War of the Rebellion: Serial 044 Page 0530 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.

Search Civil War Official Records

JULY 16, 1863.

SIR: In pursuance to an order to report the operations of the Thirty-third Regiment Virginia Infantry around Gettysburg, Pa., the following brief one is submitted: Leaving bivouac near Chambersburg, the regiment reached Gettysburg late on the evening of the 1st instant, and halted for several hours on the battle-ground of that day, and some time during the night took position with the balance of the brigade on the extreme left. In this position it remained the residue of the night and until late in the evening of the succeeding day, nothing being done excepting by its skirmishers and sharpshooters, who were advanced and deployed immediately after the line of battle was formed. It may be well to state here that during the day its skirmishers gained ground upon those of the enemy confronting them, inflicting loss and receiving none whatever. Late in the evening of the 2d, the regiment took and occupied momentarily a position several hundred yards in advance of the one previously occupied, and then, moving by the left flank, took and occupied a position forming an oblique angle to the position first taken. The movements of the skirmishers conformed to those of the regiment all the while. Immediately after nightfall, the skirmishers were withdrawn, and the regiment quitted the position last occupied, and moved what was supposed to be a mile or two to the right of the position taken the preceding night, where it rested the greater part of the night. About 3 a. m. [3d], it was aroused, and marched off a short distance, when if found itself directly in the presence of the enemy. After daybreak, the regiment in line of battle advanced upon the enemy, strongly intrenched in a most advantageous position, and engaged him at intervals for about five hours. It is true that the supply of ammunition was exhausted after an hour or two of spirited fighting, but at the same time partial supplies were obtained upon the field, and thus part of the regiment was engaged for the length of time mentioned. The regiment was then withdrawn, and after it was gotten in some sort of order, replenished its exhausted stock of ammunition, 7tc., it was moved by the right flank, and, forming a line of battle several hundred yards to the right of the first position, advanced upon the enemy, and engaged him for half an hour or an hour. It was withdrawn from the position last named and marched to the rear, where it remained long enough to get some rest, and replenish once more its nearly exhausted ammunition. About the middle of the afternoon, it was marched again back to the scene of action, taking a position still farther to the right of the first and second positions occupied by it in the earlier part of the day's engagement. Here it remained until after nightfall, when it quietly retired, nothing having occurred but skirmishing. It would be invidious to speak of the bearing of particular officers and men, when all manifested such remarkable coolness and intrepidity during the sanguinary conflict. The loss of Captains [G. C.] Eastham and [George R.] Bedinger is felt and mourned [the first falling to rise no more on the evening of the 2nd instant, and the latter on the morning of the 3rd instant, perhaps farther in advance of the line of battle than any other officer or man], as well as a list of non-commissioned officers and privates, who certainly composed part of the flower of the regiment.