Report of Major-General H. Heth.
headquarters Heth's division, Camp near Orange Courthouse, September 13, 1863.Captain — I have the honor to report the operations of my division from the 29th June until the 1st of July, including the part it took in the battle of Gettysburg--first day--July 1st, 1863. The division reached Cashtown, Pennsylvania, on the 29th of June. Cashtown is situated at the base of the South Mountain, on the direct road from Chambersburg via Fayetteville to Gettysburg, and nine miles from the latter place. On the morning of the 30th of June, I ordered Brigadier-General Pettigrew to take his brigade to Gettysburg, search the town for army supplies, shoes especially, and return the same day. On reaching the suburbs of Gettysburg, General Pettigrew found a large force of cavalry near the town, supported by an infantry force. Under these circumstances he did not deem it advisable to enter the town, and returned, as directed, to Cashtown. The result of General Pettigrew's observations was reported to Lieutenant-General Hill, who reached Cashtown on the evening of the 30th. On the 1st of July, my division, accompanied by Pegram's battalion of artillery, was ordered to move at 5 o'clock A. M. in the direction of Gettysburg. On nearing Gettysburg it was evident that the enemy was in the vicinity of the town in some force. It may not be improper to remark that at this time--9 o'clock on the morning of the 1st of July--I was ignorant what force was at or near Gettysburg, and supposed it consisted of cavalry, most probably supported by a brigade or two of infantry. On reaching the summit of the second ridge of hills west of Gettysburg, it became evident that there was cavalry, infantry and artillery in and around the town. A few “shot” from Pegram's battalion (Marye's battery) scattered the cavalry videttes. One of the first shells fired by Pegram mortally wounded Major-General Reynolds, then in command of the force at Gettysburg. My division, now within a mile of Gettysburg, was disposed as follows: Archer's brigade in line of battle on the right of the turnpike; Davis' brigade on the left of the same road, also in line of battle; Pettigrew's brigade and Heth's old brigade, Colonel Brockenbrough commanding, were held in reserve. Archer and Davis were now directed to advance, the object being to feel the enemy; to make a forced reconnoissance, and determine in what force the enemy were, whether or not he was massing his forces on Gettysburg. Heavy columns of the enemy were soon encountered. Davis on the left advanced, driving the enemy before him and capturing his batteries. General Davis was unable to hold the position he had gained; the enemy concentrated on his front and flanks an overwhelming force. The brigade maintained its position until every field officer save two were shot down, and