 1st Division, 1st Corps whose
honor and fame are in their own hands and is but a feeble expression of the
honest indignation shared by every member of that Division from the humblest
private in the ranks to the patriotic and self devoted commander. We were in
hopes to see some excuse offered for their shamefully giving away on the right
leaving us to be out flanked and butchered, but no no apology is offered. I
hope this matter may receive the attention it deserves from the soldiers'
Second Lieut. W. S. Winnegar, Co. H., 2d Wisconsin was among the first to fall. In
him the company has lost a valuable friend. His residence I think was Shopiere,
The wounded in this hospital are doing well under the care of Surgeon Beach of
the 24th Michigan Infantry. Hundreds of wounded are being sent away to Baltimore
daily their wounds being slight. The weather here is cloudy and damp. As
yet I have not seen any of the Wisconsin Soldiers' Aid Societies.
E. S. Williams
18th, cross the Potomac and camp at Waterford, Va., ten miles.
July 20, 63
A HARD MARCH BY HOOKER'S ARMY
A correspondent of the New York world speaking of the march of Hooker's army a
week ago said:
"this army in the march of Monday suffered untold miseries. The heat was
oppressive in the extreme with scarcely a breath of air stirring, the roads were
ankle deep with dust and to cap the climax, the streams and spring along
the way were all dry. The whole country was filled with stragglers. Men could
not be kept in the ranks. Every piece of woods was filled with them and no
coaxing or threatening could prevail on them to move on. The ambulances were
crowded with those who had completely given out. I presume there were as many as
a thousand cases of coup de soliel of which at least a hundred were instantly
fatal. The open country was covered with these poor fellows dropping down by the
roadside in all directions.
But we have reached the end of the hasty march at last and have made one day's
rest with plenty of water with which the whole army has quenched its thirst and
in which we have all had a good bathe. The result is apparent on all hands.
Everybody is refreshed and in better spirits. A little moderation of the heat
has also contributed to keep the army in better trim and I think I may now say
we are in condition to resume active operations."
July 19th, to Hamilton,
July 20th, to Middleburg, fifteen miles.
July 22nd, to White Plains, nine
July 23, via New Baltimore, to Warrentown, eleven miles.
July 23 63
THE IRON BRIGADE INTERESTING CORRESPONDENCE
(From the Madison Journal)
The following letters will be read by the people of Wisconsin with pride and
interest. The complimentary remarks of General Meredith with reference to the
noble Wisconsin soldiers of the 2d, 6th and 7th regiments are handsomely worded
and richly deserved by the men who compose those regiments the friends at home
of these gallant soldiers will read this letter of their leader with pride and
pleasure and those whose friends may have been killed or wounded in the battle
referred to will find consolation in the full knowledge that their friends
suffered while manfully doing their duty in behalf of the Union.
The reply of the
Governor is in excellent taste and will find a warm response from the hearts of
the loyal people of this State:
"Washington, D.C. July 23.
To His Excellency, Gov. E. Salomon of Wisconsin
Governor: Although still confined to my room from injuries received in the
late battle at Gettysburg, I avail myself of the first moment of sufficient
convalescence to express to you my high appreciation of the heroic conduct of
the troops of your noble State who were under my command in that severely
"The Old Iron Brigade " was among the first to receive the fierce
attack of a largely superior force and the 2d, 6th and 7th Wisconsin with other
regiments of the Brigade beat back the foe and fought as only intelligent and
patriotic freeman can only when defending our priceless institutions will be
proud that you are privileged to preside over such soldiers and citizens.
The fight opened about 11o'clock A.M. on the 1st inst and we forced the enemy
from his position capturing Brig. General Archer and the larger part of his
officers and men.
The 6th Wisconsin was temporarily detached from my command and although they met
a superior force yet they captured an entire regiment of the enemy I can pay
these gallant men no higher tribute than to testify as I here do that upon this
as upon all other occasions, Lieut Col. Dawes his officers and men fully
sustained the honor of your State.
Col. w. W. Robinson of the 7th and his entire command were the admiration of all
who marked their daring conduct Lieutenant Col. Calls was severely wounded.
The brave Col. Fairchild of the 2d was badly wounded and Lt. Col. Geo. H.
Stevens mortally wounded and died on Sunday following. Major J. M. Mansfield was
also wounded. The decimated ranks of the 2d speak their bravery in more emphatic
terms than any words I can use.
Capt. J. D. Wood A. A. G. on my staff behaved very handsomely during the
whole engagement as did also A. I . G. Capt. Holland Richardson whose gallantry
was conspicuous and Lt. Woodward of the 2d A. A. D. C. who was wounded in the
While I take great pleasure in acknowledging the distinguished gallantry of you
troops yet it is attended with deep sorrow at the great loss of life which
attended this brilliant engagement. Those who fell died as American citizens
should when the crisis demands the sacrifice their faces to the foe defending
the rich and glorious inheritance which God has signally bestowed upon our
people. Allow me before I close to appeal to you that the thinned ranks of these
regiments constituting part of the old Iron Brigade may be filled up from the
first draft made in your State.
Your obedient servant
July 25th, to Warrentown
Junction and camp.
State of Wisconsin
Madison, July 28, 1863
General: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the
23d inst. and to thank you for the high appreciation which you manifest for the
heroism bravery and patriotism of the Wisconsin regiments that under your
command in the late battle of Gettysburg added new laurels to those already won
in previous engagements in this war.
It is justly a source of great pride to the people of this State that the old
Iron Brigade which has won the name of unsurpassed heroic devotion to our common
country and its imperiled flag is so largely composed of Wisconsin regiments and
on behalf of that State for which they have gained honor and renown while so nobly
upholding the cause of the Union I take this occasion to thank those regiments
through you for the bravery which they have again exhibited upon the battlefield
of Gettysburg and which has drawn such high words of praise from you their
Words cannot express the people's thanks and gratitude for such deeds;
but with the imperishable fame of the old Iron Brigade in the history of this war
the bravery of Wisconsin's noble son's will be handed down from generation to
It is with pride that I here Bear testimony to you of the unflinching bravery of
Wisconsin troops in general upon every battlefield where they have met the enemy
in the east West or South; the same spirit is with them every where.
Permit me sir to mingle my most heartfelt sorrow with you at the many
sacrifices in life and limb which attended the brilliant engagement where of you
have written, God alone can reward those who have thus bravely ended their
lives; a grateful people will mourn with their friends and relatives and will
endeavor to succor and cheer those who now lie wounded upon the lonely cot.
Your request that the thinned ranks of the Wisconsin Regiments in your
Brigade be filed up from the first draft made in this State shall certainly find
due and favorable consideration on my part together with the claim's of other Wisconsin
Regiments whose ranks have been decimated by battles, if I should have any
control or influence in that matter.
In tendering you my congratulations upon the noble part taken by yourself in the
recent battle permit me to express the hope General that you honorable wounds
there receive will soon be in an a condition to enable you again to take the
lead of your gallant brigade and trusting that with such bravery a final victory
over the rebellious armies may not be far distant, I have the honor to remain,
Your Obedient Serv't
Gov. of Wisconsin
Brigadier General S. Meredith, commanding 1st Brigade, 1st
Division, 1st Corps, Army of the Potomac, Washington. D. C.
The division of General Wadsworth which so
heroically fought on the 1st day of July, was composed of the First (or Iron) Brigade
under General Meredith, and Second Brigade, under General Cutler of Wisconsin. All the
descriptions of this great battle, accord to the division of Wadsworth, the honor of
having done the heaviest fighting.
General Reynolds' corps was ordered to move to
Gettysburg on the 1st of July, the division of General Wadsworth being in advance. Firing
was heard when within a mile of the town, the rebels having attacked Buford's cavalry.
They were about eighty rods ahead, the cavalry and light artillery contesting the advance
of the rebels, who were endeavoring to gain a high eminence commanding the road by which
Reynolds was approaching.
"At an early hour, Wednesday, July 1, the
men partook of their frugal meal of hardtack and coffee. The Pennsylvania line had been
reached and passed , and the forces of the enemy must be reached very soon, but we did not
suspect that the foe was within a few hours' march.
It was a beautiful day and a beautiful season of
the year. The fields were either green with grass or yellow with the golden grain.
Nature had put forth her loveliest colors. Here
and there an old Pennsylvania farmer and the women and children would greet us loyally and
pleasantly as we passed by, little dreaming that they were living near a spot that was
destined soon to be the battleground of one of the greatest battles of the century.
The Iron Brigade marched along the Emmetsburg
turnpike, and when within sight of Gettysburg we could see General Buford's cavalry
dismounted, fighting with the enemy's infantry, west of the town. General Reynolds had
gone forward to confer with General Buford, when, as we reached a point about a mile from
town, a staff officer came dashing up to General Meredith and directed him to form his
brigade in line and charge the enemy in McPherson's Woods. The brigade formed in line on
the double quick, in order - the Second and Seventh Wisconsin, Nineteenth Indiana and
Twenty-fourth Michigan (the Sixth Wisconsin being held in reserve to be used whenever
required); the men loaded and fixed bayonets while on the move.
The Brigade passed rapidly over the
undulating ground between the Emmitsburg road and a rail fence that ran parallel to our
lines a few hundred yards from McPherson's Woods. We were delayed at this fence a few
moments caused by this obstruction, and the terrific fire of the enemy which made great
gaps in our line. Then the brigade pulled itself together and with a cheer, dashed
Wm H. Harries, read Oct. 8, 1895
At this time, Wadsworth's division moved on and
entered a field a short distance to the left of the Gettysburg Seminary, the Iron Brigade
in the advance, in the following order: the Second and Seventh Wisconsin, Nineteenth
Indiana, Twenty-fourth Michigan, and Sixth Wisconsin. An order was given to double quick
in line, loading and fixing bayonets as they went. As they came to the brow of a hill, the
Second Wisconsin, under Colonel Fairchild, discovered in their front, a body of the enemy
who were advancing rapidly to a very advantageous position.
These immediately opened fire, and gave the
regiment a tremendous volley, which cut down thirty percent of their numbers. Lieut. Col.
Stevens, of the Second, fell soon after the regiment got under fire, mortally wounded, and
Col. Fairchild received a ball in the left are, which compelled him to leave the field.
The brigade pushed forward, driving the enemy before them, who soon broke and fled, and
the division held the position.
Wisconsin in the War, Quiner
As we reached the edge of the timber, the enemy's
lines began to waver and then break; General Archer, whose brigade was in front, evidently
refused to be borne to the rear with his troops and was taken prisoner together with about
two hundred and fifty of his men." .
(There are as many versions of the number
of Archer's men that were captured as there are accounts, ranging from 250 to 1000. There
is no disagreement about Archer's reaction at being greeted by West Point classmate,
General Doubleday, when being escorted to the rear after being captured by Pvt. Patrick
Maloney, Co. G, Second Wisconsin. "Good morning, Archer, how are you? I am glad to
see you." Archer replied "Well I am not glad to see you by a damned sight."
Private Maloney's glory was short lived. He was killed later that day in the retreat to
The division soon fell back across Marsh
Creek and took position.. Here the First Division, General Wadsworth, formed in line of
battle, Robinson's division on the right, and Doubleday's on the right. The Sixth Regiment,
in the early part of the day, had been detached as a reserve to the line of the division,
and was not with the brigade until late in the afternoon.
"When General Archer's Brigade broke to the
rear, some of his men would occasionally dodge behind trees and fire and while this was
going on General Reynolds rode up to the edge of the grove with his aides, Riddle and
Wadsworth, and" (turning to urge on the Second, he was shot behind the right ear and
"The death of General Reynolds was a sad blow to the army. While it is not possible
to see how his inspiring gallantry could have overcome the numerical majority of the enemy
on this first day of the great battle, there is little doubt that his skill and courage
would have added materially to our strength and that his fiery impatience would have
hastened the arrival of reinforcements...
....there was a lull in the fighting which
lasted about two hours. This time was occupied by us in re-forming our little line of
The enemy attacked the position of the
First Corps early in the afternoon, having been heavily reinforced, and came on in
overwhelming numbers, determined to crush the inconsiderable force, which was now
commanded by General Doubleday, he having succeeded General Reynolds, The two brigades of
Wadsworth's division fought for nearly two hours, until the rebels were seen flowing
around both flanks, when they were ordered to retire; this they did in good style,
contesting every inch of the ground till they reached the battery, where they again stood
and fought as long as they had any ammunition.
The Nineteenth Indiana was placed on the
left of the brigade which was also the extreme left of the First Corps. The Twenty-fourth
Michigan on it's right, the Seventh Wisconsin next and the Second Wisconsin on the right
of the brigade. In the meantime the enemy was reinforced by the arrival of General Ewell's
Corps, and the first two divisions of the Eleventh Corps came to the assistance of the
Two-thirds of Lee's army then confronted the smallest corps in the Army of the Potomac and
part of another placed on the right of the line. This was the position when, at half past
one o'clock, the general attack was made upon the combined corps of Hill and Ewell. They
came down upon us in two lines of battle, their right overlapping the Union left by a
quarter of a mile. Their bearing was magnificent and their alignment seemed to be perfect;
in some instances their colors were advanced several paces in front of the line.
Pettigrew's Brigade came on opposite of the Iron Brigade.
Lieut. James Stewart in command of Battery B fired shell until they appeared on the ridge
east of Willoughby's Run; then he poured into them canister with terrible effect. The old
brigade could keep the enemy back in front, but they kept getting around out flanks until
we were obliged to fall back to prevent being surrounded. I think it was six times that we
re-formed our little line and made a heroic time each time before reaching the town, but
the struggle was so unequal that we were finally compelled to give way and retreat to
Cemetery Heights, south of town."
"...I know that when I passed up the street leading to Cemetery Hill, the rebels had
appeared at each end of the cross streets, and it was like running a gauntlet as the
bullets came from both sides. At Cemetery Heights the artillery having a good position,
our troops naturally concentrated, and a stand was made which the rebels did not seem to
care to contest, and the first day's battle at Gettysburg was ended.
They then fell back through the town to
Cemetery Hill, leaving their dead and wounded; not however, till they were nearly
surrounded, and there was danger of capture. The brigade reached the hill and took
position near the point of the ridge, where they threw up breastworks. General Meredith
had been wounded in the afternoon, and the command of the Second Regiment devolved on
Captain G.H. Otis, of Company I. Lieutenant Colonel Callis, of the Seventh Regiment, was
also severely wounded.
Late in the evening the Iron Brigade, then
reduced to the size of a very small regiment, was placed in position on Culp's Hill to the
right of the Baltimore Pike."
1st Lieut Cornelius Wheeler,
paper April 5, 1893
The Second Wisconsin lost 233 of
The Sixth, on being detached, moved to the
support of the right of the division. While doing so, the enemy succeeded in turning that
flank, and were pressing rapidly in pursuit of the broken line. Advancing at a double
quick, the Sixth reached a fence about forty rods from the enemy, and opened fire, which
checked the rebels, and caused them to take refuge in a railroad cut, from which they
commenced a murderous fire on the regiment.Two New York Regiments formed on the left of
the Sixth, and they charged together on the rebel position, under a terrible fire. When
they reached the railroad cut, the rebel regiment threw down their arms and surrendered,
their commanding officer giving up his sword to Lieutenant Colonel Dawes, who commanded
the Sixth Regiment, Colonel Bragg being absent under medical treatment. The colors were
captures by Corporal Asbury Waller, of Company I, of the Sixth, by rushing into the midst
of the rebels and snatching their flag from the color bearer, and bearing it off, though
being severely wounded. Waller was afterwards taken prisoner, but he preserved the rebel
flag between his blankets. In this charge the regiment lost 160 men killed and wounded.
Reorganizing his shattered regiment, Lieutenant Col. Dawes moved forward to the support of
a battery in his front , which position he held until the enemy had pressed back the lines
on the two flanks , when he fell back to the support of the brigade battery. During the
day, the Sixth Regiment saved the New York One Hundred and Forty-seventh volunteers from
capture, by charging down upon the enemy who were pursuing it, and in conjunction with the
Fourteenth Brooklyn, drove the rebels from the field. The regiment was ordered to retire
to Cemetery Hill, where it was reported to Colonel Robinson, commanding the Iron Brigade.
The Seventh Wisconsin bore its share in the
battle with characteristic gallantry, and suffered severely. During the action, Captain
Hollon Richardson, who was acting on General Meredith's staff, seized the colors of a
Pennsylvania regiment, and attempted to rally them back into the fight, but it was in
vain, and although he made a conspicuous mark by this action, he retired
Second Brigade, General Cutler, opened the battle a few moments before the Iron Brigade,
and suffered severely, the General having three horses shot out under him. In the battles
of the 2d and 3d, the Iron Brigade did not become engaged with the enemy's infantry, but
supported a battery on those two days.