Numbers 260. Report of Major Benjamin A. Willis, One hundred and nineteenth New York Infantry.
NEAR WARRENTON JUNCTION, VA., July 30, 1863.
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit, pursuant to request, the following report of the part taken by the One hudred and ninettenth New York Volunteers in the series of engagements fought at Gettysburg, on July 1, 2, and 3: It may be proper for me to state at the outset that I was ont in command of the regiment during the battle, and consequently cannot recite accurately the orders received by my regimental commander. On July 1, about 5 a. m., we started on the road to Gettysburg; marched hastily over rough and muddy roads through a drenching rain, reaching there about 12 o'clock that day, a distance of 11 miles. At this time the First Corps had already been engaged for some time, and had commenced to retire. We cointinued the march through the town, and according to your order, took position on the right of the road leading from Gettysburg to Chambersburg, in an orchad, where we for a short time halted, being subjected menawhile to a severe cannonade of the enemy. Here one company (H) was ordered by you to deploy as skirmishers, which they did in handsome style, having instrulctions froml ylou to prevent the enemy from advancing to a large barn and several adjancent buldings on our right. Your instructions were carried out to the letter. The First Division of our corps, had already advanced against the enemy, when, showing signs of being overwhelmed, we with the rest of the brigade were ordered forward to their support, taking position on their left, and having on our oeft the First Brigade, of the Third Division Here we withstood an enemy more than threefold our number, receiving volleys of musketry in swift succession, and suffering severely from a destructive fire of shot and shell. Our regiment did not yield, but stood firmly until the First Division, Second Corps, had fallen far back toward the town, and the First Brigade, of our division, on our left, had disappeared from the field. At this juncture, with an enemy in front and on either flank, not only threatenened with, but experiencing, a heavy enfilading fire, we retired in good order, and I believe, were the last regiment to reach the foot of Washington street, where we again took a position to cover the town, and held the enemy in check until our trains of baggagewagons adn ambulances ha withdrawn to the rear. This movement was a success, in part due to a section of Captain Dilger's renowned battery, planted upon an eminence near the square in the town of Gettysburg. You then ordered us to march to the opposite side of the town, which we accordingly did in most excellent order, taking a position along a stone wall by an orchard, on the edge of the town, In this position we remained until near nightfall, when we moved in a corn-field on the west side of the road from Emmitsburg to Gettysburg, between the cemetery and the town. Here we remained undisturbed during the night, sleeping on our arms; and here ends the first day's struggle. Next day, July 2, continuous skirmishing was going on in our immediate front, and sharpshooters of the enemy, who during the night