War of the Rebellion: Serial 043 Page 0886 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.

Search Civil War Official Records

Numbers 320. Report of Lieutenant Richard S. Milton, Ninth Massachusetts Battery.


July 17, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to submit to your the following report of the part taken by this command in the action at Gettysburg, Pa., July 2, 3, and 4: Left Taneytown the morning of the 2d. Arrived at Gettysburg at 10 a. m. Went into park on the left of the Taneytown road with the rest of the reserve. Remained in park until 4 p. m., when ordered by Lieutenant-Colonel McGilvery to mote to the left, to the support of General Sickles' corps. Went in battery in line with batteries, about 1, 600 yards in front of us, under cover of some buildings and a grove of woods. After an hour's slow firing, the batteries fell back, and the enemy advanced in two lines of battle directly across our front, the Third Corps having fallen back, leaving us without support. At this time, having covered the withdrawal of the batteries upon our right, and receiving orders to retire, prolonges were fixed, and firing at skirmishers on our left and the approaching line of battle on our right, we retired 300 yards, until we reached a position near which two stone walls met a t an obtuse angle. This position, without infantry support and under an enfilading artillery fire, we were ordered to hold at all hazards. The rebel line of battle could not be checked, although its center was badly broken by our canister fire. Its flanks closing in on either side of us, obtained a cross-fire, which silenced the four pieces on my right, and prevented their withdrawal from loss of officers, men, and horses. Having succeeded in retiring my section, I found myself in command of the battery. Under orders from Lieutenant-Colonel McGilvery, to whom I then reported, I withdrew a mile and a half to the rear and went into park, it being then 9 p. m. Our four guns were recovered the same day. During the action, 1 commissioned officer, 1 sergeant, and 6 men were killed; 2 commissioned officers, 6 non-commissioned officers, and 9 men were wounded, and 2 taken prisoners; 45 horses were killed and 15 wounded. The next morning drew ammunition, and, by your command, went into park near position of first day; remained there until 12 o'clock, when the enemy commenced vigorously shelling our line. The troops in our immediate vicinity having fallen back, and receiving no orders, I did the same, with the loss of 1 man wounded and 5 horses killed; retired to near reserve headquarter. Was ordered by Lieutenant [Lowell A.] Chamberlin to report to Major Robertson; by him ordered to report to Lieutenant-Colonel Warner, of General Hunt's staff, and, with two pieces of Battery K, Third U. S. Artillery, under command of Lieutenant Turnbull, was placed in position on right center, on left of Cemetery Hill, under immediate command of General Baxter, First Corps. Fired 15 rounds at skirmishers in a barn about 600 yards to our front. Was under fire of two Whitworth guns, planted by the enemy about 2 miles distant, the rest of the day, but sustained no loss. Remained in same position until about 10 a. m. of the 5th; was