July 2. -In obedience to an order from Headquarters Army of the Potomac, dated July 1, I reported in person to the general commanding, at the cemetery gate, early in the morning on this day, and assumed command of the First Corps. I found the First Division (Brigadier-General Wadsworth) occupying the high wooded hill and slopes immediately on the right of General Howard's position on Cemetery Hill, an important position, from which it was not detached during the subsequent operations at Gettysburg. Major-General Doubleday's (Third) division was in reserve behind the Eleventh Corps on Cemetery Hill. Brigadier-General Robinson's (Second) division was likewise posted on the Cemetery Hill, but on the left of the Eleventh Corps, and facing to the left in the position afterward occupied by the Second Corps. The artillery of thecorps, except one battery with the First Division, was posted on Cemetery Hill, and was not detached from this position during all the subsequent fighting. Beyond an occasional shot at the moving columns of the enemy, everything remained quiet until the afternoon, when the enemy opened a brisk cannonade on my position, which was vigorously and effectively returned. Near sundown I was summoned to move my troops in haste to fill a gap in the line on the left of the Second Corps, into which the enemy was on the point of entering. Notwithstanding the inconvenient positions of the Second and Third Divisions, these were quickly filed in to the new position in time to stay the progress of the enemy, who relinquished their attempt on our appearance. I was deeply gratified at the promptitude with which these divisions moved at this critical period, their movement not consuming one-half the time it would have taken on drill. During this movement, the right wing of the Thirteenth Vermont, under Colonel Randall, charged upon the enemy, retook four of our guns, and captured two guns and 80 prisoners from them. Two more of our guns were retaken by the Second Brigade, Third Division. Night coming on, and active operations closing here for the day, parties were sent to the front to bring in such guns as had been left. They were successful to some extent, but the number thus reclaimed has never been reported. The Second Division was sent back to Cemetery Hill, to support the Eleventh Corps, which was threatened by the enemy. The First Division was vigorously attacked about the same time, the enemy succeeding in some instances in getting into the batteries, from which they were driven by the cannoneers themselves.
July 3. - The dawn of day found the position of the First Corps as follows: The First Division as reported; the Second Division on Cemetery Hill, ready to support the Eleventh Corps or the Second Corps; the Third Division on the left center and adjoining the left of General Hancock's position. Between the left of the Third Division and General Sykes' position on the left (an interval by my estimate of over half a mile), there were no troops in position. I reported this fact immediately to the general commanding, who authorized me to go to General Sedgwick, on the extreme left, and obtain troops from him to fill this gap. While proceeding on this mission, I encountered Caldwell's division, of the Second Corps, not then forming part of General Hancock's line of battle, and with this officer's consent I put it in position on the left of the Third Division,