War of the Rebellion: Serial 043 Page 0813 Chapter XXXIX. THE GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN.

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By this time the firing entirely ceased, and, after remaining in this position from forty minutes to one hour, I received orders to march the brigade back, and occupy the position we had left. The brigade was immediately put in motion. We arrived on the open ground within a few hundred yards of our old position about 10 p. m., as near as I can judge. The night being quite dark and our line of breastworks being covered by the timber, it was impossible to tell whether they were occupied or not. In obedience to instructions from you, I threw forward one company of skirmishers from the Second Massachusetts. In or near the breastworks they captured one of the enemy. With this exception, we found the works on the right of our line unoccupied. We immediately took possession of them. The skirmishers were ordered to cross the open space between the right and left of our line, and reconnoiter the woods and line of works on that side. They shortly returned with 23 prisoners, and reported that the enemy held our works on the left in large force. It was also ascertained from the prisoners that [John M.] Jones` and [George H.] Steuart`s brigades occupied our works. It was deemed unsafe to undertake to recover them at that time, owing to the darkness of the night; consequently the brigade was held in position in the works on the right during the night. I wish to state here that great credit is due the officers and men of Company F, Second Massachusetts, as skirmishers. They advanced into the woods, where it was impossible to tell friend from foe, and before they scarcely knew it were in the midst of a brigade of the enemy, from whom they captured 23 prisoners and brought them in, with a loss of only 2 captured on their side. Early on the morning of the 3d, before it was fairly light, the battle commenced on our left, on that portion of the line held by the Second Division, and almost simultaneously the enemy`s sharpshooters, from the breastworks and large ledges of rocks on our left, opened fire upon us. I immediately deployed sharpshooters from the Third Wisconsin and Second Massachusetts in front of our breastworks, covered by a small belt of timber, and returned their fire briskly for about two hours. About this time the firing on our left, which had been very heavy, was fast receding, and loud cheering was heard along our lines. It was evident to me that General Geary had dislodged the enemy, and had retaken the breastworks occupied by him the day before. At this time I discovered the First Brigade, which was on my right, advance in line to the woods, forming a line at nearly right angles with my line. At this juncture, Lieutenant Snow, of your staff, came up and said, "The general directs that you advance your line immediately. " The position of the First Brigade was such that it was impossible for me to advance more than two regiments in line. Between the enemy and our line lay the open meadow, about 100 yards in width, The enemy were entirely sheltered by the breastworks and ledges of rock. It was impossible to send forward skirmishers. The enemy`s advantages were such that a line of skirmishers would be cut down before they could fairly gain the open ground that intervened. The only possible chance I had to advance was to carry his position by storming it. I selected the Second Massachusetts and Twenty-seventh Indiana for the work, and ordered the Second Massachusetts to charge the works in front of their position; the Twenty-seventh, as soon as they should gain the open ground, to oblique to the right and carry the