Farnsworth rose in his stirrups — he looked magnificent in his passion — and cried, “Take that back!”
Kilpatrick returned his defiance, but, soon repenting, said, “I did not mean it; forget it.”
For a moment there was silence, when Farnsworth spoke calmly, “General, if you order the charge, I will lead it, but you must take the responsibility.”
I did not hear the low conversation that followed, but as Farnsworth turned away, he said, “I will obey your order.”
Kilpatrick said earnestly, “I take the responsibility.”
The charge was a daring and spectacular one.
The First West Virginia, and Eighteenth Pennsylvania moved through the woods first, closely followed by the First Vermont and Fifth New York Cavalry, all mounted, and drove the foe before them until heavy stone walls and fences were reached.
Two regiments cleared the obstacles, charged a second line of infantry, and were stopped by another stone wall, covering a third line of infantry.
The First West Virginia was for a time entirely surrounded, but succeeded in cutting its way back with a loss of but five killed and four wounded, bringing with it a number of prisoners.
When the body of Farnsworth
was afterwards recovered, it was found to have received five mortal wounds.
General W. M. Graham
, U. S. A. (Retired), says:1
The following is the account of Farnsworth's death as seen by a Confederate officer and by him related to me in the winter of 1876-77 at Columbia, South Carolina: I was introduced to Captain Bachman, who commanded the “Hampton Legion battery,” with which I was engaged (Battery K, First United States Artillery), at Gettysburg on July 3d.
Naturally our conversation drifted to the war, and he remarked:
One of the most gallant incidents of the war witnessed by me was a cavalry charge at the battle of Gettysburg, on July 3d, made by a General Farnsworth of the Yankee army.
He led his brigade, riding well ahead of his men, in a charge against my battery and the infantry supports; we were so filled with admiration of his bravery that we were reluctant