War of the Rebellion: Serial 043 Page 0539 Chapter XXXIX. THE GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

The line of the Second Brigade made its appearance at the base of the hill between 5 and 6 p. m., and began to ascend before its right was clear of the hollow or ravine, which did not give it so fair a start as might otherwise have been; but nothing can transcend the gallantry with which it rose to the crest and drove the enemy from int. In the moment of this success, a second crest of the same hill, 200 yards beyond the first and confounded with it until this time, came into their view, behind which the enemy rose from his prone posture as thick as men can stand, opening furious fire of musketry. At the same time a six-gun battery, still farther beyond opened with shell. I now advanced the Third brigade, commanded by Colonel Burling, with orders to occupy the crest just taken. It deployed advancing, and arrived promptly and in perfect order at its position. The First Brigade, commanded by Brigadier-General Carr, I brought forward in mass to the position of support for the flanks of the Third. The severest part of the charge of the Excelsior Brigade was before it after taking the first crest, but without hesitation, with the determination of the Union solider and the fury of the hurricane, lit took the second crest, and exposed the enemy (scampering away from it) to fire while descending the one side of a deep cleared hollow and clinging up the other. corrections and been sent by me to the brigade while charging the second crest to halt upon and maintain that crest, and to restore its line there, and I arrived there with part of my staff in time assist in doing this. A farther advance without preparation would have been irregular. A very deep and wide hollow now ran down on the left and to the front of our position, and on our right front was a high, wooded mountain, running up to a peak. The woods at the base of this mountain extended to our position, separated from it by a gully. The driven rebels were to be seen pouring into that part of the woods nearest us, evidently to attack the right flank of my advanced line, the Excelsior Brigade. Accordingly, I extended my second line to the right, so that it would enfilade the woods. This extension was made up of the troops commanded by Colonel de Trobriand, which did not report to me, but seeing them come at this time to the front, I ordered them into my second line and afterward to move some distance to the right, for the purpose above named. I also brought General Carr's brigade up to the second line, and established it there in mass near the road, which cut the line at right angles and passed through the woods. The enemy threw solid shot and shell at the troops of General Carr and Colonel de Trobriand during their movements without effect. While making these dispositions, darkness settled down ad overtook us, and the troops of my division slept on their arms. The simple narrative of this infantry exploit, unaided by any other arm of the service, is the most just commendation that can be made of those who performed it. It is impossible to mention their names. Brigadier General F. B. Spinola, U. S. Volunteer, while leading his brigade toward the second of the crests taken by it, fell, wounded in two places, severely, but not seriously. The command of the brigade devolved from that time upon Colonel J. Egbert Farnum, First Excelsior Regiment. At daylight of the following morning, my pickets and skirmishers explored the ground of the enemy, and found it occupied only by the dead men they in their hasty departure had left behind. The merit of this discovery is due to the vigilance of Colonel Farnulm. On this being reported, I received orders from corps headquarters to advance immediately with the division, which was soon re-enforced by the Keystone Battery, Captain Hastings, and a squadron of cavalry under Captain Mason. My orders were to proceed to Front Royal, and on being satisfied that there were only cavalry and artillery in my front, to return. Nearing Front Royal some irregular cavalry and a piece or two of artillery skirmished with us and threw a few shells without effect, and their dust, as seen from the heights west of the village, showed them to be far beyond our reach when we arrived there. Throughout this advance the Second Hew Hampshire Volunteers, of the Third Brigade (whose turn came to lead the column this day.), were deployed as skirmishers to the front. I captured 203 of the enemy in Front Royal, but as they were, most of them, unfit to march, being the wounded and sick, I left nearly all of them there. Having demonstrated that there was no important force of the enemy in that quarter, I immediately began my return march. At dark, after an arduous day's march and some handsome soldier ship, my command bivouacked near Markham Station, in Manassas Gap. On the 25th instant, the division overtook the corps, resumed its place in column, and bivouacked with it 7 miles from Warrenton, after a hard march. I transmit herewith a tabular statement of the killed and wounded of the division, and a list of their names, * nearly all of which casualties occurred in the Second Brigade; also the reports of Brigadier General Joseph B. Caarr, commanding First Brigade;

---------------

*Embodied in revised statement, p. 192.

---------------