War of the Rebellion: Serial 043 Page 0657 Chapter XXXIX. THE GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN.

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Numbers 219. Report of Colonel William McCandless, Second Pennsylvania Reserves, commanding First Brigade.


Near South Mountain,

July 9, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to forward the following report of the part taken by my command in the action of the 2nd and 3rd instant, near Gettysburg, Pa.:

After a week of continuous marching, the command arrived on the field about 1 p. m. of the 2nd instant, and at 5 p. m. was assigned a position near the left, that being the point against which the enemy had massed a heavy force. Our first position was naturally strong, being a rocky, wooded hillside, with good cover, sloping steeply down to a plain, which extended from the base about 700 yards to a stone wall. This plain was marshy and difficult to cross; over it, however, the enemy passed his infantry in a disordered mass, driving our forces back on my position. I immediately formed my brigade, together with the Eleventh Regiment of the Third brigade, in two lines, the first line being composed of the Sixth Regiment on the right, the First on the left, and the Eleventh in the center. The second line was massed on the first, and was composed of the First Rifles {Bucktails

and Second Regiment of Infantry. As soon as our front was uncovered, the brigade advanced in gallant style, the first line delivering one volley; then the whole brigade charged at a full run down the hillside and across the plain, driving the advancing masses of the enemy back upon the stone wall, for the possession of which there was a desperate struggle, we finally carrying it. Prior to reaching the wall, however, my left flank being exposed to a galling fire, I deployed the second line, viz, the First Rifles and Second Regiment, to the left, forming a prolongation of my first line, along with which they steadily advanced. It was at this time, and when within a short distance of the wall, that the brave and lamented Colonel Charles F. Taylor fell, while gallantly leading his regiment. Being ordered not to advance beyond the stone wall, I formed a line along it, threw a strong line of skirmishers on my front, and flankers on my right and left. I remained in this position up to 6 p. m. of the 3rd instant, the enemy occasionally shelling the position without effect. On the evening of the 3rd instant, I was ordered to advance and clear the woods on my front and left, to do which the command had to cross and open field about 800 yards wide. The enemy, noticing this movement, opened a battery directly in front. I pushed the Sixth Regiment through the woods on the right, and drove out the enemy's skirmishers, and annoyed the gunners, causing the battery to slacken its fire, and, as the remaining regiments of the brigade charged in line, and at a run across the open field, they compelled the enemy to retire. Having cleared the woods in front, and finding a line of the enemy in the woods on my left and at right angles therewith, I faced my command by the rear rank, and charged the enemy directly on the left flank, routing him, capturing nearly 200 prisoners {among whom was a lieutenant-colonel

, also a stand of colors. The field