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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 27, Part 1 (Gettysburg Campaign)
Page 420 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.

ing heavy losses and inflicting more than a corresponding punishment upon their assailants. It was in this advanced line that Colonels Ward and Huston both fell, mortally wounded [each since dead], and here also many line officers were killed and wounded. The enemy continued to advance until they attacked with great fury the commands of Colonels Colvill and Heath, endeavoring to take the batteries under their protection. In this assault, Colonel Colvill, Lieutenant-Colonel Adams, and Major Downie were shot down, the two former severely, and I fear mortally, wounded, but the command maintained its position until supported by the arrival of other troops. It would be unjust to a you and accomplished officer, Lieutenant Thomas, no to bear testimony here to his gallantry, and to credit him with destroying large numbers of the enemy by the very effective fire of his guns. His exertions contributed largely to checking and finally repulsing the enemy at this point. Colonel Heath, Nineteenth Maine Volunteers, was attacked with equal desperation, the enemy at one time obtaining possession of three of the guns of the battery on his left. These guns he retook and carried from the field, most of the battery horses having been killed and many of the gunners killed and wounded. The officers and men of this command, as also the officers and men of the battery, deserve high commendation for their determination and valor. The final repulse of the enemy accomplished, dispositions were made for the contest of the succeeding day {July 3
by General Gibbon, as follows: The Second and Third Brigades on this day occupied the position of the day previous, the First Brigade continuing the line to the left. The entire line was strengthened during the night by such means as could be commanded. At 1 p. m. the enemy opened a fierce cannonade upon the line from a hundred or more guns, which was continued until nearly 3 p. m., when his infantry columns moved from the woods, 1, 000 yards in front, and steadily advanced to the assault. After crossing the Emmitsburg and Gettysburg road in two lines, with supports upon the right and left, accommodating their advance to the inequalities of the surface, so as to cover themselves as far as possible by the low grounds in front of the division, this movement brought them first in range of the guns of the First Brigade, but the crest of the hill occupied by the right of Colonel Hall and the left of General Webb seemed to be the point to which their main attack was directed. As this purpose became manifest, the Third and First Brigades, of this division, inclined to the right, engaging the enemy as they moved, the whole command meeting the shock from the enemy's heaviest lines and supports near the crest of the ridge. Here the contest raged with almost unparalleled ferocity for nearly an hour, when the enemy was routed and fled in disorder. I have no words to express the unwavering courage and daring of the entire command in this the final struggle. Many prisoners, including many officers, were taken her; also many battle-flags were captured. It would be gross injustice to claim a greater share of this triumph for one brigade of the division to the exclusion of another. It was a common struggle and a common success, as the gallant dead and wounded of each of the brigades of the division there fallen amply testify. The First Brigade carried off the field four of the enemy's battle-flags; each of the other brigades as many or more.


Page 420 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 27, Part 1 (Gettysburg Campaign)
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