ARTILLERY HEADQUARTERS, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
September 27, 1863.
Brig. Gen. S. WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the Potomac.
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the artillery of this army in the battle of Gettysburg, July 1, 2, and 3:
On July 1, Reynolds' (First) and Howard's (Eleventh) corps and Buford's division of cavalry, the whole under the command of Maj. Gen. J. F. Reynolds, engaged the enemy on the west and northwest of the town of Gettysburg. On the west of Gettysburg, about a third of a mile distant, there is a ridge running nearly north and south, parallel to the Emmitsburg pike. This ridge, on which the seminary is situated, is crossed by the Cashtown pike about 100 or 150 yards north of the seminary, and some 50 yards farther on it is cut by a railroad. On the west of the seminary is a grove of large trees, and the summit of the ridge and the upper part of both its slopes are more or less covered with open woods through its entire length. The ground slopes gradually to the west, and again rising, forms a second ridge, parallel to and about 500 yards distant from the Seminary Ridge. This second ridge is wider and smoother than that upon which the seminary stands, and terminates about 200 yards north of the point at which the Cashtown road crosses it. Near this point, and to the south of it, are a house and barn, with some five or six acres of orchard and wooded grounds, the rest of the ridge being cleared. It was in the skirmish near this house that General Reynolds fell, and over the country covered by the ridge that the First Corps fought. To the north and east, beyond where the Seminary Ridge terminates, the country is more flat, and this ground was occupied by the Eleventh Corps, the front of which was in a nearly perpendicular position to that of the First Corps, and faced the north.
About 10.15 a.m. Hall's battery (Second Maine, six 3-inch) was ordered into action by General Reynolds on the right of the Cashtown road, on the second ridge, and some 500 yards beyond the seminary. The enemy had previously opened fire from a battery of six guns at a distance of about 1,300 yards, and directly in front of this position, on Reynolds' troops, and Hall, on coming into action, replied with effect. In the course of half an hour, a body of the enemy's infantry approached the right of Hall's battery under cover of a ravine, and opened upon him at a distance of 60 or 80 yards, killing and wounding a number of his men and horses. The right and center sections replied with canister, while the left section continued its fire on the enemy's battery. The supports now falling back, Captain Hall found it necessary to retire, which he did by sections.
Soon after, the Third Division (Rowley's), First Corps, occupied the open ground on this ridge with Cooper's battery (B, First Pennsylvania, four 3-inch), which took post in an oat-field, about 380 yards south of the Cashtown road.
The Second Division (Robinson's) occupied a road on the west slope of the Seminary Ridge, north of the railroad, and the Eleventh Corps came into position on the flat ground farther north, and in a position nearly perpendicular to that of the First Corps. Colonel Wainwright, commanding the artillery of the First Corps, sent Stewart's battery (B, Fourth United States, six 12-pounders) to report to General Robinson, and ordered Reynolds to move with his battery to the support of Calef's horse battery (A, Second United States, six 3-inch), which had been placed in position by General Wadsworth on the spot just occupied by Hall's (Second Maine, six 3-inch), and was sharply engaged with the enemy's battery in its front. Reynolds had hardly taken position when the enemy opened a severe fire from a second battery immediately on his right. The cross-fire of the enemy's two batteries caused both Calef's and Reynolds' to retire, Reynolds taking up a new position at right angles to the ridge, with his left covered by the woods, near the house and barn referred to. While executing this movement, Captain Reynolds was severely wounded in the right eye, but refused to quit the field. The enemy's battery soon after ceased its fire. At the request of General Wadsworth, Colonel Wainwright posted Wilber's section of Reynolds' battery in the orchard on the south side of the Cashtown road, where he was sheltered from the fire of the enemy's battery on his right flank by the intervening house and barn, and moved the other two sections to the south side of the wood, on the open crest.
In the meantime the Eleventh Corps had taken position, and Dilger's battery (I, First Ohio, six 12-pounders), attached to Schurz's division, soon became engaged with one of the enemy's batteries at 1,000 yards distance, which was soon re-enforced by another. Dilger maintained his position until re-enforced by Wheeler (Thirteenth New York Independent, four 3-inch), sent to his assistance by Major Osborn, commanding the artillery of the corps, when a sharp contest ensued, the result of which was one piece of Wheeler's dismounted and five of the enemy's, which Major Osborn states they left on the ground. The enemy suffered the most loss. During this action, Captain Dilger several times changed the positions of his batteries with excellent effect, selecting his ground with judgment.
About 11 a.m. Wilkeson's battery (G, Fourth United States, four 12-pounders) came up, and reported to General Barlow, who posted it close to the enemy's line of infantry, with which it immediately became engaged, sustaining at the same time the fire of two of his batteries.
In the commencement of this unequal contest, Lieut. Bayard Wilkeson (Fourth U.S. Artillery), commanding the battery, a young officer of great gallantry, fell, mortally wounded, and was carried from the field. Lieutenant Bancroft succeeded to the command, and by changing position and distributing his sections, in order to meet the different movements of the enemy, succeeded in maintaining himself handsomely until the division fell back to the town, when he withdrew to Cemetery Hill.
About 4 p.m. the troops were withdrawn to Cemetery Hill, and Schurz's division, with Heckman's (K, First Ohio, four 12-pounders) and Wiedrich's (I, First New York, six 3-inch) batteries, were posted so as to cover the movement of the corps, Wiedrich's being placed on the hill in front of the cemetery entrance. Heckman worked his guns well, and held his ground until the enemy entered his battery. He then retired with the loss of one gain, the battery being so much crippled that it was sent to the rear, and was not again called into action.
Wiedrich's battery was actively engaged, and about 4.30 p.m. the enemy made an attempt to turn our right, but his line was very soon broken by the fire of this battery, and the attempt failed.
The First Corps was withdrawn about the same time as the Eleventh. Colonel Wainwright, commanding the artillery of this corps, understanding the order to hold Cemetery Hill to apply to Seminary Hill, posted Cooper's battery (B, First Pennsylvania, four 3-inch) in front of the professor's house. Captain Stevens (Fifth Maine, six 12-pounders) was soon after posted by General Doubleday on Cooper's right. Soon after, the enemy emerged in two strong columns from the woods in front, about 500 yards distant, outflanked our line nearly a third of a mile, then formed in two lines of battle, and advanced directly up the crest. During this movement, Reynolds battery (L, First New York, six 3-inch) opened on the columns, but the fire of his sections was much interfered with by the movements of our own infantry in their front. Colonel Wainwright therefore moved these two sections, under Lieutenant Breck, to a strong stone wall on the seminary crest, near Stevens' position. The movement was not ordered until the enemy, outnumbering our troops 5 to 1, were within 200 yards of the battery. Lieutenant Wilber's section of the same battery soon after fell back with his supports (L, First New York, six 3-inch; Fifth Maine, six 12-pounders, and Cooper's, B, First Pennsylvania, four 3-inch) to the same position, thus concentrating sixteen guns. Stewart's battery (B, Fourth United States, six 12-pounders) was also on the same line, half of the battery between the Cashtown pike and the railroad, the other half across the railroad, in the corner of a wood. The enemy's lines continued to advance across the space between the two crests, but when the first line was within about 100 yards of the seminary, Lieutenant Davison, Fourth U.S. Artillery, commanding the left half of Stewart's battery, placed his guns on the Cashtown pike, so as to enfilade the whole line. This movement, well sustained by the other batteries, brought the first line to a halt, but the second, supported by a column deployed from the Cashtown road, pushed on. An order was now received by Captain Stevens from General Wadsworth, directing his battery to withdraw, but Colonel Wainwright, not knowing this, and still under the mistaken impression as to the importance of holding Seminary Hill, directed all the batteries to maintain their positions.
In a few minutes, however, all our infantry were seen rapidly retreating toward the town, and the batteries were all limbered to the rear, and moved off down the Cashtown pike, maintaining a walk until the infantry had left it. By this time our retreating columns were lapped by the enemy's skirmishers, who opened a severe fire from behind a fence within 50 yards of the road. As soon as the road was clear, the batteries moved at a trot, but it was too late to save all the material. Lieutenant Wilber's last piece (L, First New York, six 3-inch) had 1 of its wheel-horses shot, and, by the time this could be disengaged, 3 others were shot and Lieutenant Wilbur's own horse killed. It was impossible to move the piece off, and it was lost. No blame apparently can be attached to the officers of this or of Heck-man's battery (K, First Ohio, four 12-pounders) for the loss of the two guns in the retiring of the two corps. It was the necessary result of the obstinate resistance made to the enemy, so as to cover the withdrawal of their respective corps. Three of the caisson bodies of Stewart's battery were broken down, 1 of his caissons exploded, 2 of his guns had been disabled by the breaking of their pointing rings, and 3 of Hall's guns dismounted.
The losses of the batteries of the First Corps in these operations were heavy; 83 officers and men killed and wounded, including 6 officers wounded (Capt. G. T. Stevens and Lieut. C. O. Hunt, Fifth Maine, severely; Capt. G. H. Reynolds, L, First New York, severely; Lieut. J. Stewart, Fourth Artillery, slightly; Lieut. J. Davison, Fourth Artillery, severely; Lieut. W. C. Miller, B, First Pennsylvania, slightly), and about 80 horses, a large proportion of the latter between the Seminary Ridge and the town, the enemy having at that time a fire upon them from both flanks and the rear, and no infantry replying. The batteries passed immediately through the town, and were placed with those of the Eleventh Corps in position on Cemetery Hill, so as to command the town and the approaches from the northwest. The batteries north of the Baltimore pike in front of the cemetery gate, under the command of Colonel Wainwright, chief of artillery, First Corps, were posted as follows: Stewart's battery (B, Fourth United States, four light 12-pounders) across the road, so as to command the approaches from town; then Wiedrich's (I, First New York Artillery, four 3-inch), Cooper's (B, First Pennsylvania Artillery, four 3-inch), and Reynolds' (L, First New York Artillery, five 3-inch), in all thirteen 3-inch guns, along the north front, some of them in such a position that they could be turned to bear upon the town and the field of battle of the 1st. Stevens' battery (Fifth Maine, six 12-pounders)was posted to the right and some 50 yards in front of this line, on a knoll, from whence they could obtain an oblique fire upon the hills in front of our line, and a flanking fire at close quarters upon any attacking columns.
Each of the guns in these batteries had a small earthwork thrown up in its front, to afford a partial shelter from the fire of the enemy's sharpshooters. Osborn's batteries (Bancroft's, G, Fourth U.S. Artillery, six 12-pounders; Dilger's, I, First Ohio, six 12-pounders; Wheeler's, Thirteenth New York, three 3-inch), of the Eleventh Corps, with the exception of Wiedrich's, transferred to Colonel Wainright, Heckman's, crippled and sent to the rear, and one gun of Wheeler's dismounted, were placed in the cemetery grounds, to the north of the Baltimore road.
On the night of July 1, the commanding general left Taneytown, and reached Gettysburg about 2 a.m. of the 2d. Soon after his arrival, he directed me to see to the position of the artillery, and make such arrangements respecting it as were necessary. I examined the positions at Cemetery Hill, so far as the darkness would permit, and then accompanied the general and Major-General Howard in an inspection of the west front of the field, occupied by the Second and Third Corps. Cemetery Hill commanded the positions which could be occupied by the enemy to the north and northwest. Toward the south the line occupied the crest of a gentle elevation, which, concealing everything immediately behind it from the observation of the enemy, commanded the ground to the west, which sloped down gradually for a few hundred yards, and then rising, formed another crest, varying from half to three-quarters of a mile distant. The summit of this crest was wooded, and toward the south bent eastwardly and crossed the Emmitsburg road, forming a very favorable position for the enemy's artillery, and affording concealment to his movements in that direction. About half or three-quarters of a mile south of the cemetery our own crest and the ground in front of it were broken by groves of trees, and still farther on by rough and rocky ground. At a distance of about 2 miles from Cemetery Hill, a high, rocky, and broken peak formed the natural termination of our lines. The broken character of the ground in front of the southern half of our line was unfavorable to the use of artillery. From the cemetery, as a center, the right of our line extended toward the east, and lay on the north of the Baltimore pike. The ground is hilly, heavily wooded, and intersected with ravines and small water-courses, very unfavorable to the use of artillery. The First and Eleventh Corps were stationed on and near Cemetery Hill. The Second Corps (Hancock's) stretched along the crest on the left of the Cemetery Hill, with the Third Corps (Sickles') on its left. To the right of the cemetery lay a portion of the First Corps (Newton's), and beyond it the Twelfth (Slocum's).
At or near daylight, Major-General Slocum reported to the commanding general that there was a gap between the left of his line and the right of the First Corps, which he feared would be taken advantage of by the enemy, as he apprehended an immediate attack. The general commanding then gave me directions to make the necessary arrangements to meet the emergency. I considered this, in connection with the order previously given me, as a recognition, for the present, at least, of the position I had held at Antietam and Fredericksburg, as commander of the artillery of the army, and proceeded to make the necessary dispositions and to give all directions I considered necessary during the rest of the battle. In order to cover the gap between the First and Second Corps, the batteries of the Twelfth Corps (Muhlenberg's, F, Fourth United States, six 12-pounders; Kinzie's, K, Fifth United States, four 12-pounders; Winegar's, M, First New York, four 10-pounders, and Knap's, E, Pennsylvania, six 10-pounders) were placed so as to command the outlet from that interval toward the Baltimore pike, and such of the batteries on Cemetery Hill as commanded the ground and its approaches from the side of the enemy were also placed in position. The interval between the lines was too Broken and too heavily wooded to permit the artillery to Be placed on the immediate line of battle. These positions were held by the batteries until the infantry line was completed and well strengthened, when the artillery was arranged for any attack the enemy could make.
The batteries at the cemetery, under command of Colonel Wainwright, remained as already described, and Major Osborn, chief of artillery of the Eleventh Corps, was directed to take command on the south of the road. I re-enforced him with half of Hall's battery (Second Maine, three 3-inch) from the First Corps, the other hair being disabled, and five batteries (Eakin's, H, First United States, six 12-pounders; Taft's, Fifth New York, six 20-pounders; Hill's, C, First West Virginia, four 10-pounders; Huntington's, H, First Ohio, six 3-inch, and Edgell's, First New Hampshire, six 3-inch) from the Artillery Reserve, thus placing at his disposal, including the three batteries (Bancroft's, G, Fourth United States, six 12-pounders; Dilger's, I, First Ohio, six 12-pounders, and Wheeler's, Thirteenth New York, three 3-inch) of his own corps remaining to him, six 20-pounder Parrotts, twenty-two light rifles, and eighteen light 12-pounders. These were stationed as follows: On the right, resting next the Baltimore road and facing the Emmitsburg, Dilger; on his left, Bancroft; then, in the order named, Eakin, Wheeler, Hill, and Hall. These eighteen light 12-pounders and ten light rifles commanded the enemy's positions to the right of the town. In rear of Bancroft and perpendicular to him were Taft's six 20-pounder Parrotts; on Taft's right and rear were Huntington's 3-inch guns; these batteries facing the north. This arrangement, in connection with that of Wainwright, Brought all the positions within range of the cemetery that the enemy could occupy with artillery under a commanding fire. The batteries were all brought into requisition at different periods of the battle.
July 2, during the morning, several moving columns of the enemy, passing toward our right, were shelled, and compelled to make detours, or seek the cover of ravines to make their movements.
At about 3.30 p.m. the enemy established a battery of ten guns (four 20-pounders and six 10-pounder Parrotts) in a wheat-field to the north and a little to the east of the Cemetery Hill, and distant some 1,200 or 1,300 yards, and opened a remarkably accurate fire upon our batteries. We soon gained a decided advantage over them, and at the end of an hour or more compelled them to withdraw, drawing off two of their pieces by hand. Twenty-eight horses were afterward found on the knoll. The enemy suffered severely, and, although we were successful, we had cause to regret that our 4½-inch guns had been left at Westminster, as the position offered great advantages for them.
The enemy endeavored to re-establish his Battery farther to his right, but as we could in this position bring a larger number of guns to Bear than before, he was soon driven off. Cooper's battery (B, First Pennsylvania, four 3-inch), which had suffered severely in this affair, was now relieved by Ricketts', from the Artillery Reserve.
In this cannonade, Lieut. C. P. Eakin, First U.S. Artillery, was badly wounded and carried off the field, and Lieut. P. D. Mason, First U.S. Artillery, assumed command of the battery.
About the same hour, 3.30 p.m., as the enemy was seriously annoying the left of the Twelfth Corps, three guns of Knap's battery, under command of Lieutenant Geary, and Van Reed's section of K, Fifth U.S. Artillery, were placed in an eligible position, about 200 yards from the right of the First Corps. As soon as their presence (Knap's Pennsylvania Battery, 10-pounders, and Kinzie's, K, Fifth U.S. Artillery, light 12-pounders) was noticed, the enemy turned his battery (eight guns) upon them, but after a spirited contest of thirty minutes, in which he had a caisson blown up, his guns were silenced. The conduct of both Lieutenants Geary and Van Reed is highly spoken of by their chiefs of artillery.
When the infantry of the Twelfth Corps crossed over to the support of the Third Corps, on the left of our line, these guns were withdrawn and rejoined their batteries.
About sunset the enemy again opened from a knoll in front of the cemetery, distant about 1,800 yards, and this was soon followed by a powerful infantry attack on the position by General Rodes' Louisiana [?] brigade. As their columns moved out of the town, they came under the fire of Stevens' battery (Fifth Maine), at 800 yards distance. Wheeling into line, they pushed up the hill. As their line became unmasked, all the guns that could be brought to bear upon them, some twenty, were opened, first with shrapnel and then with canister, with excellent effect. The center and left were beaten back, but their right worked their way up under cover of the houses, and pushed completely through Wiedrich's battery (I, First New York, six 3-inch) into Ricketts' (F and G, First Pennsylvania, six 3-inch). The cannoneers of both batteries stood well to their guns, and when no longer able to hold them, fought with handspikes, rammers, and even stones, joining the infantry in driving them out, and capturing several prisoners. This attack of Rodes was mainly repelled by the artillery alone. The loss of the enemy was reported to be large by their wounded in the affair, who afterward fell under the care of our surgeons in Gettysburg.
About 12 m. a detachment of Berdan's Sharpshooters was sent into the woods near the point where the enemy's crest opposite the left of our army cuts the Emmitsburg road, and reported the enemy as moving in force toward our left flank.
About 2 p.m. General Sickles formed his corps in line to meet an attack from this direction, his right resting on the Emmitsburg road, in a peach orchard, in advance of the center of our left, and his line extending in a general direction toward Sugar Loaf or Round Top, a peak which terminated our line on the left. At this time I reached the ground, and found Captain Randolph, chief of artillery Third Corps, making arrangements to station his battery on the right, those on the left having already been posted as follows: Smith's battery (Fourth New York, six 10-pounders) on the extreme left and on a steep and rocky eminence in advance of Sugar Loaf, and on his right Winslow's (D, First New York, six 12-pounders), in a wheat-field, separated from Smith by a belt of woods. I accompanied Captain Randolph, first sending to General Tyler, commanding the Artillery Reserve, for two batteries, one of light 12-pounders and one of rifles, and assisted him in posting the other batteries as follows: Clark's battery (B, First New Jersey, six 10-pounders) on the line to the left of the peach orchard; Ames' (G, First New York, six 12-pounders), from the Artillery Reserve, in the orchard, both facing the south, and perpendicular to the Emmitsburg road: then along the Emmitsburg road and facing the west, Randolph's (E, First Rhode Island, six 12-pounders), and Seeley's (K, Fourth United States, six 12-pounders) batteries, Seeley's well to the right of Randolph's. While Ames and Clark were moving up, the enemy opened a brisk fire upon them from a position near the Emmitsburg road and on the opposite side of it.
By this time, about 3.30 p.m., Major McGilvery came up from the Artillery Reserve with three batteries--Bigelow's (Ninth Massachusetts, four 12-pounders); Phillips' (Fifth Massachusetts, six 3-inch), and Hart's (Fifteenth New York, four 12-pounders)--which I ordered into position on the left of Clark's. As I saw that more batteries of the enemy were getting into position on the south of the Emmitsburg road and forming opposite to this line, I sent to the reserve for more rifled guns, and then, as Smith (Fourth New York, six 10-pounders) had not opened, I went to his battery to ascertain the cause. When I arrived, he had succeeded in getting his guns into position, and just opened fire. As his position commanded that of the enemy and enfiladed their line, his fire was very effective, and with that of Ames (G, First New York, six 12-pounders) and Clark (B, First New Jersey, six 10-pounders) in front, soon silenced that battery. In the meantime the enemy had established his new batteries to the north of the road, and Smith turned his guns upon them. I now moved along the line and examined the condition of the different batteries. Winslow (D, First New York, six 12-pounders) had not yet been attacked, his position facing a wood at short range that the enemy had not yet occupied. Bigelow, Phillips, and Hart were hotly engaged, and the battle soon raged along the lines.
In the meantime the additional batteries ordered from the reserve--Thompson's (C and F, Pennsylvania, six 3-inch) and Sterling's (Second Connecticut, four James and two howitzers), and Ransom's brigade, consisting of Thomas' (C, Fourth United States, six 12-pounders), Weir's (C, Fifth United States, six 12-pounders), and Turnbull's (F and K, Third United States, six 12-pounders) batteries --were brought up by General Tyler in person. Ransom's brigade was formed on the crest, above general headquarters, and soon after Turnbull's, Weir's, and Thomas' batteries were ordered forward to join Humphreys' division, taking position on the right of Seeley.
Some time after, two batteries of the Fifth Corps--Watson's (I, Fifth United States, four 3-inch) and Walcott's (C, Massachusetts Artillery, six 12-pounders)--were brought upon the ground by some staff officer of General Sickles; but for this there seemed to be no necessity, abundant provision having been made to supply all needs from the Artillery Reserve. The effect was to deprive the Fifth Corps of its batteries, without the knowledge and to the inconvenience of the commander of the corps. The batteries were exposed to heavy front and enfilading fires, and suffered terribly, but as rapidly as any were disabled they were retired and replaced by others. Watson (I, Fifth United States, four 3-inch) relieved Ames' battery (G, First New York, six 12-pounders); Thompson's (Pennsylvania, six 3-inch) took position near it, relieving Hart (Fifteenth New York, four 12-pounders). Turnbull's (F and K, Third United States, six 12-pounders) was posted near the Emmitsburg road. The officers and men performed their duties with great gallantry and success, notwithstanding the unfavorable nature of the ground, which gave the enemy all the advantages of position, driving off several of the enemy's batteries, silencing others, and doing good execution on his infantry, until about 5.30 or 6 p.m., when the line was forced back, and the batteries were compelled to withdraw.
So great had been the loss in men and horses, that many of the carriages had to be withdrawn by hand and others left on the field, which, with the exception of four, were afterward brought off. Three of these belonged to Smith's battery (Fourth New York, six 10-pounders), on our extreme left. The guns were stationed on the brow of a very precipitous and rocky height, beyond a ravine in front of our line. The difficulty of getting these guns up the height had caused the delay in Smith's opening his fire. He fought them to the last moment in hopes of keeping the enemy off, and in the belief that the ground would be in our possession again before the guns could be carried off by the enemy. He got off one of the four guns he had placed on the height, but was compelled to abandon the other three. The fourth of the guns lost belonged to Thompson's battery, the horses being all killed, the men engaged in hauling off the other pieces by hand, and his infantry supports having left him. In withdrawing, many acts of gallantry were performed, the enemy in several instances being driven out from the batteries by the cannoneers and such assistance as they could procure from the infantry near them. The line reformed on the crest, which constituted our original line, and repulsed all further attacks.
The batteries of the Second Corps were posted on the morning of the 2d by its chief of artillery, Captain Hazard, First Rhode Island Artillery, as follows, from left; to right, connecting with the batteries of the Third Corps on the left, and those on- Cemetery Hill on the right: Rorty's (B, First New York, four 10-pounders), Brown's (B, First Rhode Island, six 12-pounders), Cushing's (A, Fourth United States, six 3-inch), Arnold's (A, First Rhode Island, six 3-inch), and Woodruff's (I, First United States, six 12-pounders). The enemy opened upon them several times during the morning, but were always silenced by their concentrated fire.
When the Third Corps fell back, about 6 p.m., their batteries opened a vigorous fire, and the two left batteries (Rorty's and Brown's) conformed their movements to those of the infantry. When the crest of the hill occupied by our lines was reached, it gave the batteries a commanding position; a rapid fire was opened, and the enemy gradually driven back. Brown's battery suffered so severely in men and horses that it became necessary to send two guns to the rear.
The artillery of the Fifth Corps arrived on the field between 4 and 5 p.m. Hazlett's (D, Fifth United States, six 10-pounders), Walcott's (C, Massachusetts Artillery, six 12-pounders), and Watson's (I, Fifth United States, four 3-inch) batteries, with the First Division of the corps; Gibbs' (L, First Ohio, six 12-pounders), and Barnes' (C, First New York, four 3-inch), with Second Division. I have already stated that Watson's and Walcott's were taken from their positions by order of Major-General Sickles, and noted their services. Walcott's was not engaged, but was under fire; 6 men wounded, and 6 horses killed and wounded.
About 4.30 p.m. Hazlett's battery was moved to the extreme left, placed in position on Round Top, and immediately opened upon that portion of the enemy's force which attacked the First Division, and continued it until night with marked effect, as its fire enfiladed the enemy's line. Guthrie's section of Gibbs' battery was posted on the same hill on the right of Hazlett, and Walworth's section at the base of the hill, commanding the ravine in front of Round Top, the remaining section being held in reserve. These sections did excellent service, especially Guthrie's. On this afternoon, Lieut. Charles E. Hazlett, Fifth U.S. Artillery, a young officer, who had gained an enviable reputation for gallantry, skill, and devotion to his country and the service, received a mortal wound, and died the same evening.
For more detailed reports of the services of the artillery in the action on our left, I respectfully refer to the reports of General Tyler, commanding Artillery Reserve, and to the reports of the chiefs of artillery of the Second, Third, and Fifth Corps, transmitted herewith. It will be perceived that the batteries suffered severely in officers, men, and horses, losing a large proportionate number of officers--3 killed (Lieut. Charles E. Hazlett, Fifth Artillery, commanding Battery B; Lieut. M. Livingston, Third Artillery, commanding Turn-bull's battery; Lieut. C. Erickson, Bigelow's battery); and 12 wounded (Capt. D. R. Ransom, Third Artillery, commanding Regular Brigade, Artillery Reserve; Capt. J. Thompson, C, Pennsylvania Artillery; Capt. N. Irish, D. Pennsylvania Artillery; Capt. Patrick Hart, Fifteenth New York Battery; Lieut. T. F. Brown, Hazard's battery; Lieut. Samuel Canby, Fourth Artillery, Cushing's battery; Lieut. J. K. Bucklyn, First Rhode Island, Randolph's battery; Lieut. F. W. Seeley, Fourth U. S. Artillery, commanding Battery K; Lieut. M. F. Watson, Fifth U.S. Artillery, commanding Battery I; Lieut. J. L. Miller, Thompson's battery, mortally; Lieut. E. M. Knox, Fifteenth New York Battery; Lieut. E. Spence, Ricketts' battery).
The night of the 2d was devoted in great part to repairing damages, replenishing the ammunition chests, and reducing and reorganizing such batteries as had lost so many men and horses as to be unable efficiently to work the full number of guns.
By daylight next morning this duty had been performed so far as possible, and, when it was found impossible to reorganize in time, the batteries were withdrawn, replaced by others from the Artillery Reserve, and finished their work during the next morning.
On the evening of July 2, a portion of Slocum's corps (the Second) [Twelfth], which formed the right of our line, was sent to re-enforce the left. During its absence, the enemy took possession of a portion of the line in the woods, and it was resolved to drive him out at daylight. Knap's battery (E, Pennsylvania, six 10-pounders) was placed on the hill known as Slocum's headquarters, and near the Baltimore pike, and Winegar's battery (M, First New York, four 10-pounders) at a short distance east of it. These batteries overlooked and commanded the ground vacated by the corps.
At 1 a.m. of the 3d, Muhlenberg's (F, Fourth United States, six 12-pounders) and Kinzie's (K, Fifth United States, four 12-pounders) batteries were posted opposite the center of the line of the Twelfth Corps, so as to command the ravine formed by Rock Creek.
At 4.30 a.m. these batteries opened, and fired without intermission for fifteen minutes into the wood, at a range of from 600 to 800 yards. Soon after daylight, Rigby's battery (A, Maryland, six 3-inch) was also placed on the hill, and at 5.30 a.m. all the batteries opened, and continued firing at intervals until 10 a.m., when the infantry succeeded in driving out the enemy and reoccupied their position of the day before. In this work the artillery tendered good service.
At our center, on and near Cemetery Hill, the batteries were in position very nearly the same as on the previous day. Those outside of the cemetery gate and north of the Baltimore pike, under the command of Colonel Wainwright, First New York Artillery, were, from right to left: Stevens' (Fifth Maine, six 12-pounders), Reynolds' (L, First New York, four 3-inch), Ricketts' (F, First Pennsylvania, six 3-inch)--which had relieved Cooper's (B, First Pennsylvania, four 3-inch) the night before--Wiedrich's (I, First New York, four 3-inch), and Stewart's (B, Fourth United States, four 12-pounders). The batteries south of the pike, and under command of Major Osborn, First New York Artillery, were: Dilger's (I, First Ohio six 12-pounders), Bancroft's (G, Fourth United States, six 12-pounders), Eakin's (H, First United States, six 12-pounders), Wheeler's (Thirteenth New York, three 3-inch), Hill's (C, First West Virginia, four 10-pounders), and Taft's (Fifth New York, six 20-pounders).
On the left of the cemetery the batteries of the Second Corps were in line on the crest occupied by their corps in the following order, from right to left: Woodruff's (I, First United States, six 12-pounders), Arnold's (A, First Rhode Island, six 3-inch), Cushing's (A, Fourth United States, six 3-inch), Brown's (B, First Rhode Island, four 12-pounders), and Rorty's (B, First New York, four 10-pounders), all under command of Captain Hazard, chief of artillery.
Next on the left of the artillery of the Second Corps were stationed Thomas' battery (C, Fourth United States, six 12-pounders), and on his left Major McGilvery's command, consisting of Thompson's (C and F, Pennsylvania, five 3-inch), Phillips' (Fifth Massachusetts, six 3-inch), Harts (Fifteenth New York, four 12-pounders), Sterling's (Second Connecticut, four James and two howitzers), Rank's section (two 3-inch), Dow's (Sixth Maine, four 12-pounders), and Ames' (G, First New York, six 12-pounders), all of the Artillery Reserve, to which was added, soon after the cannonade commenced, Cooper s battery (B, First Pennsylvania, four 3-inch), of the First Corps.
On our extreme left, occupying the position of the day before, were Gibbs' (L, First Ohio, six 12-pounders) and Rittenhouse's (late Hazlett's, D, Fifth United States, six 10-pounders) batteries. Gibbs' was, however, too distant from the enemy's position for 12-pounders, and was not used during the day, although under fire. Rittenhouse was in an excellent position for the service of his rifled guns, on the top of Round Top. We had thus on the western crest line seventy-five guns, which could be aided by a few of those on Cemetery Hill. There was but little firing during the morning.
At 10 a.m. I made an inspection of the whole line, ascertaining that all the batteries--only those of our right serving with the Twelfth Corps being engaged at the time--were in good condition and well supplied with ammunition. As the enemy was evidently increasing his artillery force in front of our left, I gave instructions to the batteries and to the chiefs of artillery not to fire at small bodies, nor to allow their fire to be drawn without promise of adequate results; to watch the enemy closely, and when he opened to concentrate the fire of their guns on one battery at a time until it was silenced; under all circumstances to fire deliberately, and to husband their ammunition as much as possible.
I had just finished my inspection, and was with Lieutenant Rittenhouse on the top of Round Top, when the enemy opened, at about 1 p.m., along his whole right, a furious cannonade on the left of our line. I estimated the number of his guns bearing on our west front at from one hundred to one hundred and twenty. I have since seen it stated by the enemy's correspondents that there were sixty guns from Longstreet's, and fifty-five from Hill's corps, making one hundred and fifteen in all. To oppose these we could not, from our restricted position, bring more than eighty to reply effectively. Our fire was well withheld until the first burst was over, excepting from the extreme right and left of our positions. It was then opened deliberately and with excellent effect. As soon as the nature of the enemy's attack was made clear, and I could form an opinion as to the number of his guns, for which my position afforded great facility, I went to the park of the Artillery Reserve, and ordered all the batteries to be ready to move at a moment's notice, and hastened to report to the commanding general, but found he had left his headquarters. I then 'proceeded along the line, to observe the effects of the cannonade and to replace such batteries as should become disabled.
About 2.30 p.m., finding our ammunition running low and that it was very unsafe to bring up loads of it, a number of caissons and limbers having been exploded, I directed that the fire should be gradually stopped, which was done, and the enemy soon slackened his fire also. I then sent orders for such batteries as were necessary to replace exhausted ones, and all that were disposable were sent me.
About 3 p.m., and soon after the enemy's fire had ceased, he formed a column of attack in the edge of the woods in front of the Second Corps. At this time Fitzhugh's (.K, First New York, six 3-inch), Parsons' (A, First New Jersey, six 10-pounders), Weir's (C, Fifth United States, six 12-pounders), and Cowan's (First New York Independent, six 3-inch) batteries reached this point, and were put in position in front of the advancing enemy. I rode down to McGilvery's batteries, and directed them to take the enemy in flank as they approached. The enemy advanced magnificently, unshaken by the shot and shell which tore through his ranks from his front and from our left. The batteries of the Second Corps on our right, having nearly exhausted their supply of ammunition, except canister, were compelled to withhold their fire until the enemy, who approached in three lines, came within its range. When our canister fire and musketry were opened upon them, it occasioned disorder, but still they advanced gallantly until they reached the stone wall behind which our troops lay. Here ensued a desperate conflict, the enemy succeeding in passing the wall and entering our lines, causing great destruction of life, especially among the batteries. Infantry troops were, however, advanced from our right; the rear line of the enemy broke, and the others, who had fought with a gallantry that excited the admiration of our troops, found themselves cut off and compelled to surrender. As soon as their fate was evident, the enemy opened his batteries upon the masses of our troops at this point without regard to the presence of his own. Toward the close of this struggle, Rorty's (B, First New York, four 10-pounders), Arnold s (A, First Rhode Island, six 3-inch), and Cushing's (A, Fourth United States, six 3-inch) batteries, which had lost heavily in men and horses, were withdrawn, and as soon as the affair was over their places were filled with fresh ones.
Soon the necessary measures had been taken to restore this portion of the line to an efficient condition. It required but a few minutes, as the batteries, as fast as withdrawn from any point, were sent to the Artillery Reserve, replenished with ammunition, reorganized, returned to the rear of the lines, and there awaited assignment. I then went to the left, to see that proper measures had been taken there for the same object. On my way, I saw that the enemy was forming a second column of attack to his right of the point where the first was formed, and in front of the position of the First Corps (Newton's). I gave instructions to the artillery, under command of Major McGilvery, to be ready to meet the first movements of the enemy in front, and, returning to the position of the Second Corps, directed the batteries there, mostly belonging to the Artillery Reserve, to take the enemy in flank as he advanced. When the enemy moved, these orders were well executed, and before he reached our line he was brought to a stand. The appearance of a body of our infantry moving down in front of our lines from the direction of the Second Corps caused the enemy to move off by his right flank, under cover of the woods and undergrowth, and, a few minutes after, the column had broken up, and in the utmost confusion the men of which it was composed fled across the ground over which they had just before advanced, and took refuge behind their batteries. The attacks on the part of the enemy were not well managed. Their artillery fire was too much dispersed, and failed to produce the intended effect. It was, however, so severe and so well sustained that it put to the test, and fully proved, the discipline and excellence of our troops. The two assaults, had they been simultaneous, would have divided our artillery fire. As it was, each attack was met by a heavy front and flank fire of our artillery, the batteries which met the enemy directly in front in one assault taking him in flank in the other.
The losses of the artillery on this day, and especially in the assault on the Second Corps, were very large. The loss in officers was 3 killed, 2 mortally and 9 severely wounded. Killed: Capt. J. M. Rorty, B, First New York; Lieut. A. H. Cushing, Fourth United States; Lieut. G. A. Woodruff, First United States (mortally wounded); Lieut. J. S. Milne, First Rhode Island; Lieut. A. H. Whitaker, Ninth Massachusetts (wounded severely); Capt. J. Bigelow, Ninth Massachusetts; Lieut. A. S. Sheldon, B, First New York; Lieut. H. H. Baldwin, Fifth United States; Lieut.. J. McGilvray, Fourth United States; Lieut. R. C. Hazlett, Fourth Pennsylvania Battery; Lieut. J. Stephenson, Fourth Pennsylvania Battery; Lieut. H. D. Scott, Battery E, Massachusetts; Lieut. W. P. Wright, First New York Battery; Lieut. W. H. Johnson, First New York Battery. Captain Rorty, who had taken command of his battery but three days before, fell, fighting, at his guns. Lieutenants Cushing and Woodruff belonged to a class of young officers who, although of the lowest commissioned rank, have gained distinguished army reputation. The destruction of materiel was large. The enemy's cannonade, in which he must have almost exhausted his ammunition, was well sustained, and cost us a great many horses and the explosion of an unusually large number of caissons and limbers. The whole slope behind our crest, although concealed from the enemy, was swept by his shot, and offered no protection to horses or carriages. The enemy's superiority in the number of guns was fully matched by the superior accuracy of ours, and a personal inspection of the line he occupied, made on the 5th, enables me to state with certainty that his losses in materiel in this artillery combat were equal to ours, while the marks of the shot in the trees on both crests bear conclusive evidence of the superiority of our practice.
This struggle closed the battle, and the night of the 3d, like the previous one, was devoted to repairs and reorganization. A large number of batteries had been so reduced in men and horses that many guns and carriages, after completing the outfit of those which remained with the army, were sent to the rear and turned in to the ordnance department.
Our losses in the three days' operations, as reported, were as follows:
Casualties, July 1, 2, and 3.
|Organizations||Number of Guns||Officers Killed||Men Killed||Officers Wounded||Men Wounded||Missing||Horses|
|In the corps||212||5||57||18||361||52||565|
Of these 320 guns, 142 were light 12-pounders, 106 3-inch guns, 6 20-pounders, 60 10-pounder Parrott guns, and a battery of 4 James rifles and 2 12-pounder howitzers, which joined the army on the march to Gettysburg. This table excludes the Horse Artillery, 44 3-inch guns, serving with the cavalry. It will be seen that the Artillery Reserve, every gun of which was brought into requisition, bore, as in all the campaigns of the Army of the Potomac, its full share, and more, of the losses.
The expenditure of ammunition in the three days amounted to 32,781 rounds, averaging over 100 rounds per gun. Many rounds were lost in the caissons and limbers by explosions and otherwise. The supply carried with the army being 270 rounds per gun, left sufficient to fill the ammunition chests and enable the army to fight another battle. There was for a short time during the battle a fear that the ammunition would give out. This fear was caused by the large and unreasonable demands made by corps commanders who had left their own trains or a portion of them behind, contrary to the orders of the commanding general. In this emergency, the train of the Artillery Reserve, as on so many other occasions, supplied all demands, and proved its great usefulness to the army.
For a more particular account of the operations of the artillery and of their relations to those of the other arms of service, I respectfully refer to the report of the commander of the Artillery Reserve, and to those of the chiefs of artillery of the army corps, transmitted herewith, to which reports I also refer for the names of those who distinguished themselves by their conduct and courage.
I have to acknowledge my indebtedness to these officers: Brig. Gen. R. O. Tyler, commanding Artillery Reserve; Col. C. S. Wainwright, First New York Artillery, First Corps; Capt. J. G. Hazard, First Rhode Island Artillery, Second Corps; Capt. G. E. Randolph, First Rhode Island Artillery. Third Corps; Capt. A. P. Martin, Third Massachusetts Battery, Fifth Corps; Col. C. H. Tompkins, First Rhode Island Artillery. Sixth Corps; Maj. T. W. Osborn, First New York Artillery, Eleventh Corps; Lieut. E. D. Muhlenberg, Fourth U.S. Artillery, Twelfth Corps, for their zealous co-operation in all the administrative labors that devolved upon me, and for the efficiency with which they discharged their duties in the field.
My staff Lieut. Col. E. R. Warner, First New York Artillery, inspector of artillery; Capt. J. N. Craig, assistant adjutant-general, and Lieut. C. E. Bissell, aide-de-camp--performed the duties devolving upon them with intelligence and gallantry.
Upon Lieutenant-Colonel Warner fell much of the labor required in the reorganization of batteries withdrawn from the field and in replacing them. These duties and others which devolved upon him were discharged with his accustomed energy and thoroughness. Lieutenant Bissell was my only aide, and was, therefore, busily employed. He was much exposed, his duties keeping him more or less under fire at every point at which attacks were made.
In my report of the battle of Chancellorsville, I took occasion to call attention to the great evils arising from the want of field officers for the artillery. The operations of this campaign, and especially the battle of Gettysburg, afford further proofs, if such were necessary, of the mistaken policy of depriving so important an arm of the officers necessary for managing it. In this campaign, for the command of 67 batteries (372 guns), with over 8,000 men and 7,000 horses, and all the materiel, and large ammunition trains, I had one general officer commanding the reserve, and but four field officers (Brig. Gen. R. O. Tyler, U.S. Volunteers, commanding Artillery Reserve; Lieut. Col. F. McGilvery, First Maine Artillery, commanding brigade Artillery Reserve; Col. C. H. Tompkins, First Rhode Island Artillery, Sixth Corps; Col. C. S. Wainwright, First New York Artillery, First Corps; Maj. T. W. Osborn, First New York Artillery, Eleventh Corps; Capt. J. M. Robertson, Second U. S. Artillery, commanding First Brigade Horse Artillery; Capt. J. C. Tidball, Second U.S. Artillery, commanding Second Brigade Horse Artillery).
In the seven corps, the artillery of two were commanded by colonels, of one by a major, of three by captains, and of one by a lieutenant, taken from their batteries for the purpose. The two brigades of horse artillery attached to the cavalry were commanded by captains, and there was one field officer in the reserve. The most of these commands in any other army would have been considered proper ones for a general officer. In no army would the command of the artillery of a corps be considered of less importance, to say the least, than that of a brigade of infantry. In none of our corps ought the artillery commander to have been of less rank than a colonel, and in all there should have been a proper proportion of field officers, with the necessary staffs. The defects of our organization were made palpable at Gettysburg, not only on the field, but in the necessary and important duties of reorganizing the batteries, repairing damages, and getting the artillery in condition to renew the battle, or take the road in efficient condition on the morning after a conflict.
I respectfully and urgently call the attention of the commanding general, and through him of the War Department, to this subject.
Not only does the service suffer, necessarily, from the great deficiency of officers of rank, but a policy which closes the door of promotion to battery officers, and places them and the arm itself under a ban, and degrades them in comparison with other arms of service, induces discontent, and has caused many of our best officers to seek positions, wherever they can find them, which will remove them from this branch of the service. We have lost many such officers, and unless something is done to cure the evil we will lose more.
The reports of the horse artillery were rendered to the cavalry officers under whose orders they served, and I have not yet received all of them. As their operations were detached from those of the main body of the army, and do not naturally connect with them, I reserve them as the subject of a separate report.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HENRY J. HUNT
Brigadier-General and Chief of Artillery, Commanding.
ARTILLERY HDQRS. ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
October 4, 1863.
Brig. Gen. S. WILLIAMS,
GENERAL: In compliance with your directions, I have the honor to state that the following were the captures from the army in the recent operations:
First Corps lost one gun, 3-inch, from Reynolds' battery (L, First New York), July 1; Eleventh Corps, one light 12-pounder, Heck-man's battery (K, First Ohio), July 1; Third Corps, three 10-pounder Parrotts, Smith's Fourth Independent New York Battery, July 2; Artillery Reserve, one 3-inch, Thompson's battery, Third and Fourth Pennsylvania, July 2; six lost.
I received no report of captures from the enemy in an official form, although I heard that the cavalry had picked up several on the road, and that two were taken at Falling Waters.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
HENRY J. HUNT
Major-General, Chief of Artillery.
U.S. War Dept. The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.
(Washington: Govt. Print. Office, 1880 - 1901)