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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 651 Chapter XXXIX. THE GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN.

right, and moving in line with Major-General Pickett's division, which was on our right, and march obliquely to the left. The artillery ceased firing at 3 o'clock, and the order to move forward was given and promptly obeyed. The division moved off in line, and, passing the wooded crest of the hill, descended to the open fields that lay between us and the enemy. Not a gun was fired at us until we reached a strong post and rail fence about three-quarters of a mile from the enemy's position, when we were met by a heavy fire of grape, canister, and shell, which told sadly upon our ranks. Under this destructive fire, which commanded our front and left with fatal effect, the troops displayed great coolness, were well in hand, and moved steadily forward, regularly closing up the gaps made in their ranks. Our advance across the fields was interrupted by other fences of a similar character, in crossing which the alignment became more or less deranged. This was in each case promptly rectified, and though its ranks were growing thinner at every step, this division moved steadily on in line with the troops on the right. When within musket-range, we encountered a heavy fire of small-arms, from which we suffered severely; but this did not for moment check the advance. The right of the division, owing to the conformation of the ridge on which the enemy was posted, having a shorter distance to pass over to reach his first line of defense, encountered him first in close conflict; but the whole division dashed up to his first line of defense - a stone wall - behind which the opposing infantry was strongly posted. Here we were subjected to a most galling fire of musketry and artillery, that so reduced the already thinned ranks that any further effort to carry the position was hopeless, and there was nothing left but to retire to the position originally held, which was done in more or less confusion. About 4 p. m. the division reached the line held in the morning, and remained there thirty hours, excepting an attack from the enemy. No demonstration was made on any part of our line during that or the following day, on the night of which we began our retreat to Hagerstown. In the assault upon the enemy's position, the coolness and courage of officers and men are worthy of high commendation, and I regret that the names of the gallant men who fell distinguished on that bloody field have not been more fully reported. In this assault, we are called upon to mourn the loss of many brave officers and men. Colonel B. D. Fry, Thirteenth Alabama, commanding Archer's brigade, and Colonel James K. Marshall, of the Fifty-second North Carolina, commanding Pettigrew's, were wounded and taken prisoners while gallantly leading their brigades. The number killed and wounded was very great, and in officers unusually so, as may be seen from the fact that in Archer's brigade but two field officers escaped, in Pettigrew's but one, and in Davis' all were killed or wounded. Brigadier-General Pettigrew had his horse killed, and received a slight wound in the hand. Not having commanded the division in this engagement, and having been exclusively occupied by the operations of my own brigade, this report is necessarily imperfect, and I regret that I am unable to do full justice to the division.

I am, major, your obedient servant,

JOS. R. DAVIS,

Brigadier-General.

Major WILLIAM H. PALMER,

Assistant Adjutant-General.


Page 651 Chapter XXXIX. THE GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 27, Part 2 (Gettysburg Campaign)
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