right and moved forward in one line of battle, firing rapidly. Perceiving that the design was to break through our left center, and gain the heights and batteries covering them between the road sweeping around the left of the cemetery and the open fields between the enemy's line and ours, I moved my command, by the right flank toward our center, corresponding with the enemy's movements, and pouring a continuous fire into his ranks as we advanced. The enemy came forward with unusual determination, and, although his ranks were momentarily thinned, he continued to advance until he reached the fence at the foot of the hill immediately beneath our left-center battery, this affording him considerable protection, and he threw some of his force over the fence and into the slashing on the hillside made to clear the range for our guns. The contest for the possession of this hillside and fence was especially obstinate, and for a considerable time the chances of success appeared to favor first one side and then the other. Each seemed to appreciate the fact that the possession of the heights was all important, and each fought with the utmost desperation. The men were now within quarter pistol range, and the fence and fallen trees gave the enemy considerable cover. I then ordered an advance, and the two regiments pushed briskly through the slashing to the fence, cheering as they went, and the enemy broke and hastily retreated in great disorder, while we poured into their broken line a heavy and continuous fire. This concluded the fighting at this point, and left us in undisputed possession of the contested ground. We took a large number of prisoners, and the ground in front was strewn with the dead and wounded of the enemy. It may not be improper to remark that during this almost hand-to hand contest the enemy's batteries played upon friend and foe alike, doing quite as much damage in their own ranks as in ours. Both regiments behaved with great gallantry, and I believe I do them but simple justice when I attest that to their persistent efforts the Army of the Potomac owes very much of its success of the day. I learned from prisoners that the troops engaged with us were Pickett's division, of Longstreet's corps, and more than six times outnumbered my command. Among the killed and wounded in my immediate front was one colonel and several line officers. Two colors were left upon the ground by the enemy, and were picked up by some troops who came upon the field from our right after the fighting was over. The lists of killed and wounded will be speedily submitted. *
I am, yours, &c.,
THEODORE B. GATES,
HDQRS. TWENTIETH NEW YORK STATE MILITIA,
Brandy Station, Va., January 30, 1864.
GENERAL: I beg leave to submit the following condensed report of the movements and operation of my command during the three days' battle at Gettysburg: Marched with brigade at 8 a. m., July 1, and between 10 and 11
* See p. 174