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On the 1st of July, in pursuance of the order to rejoin the army, the division resumed its march, but upon arriving at Middletown, and hearing that Lieutenant-General Hill's corps was moving upon Gettysburg, by order of General Ewell the head of the column was turned in that direction. When within four miles of the town, to my supprise, the presence of the enemy there in force was announced by the sound of a sharp cannonade, and instant preparations for battle were made. On arriving on the field, I found that by keeping along the wooded ridge on the left side of which the town of Gettysburg is situated, I could strike the force of the enemy, with which General Hill's troops were engaged, upon the flank, and that, besides moving under cover, whenever we struck the enemy, we could engage him with the advantage in ground. The division was therefore moved along the summit of the ridge with only one brigade deployed at first, and finally — as the enemy's cavalry had discovered us, and the ground was of such character as to admit of cover for a large opposing force — with three brigades deployed; Doles on the left, “Rodes' old brigade,” Colonel O'Neal commanding, in the centre, and Iverson on the right. The artillery and the two other brigades moved up closely to the line of battle. The division had to move nearly a mile before coming in view of the enemy's forces, except a few mounted men, and finally arrived at a point, a prominent hill on the ridge, whence the whole of that portion of the force opposing General Hill's troops could be seen. To get at these troops properly, which were still over half a mile from us, it was necessary to move the whole of my command by the right flank, and to change direction to the right. Whilst this was being done, Carter's battalion was ordered forward, and soon opened fire upon the enemy, who at this moment, as far as I could see, had no troops facing me at all. He had apparently been surprised — only a desultory fire of artillery was going on between his troops and [146] General Hill's-but before my dispositions were made, the enemy began to show large bodies of men in front of the town, most of which were directed upon the position which I held, and almost at the same time a portion of the force opposed to General Hill changed position so as to occupy the woods on the summit of the same ridge I occupied (I refer to the forest touching the railroad, and extending along the summit of the ridge towards my position, as far as the Mummasburg road, which crossed the ridge at the base of the hill I held). Either these last troops, or others which had hitherto been unobserved behind the same body of woods, soon made their appearance directly opposite my centre. Being thus threatened from two directions, I determined to attack with my centre and right, holding at bay still another force, then emerging from the town (apparently with the intention of turning my left), with Doles' brigade, which was moved somewhat to the left for this purpose, and trusting to this gallant brigade thus holding them until General Early's division arrived, which I knew would be soon, and which would strike this portion of the enemy's force on the flank before it could overpower Doles. At this moment Doles' brigade occupied the open plain between the Middletown road and the foot of the ridge before spoken of. The Alabama brigade, with a wide interval between it and Doles, extended from this plain up the slope of the ridge and over its summit. Iverson's brigade extended from the summit down the western or right slope of the ridge. Daniel's brigade supported Iverson's, and extended some distance to the right of it. Ramseur was in reserve. All the troops were in the woods except Doles' and a portion of “Rodes'” (O'Neal's) brigade, but all were subjected to some loss or annoyance from the enemy's artillery.

Whilst making some examination into the position and apparent intentions of the enemy, with the view of attacking him, this artillery fire became so annoying that I ordered the Alabama brigade to fall back from the line it had occupied, abreast with Iverson, so as to obtain some little shelter for the troops. The right regiment, Third Alabama, was under my order placed on a line with Daniel's brigade, Colonel O'Neal being instructed to form the balance of the brigade upon it. These dispositions were but temporary and unimportant, and are mentioned only because they are necessary to a full understanding of Colonel O'Neal's report.

Finding that the enemy was rash enough to come out from the woods to attack me, I determined to meet him when he got to the [147] foot of the hill I occupied, and as he did so, I caused Iverson's brigade to advance, and at the same moment gave in person to O'Neal the order to attack, indicating to him precisely the point to which he was to direct the left of the four regiments then under his orders; the Fifth Alabama, which formed the extreme left of this brigade, being held in reserve, under my own immediate command, to defend the gap between O'Neal and Doles. Daniel was at the same moment instructed to advance to support Iverson, if necessary, if not, to attack on his right as soon as possible. Carter's whole battalion was by this time engaged hotly, a portion from the right, the remainder from the left of the hill, and was subjected to a heavy artillery fire in return.

Iverson's brigade attacked handsomely, but suffered very heavily from the enemy's musketry fire from behind a stone wall along the crest of the ridge. The Alabama brigade went into action in some confusion, and with only three of its regiments, the Sixth, Twelfth and Twenty-sixth, the Fifth having been retained by my order, and for reasons explained to Colonel O'Neal, the Third having been permitted by Colonel O'Neal to move with Daniel's brigade. The three first mentioned regiments moved with alacrity (but not in accordance with my orders as to direction) and in confusion, into the action. It was soon apparent that they were making no impression upon the enemy, and hence I ordered forward the Fifth Alabama to their support, but, to my surprise in giving this command to its colonel, Hall, I found that Colonel O'Neal, instead of personally superintending the movements of his brigade, had chosen to remain with this reserve regiment. The result was that the whole brigade, with the exception of the Third Alabama, the movements of which will be seen by reference to the reports of Generals Ramseur and Iverson, and Colonel Battle, was repulsed quickly, and with loss. (Upon investigation recently, I find that just as O'Neal's men were about starting, and upon his informing me that he and his staff officers were not mounted, and that he had no mounted men with him, I permitted him to send Lieutenant Arrington, of my staff, to Colonel Battle, commanding the Third Alabama regiment, with his orders, and that Lieutenant Arrington delivered them to Colonel Battle).

Iverson's left being exposed thus, heavy loss was inflicted upon his brigade. His men fought and died like heroes. His dead lay in a distinctly marked line of battle. His left was overpowered, and many of his men being surrounded, were captured. [148]

General Daniel's gallant brigade, by a slight change in the direction of Iverson's attack, had been left too far to his right to assist him directly, and had already become engaged. The right of this brigade coming upon the enemy, strongly posted in a railroad cut, was under its able commander's orders thrown back skillfully, and the position of the whole brigade was altered so as to enable him to throw a portion of his force across the railroad, enfilade it, and attack to advantage. After this change, General Daniel made a most desperate, gallant and entirely successful charge upon the enemy, driving him at all points, but suffering terribly. The conduct of General Daniel and his brigade in this most desperate engagement elicited the admiration and praise of all who witnessed it.

Just as his last effort was made, Ramseur's brigade, which, under my orders, had been so disposed as to support both Iverson and O'Neal, was ordered forward, and was hurled by its commander, with the skill and gallantry for which he is always conspicuous, and with irresistible force, upon the enemy, just where he had repulsed O'Neal and checked Iverson's advance. In the meantime General Early's division had been brought into action on my left with great success, and Doles, thus relieved, without waiting for orders, and though greatly outnumbered, boldly attacked the heavy masses of the enemy in his front. After a short but desperate contest, in which his brigade acted with unsurpassed gallantry, he succeeded in driving them before him, thus achieving on the left, and about the same time, a success no less brilliant than that of Ramseur in the centre, and Daniel on the right. In this affair Doles handled his men with a skill and effect truly admirable, exhibiting marked coolness and courage.

O'Neal's shattered troops, which had assembled without order on the hill, rushed forward, still without order, but with all their usual courage, into the charge. Fry's battery, by my order, was pushed closely after Ramseur.

The Twelfth North Carolina, which had been held well in hand by Lieutenant-Colonel Davis, and the shattered remnants of the other regiments of Iverson's brigade, which had been rallied and organized by Captain D. P. Halsey, A. A. General of the brigade, made under his guidance a dashing and effective charge, just in time to be of considerable service to Ramseur and Daniel, and with them pressed closely after the enemy.

These successes were rapidly followed by a successful attack on [149] my right, on the part of General A. P. Hill's troops, who renewed their attack in time to put a stop to a murderous enfilade and reverse fire to which, in addition to the heavy direct fire it encountered, Daniel's brigade had been subjected from the time he commenced fairly his final advance.

The enemy was thus routed at all points. My division followed him closely into and through the town, Doles and Ramseur entering in such close contact with the enemy, that the former, who penetrated the heart of the town first of all, had two sharp and successful encounters with the enemy in the streets, and the latter, who entered further to the right, captured the colors of the 150th Pennsylvania regiment in its/streets, Lieutenant Harney, of his brigade, tearing them from the hands of the color bearer, and falling almost immediately thereafter mortally wounded.

In the pursuit the division captured about 2,500 prisoners-so many as to embarrass its movements materially.

The troops being greatly exhausted by their march, and some-what disorganized by the hot engagement and rapid pursuit, were halted and prepared for further action. I did not change their position materially, nor order another attack, for the following reasons:

1st. In the midst of the engagement just described, the corps commander informed me, through one of his officers, that the General commanding did not wish a general engagement brought on, and hence, had it been possible to do so then, I would have stopped the attack at once, but this, of course, it was impossible to do then.

2d. Before the completion of his defeat before the town, the enemy had begun to establish a line of battle on the heights back of town, and by the time my line was in a condition to renew the attack, he displayed quite a formidable line of infantry and artillery immediately in my front, extending smartly to my right, and as far as I could see to my left in front of Early. To have attacked this line with my division alone, diminished as it had been by a loss of 2,500 men, would have been absurd. Seeing no Confederate troops at all on my right, finding that General Early, whom I encountered in the streets of the town within thirty minutes after its occupation by our forces, was awaiting further instructions, and receiving no orders to advance, though my superiors were upon the ground, I concluded that the order not to bring on a general engagement was still in force, and hence placed my lines [150] and skirmishers in a defensive attitude, determined to await orders or further movements, either on the part of Early or the troops on my right. My skirmishers were promptly thrown out, so as to cover more than half the town and the front of the division, which was drawn up in two lines, Doles', Iverson's and Ramseur's brigades making the front line, and extending from the left of the centre of the town along one of its principal streets, and out on the road to Fairfield. The second line, composed of the brigades of Daniel and O'Neal, extended along the railroad, about 200 yards in rear, and considerably to the right of the first. In this position we remained quietly, but with considerable annoyance from the enemy's sharpshooters and artillery, until the morning of the next day.

On the 2d of July nothing of importance transpired in my front. The rest of the men, generally, was only disturbed by the occasional skirmishing and desultory firing of the opposing sharp-shooters, but Daniel's brigade, which had been, early in the morning, moved by my orders so as to connect with Pender's division on the crest of the ridge before spoken of, was subjected to a galling artillery fire, especially in the afternoon. Late in the afternoon, however, an attack was made upon the enemy's position by some troops of the right wing of the army, which produced some stir among the enemy in my immediate front, and seemed to cause there a diminution of both artillery and infantry. Orders given during the afternoon, and after the engagement had opened on the right, required me to co-operate with the attacking force as soon as any opportunity of doing so with good effect was offered. Seeing the stir alluded to, I thought that opportunity had come, and immediately sought General Early, with a view of making an attack in concert with him. He agreed with me as to the propriety of attacking, and made preparations accordingly. I hastened to inform the officer commanding the troops on my right (part of Pender's division) that in accordance with our plan I would attack just at dark, and proceeded to make my arrangements; but having to draw my troops out of town by the flank, change the direction of the line of battle, and then to traverse a distance of twelve or fourteen hundred yards, whilst General Early had to move only half that distance without change of front, the result was, that before I drove the enemy's skirmishers in, General Early had attacked and had been compelled to withdraw. After driving in the enemy's line of skirmishers, the advance line was halted by General Ramseur, who commanded the right brigade, to enable him to report to [151] me certain important facts (for statement of which I refer to his report) he had discovered as to the nature of the ground and of the defences. These facts, together with Early's withdrawal, of which I had been officially informed, and the increased darkness, convinced me that it would be a useless sacrifice of life to go on, and a recall was ordered. But instead of falling back to the original line, I caused the front line to assume a strong position in the plain to the right of the town, along the hollow of an old road bed. This position was much nearer the enemy, was clear of the town, and was one from which I could readily attack without confusion. The second line was placed in the position originally held by the first. Everything was gotton ready to attack at daylight; but a short time after assuming this new position, I was ordered to send, without delay, all the troops I could spare, without destroying my ability to hold my position, to reinforce Major-General Johnson. As my front line was much more strongly posted than my second, and was fully competent to hold the position, and as the reinforcements had to be in position before daylight, I was compelled to send to General Johnson the troops of my second line--i. e., the brigades of Daniel and O'Neal (excepting the Fifth Alabama). These brigades participated in the engagement on the left, under General Johnson, and remained under his orders until the following night, when our whole corps changed front to rear, so as to extend the line occupied by the other two corps. For a report of their operations on the third July, I have, therefore, to refer respectfully to the report of General Johnson, and to those of General Daniel and Colonel O'Neal, herewith filed.

This order left me powerless to do more than hold my position, unless the enemy should be very much weakened in my front, for I had now remaining but a single thin line, composed of two small brigades, about the third of another, and one regiment the Fifth Alabama, of O'Neal's brigade — in all not over 1,800 men — facing what I believed then, and now, to be the most impregnable portion of the enemy's line of entrenchments. The gallant men and officers of this line held their new position all day on the 3d July, under a sharp and incessant fire from the enemy's sharpshooters, and an occasional artillery fire. The enemy made during the day several ineffectual efforts, by advancing heavy lines of skirmishers, equal almost, if not fully, to my main line and using their artillery to dislodge them from their position.

On the 3d, my orders were general, and the same as those of the [152] day before, and accordingly when the heavy cannonade indicated that another attack was made from the right wing of our army, we were on the lookout for another “favorable opportunity to co-operate.” When the sound of musketry was heard, it became apparent that the enemy in our front was much excited, and the “favorable opportunity” seemed to me close at hand. I sent word to Lieutenant-General Ewell, by Major Whiting of my staff, that in a few moments I should attack, and immediately had my handful of men, under Doles, Iverson and Ramseur, prepared for the onset. But in less than five minutes after Major Whiting's departure, before the troops on my immediate right had made any advance, or showed any preparation therefor, and just as the order “forward” was about to be given to my line, it was announced, and was apparent to me, that the attack had already failed.

This attack was accompanied, preceded, and succeeded by the fiercest and grandest cannonade I have ever witnessed. My troops lay about half way between the artillery of the Second corps, and that of the enemy on Cemetery Hill, and directly under the line of fire of fully one hundred guns; a most trying position even when the opposing artillerists confined their attention to each other, and one which became fearfully so, when both parties, as they did at short intervals, dropped shells in their midst, whilst the sharpshooters were constant and skillful in their attentions. They underwent this terrible trial, not only without murmuring or faltering, but with great cheerfulness, and with the utmost coolness.

It is proper to mention that during the night of the 2d, and on the 3d, my troops did not occupy any portion of the town, except that still held by the sharpshooters of the Alabama brigade, under that promising young officer Major Blackford, of the Fifth Alabama. These sharpshooters, together with those of Doles', Iverson's and Ramseur's brigades, annoyed the enemy's artillery and infantry constantly during the period of our occupation of the town, and acted with rare and praiseworthy gallantry.

During the night of the 3d my division fell back to the ridge which had been wrested from the enemy in the first day's attack, and being reunited, was posted so that the railroad divided it about equally. Expecting to give battle in this position, it was strengthened early on the morning of the 4th. We were not disturbed, however, in the least during the day; in fact, the enemy exhibited so small a force, entered the town and followed us at so late an hour, that it was generally believed he had retreated. [153]

During the day of the 4th, all the wounded who could walk, or be transported in wagons and ambulances, were sent to the rear — many, as it turned out, to be captured or sacrificed in the effort to escape the enemy's cavalry — but near one-half of them, say about 760, were left in the hands of the enemy. This painful result was of course unavoidable. Four surgeons, six assistants, three hospital stewards, and ninety-four attendants were left to attend to the wounded, and with them ten days supply of such food and medicines as were needed. This was all we could do for them.

Subsequent to the departure of the wounded, Iverson was detached with his brigade as a guard for the train, but unfortunately too late to overtake it and prevent its partial destruction. By a forced march he arrived at Hagerstown soon after the passage of the train, and found a heavy force of the enemy's cavalry driving back our cavalry through the streets. Making a hasty but skillful disposition of his troops, he soon routed them, capturing a considerable number. Great credit is due Brigadier-General Iverson for the handsome and prompt manner in which this affair was managed.

On the night of the 4th we began to fall back towards Hagerstown, by way of Fairfield, bivouacking on the night of the 5th, after a most wearisome march in mud and rain, two miles west of Fairfield.

On the morning of the 6th my division became the rear guard of the army, and early in the morning was attacked by the enemy's skirmishers, deployed over a line extending entirely across the valley, and therefore fully one and a half or two miles long. Later it was attacked from the Emmetsburg road. The morning attack was sharply repulsed by General Daniel's skirmishers on the left and General Doles' on the right of the road, the Forty-fifth North Carolina, Captain Hopkins commanding, having a pretty brisk action on the extreme left, driving the enemy from a commanding position there, in reply to his summons to surrender. General Daniel's loss was only two killed, two wounded and five missing--General Doles' nothing. The other — an extremely feeble attack — was repelled by a few of General Doles' men. The road being entirely clear behind us for four or five miles, at 3 1/2 P. M. we resumed the march, and proceeded, without annoyance or delay, across the mountain, by Montery Springs, to Waynesburg.

Reaching Hagerstown next day, the division rested there, without serious disturbance until the evening of the 11th, when it was [154] moved through, and about one and a quarter miles west of Hagerstown, on the National road. Here, during the 13th, 14th and 15th, battle was again, and eagerly by my division, offered to the enemy. During these three days my division occupied the extreme left of the line of battle. Nothing of importance occurred here except a brisk attack of the enemy's skirmishers (after being reinforced), and his cavalry, upon Ramseur's sharpshooters. This attack was made late on the afternoon of the 14th of July, after the withdrawal of nearly all the artillery, and of all the main line of infantry. The enemy had unquestionably discovered this movement. His advance was so firmly and gallantly met by Ramseur's men, and the Second Howitzers, Captain Watson, that he fell back with the loss of many killed and wounded, and about twenty of the cavalry captured.

On the memorable night of the 14th of July, the Second corps fell back to Williamsport, and forded the river. The artillery, under Lieutenant-Colonel Carter, I had sent off early in the afternoon, with orders to cross at Falling Waters, four miles below Williamsport, on the pontoon bridge which had been placed there. My division waded the river just above the aqueduct over the mouth of the Conococheague; the operation was a perilous one. It was very dark, raining, and excessively muddy. The men had to wade through the aqueduct, down the steep bank of soft and slippery mud, in which numbers lost their shoes, and down which many fell. The water was cold, deep and rising, the lights on either side of the river were dim, just affording enough light to mark the places of entrance and exit, the cartridge boxes of the men had to be placed around their necks — some small men had to be carried over by their comrades — the water was up to the armpits of a full sized man. All the circumstances attending this crossing combined to make it an affair not only involving great hardship, but one of great danger to the men and company officers; but be it said to the everlasting honor of these brave fellows, they encountered it not only promptly, but actually with cheers and laughter. We crossed without the loss of a single man, but I regret to say, with the loss of some 25,000 or 30,000 rounds of ammunition, which were unavoidably wetted and spoiled. After crossing, I marched by orders a short distance beyond “Falling Waters,” and then bivouacked — and there ended the Pennsylvania campaign, so far as this division was concerned.

I cannot, however, close this portion of my report without expressing [155] my pride and admiration of the conduct of the men and officers of this division, from the time it left Grace church until our return to Virginia. Better marching, less straggling, hardships more cheerfully borne, conduct in an enemy's country more commendable and more generally marked by gentlemanly and soldierly characteristics, and finally, better behavior in battle than was exhibited by this division during that period, has not been, and I believe will never be exhibited by any other troops in the service. By their conduct at Gettysburg, I claim to have won the expression from the General commanding the army, who saw their attack on the 1st of July, “I am proud of your division.” Earnestly do I wish that the name of each officer and private who distinguished himself during this eventful campaign could, with reason, be enrolled here, to be transferred to history. I hope it will yet be done in a different manner. Whilst I cannot mention all who won distinction during this campaign, it is my duty to record here the names of those officers whose conduct, either from my own observation, or from the voluntary testimony of many competent witnesses, I know to have been such as to entitle them to the admiration of brave men, and to the gratitude of a good people.

First among them are Brigadier-Generals Junius Daniel, George Doles, and S. D. Ramseur; Lieutenant-Colonel T. H. Carter, Captain D. P. Halsey, A. A. G. of Iverson's brigade, and Colonel D. H. Christie, Twenty-third North Carolina, who has since died from the wounds he recieved, and Lieutenant Harney, Company----, Fourteenth North Carolina, of my division, and Brigadier-General A. G. Jenkins and Major Sweeney, of the cavalry brigade. All the field officers, with one exception, are spoken of highly on all hands for their conduct. Appendix B will show what general, field and staff officers were under fire during the engagements. Company officers did their duty nobly. The men, generally, acted in a manner worthy of all praise.

Many valuable lives were lost during the bloody fight at Gettysburg, among them Colonel Christie, already mentioned; Lieutenant-Colonel D. R. E. Winn, Fourth Georgia; Lieutenant-Colonel Andrews, commanding Second North Carolina battalion, and many others. Among the wounded I regret to have to record the names of Colonel F. M. Parker, Thirtieth North Carolina; Lieutenant-Colonel Lumpkin, Forty-fourth Georgia, a most valuable and estimable officer, who lost a leg; Lieutenant-Colonel R. D. Johnston [156] and Major C. C. Blacknall, Twenty-third North Carolina; Colonel J. N. Lightfoot, Sixth Alabama; Colonel R. T. Bennett, Fourteenth North Carolina; Captain Page, commanding battery; Colonel Thomas S. Kenan, Forty-third North Carolina; Lieutenant-Colonel Boyd and Major Winston, of the Forty-fifth North Carolina; Major Lewis, Thirty-second North Carolina; Major Hancock, Second North Carolina battalion; Lieutenant Bond and Colonel Green, of General Daniel's staff, besides many valuable and distinguished company officers, whose names will be found in the tabular statements appended to reports of brigade commanders.

My staff officers, Major H. A. Whiting, Major Green Peyton, Captain W. A. Harris, Captain M. L. Randolph (the two last named officers attached to the division as chiefs of ordnance and of the signal corps respectively, voluntarily serving in the field during the battle with distinguished ability and courage), Lieutenants Hutchinson and Arrington, Captain D. D. Peden, acting A. I. General, and Surgeon W. S. Mitchell, all did their duty nobly during the whole campaign, and deserve mine and the country's warmest thanks for their services. Major Julian Mitchell, acting division commissary (Major Adams having been taken sick at Culpeper courthouse), discharged the duties of his arduous position with an energy and capacity I have never seen equaled.

The appendix marked A will show the strength and the loss of each brigade at Gettysburg. Appendix B will show the general, field and staff officers who were present in the engagements. In the accompanying reports of brigade commanders will be found an account of the operations of each brigade, and the part borne by each in the campaign, in a more detailed form than my limits will admit of, and to these you are respectfully referred.

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