Numbers 267. Report of Captain Hubert Dilger, Battery I, First Ohio Light Artillery.
JULY 29, 1863.
MAJOR: In regard to the part my battery took in the engagement July 1, 2, and 3, near Gettysburg, Pa., I have the honor to report; The battery arrived at Gettysburg at about 10 a. m. July 1, attached to the division of Major General C. Schurz, commanded by
Brigadier General A. Schimmeflenning, who ordered me to take a position between the Taneytown and Baltimore road, wherever I might find it necessary, to which order I complied by putting one section, Lieutenant [Clark] Scripture commanding, on the highest point of the field. A four-gun battery of the enemy immediately opened fire at about 1, 400 yards on this section, and compelled me very soon to bring my whole battery into action. During this heavy artillery duel, the enemy had been re-enforced to eight pieces, of which two advanced [to within] 800 or 1, 000 yards, but I finally succeeded in silencing them, with a loss of five carriages, which they had to leave on the ground, after several efforts to bring them to the rear with new horses. Short time afterward, a rifled battery commenced to play on me, and you brought, at my request, Lieutenant Wheeler's battery to my support, and gave me the honor of taking charge of both batteries. I instantly advanced Lieutenant Weidman's section about 600 yards on our right, on the Baltimore and Harrisburg road, and returned from there the other four of my battery on the left, under protection of Lieutenant Wheeler's fire, about 400 yards. In advancing, a ditch (5 feet wide and 4 feet deep, crossing the field in our front) had to be filled up, so as to form at least a passage for a column by pieces, which was executed under a very heavy fire. Lieutenant Wheeler followed as soon as my pieces were in position, and we remained here until the enemy's infantry commenced to mass on our right flank 100 yards, supported by about four batteries, which concentrated their fire on us, one of them enfilading our line completely, causing great damage to men and horses, and disabling one piece of mine and one of Wheeler's battery. Our final retreat was executed in the same manner as the advance, and our infantry falling back toward the town, which could only, be reached on one road, I sent all the pieces back excepting one section of each battery, commanding with them entrance of the town as long as possible. The two rifled guns had to retire first, because I would not expose them too much at this short range, at which they commenced to become useless. Our infantry having reached the town, I left my position, and was relieved on the Market road by two pieces of Battery G, Fourth U. S. Artillery. The main road was completely blockaded by artillery, infantry, and ambulances, and I took the first road to the left, marched around the town, and rejoined my command on Cemetery Hill, having lost on this day 14 men, 24 horses, and 1 piece disabled. During the whole engagement, three of my caissons were always employed to carry ammunition, and as slowly as I directed the fire, we were twice nearly out of ammunition. In regard to the ammunition, I must say that I was completely dissatisfied with the results observed of the fuses for 12-pounder shells