War of the Rebellion: Serial 043 Page 0439 Chapter XXXIX. THE GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN.

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The perfect order and steady but rapid advance of the enemy called forth praise from our troops, but gave their line an appearance of being fearfully irresistible. My line was single, the only support {the Seventy-second Pennsylvania Volunteers

having been called away by General Webb before the action had fairly commenced. There was a disposition in the men to reserve their fire for close quarters, but when I observed the movement the enemy was endeavoring to execute, I caused the Seventh Michigan and Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteers to open fire at about 200 yards. The deadly aim of the former regiment was attested by the line of slain within its range. This had a great effect upon the result, for it caused the enemy to move rapidly at one point and consequently to crowd in front-being occasioned at the point where his column was forming, he did not recover from this disorder. The remainder of our line reserved its fire until within 100 yards, some regiments waiting even until but 50 paces intervened between them and the enemy. There was but a moment of doubtful contest in front of the position of this brigade. The enemy halted to deliver his fire, wavered, and fled, while the line of the fallen perfectly marked the limit of his advance. The troops were pouring into the ranks of the fleeing enemy that rapid and accurate fire, the delivery of which victorious lines always so much enjoy, when I saw that a portion of the line of General Webb on my right had given way, and many men were making to the rear as fast as possible, while the enemy was pouring over the rails that had been a slight cover for the troops. Having gained this apparent advantage, the enemy seemed to turn again and re-engage my whole line. Going to the left, I found two regiments that could be spared from some command there, and endeavored to move them by the right flank to the break, but, coming under a warm fire, they crowded to the slight cover of the rail fence, mixing with the troops already there. Finding it impossible to draw them out and reform, and seeing no unengaged troops within reach, I was forced to order my own brigade back from the line, and move it by the flank under a heavy fire. The enemy was rapidly gaining a foothold; organization was mostly lost; in the confusion commands were useless, while a disposition on the part of the men to fall back a pace or two each time to load, gave the line a retiring direction. With the officers of my staff and a few others, who seemed to comprehend what was required, the head of the line, still slowly moving by the flank, was crowded closer to the enemy and the men obliged to load in their places. I did not see any man of my command who appeared disposed to run away, but the confusion first caused by the two regiments above spoken of so destroyed the formation in two ranks that in some places the line was several files deep. In pressing the line as closely upon the enemy as possible, it took the form here represented: SCHEME

During this time, the Fifteenth Massachusetts Volunteers, First Minnesota, and Nineteenth Maine Volunteers, from the First Bri-