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

opened fire upon them from two batteries in the open field in front. A battery was placed in position in the edge of the woods occupied by the Tenth Alabama Regiment, and responded to this fire. Other batteries were soon placed in position farther to our right, on McLaws' front; other and more distant batteries of the enemy, to my left and front, engaged in this artillery fight. This cannonading continued until 6. 20 p. m., when McLaws' troops advanced to the attack. My instructions were to advance when the troops on my right should advance, and to report this to the division commander, in order that the other brigades should advance in proper time. In order that I should advance with those on my right, it became necessary for me to move off by the left flank so as to uncover the ground over which they had to advance. This was done as rapidly as the nature of the ground with its opposing obstacles (stone and plank fences) would admit. Having gained 400 or 500 yards to the left by this flank movement, my command faced by the right flank, and advanced. This forward movement was made in an open field, the ground rising slightly to the Emmitsburg turnpike, 250 yards distant. Before reaching this road, a line of the enemy's skirmishers along a fence parallel to the road were encountered and dispersed. The fence being crossed, my men advanced to the road, in which infantry in line of battle were formed. A brisk musketry fight for a few minutes followed, when the enemy gave way; not, however, till all save two pieces of a battery that was in the road had been removed. These fell into our hands, the horses having been killed. On the far side of the pike the ground was descending for some 600 or 700 yards. At the bottom of this descent was a narrow valley, through which ran a rocky ravine or stream, fringed with small trees and undergrowth of bushes. Beyond this, the ground rose rapidly for some 200 yards, and upon this ridge were numerous batteries of the enemy. This ridge to my right rose into a succession of higher ridges or spurs of mountains, increasing in height to the right, but to the left gradually descending. When my command crossed the pike and began to descend the slope, they were exposed to an artillery fire from numerous pieces, both from the front and from either flank. Before reaching the ravine at the foot of the slope, two lines of infantry were met and broken, and driven pell-mell across the ravine. A second battery of six pieces here fell into our hands. From the batteries on the ridge above referred to, grape and canister were poured into our ranks. This stronghold of the enemy, together with his batteries, were almost won, when still another line of infantry descended the slope in our front at a double-quick, to the support of their fleeing comrades and for the defense of the batteries. Seeing this contest so unequal, was continued for some thirty minutes. With a second supporting line, the heights could have been carried. Without support on either my right or left, my men were withdrawn, to prevent their entire destruction or capture. The enemy did not pursue, but my men retired under a heavy artillery fire, and returned to their original position in line, and bivouacked for the night, pickets being left on the pike.


Page 618 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 27, Part 2 (Gettysburg Campaign)
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