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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 373 Chapter XXXIX. THE GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN.

opposite Round Top Mountain. Their number is variously estimated at from one hundred and fifteen to one hundred and fifty. The air was filled with projectiles, there being scarcely an instant but that several were seen bursting at once. No irregularity of ground afforded much protection, and the plain in rear of the line of battle was soon swept of everything movable. the infantry troops maintained their position with great steadiness, covering themselves as best they might by the temporary but trifling defenses they had erected and the accidents of the ground. Scarcely straggler was seen, but all waited the cessation of the fierce cannonade, knowing well what it foreshadowed. The artillery of the corps, imperfectly supplied with ammunition, replied to the enemy most gallantly, maintaining the unequal contest in a manner that reflected the highest honor on this arm of the service. Brown's battery (B, First Rhode Island), which had suffered severely on the 2d, and expended all of its canister on that day, retired before the cannonading ceased, not being effective for further service, The remaining batteries continued their fire until only canister remained to them, and then ceased. After an hour and forty-five minutes, the fire of the enemy became less furious, and immediately their infantry was seen in the woods beyond the Emmitsburg road, preparing for the assault. A strong line of skirmishers soon advanced(followed by two deployed lines of battle), supported at different points by small columns of infantry. Their lines were formed with a precision and steadiness that extorted the admiration of the witnesses of that memorable scene. The left of the enemy extended slightly beyond the right of General Alexander Hays' division, the right being about opposite the left of General Gibbin's. Their line of battle thus covered a front of not more than two of the small and incomplete divisions of the corps. The whole attacking force is estimated to have exceeded 15, 000 men. No attempt was made to check the advance of the enemy until the first line had arrived within about 700 yards of our position, when a feeble fire of artillery was opened upon it, but with no material effect, and without delaying for a moment its determined advance. The column pressed on, coming within musketry range without receiving immediately our fire, our men evincing a striking disposition to withhold it until it could be delivered with deadly effect. Two regiments of Stannard's Vermont Brigade (of the First Corps), which had been posted in a little grove in front of and at a considerable angle with the main line, first opened with an oblique fire upon the right of the enemy's column, which had the effect to make the troops on that flank double in a little toward their left. They still pressed on, however, without halting to return the fire. The rifled guns of our artillery, having fired away all their canister, were now withdrawn, or left on the ground inactive, to await the issue of the struggle between the opposing infantry. Arrived at between 200 and 300 yards, the troops of the enemy were met by a destructive fire from the divisions of Gibbon and Hays, which they promptly returned, and the fight at once became fierce and general. In front of Hays' division it was not of very long duration. Mowed down by canister from Woodruff's battery, and by the fire from two regiments judiciously posted by General Hays in his extreme front and right, and by the fire of different lines in the rear, the enemy broke in great disorder, leaving fifteen colors and nearly 2, 000 prisoners in the hands of this division. Those of the enemy's troops who did not fall into


Page 373 Chapter XXXIX. THE GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 27, Part 1 (Gettysburg Campaign)
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