War of the Rebellion: Serial 043 Page 0602 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.

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brigade of the Second Corps, came up in great haste, and stated to me that his brigade, then woods a short distance to the left, was driving the enemy in his front, and urgently requested assistance. I immediately directed Colonel Sweitzer to go to his relief. He moved his brigade forward in line, to the front and left, his men giving cheers as they advanced across an open field to the edge of the wood; but the progress of the enemy upon our flank still continued, and this brigade was compelled again to change its front to repel his advance, and soon found itself in close conflict with him. The Fourth Michigan and the Sixty-second Pennsylvania were in actual contact with him. Colonel Jeffords, commanding the Fourth Michigan, was thrust through with a bayonet while gallantly attempting to rescue his colors from the grasp of the enemy. Finding himself unable to compete with numbers far superior to his own, and that the enemy was gaining ground to his rear, Colonel Sweitzer directed his command to retire slowly, but orderly, halting and firing as they retired, and took position on elevated ground a short distance to his rear, and succeeded in preventing the enemy from making any further progress in that direction. In the meantime the movements of the First Brigade, under similar circumstances, corresponded with those of the Second. This brigade, small in numbers, fired, and retired in good order, and succeeded in reaching the ground on the opposite side of the open field toward the left, and there halted. The darkness put an end to the conflict, and the enemy was foiled in his effort to get in the rear of the command. The Ninth Massachusetts shortly afterward rejoined the Second Brigade, having been relieved from the duty upon which it had been detailed early in the morning. In this position the two brigades remained during the night. On the following day, the First Brigade was directed to relieve the Third Brigade at Little Round Top, where it also had succeeded in maintaining the position assigned to it, as will appear in the sequel. I cannot speak in terms too commendatory of the bearing of the officers and men of these two brigades during the progress of this conflict. Skillfully directed by the two brigade commanders, they obeyed with cool intrepidity every order issued to them, under the most trying circumstances, and long resisted superior numbers with firmness. Partly surrounded by the enemy, they succeeded in preventing the left of the line from being taken in reverse, resisting an attack not exceeded, I am sure, in violence in any contest hitherto occurring. The exposure of their flank, arising from whatever cause, placed them in a most dangerous position, and their heroic conduct alone saved the command at least, if not the entire left of the army, from disaster. The statement of the casualties of the contest is sufficient evidence of their gallant resistance, and it is alike due to those who have survived and to the memory of the gallant dead that this record should be made of their valor and devotion. The Third Brigade, as above related, was detached from the division upon its arrival upon the ground, and was consequently removed from my immediate oversight. The record of its service, however, drawn principally from the report of its commander, belongs to this record of the service of the division. Colonel Vincent, commanding the brigade, upon being detached, as above mentioned, proceeded promptly to the position assigned him. It was upon an elevated and rocky hill known as the Little Round Top. It was situated at some distance to our left, and near