Numbers 101. Reports of Lieutenant Colonel George C. Joslin, Fifteenth Massachusetts Infantry.
IN THE FIELD,
July 11, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by the Fifteenth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers in the action of July 2 and 3, at Gettysburg, Pa.: Early on the morning of the 2d, we moved from our place of bivouac, immediately in the rear of the First Minnesota, and took our position in close column by regiments near the battle-field, stacked arms, and remained until about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, when the enemy opened fire from their batteries. Colonel Ward, who had been in command of the brigade, was here relieved, and took command of the regiment, and moved by order of General Harrow to the front of our batteries, and took position on the right of the Eighty-second New York, their left resting near a brick house about 200 yards to the front, nothing connecting on our right. Here we built a small breastwork of rails behind the fence, during which time the enemy were being engaged on our left and a rapid picket firing in our front. We remained in this position about half an hour, when the pickets were driven in, and the Eighty-second New York became engaged. Upon the approach of the enemy, their batteries in our rear opened fire with grape and canister, by which we lost a large number killed and wounded. At this time the Eighty-second New York fell back, exposing our left and rear to a deadly fire from the rebel infantry. Here Colonel Ward received wounds from which he has since died. We now opened a rapid fire, but being left alone could hold the position but a short time, when we retired in some disorder, being pressed so closely that we lost quite a number of prisoners, captured by the enemy. We reformed our line in rear of the batteries, and rejoined the brigade, which was moved after dark to the front line, and took position on the left of the First Minnesota, which was the extreme left of the brigade, where we remained until about 2. 30 p. m. of the following day. About 1 p. m. the enemy opened a heavy fire of artillery upon our lines, during which we lost 1 man killed and 2 wounded. Soon after, an attack of infantry was made by the enemy on the right of our lines, and we moved by the right flank a short distance and became hotly engaged. After about an hour's fighting, the enemy were repulsed, during which engagement the regiment sustained a heavy loss. After about an hour, we were ordered to our former position, and from there deployed to the front as skirmishers, where we remained until relieved, about 8 a. m. the next day, our ammunition being expended. During the skirmish we lost 2 men wounded. We went into action with 18 officers and 221 men. During the three days, our loss in killed was 3 officers, 19 enlisted men; wounded, 8 officers and 85 enlisted men; missing, 28 enlisted men, supposed to be captured. * The behavior of the officers and men under my command during the engagements was as good as I could wish. I would do injustice to particularize officers of the line, they all acted with so much
*But see revised statement, p. 176.