Numbers 318. Report of Lieutenant Colonel Freeman McGilvery, First Maine Light
Artillery, commanding First Volunteer Brigade.
---, -- -, 1863.
GENERAL: I have the honor to respectfully report the part taken by the First Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve, and other batteries under my command, in the battle near Gettysburg, Pa., July 2 and 3. My brigade-Battery F and C, consolidated Pennsylvania artillery, Captain Thompson; Ninth and Fifth Massachusetts Batteries, Captains Bigelow and Phillips; Fifteenth New York Independent Battery, Captain Hart-being in park at a central position near our line of battle, at about 3. 30 p. m. on July 2, I received an order from yourself to report to General Sickles with one light 12-pounder and one rifled battery. The Fifth Massachusetts Battery, Captain Phillips, and Ninth Massachusetts Battery, Captain Bigelow, were marched immediately to a position occupied by General Sickles, near a belt of oak woods, considerably in front of the prolongation of the natural line of defenses of our army, on the left center, in which General Sickles' command was then engaged with the enemy. by General Sickles' order, I made an examination of the grounds, and placed the two Massachusetts batteries in a position that commanded most of the open country between the woods held by our troops on the left center and high ground occupied by the enemy on their right. A New Jersey battery immediately on the right of the two Massachusetts batteries was receiving the most of the fire of two or more rebel batteries. Hart's Fifteenth New York Independent Battery reporting at that time, I placed it in position in a peach orchard on the right and a little in front of the New Jersey battery. The four batteries already mentioned presented a front nearly at right angles with the position occupied by our troops, facing toward our left, the fire of which I concentrated on single rebel batteries, and five or more were driven in succession from their positions. Captain Thompson's battery (F and C, consolidated Pennsylvania artillery), of my brigade, took position on the right of the Fifteenth New York Battery, two sections of which battery fronted and fired in the direction of those heretofore mentioned, and the right section fronted to the right, and opened fire on a section or more of rebel artillery posted in the woods, at canister range, immediately on the right of the batteries under my command, the enfilade fire of which was inflicting serious damage through the whole line of my command. At about 5 o'clock a heavy column of rebel infantry made its appearance in a grain-field about 850 yards in front, moving at quick time toward the woods on our left, where the infantry fighting was then going on. A well-directed fire from all the batteries was brought to bear upon them, which destroyed the order of their march and drove many back into the woods on their right, though the main portion of the column succeeded in reaching the point for which they started, and sheltered themselves from the artillery fire. In a few minutes another and larger column appeared at about 750 yards, presenting a slight left flank to our position. I immediately trained the entire line of our guns upon them, and opened with various kinds of ammunition. The column continued to move on at double-quick until its head reached a barn and farm-house imme-
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