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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 2 (Gettysburg Campaign)
Page 352 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.

front of the peach orchard. Then came the Washington Artillery Battalion, under Major Eshleman, and Dearing's battalion on his left, these two having arrived since dusk of the day before; and beyond Dearing, Cabell's battalion had been arranged, making nearly sixty guns for that wing, all well advanced in a sweeping curve of about a mile. In the posting of these appeared little room for improvement, so judiciously had they been adjusted. To Colonel Alexander, placed here in change by General Longstreet, the wishes of the commanding general were repeated. The battalion and the battery commanders were also cautioned how to fire so as to waste as little ammunition as possible. To the Third Corps artillery attention was also given. Major Poague's battalion had been advanced to the line of the right wing, and was not far from its left. His guns also were well posted. Proper directions were also given to him and his officers. The other battalions of this corps, a portion of Garnett's, under Major[Charles] Richardson, being in reserve, held their position of the day before, as did those of the Second Corps, each group having specific instruction from its chief. Care was also given to the convenient posting of ordnance trains, especially for the right, as most distant from the main depot, and due notice given of their position. From some cause, the expected attack was delayed several hours. Meanwhile the enemy threw against our extreme right a considerable force, which was met with energy. Henry's battalion rendering, in its repulse, efficient service. At length, about 1 p. m., on the concerted signal, our guns in position, nearly one hundred and fifty, opened fire along the entire line from right to left, salvos by battery being practiced, as directed, to secure greater deliberation and power. the enemy replied with their full force. So mighty an artillery contest has perhaps never been waged, estimating together the number and character of guns and the duration of the conflict. The average distance between contestants was about 1, 400 yards, and the effect, was necessarily serious on both sides. With the enemy, there was advantage of elevation and protection from earthworks; but his fire was unavoidably more or less divergent, while ours was convergent. His troops were massed, ours diffused. We, therefore, suffered apparently much less. Great commotion was produced in his ranks, and his batteries were to such extent driven off or silenced as to have insured his defeat but for the extraordinary strength of his position. Proceeding again to the right, to see about the anticipated advance of the artillery delayed behind expectation, I found among other difficulties, many batteries getting out of or low in ammunition, and the all-important question of supply received my earnest attention. Frequent shell endangering the First Corps ordnance train in the convenient locality i had assigned it, it had been removed farther back. This necessitated longer time for refiling caissons. What was worst, the train itself was very limited, so that its stock was soon exhausted, rendering required demand upon the reserve farther off. The whole amount was thus being rapidly reduced. With our means, to keep up supply at the rate required for such a conflict proved practically impossible. There had to be, therefore, some relaxation of the protracted fire, and some lack of support for the deferred and attempted advance. But if this and other cause prevented our sweeping the enemy from his position, he was so crippled as to be incapable of any formidable movement. Night closed upon our guns


Page 352 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 27, Part 2 (Gettysburg Campaign)
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