War of the Rebellion: Serial 043 Page 0280 Chapter XXXIX. N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

tected by the hill and timber. He was rapidly gaining ground on our left; still, no order came to change our position. The Seventh was receiving a galling fire and the Second was being badly cut up, when Captain Richardson brought me the order to retire to Seminary Ridge. I retired by the right of companies to the rear some 150 or 200 yards, halted, and wheeled into line again to support the other regiments in retiring. Then again retired about the same distance, and again wheeled into line, and so on until I reached the foot of Seminary Ridge. On this ridge, directly in my rear, a battery had been placed, and opened upon the advancing foe. Down the slope some 40 yards in front of this battery, I found a slight breastwork of loose rails, which, I suppose, had been thrown together by some of our troops in the earlier part of the day, behind which I threw the regiment. During this movement we were exposed not only to the fire of the advancing enemy in front, but also to that from the brigade which had turned our left flank, and was now advancing from that direction in line obliquely to our new position. It was with some difficulty I restrained the men from firing until the enemy got as near as I wanted them. When they were within easy range, the order was given, and their ranks went down like grass before the scythe from the united fire of our regiments and the battery. There were very few, if any, of that brigade escaped death or wounds. The regiment held this position until all the troops on our right and left had retired. The battery had limbered up and retired. The enemy, in overwhelming numbers, had again turned both our flanks, with a line formed on each perpendicular to ours, and reaching a considerable distance to our rear, forming three sides of a square around us, with the open side to our rear and toward the town. At

this time Captain Richardson, of the brigade staff, again brought me the order to retire through the town. I again retired, by the right of companies to the rear, through the orchard over the ridge, and then by the right flank by file left into column, and moved on to the turnpike and through the town to Cemetery Hill, being the rear of the troops from that part of the field. Immediately upon my arrival at the cemetery, I was ordered by General Wadsworth to take command of the brigade. In retiring from our last position on Seminary Ridge, as I came out of the orchard, I found the enemy advancing in line perpendicular to the left and to the rear of our late position, and within 300 yards of me. They immediately opened fire upon us. To the right of our position and on the rear of our late position, and within 300 yards of me. They immediately opened fire upon us. To the right of our position and on the opposite side of the turnpike, some little distance from it, was another line of theirs, with their left reaching near the town. This line was stationary and was supported by artillery. In passing out, we were exposed to this enfilading fire from both these lines, as well as from their artillery. It was here I met with the heaviest losses from the regiment during the day. Throughout the whole engagement-the morning charge, where the regiment captured one of General Archer's regiments; under the severe artillery fire of the midday, and in the unequal combat of the afternoon; in the steadiness exhibited in retiring and promptness in reforming line, time and time again, under a most galling fire; in the firmness with which they held the last position, and kept up a rapid and well -directed fire upon the advancing enemy until left alone and the order was received to retire-the regiment displayed all the coolness, bravery, and prowess that has won for it honorable distinction