War of the Rebellion: Serial 043 Page 0386

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Page 386
N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.

Numbers 82. Report of Colonel Patrick Kelly, Eighty-eighth New York Infantry, commanding Second Brigade.


Near Morrisville, Va., August 9 1863.

MAJOR: I have the honor to forward the following report of the part taken by this brigade in the battle of Gettysburg, Pa., on July 2 and 3; About 10 p. m. on the 1st, we arrived within 2 or 3 miles of Gettysburg; bivouacked in an adjacent field; threw out our pickets, and at 4. 30 o'clock next morning (2d), marched toward Gettysburg. Arriving on the heights near the village, and in view of the enemy's pickets, we took a position in two lines on the right of the First Brigade, stacked arms, and allowed the men to rest. About 3 p. m. the brigade, with the rest of the division, moved about half a mile to the left and forward. Were then ordered to take our original position, which we did. About 5 p. m. received orders to march by the left flank which we did, preceded by the First Brigade. Both brigades advanced in line of battle through a wheat-field into a wood in which was a considerable quantity of very large rocks, behind which they poured into us a brisk fire while advancing. We, however, drove them a considerable distance, and sent a great many prisoners to the rear. After being, I should think, about three-quarters of an hour engaged, the troops on our left had retired, and the enemy pressing hard on that point, on going to the right of the brigade I found the enemy forming line faced to our right along the edge of the wood, Finding myself in this very disagreeable position, I ordered the brigade to fall back, firing. We here encountered a most terrific fire, and narrowly escaped being captured. We, however, got out, reformed the brigade, and joined the division near the Second Division hospital. It was now after nightfall, and, soon after, we were moved to the front, and slept on our arms all night. Early next morning (3d), we were ordered to throw up breastworks, behind which we remained all day, under probably the heaviest artillery fire ever heard, with a loss of only 1 man wounded. The 4th and a portion of the 5th were spent in burying the dead, attending to the wounded, and collecting arms and equipments. about 4. 30 p. m. on the 5th, marched off the battle-field to a place called Two Taverns. Before closing this report, it gives me pleasure to say that both officers and men of this command have acted to my entire satisfaction during the engagement. Mentioning the names of a few would be doing injustice to the rest. The command took into action an aggregate of 530 men. The casualties are as follows:

Officers and men.





Commissioned officers.





Enlisted men










* But see revised statement, p. 175

Page 386
N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.