Doc. 6.-the battle at Gettysburg.
Report of Captain Henry C. Coates.
headquarters First regiment Min. Vol., battle-field near Gettysburg, Pa., July 5, 1863.your Excellency: I have the honor herewith to transmit to you a brief statement of the movements of this regiment since leaving Falmouth, Va. On Sunday evening, June fourteenth, we struck tents, and moved about five miles towards Stafford Court House, when we were ordered back on picket, at Sedgewick's Crossing, below Falmouth. At three o'clock of the morning of the fifteenth, we were withdrawn, and moved again towards Stafford Court House, our corps forming the rear guard of the army. We reached Acquia Creek, near Dumfries, that night--twenty-eight miles; and on the next day marched to Occoquan--sixteen miles farther. On the seventeenth we marched to Fairfax Station, and on the nineteenth to Centreville. Up to this, the weather had been very hot, and the men suffered severely from the hard marching. On the twentieth we were detailed to guard the train, and marched in a severe rain to Gainesville, reaching that place after midnight. On the next day we went to Thoroughfare Gap, where we were kept upon picket duty until the twenty-fifth, when we took up the line of march for the Potomac. The regiment was shelled by the enemy at Haymarket; one man was wounded, and Colonel Colville's horse killed under him. We reached Gum Spring on that night, twenty-two miles, and at noon of the next day arrived at Edwards' Ferry on the Potomac, which we crossed in the night, and bivouacked near our old camp. On the twenty-seventh we marched to Sugar-Loaf Mountain, and on the next day reached the Monocacy, near Frederick City, Md. On the twenty-ninth we made a march of thirty-one miles to Uniontown, near the Pennsylvania line, where we found the pickets of the enemy, and laid over one day for stated muster. On the first of July we marched within two miles of this place, where we found portions of the army who had been in the battle of that day. At three o'clock on the morning of the second instant, we were ordered into position in the front, and about the centre of our line — just to the left of the town. The battle commenced at day-light, and raged with fury the entire day. We were under a severe artillery fire, but not actively engaged until about five o'clock P. M., when we were moved to support Battery one, Fourth United States artillery. Company F had been detached from the regiment as skirmishers, and Company L as sharpshooters. Our infantry, who had advanced upon the enemy in our front, and pushed him for a while, were in turn driven back in some confusion, the enemy following them in heavy force. To check them, we were ordered to advance, which we did, moving at double-quick down the slope of the hill, right upon the rebel line. The fire we encountered here was terrible, and, although we inflicted severe punishment upon the enemy, and checked his advance, it was with the loss in killed and wounded, of more than two thirds of our men who were engaged. Here Captain Muller, of Company E, and Lieutennat Farrer, of Company I, were killed, and Captain Periam, of Company K, mortally wounded. Colonel Colville, Lieuteuant-Colonel Adams, Major Downie, Adjutant Peller, and Lieutenants Sinclair, Company B, Demorest, Company E, DeGray, Company G, and Boyd, Company I, were severely wounded. Colonel Colville is shot through the shoulder and foot; Lieutenant-Colonel Adams is shot through the chest and twice through the leg, and his recovery is doubtful. Fully two thirds of the enlisted men engaged were either killed or wounded. Companies F, C, and L, not being engaged here, did not suffer severely on this day's fight. The command of the regiment now devolved upon Captain Nathan S. Messick. At daybreak the next morning the enemy renewed the battle with vigor, on the right and left of our line, with infantry, and about ten o'clock A. M. opened upon the centre, where we were posted, a most terrible fire of artillery, which continued without intermission until three o'clock P. M., when heavy columns of the enemy's infantry were thrown suddenly forward against our position. They marched resolutely in the face of a withering fire up to our line, and succeeded in planting their colors on one of our batteries. They held it but a moment, as our regiment, with others of the division, rushed upon them, the colors of our regiment in advance, and retook the battery, capturing nearly the entire rebel force who remained alive. Our regiment took about five hundred prisoners. Several stands of rebel colors were here taken. Private Marshall Sherman, of Company C, captured the colors of the Twenty-eighth Virginia regiment. Our entire regiment, except Company L, was in the fight, and our loss again was very severe. Captain Messick, while gallantly leading the regiment, was killed early. Captain W. B. Farrell, Company C, was mortally wounded, and died last night. Lieutenant Mason, Company D, received three wounds, and Lieutenants Harmon, Company C, Heffelfinger, Company D, and May, Company B, were also wounded. The enemy suffered terribly here, and is now retreating. Our loss of so many brave men is heart-rending, and will carry mourning into all parts of the state. But they have fallen in a holy cause, and their memory will not soon perish. Our loss is four commissioned officers and forty-seven men killed, thirteen officers and one hundred and sixty-two men wounded, and six men missing. Total, two hundred and thirty-two, out of less than three hundred and thirty men and officers engaged. Several acts of heroic daring occurred in this battle. I cannot now attempt to enumerate them. The bearing of Colonel Colville and Lieutenant-Colonel Adams, in the fight of Tuesday