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

enemy were soon driven from the wood, and the line of battle was formed, with the brigades in the following order: Wilcox's Perry's (commanded by Colonel David Lang), Wirght's Posey's, and Mahone's. The enemy's line was plainly in view, about 1, 200 yards in our front, extending along an opposite ridge somewhat more elevated than that which we occupied, the intervening ground being slightly undulating, inclosed by rail and plank fences, and under cultivation. Our skirmishers soon became engaged with those of the enemy, and kept up an irregular fire upon one another. Shortly after the line had been formed, I received notice that Lieutenant-General Longstreet would occupy the ground on the right; that his line would be in a direction nearly at right angles with mine; that he would assault the extreme left of the enemy and drive him toward Gettysburg, and I was at the same time ordered to pu the troops of my division into action by brigades as soon as those of General Longstreet's corps had progressed so far in their assault as to be connected with my right flank. About 2 o'clock in the afternoon, the engagement between the artillery of the enemy and that for the First Army Corps commenced, and was soon followed by furious and sustained musketry; but it was not until 5. 30 o'clock in the evening that McLaws' division (by which the movement of my division was to be regulated) had advanced so far as to call for the movement of my troops. The advance of McLaws' division was immediately followed by the brigades of mine, in the manner directed. Never did troops go into action with greater spirit or more determined courage. The ground afforded them but little shelter, and for nearly three-quarters of a mile they were compelled to face a storm of shot and shell land bullets; but there was no hesitation nor faltering. They drove the enemy from his first line, and possessed themselves of the ridge and of much of the artillery with which it had been crowned; but the situation discovered the enemy in possession of a second line, with artillery upon both our front and flanks. From this position he poured a destructive fire of grape upon our troops. Strong re-enforcements pressed upon our right flank, which had become disconnected from McLaws' left, and the ridge was untenable. The brigades were compelled to retire. They fell back in the same succession in which the had advanced-Wilcox's, Perry's, Wright's, and Posey's. They regained their positions in the line of battle. The enemy did not follow. Pickets were again thrown to the front, and the troops lay upon their arms. In Wilcox's, Perry's, and Wright's brigades the loss was very heavy. On July 3, nothing of consequence occurred along that portion of the line occupied by my division until the afternoon, when at 3. 30 o'clock a great number of pieces of our artillery, massed against the enemy's fire seemed to subside, and troops of General Longstreet's corps were advanced to the assault of the enemy's center. I receive orders to hold my division in readiness to move up in support, if it should become necessary. The same success at first, and the same repulse, attended this assault as that made by my division on the preceding evening. The troops advanced gallantly under a galling and destructive storm of missiles of every description; gained the first ridge; were unable to hold it; gave way, and fell back, their support giving way at the same time. Wilcox's and Perry's brigades had been moved forward, so as to


Page 614 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 27, Part 2 (Gettysburg Campaign)
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