War of the Rebellion: Serial 043 Page 0379 Chapter XXXIX. THE GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN.

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Numbers 77. Report of Brigadier General John C. Caldwell, U. S. Army, commanding First Division.


September 5, 1863.

COLONEL: I have the honor to transmit the following report of the part taken by my division in the battle of Gettysburg, July 2 and 3: My command arrived on the field of battle on the morning of July 2 and was placed in position by General Hancock on the left of the Second Division, in columns of regiments by brigades. Early in the afternoon the Second Corps, which had moved forward some distance toward the Emmitsburg road, engaged the enemy, and I was ordered to support. I had moved but part of the distance required, when a column of the Fifth Corps appeared coming to the assistance of the Second, and by order I resumed my former position. The battle was raging with considerable fury at the left, where, between 4 and 5 o'clock, I received orders to report with my command to General Sykes. I moved off immediately by the left flank, and sent forward my aide (Lieutenant Cross) to find General Sykes, but he did mat succeed in finding him. Before reaching the position designated for me, I met a staff officer (I think the adjutant-general of General Sykes), who told me he had orders where to place me. I moved forward rapidly, a portion of the time at double-quick, as the Third Corps was said to be hard pressed. The position assigned me was on the right of the Fifth and the left of the Third Corps, and I was ordered to check and drive back the enemy who were advancing at that point. I ordered Colonel Cross, commanding the First Brigade, to advance in line of battle through a wheat-field, his left resting on the woods which skirted the field. He had advanced but a short distance when he encountered the enemy, and opened upon him a terrific fire, driving him steadily to the farther end of the wheat-field. In the meantime I had put the Second Brigade in on the right of the First, and they advanced in like manner, driving the enemy before them. The Third brigade I ordered still farther to the right, to connect with the Third Corps, while I held the Fourth Brigade in reserve. The First, Second, and Third Brigades advanced with the utmost gallantry, driving the enemy before them over difficult and rocky ground, which was desperately contested by the slowly retreating for. The first Brigade, which had been longest engaged, had expended all its ammunition, when I ordered Colonel Brooke to relieve it. He advanced with his usual gallantry, and drove the enemy until he gained the crest of the hill, which was afterward gained by the whole of my line. In this advantageous position I halted, and called upon General Barnes, who was some distance in the rear, to send a brigade to the support of my line. He readily complied, and ordered the brigade of Colonel [Sweitzer] forward onto the wheat-field. I then galloped to the left to make a connection with General Ayres, and found that I had advanced some distance beyond him. He, however, gave the order to his line to move forward and connect with my left. Thus far everything had progressed favorably. I had gained a position which, if properly supported on the flanks, I thought impregnable from the front. General Ayres was moving forward to connect with my left, but I found on going