Skip to comments.****GETTYSBURG**** July 1 1863
Posted on 06/30/2003 10:01:16 PM PDT by carlo3b
It was 140 years ago today, almost to the minute, that our nation faced one of the most defining and bloody 3 days, in the history of all mankind. On Wednesday, July 1 1863, more than 50,000 men and boys lost their life, or limb on one field of battle. On that day the tiny town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania witnessed not only a day that will find it's way into the annals of American history but a slaughter beyond belief. The Union and Confederate Armies met and fought a battle that was "Our War", between our neighbors and countrymen.. It was not the end of the war, but the beginning of the ..
WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES...
Thanks to the fine research and accurate depiction of that battle, performed by the folks on a great source of history, MilitaryHistoryOnline.com, you can join me in remembering those brave soldiers of both armies...
The first Confederate troops to enter the vicinity of Gettysburg were BG James Archer's and BG Joseph Davis' (the nephew of Confederate President Jefferson Davis) Brigades of MG Heth's Division (General A.P. Hill's Corps). At approximately 8 AM, Heth reached the crest of Herr Ridge and surveyed the approach to Gettysburg. Observing minimal resistance, Heth ordered his two Brigades (Archer and Davis) to march southeast along Chambersburg Pike and occupy Gettysburg. Heth decided to deploy Archer to the south and Davis to the north of the pike.Day 1: July 1, 1863 - Reynolds Arrives ....11 AM
But, unknown to Heth (pronounced "Heeth"), Union BG John Buford's cavalry held the town with two Brigades. In fact, Gamble and Devin's Brigades were deployed just east of Willoughby Run, northwest of town and supported by Lt. John Calef's horse artillery). The battle began when Gamble's dismounted skirmishers (who were armed with Sharps' breech-loading carbines) were attacked by Archer's Infantry Brigade. They managed to hold off the Confederate advance for over an hour, but eventually, Buford was gradually forced to retreat.
At the same time of Buford's retreat, BG Meredith's Brigade (known as the "Iron Brigade") and BG Cutler's Brigade arrived to relieve Buford's cavalry Brigades and occupy McPherson Ridge. General Reynolds (the Commander of I Corps), the senior officer on the field, saw the initial Confederate troops and sent word to the other nearest Corps (XI Corps and III Corps), to move towards Gettysburg at once.
While personally positioning Cutler and Meredith's Brigades on horseback, Reynolds was shot and killed (see photo to the left). This left Doubleday (who had arrived just moments previously), as the senior officer on the field.
Archer's Brigade now continued on the attack down Herr Ridge, across Willoughby Run, and up McPherson's Ridge. But, not knowing that Meredith's Brigade had now taken up the position that Gamble had vacated, the Brigade (Archer) marched straight into the fresh infantry Brigade. Meredith's Brigade surprised Archer and forced his Brigade to retreat back across Willoughby Run, but not before the capture of Archer and much of his Brigade. Despite Meredith's success, Cutler's Brigade (which was in the process of positioning along Chambersburg Pike and the railroad cut) was attacked hard by Davis' Brigade and soon found itself outflanked. Wadsworth (the Division commander) seeing that he was being outflanked on the right, ordered Cutler's three Regiments north of the Pike to retreat and reform along Seminary Ridge. Unfortunately, the runner tasked with this message was killed and was not able to deliver the order. Instead, Cutler's Regiments along the railroad sustained heavy casualties and were only then forced to retreat. Davis' Brigade, seeing Cutler's collapsed right flank, broke ranks in pursuit, but quickly lost its fighting integrity. At this time, the 6th Wisconsin Regiment (held up to this point in reserve and later supported by the 84th and 95th NY), was sent by Doubleday against Davis' pursuing Brigade. Davis' Brigade, disorganized and out of ranks, was forced to seek the protection of the unfinished railroad cut. Despite occupying the ideal defensive position, Davis' Brigade was charged by the Wisconsin 6th Regiment and the two New York regiments. Despite heavy casualties, Wisconsin 6th surrounded more than half of Davis' Brigade and took them prisoner. The remainder of Davis' Brigade now retreated to Herr Ridge where the remnants of Archer's Brigade had retreated earlier.
The retreating Confederates were forced to reevaluate their approach to Gettysburg. 11 AM approached, but Heth was still determined to occupy Gettysburg, especially after receiving word that Pender's Division was moving to support the approaches from the northwest.Day 1: July 1, 1863 - AP Hill at McPherson's Ridge...2:30 PM
After Heth's failed attack, Rodes' division approached Gettysburg from the northeast along Harrisburg Road. Early's division shortly followed behind Rodes. Upon nearing Gettysburg, Rodes headed southwest towards Oak Ridge where he observed Cutler's brigade preparing for an attack from Heth. Approaching unhindered, Rodes placed 16 guns of LtC Thomas Carter's artillery battalion upon Oak Hill and commenced to shell Cutler's startled troops.
General Robinson ordered Baxter's brigade to position north against Rodes' approaching division. Also, Howard's XI Corps had begun to arrive from the south and started deploying to the east. Rodes, sensing his advantage evaporate, decided to immediately attack. Unfortunately, the attack was poorly coordinated and ran into problems. Iverson's and O'Neal's brigades were ordered to advance along Oak Ridge and attack Baxter's newly acquired position. Instead, Iverson delayed the attack so that the artillery atop Oak Hill could inflict more damage upon Baxter. The left O'Neal in front alone and approaching Baxter who was positioned behind a stone wall along Mummasburg Road. Baxter made short work of O'Neal and inflicted over 40% casualties (both O'Neal and Iverson themselves amazingly did not accompany their brigades). Iverson now followed along the western slope of Oak Ridge (on what would've been to O'Neal's right). Now that O'Neal had retreated, Iverson's left flank was completely exposed. With O'Neal out of the way, Baxter was able to shift its complete attention to Iverson. Iverson's brigade marched blindly into Baxter's awaiting brigade with devastating results. An amazing 70% of the brigade were either captured or became casualties. These two Rodes' brigades had effectively been destroyed.
Rodes then ordered Daniel and Ramseur into the battle. Daniel planned to march southward along the western slope of the ridge, out of range of Robinson's brigades and swing around to attack Cutler's left flank. But, as it approached Chambersburg Pike, it encountered Stone's brigade which had been positioned along the railroad cut. Despite heavy casualties on both sides, Stone managed to hold the cut. Ramseur on the other hand, marched along Iverson's previous route following Oak Ridge. By this time, Robinson had reinforced Baxter's position at Mummasburg Road with Paul's brigade. This time, Ramseur attacked Baxter and Paul until they ran low on ammunition and slowly forced to retreat with heavy casualties.
The remaining stretched in anticipation of Early's soon arrival. Sensing a good vantage point, part of Doles' brigade attempted to occupy a small knoll to the west of Harrisburg Road. Barlow also eyed this knoll and sent Van Gilsa forward to extend the Union right flank. In order to compensate for Barlow's advance position, Schurz ordered Schimmelfennig forward to align with Van Gilsa and Paul. Barlow and Schurz had barely positioned their divisions when Early's division approached from the northeast along Harrisburg Road. BG Gordon's brigade led the attack and charged Van Gilsa while BG Hays and Col Avery attacked Ames' right flank. Barlow's forward position was exposed and could not be held (in fact, his men began running as soon as Gordon attacked). Doles, seizing on the opportunity, attacked Schurz and soon both Union divisions were sent retreating towards town.
At about 2:30 PM, General Lee arrived from the northwest in time to see Ewell's assault. He immediately gave A.P. Hill permission to join the attack. A.P. Hill sent BG James Johnston Pettigrew's brigade (over 2,550 men) to attack Meredith's brigade who had positioned along McPherson Ridge. Because of its size, Pettigrew's brigade was able to flank Meredith on the left and despite heavy casualties on both sides, forced Meredith to retreat towards the Seminary. Biddle's brigade defended an exposed section of McPherson Ridge and was attacked by Archer and also unable to hold its position. Stone's position was particularly vulnerable because it was formed to face northwest against Heth's division and northeast along Chambersburg Pike to face Rodes' approaching division. It too found itself in an untenable position; attacked from two directions, and also retreated toward the Seminary. Heth's division took a heavy beating as it attacked the Union units on McPherson Ridge, but it managed to force a Union retreat from the ridge to the Seminary. Meredith's Iron Brigade suffered an enormous 1,153 casualties (out of 1,829 men) while Heth lost about 1,500 of his 7,000-man division.MG Winfield Hancock arrived...4:30 PM
Just as Heth's division ran out of effectiveness, Pender's fresh troops resumed the attack against the rallying remnants of I Corps at the Seminary. The Union barely had time to begin construction of breastworks at the Seminary when Pender's Division attacked up Seminary Ridge. Lt. James Stewart's artillery battery had been placed on the ridge and managed to hold off the Confederate assault for several minutes. But, the Union found itself overwhelmed by the sheer number of Pender's men and once again was in full retreat. I Corps now lost cohesion and was sent retreating towards Gettysburg and Cemetery Ridge. XI Corps was also retreating through town from the north towards Cemetery Hill. The retreat was carried out in somewhat confusion and several units were slowed because of congestion in the town or were captured when their retreat was cut-off. Despite the near rout situation, the Confederates had taken heavy casualties and lacked the strength to pursue vigorously.
Fortunately, Howard had left Adolph von Steinwehr's division on Cemetery Hill with orders to hold the position at all costs. Von Steinwehr had spent several hours erecting breastworks and created a formidable defensive position. At about 4:30 PM, MG Winfield Hancock arrived at Cemetery Hill and assumed overall command (under orders of Meade, though Howard was senior to Hancock) just as Howard and Doubleday were trying to rally their units. Hancock realized he had an excellent defensive position, but he also knew his forces would be stretched thin to cover the needed area. MG Daniel E. Sickles' III Corps and MG Henry W. Slocum's XII Corps were arriving from the south, but Hancock did not know when. Hancock ordered part of remaining I Corps to occupy Culp's Hill. Doubleday protested, but then sent the remnants of Meredith's Iron Brigade to secure the hill.Day 1: July 1, 1863 - Union Reinforcements Arrive...11:30 PM
Surveying from Seminary Ridge, Lee requested A.P. Hill to continue the assault. But, Hill's Corps had been heavily battered and was nearly out of ammunition. Lee immediately sent word to Ewell to "secure possession of the heights...if practicable". Also, at this time, LG James Longstreet arrived and conferred with Lee. Longstreet wished to take a more defensive posture and place the army between the Union army and Washington. His rationale was to force the Union army into attacking a strong Confederate position. Lee, on the other hand, believed that he must confront the Union army and bring the fight to the Federals.
Ewell had always served under General Stonewall Jackson (who died at Chancellorsville) and this was the first time directly under Lee. Ewell, who had taken heavy casualties and could not count on A.P. Hill's support, hesitated. He was further confused by Lee's "if practicable" order. After waiting over an hour for the attack to begin, Lee personally rode towards Ewell's headquarters to find out why there was a delay. By the time Lee arrived at Ewell's headquarters, Slocum and Sickles' Corps were deploying along Cemetery Ridge and the opportunity for attack had all but disappeared.
General Meade's headquarters throughout the first day's battle was nine miles to the south of Gettysburg at Taneytown, Maryland. While there, he had received word from Hancock that Gettysburg would be the location to make a stand against the ANV. XII Corps arrived shortly after the fighting ended, in addition to the two corps (I Corps and XI Corps) that were already on the field. III Corps shortly followed later that evening, while II Corps was closeby. The larger VI Corps was over 30 miles away and would not arrived until later next afternoon. General Meade arrived at Cemetery Hill at about 23:30 on July 1 and began positioning his corps into defensive positions.
Meanwhile, Johnson's division (of Ewell's Corps) arrived from the northeast and Longstreet Corps joined from the northwest. Longstreet's Corps consisted of the divisions of Hood and McLaws. Anderson's Division (the remaining division of A.P. Hill) also arrived on the field from the northwest.
The terrain surrounding Gettysburg consisted mostly of ridges and hills to the south of the town. The most prominent features were Cemetery Hill (which received its name from Evergreen Cemetery on Baltimore Pike) which rises about 80 feet above the town and Culp's Hill to the east which stands about 100 feet higher. Cemetery Hill was relatively clear, while Culp's Hill was significantly covered with woods and large boulders. Cemetery Ridge stretched some two miles to the south and ended at Little Round Top and Big Round Top. At some places near the center, Cemetery Ridge barely rose above ground level.
Lest we forget
General Lee awoke early July 2nd and surveyed the Union line from Seminary Ridge. He observed that the Union line, anchored at Cemetery Hill, did not extend very far south along Cemetery Ridge. Seizing upon the opportunity, Lee ordered General Longstreet (who was just arriving on the field) to move on the left flank of the Union line. Lee's suspicions were confirmed when Captain Johnston returned from a recon and reported that the Little Round Top and Big Round Top along with a sizable southern stretch of Cemetery Ridge were unoccupied (there is actually considerable debate as to whether Johnston actually reached these heights).Day 2: July 2, 1863 - Round Tops and Devil's Den...High Noon
The plan called for Longstreet (who had arrived from the northwest along Chambersburg Pike) to march his two divisions (Hood and McLaws) south and then to attack northeast up Emmitsburg Road to strike the southern Union flank on Cemetery Ridge. A.P. Hill's Corps would then follow with an attack on the Union center. Finally, Ewell's Corps was to assault Cemetery Hill and Culp's Hill from the north once Longstreet began the fight. Longstreet's movement needed to go undetected and called for a circuitous route. He had to first march back up Chambersburg Pike to the northwest and then turn south behind Seminary Ridge. By the time Longstreet had reached his destination in Biesecker's Woods opposite Emmitsburg Road, it was already 15:30. Longstreet placed Hood on the right facing Big Round Top and McLaws on the left facing Cemetery Ridge. Longstreet expected the ridge to be relatively vacant, but found General Daniel Sickles' III Corps had positioned itself along Emmitsburg Road.
Earlier that morning, Meade had ordered Sickles' III Corps to take position on the Union's left flank along Cemetery Ridge. Upon arrival, Sickles noticed that the ridge was little more than a slight incline and very vulnerable. He realized that a small elevation about 1/2 mile to the west on which stood a peach orchard, provided a better position. Sickles, unsure of the awkward position, requested for Meade to take a look and provide his opinion. Instead, Meade sent BG Henry J. Hunt (the army's artillery chief) to survey the position and offer advice to Sickles. Hunt agreed with Sickles that the small hill (the Peach Orchard) and the ridge stretching to the north would be very beneficial to the enemy - all the more reason to occupy it. Hunt went on further to suggest Sickles to send out skirmishers to determine if Confederates occupied the woods (Pitzer's Woods) across Emmitsburg Pike. Probing the woods, Sickles' men immediately ran up against a sizable force (General Cadmus Wilcox's brigade of A.P. Hill's Corps - Longstreet's Corps had yet to arrive). Seizing the opportunity, Sickles ordered III Corps to march and occupy the Peach Orchard before the Confederates could seize it. General Hancock, II Corps commander, realized that Sickles had actually exposed himself by marching 1/2 mile in front of the Union line.
Meade finally realized that the immediate threat lay to the south when he heard the sounds of enemy artillery. Meade ordered V Corps (which had been held in reserve) to support III Corps' position. The VI Corps would then be held in reserve in its place. Sensing the vulnerability of III Corps, Meade departed for Sickles' position. Upon arriving, Meade approached Sickles and questioned him as to why he occupied such an awkward position. Sickles replied that he had gained the favorable higher ground, but Meade angrily countered, "General Sickles, this is in some respects higher ground than that of the rear, but there is still higher in front of you, and if you keep on advancing you will find constantly higher ground all the way to the mountains!" By this time, it was too late to withdraw the III Corps.
McLaws and Hood arrived to find Sickles' III Corps occupying the Peach Orchard to the northeast and extending to the Devil's Den. Hood reasoned that since the situation had changed, he would instead swing up and around the Round Tops and attack the Union rear along Cemetery Ridge. Hood disobeyed strict orders to attack along Emmitsburg Road (where Lee and Longstreet believed there were minimal Union troops).
Hood came upon the Union's southern flank only to find Sickles' III Corps in force along Emmitsburg Road. The Union's southern flank had been anchored in Devil's Den - this left the two Round Tops unoccupied. Hood sent word to Longstreet to press a change of orders and swing around further to the south. Instead, Longstreet replied that Lee's orders were clear and called for Hood to attack up Emmitsburg Road. Twice again Hood asked Longstreet to reconsider the situation - the third time officially protesting the order (something he had never done in his career), but every time he was denied. Given to common sense, but in complete disregard of orders, Hood ignored Longstreet and marched eastward to attack Devil's Den and up the Big Round Top.Day 2: July 2, 1863 - THE DEVIL'S DEN...2:30 PM
Hood's division consisted of four brigades (BG Jerome B. Robertson supported by BG George T. Anderson on the left, with BG Evander Law supported by BG Henry L. Benning on the right). Law's 15th Alabama and the 47th Alabama Regiments were charged with clearing Big Round Top of Union troops. Earlier, Sickles had positioned the Union 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters at the foot of Big Round Top and this same unit contested the Confederate approach. After climbing and hard fighting, Colonel William C. Oates' 15th Alabama Regiment forced the 2nd U.S. to retreat up and over the hill. After finally reachin the top, Oates surveyed his position and let his men rest for a few minutes. Oates' position was 305 feet above the battlefield and provided excellent coverage of the immediate area. Oates noticed very few Union troops on Little Round Top except a small number of Union signalmen who were observing Confederate troops movements.
As his men rested, Captain L.R. Terrell of Law's staff arrived (to Oates' surprise, he had somehow managed to climb the hill on horseback). Terrell brought news that General Hood had been wounded and BG Law was now in command. Law's orders were to immediately assault Little Round Top and secure a foothold in the Union's southern flank. Oates moved to occupy Little Round Top and encountered no resistance at all and in fact was joined by Law's 4th Alabama and Robertson's 4th and 5th Texas Regiments. To Law's left, Benning and Anderson attacked Devil's Den. But, just as Oates began to climb Little Round Top's southern slope, it came under what Oates recalled as "the most destructive fire I ever saw."
Law's Brigade came upon Colonel Strong Vincent's and Weed's Brigades who had arrived just 10 minutes earlier. Oates' Regiment had ran up against Colonel Joshua Chamberlain's 20th Maine . (These two regiments are focused because they are the absolute anchor of both army's flank - to turn Chamberlain's Regiment would be to lose Little Round Top and possibly the Union's left flank). Chief engineer Gouverneur Warren (who had been sent by Meade to survey the area) ordered Captain James Smith's 4th NY Battery above the Devil's Den to fire a shell into the area just north of Big Round Top. As Warren stated, "The motion revealed to me the glistening of gun barrels and bayonets of the enemy's line of battle, already formed and far outflanking the position of any of our troops." Warren now realized that the key lie with Little Round Top and immediately requested troops to be positioned on the hill. Sickles, at this time, was being attacked by McLaws and could not spare any extra units, but Meade had ordered Sykes' V Corps to reinforce Sickles' position. Lt. Ranald S. Mackenzie (an aid of Warren) finally found Sykes and notified him of the impending catastrophe. Sykes ordered BG James Barnes' Division to occupy Little Round Top. At the front of Barnes' Division was Colonel Vincent's Brigade followed by Hazlett's Brigade. Chamberlain's 20th Maine of Vincent's Brigade would be awarded the Medal of Honor for his following actions.
Oates' Regiment ascended Little Round Top at nearly the same time that Chamberlain's Regiment began positioning itself. When Chamberlain's Regiment first observed Oates, the 20th Maine opened fire and sent the 15th Alabama scurrying for cover. Then, Oates regrouped and ordered a rush up the hill towards Chamberlain's position. Oates managed to threaten to Chamberlain's left flank, so the 20th Maine left flank was ordered to withdraw so that the Regiment formed a "V". Over and over Oates rushed Chamberlain's position and threatened to overwhelm the Regiment. But, as the 20th Maine's men were expending their last ammunition, Chamberlain ordered to fix bayonets and prepare to charge. Before the Confederates were able to assess the situation, Chamberlain's Regiment came charging down Little Round Top and overwhelmed Oates' Regiment. Oates, unable to maintain his position, ordered a retreat off the hill. BG Stephen H. Weed's Brigade soon reinforced the Union position on Little Round Top and forced the Confederate attackers off the hill.
The Confederates were now able to attack Little Round Top from the southwest, but Vincent's men (reinforced by Stephen H. Weed's Brigade) were able to secure the hill. The Union had suffered 780 casualties (over 34%).
The Devil's Den was an enormous collection of boulders and rocks that were occupied by Captain James E. Smith's 4th NY Battery and BG Hobart Ward's Brigade. Hood attacked Devil's Den with Benning's and Anderson's Brigades. The 1st Texas and 15th Georgia charged Smith's Battery and nearly overwhelmed it when the 124th NY under command of Major James Cromwell led a counterattack. Cromwell was instantly killed and relieved by Col. Augustus Van Horne Ellis who was also killed. The fighting in the Devil's Den was confused and desperate as both sides struggled to occupy the mass of boulders. Eventually, the Confederates managed to capture three of Smith's guns and occupy the Den and the ridge above.Day 2: July 2, 1863 - The Wheatfield..4:30 PM
Starting at 16:30, after Hood's Brigades took over Devil's Den, Kershaw and Anderson attacked along Rose's Woods and the Wheatfield. The Union III Corps supported by the V Corps defended the Peach Orchard and along Emmitsburg Road. Anderson, Kershaw, and Semmes Divisions attacked along the Peach Orchard and the Wheat Field. The V Corps, realizing that they were being outflanked, withdrew to the Wheatfield Road. At this point, Capt. George Winslow's NY Battery held off the Confederate advance for several minutes. The fighting was fierce and three brigade commanders, Col. Edward E. Cross and BG Samuel K. Zook of Caldwell's Division, and BG Paul Semmes of McLaw's Division were killed in the fighting.Day 2: July 2, 1863 - The Peach Orchard.. 5 PM
General Meade had earlier specified that BG John C. Caldwell's Division of the II Corps to be sent to reinforce Sykes' position. At about 17:30, Caldwell arrived just as the Confederates drove the III and the V Corps from their positions. Caldwell's Division had barely arrived to reinforce the position (in fact the division arrived with with the rear ranks forward) when it came under heavy attack. It was enough to drive the Confederates temporarily back.
The Confederates soon counter-attacked - led by BG William T. Wofford's GA Brigade. The Confederates broke the Union line at the Peach Orchard and began attacking down Wheatfield Road - outflanking Caldwell's Division which now now fell back in disorder. As the Confederates continued their attack, Col. Jacob B. Sweitzer's Brigade was sent into the Wheatfield to halt the Confederate advance. Fierce hand-to-hand fighting resulted but Sweitzer was unable to hold the Wheatfield.
As Sweitzer's men were forced to retreat, two brigades of BG Romeyn B. Ayres' Division entered east of the Wheatfield. They sought to delay the Confederates long enough so that the retreating Union could set up defensive positions on the ridge line just north of Little Round Top (the same ridge where Sickles should've been placed to begin with). In delaying the Confederates, the Union brigades took over 800 casualties. The Confederates reached Plum Run at the base of Little Round Top, but were unable to advance any further. A brigade of PA Reserves charged the Confederates and drove them back across the Wheatfield, but by this time it was dark.
At about 17:00, Kershaw's SC Brigade attacked the Stony Hill (located between the Peach Orchard and the Wheatfield). Thirty cannons of the Union III Corps and the Artillery Reserve were tasked with holding this section and were positioned along Wheatfield Road. Barnes' Division had set itself on the Stony Hill facing westward. As Kershaw's Brigade neared the line and while taking heavy fire, someone erroneously ordered the Brigade to parallel the Union position - exposing its flanks to the Union lineDay 2: July 2, 1863 - Culp's Hill... 8 PM
Meanwhile, BG William Barksdale's Brigade followed by Wofford's Brigade, comprised of McLaw's left flank. The two brigades charged directly into the Union position at the Peach Orchard and along Emmitsburg Road. Barkdale's Brigade broke through just north of the Peach Orchard, while Wofford's Brigade attacked the Peach Orchard. The III Corps defenders in the Orchard had been facing south firing into Kershaw's Brigade when Wofford attacked. Realizing the exposed position, the 2nd NH Regiment was ordered to retreat, but only after staggering casualties (21 of its 24 officers and nearly half of its men were casualties).
The artillery placed in the Peach Orchard were forced to limber and retreat along with the guns placed behind Wheatfield Road. The pieces were unlimbered near the Trostle House and ordered to hold on until Union artillery could be placed on Cemetery Ridge. These guns were also soon overrun and had 3 of its guns captured.
Barksdale swung left to attack the remaining Union units under the command of BG Andrew A. Humphreys. Humphreys' Division had been left exposed and saw the line all around it disappear. BG Cadmus M. Wilcox's Brigade of Anderson's Division followed on Barksdale's left and attacked Humpheys' right. Humphreys' Brigade was unable to hold its position and was also forced to retreat towards Cemetery Ridge.
Sickles had watched the battle from horseback near the Trostle farm when a stray cannonball grazed his right knee. His leg was later amputated.
At 16:00, Ewell opened fire with artillery from batteries near the Seminary and atop Benner's Hill. These were soon silenced by the overwhelming Union artillery presence on Cemetery Hill and Culp's Hill. MG Henry W. Slocum's XII Corps was positioned on Culp's Hill and had spent considerable time erecting breastworks there. During the fighting on Cemetery Hill, Meade ordered most of the XII Corps except BG George S. Greene's Brigade from Culp's Hill to reinforce the position. (Actually, most of XII Corps never arrived to the fighting).
The attack began at 20:00 as Johnson's Division attacked from the east. Greene's Brigade stretched from Culp's Hill and then southward to the lower portion of the hill. The Union brigade faced eastward against Johnson's 3 Brigades who had forded Rock Creek and began ascended the hill. BG George Steuart's Brigade comprised the left flank of the attack and occupied the unoccupied breastworks on the lower hill. Darkness fell and Steuart's men fumbled their way toward Greene's right flank. Greene was in a very precarious position until reinforcements were rushed from I Corps which had been positioned on the western slope of the hill and XI Corps units from Cemetery Ridge.Day 2: July 2, 1863 - Cemetery Hill .. DUSK
Throughout the darkness, Johnson's Division was unable to determine the force they were opposing. Unknown to Johnson, Greene's Brigade was the only unit on the Union's right.
Soon after the fighting began on Culp's Hill, BG Harry T. Hays' and Col. Isaac Avery's Brigades of Early's Division attacked Cemetery Hill from Winebrenner's Run just south of town. The advance took place at dusk, just as the sun began to set. Cemetery Hill was defended by Col. Andrew L. Harris' and Col. Leopold von Gilsa's Bridages of Barlow's Division.
The artillery that had been amassed on Cemetery Hill and Culp's Hill opened fire as the Confederates approached. The ground that the Confederates had to cross was especially difficult and took over an hour to cross. Despite heavy fire from the Union Batteries, the Confederates continued their climb upward - routing a Federal line that had positioned itself near the base. As the Confederates ascended the hill and the angle steepened, they found that the Union Batteries could not lower their guns to take aim. With this respite, Avery's men charged forward and attacked von Gilsa's Brigade who became overwhelmed and was sent fleeing.
Schurz, who was nearby and witnessing the fleeing units, immediately dispatched two Regiments to plug the gap that appeared near the top. The Confederates had nearly overrun the Union Batteries and were in hand-to-hand combat with the gunners themselves. Outnumbered and exposed, the remaining Confederates retreated down the hill.
Since Schurz had pulled the two reinforcing Regiments from his line, it left a gap exposing the PA Battery of Capt. Bruce Ricketts. This gap was exploited by Hays' Brigade and soon much of the Brigade poured through. Several guns of Ricketts' battery were captured and Hays found himself temporarily contesting the heights. Since darkness had fallen, Hays could not tell which units were around him. A unit had fired upon his Brigade, but he was reluctant to return fire. Only after the third volley did Hays realize that the units were Col. Samuel Sprigg Carroll's Brigade of the Union's II Corps.
Carroll's Brigade, under orders of Hancock, had marched through the night towards the sounds of battle. As Carroll approached, he fired into Hays' Brigade. By the time Hays had realized the threat, it was too late. Cut off and exposed, Hays' men were forced to retreat back down the hill.
Rodes' Division had tried to participate in the attack, but by the time it had finished maneuvering, darkness had completely engulfed the battle. Once the fighting ended, Williams' and Geary's Divisions of XII Corps returned to Culp's Hill to halt the Confederate advance.
Lee hoped to continue the attack early on the morning of the 3rd using Longstreet's Corps. But, Longstreet was not prepared that morning and Lee was forced to change his plan. Lee was encouraged by the near-penetrating attack by Anderson's Division in the Union center the day before.Day 3: July 3, 1863 - Pickett's Charge ... 1:30 PM
Lee's plan first called for an artillery barrage by Confederate artillery along Seminary Ridge and east of town. It was hoped that the barrage would reduce the Union Batteries and inflict heavy damage to the surrounding infantry. After the barrage, nearly 12,000 men, including 3 brigades under the command of MG George E. Pickett, would attack the Union center. Once the assault reached the Union line, reinforcements would arrive to exploit the breakthrough. In support, Lee ordered General Stuart's cavalry to head east and strike southward in hopes of reaching the Union's rear.
The artillery barrage began at 13:00 and involved about 170 Confederate artillery pieces. The barrage covered the entire Union line but concentrated on its center. The Confederate guns were answered by about 80 Union guns and inflicted large numbers of casualties on the Confederate infantry. The Confederate guns also inflicted much damage on the Union batteries, but frequently tended to aim high and shoot over their targets due to poor visibility.
BG Henry J. Hunt, the Federal artillery commander, wished to conserve ammunition to counter any Confederate advance and ordered a Union cease-fire. The Confederate barrage continued for nearly two hours and soon became short of ammunition. But, the time had come for the attack...
Longstreet was reluctant about the attack that Lee had ordered. It called for nearly 12,000 men (nine brigades) to march over 1,000 yards across open ground. The Confederate line would stretch for over a mile. Pettigrew's Division (of A.P. Hill's Corps) would comprise of the northern portion of the attack while Pickett's Division (Longstreet's Corps) would be the southern wing.Day 3 July 3rd, 1863 - Stuart vs. Gregg
The attack began with over one hundred Confederate guns opening fire along the Union lines. The Confederate shells tended to land over the Union lines and land amidst the rear (near the wagons and hospitals). In fact, Meade was forced to relocate his headquarters to Power's Hill. Colonel Alexander, commander of the Confederate I Corps, noticed that the Union batteries were momentarily withdrawing from their positions (only to be replenished and supported with replacement batteries) . If any time had come, this was the time. In effect, Colonel Alexander gave his opinion that the charge should proceed.
The attack started from Seminary Ridge with Pickett's and Trimble's Divisions and slowly marched eastward. Union batteries from Cemetery Hill to Little Round Top immediately opened fire on the advancing line, opening temporary gaps in the units. The Confederates kept coming and after 15 minutes, reformed their lines after crossing Emmitsburg Road. When the Confederates were within 400 yards, the Union artillery began firing canister and were also within Union rifle distance. The two wings of the Confederate advance converged as Pettigrew moved to the right and Pickett to the left. The line now compacted to about 1/2 mile long.
BG James L. Kemper's Brigade formed Pickett's lead right-front brigade. To his left was BG Richard B. Garnett's Brigade followed by BG Lewis A. Armistead's Brigade. Pickett ordered his men to turn to the northeast in order to link with Pettigrew's Division. This exposed his right flank to the artillery on Little Round Top and the southern portion of Cemetery Ridge. This allowed the Union artillery to fire along the Confederate line with little chance of missing a target.
Col. Robert Mayo's Brigade, Pettigrew's left brigade, was attacked by artillery of the XI Corps on Cemetery Hill. The 8th Ohio Regiment (of Carroll's Brigade), under the command of LtC. Franklin Sawyer, had been sent out earlier to form a skirmishing line. Instead of withdrawing (as skirmishers are usually required), Sawyer faced his men southwest to fire on Mayo's Brigade which was passing in front. Though Sawyer's Regiment was largely outnumbered, Mayo's men had sustained enormous losses from the artillery barrage on Cemetery Hill. Sawyer's attack was enough to send Mayo's men running to the rear. This now exposed the remaining Pettigrew Brigades to flanking fire.
Pettigrew now linked with Pickett and both continued steadily eastward up the slope. Hays' Division (Union) formed behind a stone wall and waited until Col. Birkett D. Fry's Brigade was within 200 yards. Now that Mayo's Brigade had fled the field, Hays was able to overlap Pettigrew's left. Hays ordered his right to overlap Pettigrew's left and face southwest. On the right flank of the Confederate advance (Kemper's Brigade), the exact same maneuver was being initiated by BG George J. Stannard's Brigade (13 VT, 14 VT, and 16 VT). Stannard was able to fire upon Kemper and inflict huge casualties with impunity. This caused Kemper's men to crowd to the north away from Stannard's fire.
The Confederates began to bunch near the center and became "a mingled mass, from fifteen to thirty deep." Opposite the main assault was the "Angle" - a point in the Union line where it formed a 90-degree angle. Positioned in the Angle, behind a stone wall, was the 71st PA Regiment (250 men). To their left, was the 69th PA, supported by five guns of Cowan's 1st NY Battery. As the Confederates pushed forward, the men and artillery in the Angle poured devastating fire into the approaching units. Still, the Confederates came, this time reaching the stone wall of the Angle. General Armistead led the Confederate attack with a group of about 200 men and overran most of the 69th and 71st PA before reaching Cowan's Battery. General Webb, who watched the attack, ordered the 72nd PA into battle.
The 72nd PA halted the Confederate advance and forced many of the enemy to seek cover behind the western side of the stone wall. Hand-to-hand fighting raged in the Angle and Webb ordered a charge by the 72nd. The Regiment refused the order and Webb gave up the attempt. By this time, Col. Devereux's 19th MA Regiment and the 42nd NY Regiment rushed into the Angle to drive the Confederates out.
The Confederates were now outnumbered and cutoff from any reinforcements. Soon, anyone left in the Angle was either captured or killed. The remaining Confederate units near the Angle slowly retreated and made their way back towards Seminary Ridge after realizing no reinforcements were to come.
Pickett lost nearly 3,000 men (over half) of his Division. He lost all 15 regimental commanders, including two BG's and six Col's. When Pickett returned to Lee, he was ordered to prepare against a possible Union counterattack. Pickett then replied, "General Lee, I have no division now."
Despite the Confederate retreat, the Southerners were still a formidable force. Meade, having assumed command only 6 days earlier, was in no mood to face the Confederate guns lining Seminary Ridge. In addition, nightfall was soon approaching. The following day, July 4th, erupted in rainfall and saw the retreat of Lee's army.
General Stuart, with four brigades (Chambliss, Hampton, Fitz Lee, and Jenkins), had arrived to the Gettysburg area on the afternoon of July 2nd. Lee, charged Stuart with guarding the army's left and flanking the Union right in the event the infantry captured Cemetery Ridge.
The two cavalry forces met three miles east of Gettysburg near the Rummel farm about noon on July the 3rd. Stuart deployed his brigades (about 6,300 men) in the woods on Cress Ridge to the north. Gregg's Division, along with George Custer's Brigade (totalling about 4,500 men) was situated along Hanover road to the south.
The fighting began as skirmishers between the two forces from both sides exchanged fire. Stuart then sent the 1st Virginia charging into the Union cavalry. Gregg then ordered a countercharge by the 7th Michigan that halted the Confederates. Stuart then ordered most of Hampton's and Fitz Lee's Brigades into a column to attack Gregg's position. The Confederate column - extremely vulnerable enroute, ran headlong into Custer's 1st Michigan. The clash of the two forces was spectacular.
The cavalry battle continued with fierce hand-to-hand combat with neither side gaining the upper hand. Finally, the 3rd Pennsylvania attacked the Confederate column from the east and the forced the rear portion of the column to retreat from the rest of the body. Eventually, the Confederates, cutoff and attacked from all sides, were forced to retreat back to Cress Ridge. The total Confederate loss numbered about 230 men, while the Union lost about 250. Neither side lost ground and both would claim victory, but Stuart was denied access to the Union rear.
Kilpatrick (Farnsworth) vs. Longstreet
During Stuart's battle, BG Judson Kilpatrick ordered a frontal cavalry assault against Longstreet's heavily entrenched and fortified right wing near Little Round Top. BG Elon Farnsworth, seeing the futility of such an attack against infantry, protested strongly against it. Nonetheless, Farnsworth obeyed his orders and led a disastrous charge against the Confederate infantry. Farnsworth's Brigade suffered immensely and he himself was killed, shot five times.
Uhhh, is there gonna be a test?
A great battle was fought at Gettysburg on the first, second and third days of July. I remained in our house alone (my family having gone on a visit to Columbia) during the first day's fight. Shells shrieked over the town for more than three hours and then, on the retreat of our men, they fell around the house in the yard.
During the early part of the day, I watched the movements of the armies from the steeple of the church, which stands next (to) the parsonage-saw the wounded and dying constantly brought in. In the afternoon our church was taken for a hospital, but before night the wounded had to removed, because the enemy outnumbering the union forces three to one on this first day's fight, drove our men into the town and through it. Night closed in leaving us within the enemies lines.
The streets were strewn with dead men and horses and littered with the debris of the battle. Some of my neighbors were roughly treated during the night-and some of the stragglers of the rebel army threatened to strip us of shoes and other garments.
On this account I left with a number of other citizens on the morning of the second day's fight. We proceeded north as far as Petersburg (14 miles) meeting the entire Cavalry of the enemy at various points of the road. I remained at Petersburg with my early friend and college chum, Rev. P. Raby, until Sabbath. During these dreary days we heard the cannonading very distinctly, but could get not news of battle.
When at length the welcome news came that the enemy were retreating Bro. Raby and myself went on foot to Gettysburg, taking with us such things as we could carry to assist the wounded soliders. It was nearing night of the Sabbath when we reached the village.
On Monday morning we proved to the battled fileld and saw sights which I cannot describe. Dead men and horses already far gone into decay, muskets, knapsacks, broken caissons, and cannon, etc etc. lay everywhere. During these days the entire stock of provision in the whole county for many miles, was exhausted. The railroad was broked up and bridges burned, so that we were cut off from any immediate supply.
Immediately upon the cessation of hostilities our friends from a distance came in with provisions to relieve immediate necessities. Otherwise I cannot see how it would have been possible to avoid great suffering.
My church was occupied for a hospital and it was several weeks before it could be used for religious services. For many weeks after the battle there was a stench filling the air, which was almost unendurable. This caused a great deal of sickness. I was taken down with fever and was unable to perform ministerial duties for about two months. Two of my children had severe illnesses. We were fortunate to escape with very little loss of property during the battle. Some of my neighbors had their houses thoroughly plundered. Quite a number of houses and barns in the county neaer the village were burned. Several members of my church lost nearly all their property and one member, a young lady Miss Jennie Wade, was shot and killed during the battle . . .full diary text
We may have forgotten, but this historic moment was delivered as a tribute to the fallen on the field of battle as a dedication of the Gettysburg Memorial Cemetery. President Lincoln sought to bring to some comfort to those who were left behind, and remind the survivors that this conflict was a struggle between good people who profoundly, but honestly disagree in the fundamentals of our union...
"The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here".....
Mr. President... sadly, we will never forget..... Nor should we
The Gettysburg Address
"Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."
Hardtack, was a stapple of both armies as well as the general population of the early Americans. It was a cracker-like biscuit made of flour, salt and water and was one of the most typical rations issued to soldiers by the U. S. government because it was fairly nutritious and unlikely to spoil. This hard bread was made in government bakeries located in cities and shipped in barrels to the troops. Hardtack had to be tough to withstand the trip. Many Civil War soldiers complained about this ration noting the extreme hardness of the biscuits (sometimes called "teeth-dullers"), which at times had to be broken with a rifle "butt" or a "blow of the fist" to prepare for eating. Soldiers sometimes softened the pieces by soaking them in coffee, frying them in bacon grease, or crumbling them in soup.
Hardtack could become infested with insects in the government storehouses or during the soldiers travels. One disappointed soldier claimed that "All the fresh meat we had came in the hard bread!" ....GULP!
The basic ingredients are:
These were a real treat for the soldiers, and are slightly different than biscuits that are still prepared in southern homes today.
Confederate Johnnie Cakes
Additional items that Union soldiers received were salt pork, fresh or salted beef, coffee, sugar, salt, vinegar, dried fruit and dried vegetables. If the meat was poorly preserved, the soldiers would refer to it as "salt horse". Sometimes they would receive fresh vegetables such as carrots and potatoes.
Confederate soldiers were not as fortunate. Their rations consisted of bacon and corn meal, tea, sugar or molasses, and fresh vegetables when they were available.
- J.F.C. Fuller, Military Historian
Gettysburg for all its bloodshed, was spectacle. Vicksburg was the decisive campaign of the war.
Anyway, "BUMP" for the Union...
Mix in chopped tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and bell peppers. Add mayonaisse, salt and pepper to taste.
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