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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 624 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX

covered that the brigade on our right had not only not advanced across the turnpike, but had actually given way, and was rapidly falling back to the rear, while on our left we were entirely unprotected, the brigade ordered to our support having failed to advance. It was now evident, with my ranks so seriously thinned as they had been by this terrible charge, I should not be able to hold my position unless speedily and strongly re-enforced. My advanced position and the unprotected condition of my flanks invited an attack which the enemy were speedy to discover, and immediately passed a strong body of infantry under cover of a high ledge of rocks, thickly covered with stunted undergrowth, which fell away from the gorge in rear of their batteries before mentioned in a southeasterly direction, and, emerging on the western slope of the ridge, came upon my right and rear at a point equidistant from the Emmitsburg turnpike and the stone fence, while a large brigade advanced from the point of woods on my left, which extended nearly down to the turnpike, and, gaining the turnpike, moved rapidly to meet the party which had passed round upon our right. We were now in a critical condition. The enemy's converging line was rapidly closing upon our rear; a few moments more, and we would be completely surrounded; still, no support could be seen coming to our assistance, and with painful hearts we abandoned our captured guns, faced about, and prepared to cut our way through the closing lines in our rear. This was effected in tolerable order, but with immense loss. The enemy rushed to his abandoned guns as soon as we began to retire, and poured a severe fire of grape and canister into our thinned ranks as we retired slowly down the slope into the valley below. I continued to fall back until I reached a slight depression a few hundred yards in advance of our skirmish line of the morning, when I halted, reformed my brigade, and awaited the further pursuit of the enemy. Finding that the enemy was not disposed to continue his advance, a line of skirmishers was thrown out in my front, and a little after dark my command moved to the position which we had occupied before the attack was made. In this charge, my loss was very severe, amounting to 688 in killed, wounded, and missing, including many valuable officers. I have not the slightest doubt but that I should have been able to have maintained my position on the heights, and secured the captured artillery, if there h; ad been a protecting force on my left, or if the brigade on my right had not been forced to retire. We captured over twenty pieces of artillery, all of which we were compelled to abandon. These pieces were taken by the respective regiments composing this brigade, as follows: The Third Georgia, 11 pieces; the Twenty-second Georgia, 3 pieces; the Forty-eighth Georgia, 4 pieces, and the Second Battalion several pieces-the exact number not ascertained, but believed to amount to as many as 5 or 6 pieces. I am gratified to say that all the officers and men behaved in the most handsome manner; indeed, I have never seen their conduct excelled on any battle-field of this war. In the list of casualties, A am pained to find the name of Colonel Joseph Wasden, commanding Twenty-second Georgia Regiment, who was killed at the head of his command near the Emmitsburg turnpike. The service contained no better or truer officer, and his death, while deeply deplored by his friends and associates, will be a serious loss to the Confederacy. Major Ceorge W. Ross, commanding Second Georgia Battallion,


Page 624 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 27, Part 2 (Gettysburg Campaign)
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