previous next


Memories of Gettysburg

F. M. Colston1
Alexander's battalion of artillery, which I joined in the spring of 1863, had gained renown under Colonel, afterward Lieutenant-General, Stephen D. Lee, especially at Second Manassas and Sharpsburg. This renown was increased under the command of Colonel E. Porter Alexander, afterward brigadier-general and chief of artillery of Longstreet's corps. He had graduated No. 3 at West Point, in 1857, and entered the Engineer Corps of the United States Army. He was more consulted by General Lee than any other artillery officer in the Confederate service. In later life he became president of several railroads, Government director of the Union Pacific Railroad, and engineer arbitrator of the boundary survey between Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

The battalion was composed of six batteries--two more than customary--four Virginia, one South Carolina and one Louisiana. Together with the more noted Washington Artillery of New Orleans, with four batteries, it composed the reserve artillery of Longstreet's corps, Army of Northern Virginia. They were called the “reserve” because they were not specially attached to any division, but kept for use whenever and wherever wanted. Hence the battalion explanation that “we ere called ‘reserve ’ because never in reserve.”

After taking part in the battle of Chancellorsville, our battalion was moved down to Milford, Caroline County, to refit. On June 3d commenced the forward march that ended at Gettysburg. When we went into action there, July 2d, just south of the peach orchard, the batteries actually charged, action front, with a front of over four hundred yards--the finest sight imaginable on a battlefield. One of the batteries, which was short-handed, had borrowed five men from the adjacent Mississippi regiment. In the fight two were killed and

1 Lieutenant and Ordnance Officer in Alexander's Battalion of Artillery, Longstreet's corps.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Longstreet (3)
Stephen D. Lee (2)
E. P. Alexander (2)
Frederick M. Colston (1)
E. Porter Alexander (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1863 AD (1)
1857 AD (1)
July 2nd (1)
June 3rd (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: