Numbers 309. Report of Lieutenant Colonel John C. C. Redington, Sixtieth New York Infantry.
CAMP NEAR LITTLESTOWN, PA.,
July 6, 1863.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report the action of the brigade skirmishers at Gettysburg on July 2. We relieved about 8 a. m. two companies of the Seventh Indiana, of the First Corps, my force consisting of 7 officers and 170 men, with which I covered the entire front of the Second Division. We advanced beyond the brook, and held our line until the advance of the line of battle of the enemy, about 7 p. m. During the day scouts were sent out in front of the line of skirmishers, and information obtained. About 4 p. m. the enemy planted a battery on a hill opposite the left of our line. I sent forward about 25 sharpshooters, who opened a brisk fire on the cannoneers. A fire from Knap's battery was also opened upon it. Under both fires the position was soon evacuated. The enemy four times advanced their skirmishers (once or twice in a double line), but our skirmishers drove them back. At about 7 p. m. they began the advance with their line of battle. I immediately withdrew my line to this side of the brook, and threw forward every man of my reserve. We held this point with the briskest fire we could concentrate. Their line of battle was seen to lie down in the grass. We fell back as slowly as possible, the men under my command behaving in a truly splendid manner. Many had never drilled in skirmish tactics. I desired to hold a line about 100 yards this side of the brook and sweep them as they crossed the brook. I sent back to the commander of the Twenty-eighth Pennsylvania, which had been sent out as a reserve, asking him to move up to that line. He returned answer that he had been ordered to return to the intrenchments. I therefore fell back slowly with my 170 men, contesting every inch of ground, the enemy close on to our heels and firing occasional volleys at us. The darkness was so great in this part of the woods that we could not see the enemy, and we fired at the flashes of their guns. They were so close to us that we took 12 prisoners. When within 50 yards of the works, I ordered the line to fall back into the earthworks. It was a half hour by the watch from the time that the enemy's line of battle started when my line of skirmishers entered our works. I regret to have to report that a portion of the line in the trenches commenced firing before our skirmishers had come in killing and wounding several. Our loss from the enemy's fire was very small, so perfect was our concealment. I desire to mention for his conspicuously gallant conduct the name of Private Peter Fifer, Of Company B, One hundred and second New York.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN C. O. REDINGTON,
Lieutenant Colonel Sixtieth New York Vols., Field Officer of the Day.
Captain C. P. HORTON,
A. A. G., Third Brig., Second Div. Twelfth Corps.