War of the Rebellion: Serial 044 Page 0681 Chapter XXXIX. THE GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

real stand on the Fleetwood ridge. To this point I also ordered a section of artillery in reserve, and posted there my adjutant-general, Major [H. B.] McClellan, in observation, while I was absent on the left. On a field geographically so extensive, and much of it wooded, presenting to the enemy so many avenues of approach, I deemed it highly injudicious to separate my command into detachments to guard all the approaches, as in such case the enemy could concentrate upon any one, and, overwhelming it, take the others in detail especially as I was aware that the entire cavalry force of the enemy had crossed the river with a large proportion of artillery, and supported by nine regiments of infantry on the road to Kelly's and seven on the road to Beverly Ford. I conceived it to be my policy to keep my command concentrated, excepting sufficient to watch and delay the enemy as to his real move, and then strike him with my whole force. Major McClellan reported to me that the column referred to appeared to be advancing upon the Fleetwood Hill, having turned to the right from the Stevensburg road. The artillery sent to that hill unfortunately had little ammunition. Ordering more artillery to that point, and directing General Jones to send two regiments without delay to hold the heights, I repaired in person to that point, leaving General Jones with the remainder of his brigade to occupy the enemy in his front. The force moving on Fleetwood was at first reported to be two regiments, but, as I approached, I saw that the force was larger, and then sent orders to Hampton and Robertson to move up their brigades, and to Jones to follow, notifying General W. H. F. Lee to rejoin the command on the left. Harman's and White's regiments (Jones' brigade) led the advance and the formed reached the hill about 50 yards in advance of the enemy, and just as the piece of artillery, which had up to that time checked the enemy's advance, having fired its last round, was retiring from the hill. The contest for the hill was prolonged and spirited. Harman's regiment (Twelfth Virginia Cavalry) attacked the enemy, driving back his advance, but broke in confusion at the approach of the enemy's reserve, and, in doing so, deranged very much White's column, which was advancing to his support, and lessened materially the force of White's charge. That dashing officer, with the brave spirits he could hold together, broke the enemy's advance, and penetrated to his artillery, for which he was endeavoring to gain position on the hill, but the enemy was too strong for him. The more effectually to support White, the Sixth Virginia Cavalry (Major [C. E.] Flournoy commanding) was ordered by me to leave the house to the right, facing southward, and attack that portion of the enemy in flank which Harman and White engaged in front. This regiment, it appears, also reached the enemy's battery, but was unable to hold it. The artillery was hurried up after White and Harman, and participated in their charge to such an extent that the cannoneers were for a time engaged hand to hand with the enemy. At this critical moment, the leading regiment of Hampton's brigade (Colonel [P. M. B,] Young's Georgia regiment) came up, and made a brilliant charge upon the flank of the enemy, supported by Balck's First