AUGUST 6, 1863.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report to you that, on the evening of
July 1, this regiment, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Steele, reached a point some 4 miles south of Gettysburg, Pa., and formed a line a short distance to the left of the road, and extending into the woods on the southern slope of a high conical hill. Immediately after arriving in position, pickets were thrown out on the left flank, and a breastwork made of some rails lying near our line. The men then prepared and ate their suppers and lay on their arms. At 5 o'clock next day it marched on the Gettysburg road to a point on Cemetery Hill, near the center of our line of battle. Here this regiment, with the Fifty-ninth New York, was ordered to the front to support a battery. We were posted about 150 yards to the left of the summit of the hill, about 2 acres of which were covered with a dense growth of small oaks. Our left rested on the battery. Our right was partially concealed by a cluster of small trees and shrubs. We had then present 14 officers and 151 muskets. Immediately on getting into position, barricades were made of rails, and partially screened from observation by bushes. Skirmishing commenced in front of us immediately after getting into position, and continued until 4. 15 p. m., when the enemy's artillery opened upon us, and a general artillery duel soon commenced, and continued without intermission until 5 p. m., when the fire slackened, and their infantry columns were seen advancing on our line. They succeeded in passing through between the guns of the battery on our left, driving the gunners from their posts. The line on our left gave way and our flank was almost turned, but the enemy's line was fast melting away under the scathing fire of our men, who remained unflinchingly at their posts, and they soon retired in utter confusion, leaving a large number of killed and wounded. They also left in front of us 3 stand of colors, which were picked up by other regiments who followed them up. A large number of prisoners fell into our hands and were immediately sent to the rear; among them one colonel, slightly wounded in one of his fingers, and several minor officers. This ended the fight for the day, and the men lay down supperless about 10 o'clock, to obtain what rest they could. Our loss was 9 killed and 10 wounded. At daylight on the 3d, the enemy again opened a furious cannonade, but did us no harm, their fire being principally directed to the artillery on either side of us. This continued until 9 o'clock, when all became quiet, except a desultory fire from pickets and sharpshooters on both sides. About 10. 30 all firing ceased until 1 p. m., when the enemy fired as signal gun from the right of their line, which was instantly followed by the roar of all their artillery, which had been massed in the edge of the woods opposite our line in such a manner as to bring this regiment nearly in the center of their fire. Owing to our peculiar situation in regard to their fire, not as much damage was done us as would naturally be expected from such a storm of missiles. Nearly all the shot and shell struck in front and ricocheted over us, or passed over us and burst in our rear. This continued until 4 p. m., when their infantry columns were seen advancing. Orders were given the men to reserve their fire
29 R R - VOL XXVII, PT I