No. 52 Report of Brigadier General Henry Baxter, U. S. Army, commanding Second Brigade.
HDQRS. SECOND BRIG., SECOND DIV., FIRST ARMY CORPS, Camp near
Berlin, Md., July 17, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to report the following as the part taken by the Second Brigade in the battle of Gettysburg: On Wednesday, July 1, we were early under arms and on the march from our bivouac, near Emmitsburg, for Gettysburg. We heard cannonading as we approached, and marched as rapidly as possible, arriving near the front where the battle was raging at 22 a. m., halting here a few moments. An order arriving from General Robinson, commanding division, before the brigade had halted to send forward two regiments at once, the Eleventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Coulter, and the Ninety-seventh New York, Colonel Wheelock, continued their march, moving to the front. The remaining four regiments were ordered forward in a very few moments, and formed on the right of the two regiments already sent forward, which were on the right of the First Division (General Wadsworth). Indications being that we should be attacked on our right flank, I at once changed front by filing to the right and forming forward on first battalion, a division of the Eleventh Corps being on our right at least 400 yards. I immediately sent skirmishers forward, but the enemy now appearing on our left flank, I had again to change front to the left, and moved forward to the crest of the hill, bringing us before the enemy, when the brigade opened on the advancing foes a most deadly fire, soon causing them to recoil and give way. Another line immediately took the place of that repulsed, and at this time they appeared on our right flank, making it necessary for the Ninetieth Pennsylvania Volunteers Regiment, Colonel Lyle, to change front to meet them, which they did in perfect order, receiving meanwhile a very severe fire. Again their lines were repulsed and again re-enforced. The Ninety-seventh New York Volunteers, Colonel Wheelock, Eighty-third New York Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Moesch, and Eighty-eight Pennsylvania Volunteers, Major Foust, made a charge, capturing many prisoners, the Eighty-eight Pennsylvania Volunteers taking two battle-flags and the Ninety-seventh New York Volunteers one from the enemy. The Twelfth Massachusetts Volunteers had a galling fire on the flank of this brigade at this time, which I think had a great influence upon its surrender. We were relieved by the First Brigade of the Second Division, having been engaged over two hours, and having suffered severely and expended our ammunition. We were then ordered to the support of Captain Stewart's battery, where we remained until ordered from the field by General Robinson, having been outflanked on our right and left, and retired, under a galling fire, through Gettysburg to Cemetery Hill. I cannot speak in too high praise of the regimental commanders-Colonel Coulter, of the Eleventh Pennsylvania Volunteers; Colonel Wheelock, of the Ninety-seventh New York Volunteers; Colonel Lyle, of the Ninetieth Pennsylvania Volunteers, who was wounded during the action, but remained until struck a second time and forced to retire, leaving the command with Lieutenant-Colonel Allen, who