War of the Rebellion: Serial 043 Page 0703 Chapter XXXIX. THE GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

Third Division was drawn up to his front and left, facing toward the northwest, making a large angle with the ridge. The artillery of this division was engaging the enemy at this time. His First Division [Wadsworth's] was located a little to the right of the railroad, and his Second Division [Robinson's] on Wadsworth's right. The First Corps, in this position, made a right angle with the Eleventh Corps, the vertex being near the Mummasburg road. The cavalry of General Buford was located mainly upon the flanks. After inspecting the position of the First Corps, and examining the topography of that part of the field, I returned to my former position at the cemetery. About this time [2. 45 p. m.] the enemy showed himself in force in front of the Eleventh Corps. His batteries could be distinctly seen on a prominent slope between the Mummasburg and the Harrisburg roads. From this point he opened fire upon the Eleventh Corps, and also more or less enfilading Robinson's division, of the First Corps. The batteries attached to the First and Third Divisions, Eleventh Corps, immediately replied, and with evident effect. One battery of the enemy, a little more than a mile north from the cemetery, near the Harrisburg road, could be distinctly seen, and as I had a battery of 3-inch rifled guns, under Wiedrich, near my position, I directed him to fire, provided he could reach the enemy. He did so, but his shells for the most part fell short. Soon after, complaint came that they reached no farther than our own cavalry; however, I never heard that any of our own men were killed or wounded by this fire. The reason of this irregularity was the poor quality of the ammunition there used. Subsequently these guns did most excellent service. I now sent again to General Slocum, stating that my right flank was attacked, and asking him if he was moving up, and stating that I was in danger of being turned and driven back. Before this, my aude-de-camp, Captain [Edward P.] Pearson, had been sent to General Sickles, requesting him to move up to Gettysburg as rapidly as possible. Owing to difficulty in finding General Sickles'headquarters, this message was not delivered until 3. 30 p. m. At 3. 20 p. m. the enemy renewed his attack upon the First Corps, hotly pressing the First and Second Divisions. Earnest requests were made upon me for re-enforcements, and General Schurz, who was engaged with a force of the enemy much larger than his own, asked for a brigade to be placed en echelon on his right. I had then only two small brigades in reserve, and had already located three regiments from these in the town and to the north, and I felt sure that I must hold the point where I was as an ultimate resort.

Therefore I at first replied that I could not spare any troops, but I did afterward permit General Steinwehr to push out Colonel Coster's brigade beyond the town, to cover the retreat. General Buford was requested to support the center, near the right of the First Corps, as well as he could with his cavalry. A third battery was sent to the front, and put in position near the Third Division, Eleventh Corps.

At 3. 45 [p. m.] Generals Doubleday and Wadsworth besought me for re-enforcement. I directed General Schurz, if he could spare one regiment or more, to send it to re-enforce General Wadsworth, and several times sent urgent requests to General Slocum to come to my assistance. To every application for re-enforcement, I replied, "Hold out, if possible, awhile longer, for I am expecting General