General J. A. Early's report of the Gettysburg campaign.[From the original Ms., with some explanatory notes written by General Early for the Southern Magazine in 1872.]
Headquarters Early's division, August 22d, 1863.I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this division during the recent campaign; commencing with its departure from Fredericksburg, and ending with its arrival in the vicinity of Orange Courthouse.
Major A. S. Pendleton, A. A. General 2d Corps A. N. Va.:
Major A. S. Pendleton, A. A. General 2d Corps A. N. Va.:
March from Fredericksburg.On the 4th of June the division marched from Hamilton's Crossing, and having been joined by Jones's battalion of artillery, passed Spotsylvania C. H., Verdiersville, Somersville's Ford on the Rapidan, Culpeper C. H., Sperryville, Washington (the county seat of Rappahannock), and crossing the Blue Ridge at Chester Gap, arrived at Front Royal late on the night of the 12th. Hoke's and Smith's brigades crossed both forks of the Shenandoah that night and encamped, and  Hays's and Gordon's brigades with Jones's battalion of atillery and the division trains encamped on the east side of the south fork near Front Royal.1
Capture of Winchester.Early on the morning of the 13th Hays's and Gordon's brigades, Jones's artillery and the trains were crossed over to the north side of the north fork of the Shenandoah, and I received orders from the Lieutenant-General commanding to move my division to the Valley turnpike, and advance to the vicinity of Kernstown, and then move to the left so as to get a position from which the main work of the enemy at Winchester could be attacked with advantage, information at the same time being given me that there was a hill to the westward of this work and commanding it, of which it was desired I should get possession. Lieut. Barton of the 2nd Virginia regiment of Walker's brigade of Johnson's division accompanied me as a guide, and Brown's battalion of reserve artillery under Capt. Dance was ordered to accompany my division. Having received the instructions of the Lieutenant-General commanding, the wagons, except the ambulances and the regimental ordnance and medical wagons, were left at Cedarville, and I diverged from the Winchester and Front Royal turnpike at Nineveh, reaching the Valley turnpike at Newtown, and thence advancing towards Winchester. I found Lieut.-Colonel Herbert, of the Maryland line, with his battalion of infantry, the battery of Maryland artillery, and a portion of the battalion of Maryland cavalry, occupying the ridge between Bartonsville and Kernstown, and engaged in occasional skirmishing with a portion of the enemy who had taken position near Kernstown. I halted my command here, forming it into line on either side of the turnpike, and proceeded to reconnoitre the ground for the purpose of ascertaining the position and strength of the enemy near Kernstown, and also of finding the road by which I was to diverge from the turnpike so as to reach the position in rear of the enemy's works which I had been directed to gain. The only portion of the enemy in sight on my arrival  consisted of cavalry, but I was informed that an infantry picket occupied Kernstown, and I soon discovered that a battery of artillery was located on Pritchard's Hill, near Kernstown which was the same position occupied by the enemy's artillery at the time of General Jackson's engagement at this place. Finding it necessary to dislodge the enemy from this hill, after making a reconnoissance I moved Hays's brigade to the left, through a skirt of woods and a meadow, to the foot of the ridge along which General Jackson made his advance, and thence along a road which runs from Bartonsville to the Cedar Creek turnpike, until an eligible position for advancing upon Pritchard's Hill from the left was reached. From this point Hays was ordered to advance and gain possession of the hill, which he did without opposition, the enemy having hurriedly withdrawn his battery; but whilst advancing General Hays sent me word that the enemy had a considerable infantry force on the ridge to his left, and I immediately conducted Gordon's brigade over the same route, and sent word to Hays to halt until Gordon could get up. Gordon then advanced rapidly to the left of Hays, and in conjunction with skirmishers sent out by the latter, drove the enemy's force across the Cedar Creek turnpike and over the ridge between that road and Abraham's Creek, which latter here crosses the Valley turnpike. While this was going on, Hoke's and Smith's brigades, which had been left in line on the right and left of the Valley turnpike respectively, were ordered to advance towards Kernstown. Gordon having continued to advance until his right reached the Valley turnpike, was halted, and Hays was moved to his left, and then Smith to the left of Hays, the three brigades being formed in line in rear of the crest of the ridge which is immediately south of Abraham's Creek, beyond which the enemy had been driven. The enemy then occupied Bowers's Hill, on the north of the creek near Barton's mill, with a considerable force of infantry and artillery; and as it was near night, and too late for further operations, Hoke's brigade, under the command of Colonel Avery of the 6th N. C. regiment, which had been ordered to the support of the other brigades, was ordered back to Kernstown, where it was placed in position to protect the ambulances, wagons, and artillery which had been brought to that point from an attack from the left and rear; and Colonel Herbert was ordered to take position with his battalion of infantry on the right of Gordon, who had extended his line on that flank across the Valley turnpike. In this position the troops remained all night under a drenching rain. Very early next morning (the 14th) I ordered Gordon and Hays respectively to advance a regiment across the creek and get possession  of Bower's Hill then occupied by the enemy's skirmishers only, as his artillery and main force of infantry had been withdrawn during the night. This was accomplished after some skirmishing, the skirmishers of Smith's brigade being also advanced across the creek on the left at the same time. General Ewell had come over to my position in the meantime, and we proceeded together to reconnoitre the position from the fort on the top of Bowers's Hill then occupied by my skirmishers, from which point we had a fair view of the enemy's works about Winchester; and we discovered that the hill to the north-west of the enemy's works which I had been ordered to gain, had also been fortified and was occupied. It was found to be necessary then to take this hill by assault; and a position having been discovered beyond it on the north-west from which it was thought an assault might be made with advantage, I was directed to move the greater part of my division around to that position and make the attack, leaving a force at the point then occupied to amuse the enemy and conceal the movement upon his flank and rear. I will here state that when our skirmishers had advanced to Bowers's Hill, Major Goldsborough of the Maryland battalion, with the skirmishers of the battalion, had advanced into the outskirts of the town of Winchester, but fearing that the enemy would shell the town from the main fort, I ordered him back. After receiving final instructions from Gen. Ewell I replaced the skirmishers of Hays's and Smith's brigades by others from Gordon's brigade, and leaving Gen. Gordon with his brigade, the Maryland battalion and two batteries of artillery (the Maryland and Hupp's), to amuse the enemy and hold him in check, I moved with Hays's, Hoke's and Smith's brigades, and the rest of the artillery, all under Col. Jones, to the left (west and north-west), following the Cedar Creek turnpike for a short distance, and then leaving it and passing through fields and woods, which latter I found sufficiently open to admit of the passage of artillery, thus making a considerable detour and crossing the Romney macadamised road about three miles west of Winchester, and half a mile from a point at which the enemy had a picket the night before. After crossing the Romney road, where I left the 54th N. C. regiment, of Hoke's brigade, on picket, I continued to move on through fields and woodland and on obscure paths until I reached the position from which I wished to assault the enemy's works, which proved to be a ridge with its northern end close to the Pughtown road, a very considerable portion being wooded. On the south side of the main woods immediately confronting the fortified hill which I desired to assault, was an orchard and the ruins of  an old house called “Folk's old house,” and on the north side was a corn-field on Mrs. Brierly's land, both of which points furnished excellent positions for artillery within easy range of the work I proposed assaulting, which was on the summit of a hill on Fahnestock's land, adjoining the Pughtown road. To the desired point I was guided by a worthy and intelligent citizen whose name I withhold, as he has already been the subject of the enemy's persecutions, and I was so fortunate as to reach it without meeting with any scouts, pickets or stragglers of the enemy, or exciting his attention in any way.2 I reached this point about 4 P. M., and as the day was excessively hot and the men had marched a circuit of some eight or ten miles without getting any drinking water, and were very much fatigued, I massed them in the woods out of view of the enemy to give them time to blow. In the meantime, having proceeded to reconnoitre the enemy's position and the ground on which I would have to operate, I discovered the two favorable positions for my artillery before mentioned, and that the intervening woods afforded an excellent cover under which troops could advance to within a short distance of the foot of the hill on which was the work I wished to assault. I also discovered that the enemy occupying this work, which was a bastion front presenting the appearance of an enclosed work from my point of view, were not keeping a lookout in my direction, but were looking intently in the direction of Gordon's command, on which a gradual advance was being made by infantry deployed as skirmishers and some pieces of artillery well supported. Meanwhile Col. Jones had quietly prepared for running his artillery into position as quick as possible when the moment for attack should arrive; and the men having been allowed to rest as much as possible under the circumstances, I directed Gen. Hays, whose brigade had been selected to make the assault, to move near to the edge of the woods facing the enemy's work, and to keep his men under  cover until the artillery opened, and then to advance as rapidly as possible to the assault with three regiments in front and the two others following a short distance in rear, as soon as he should discover that the enemy was sufficiently demoralized by the artillery fire. The artillery under Jones was divided so as to put twelve pieces in the old orchard mentioned, and eight pieces near the edge of the corn-field on the north of the woods. The 57th N. C. regiment was detached and so posted as to protect these latter pieces from an attack in the direction of the Pughtown road, which ran not far from there, and the rest of Hoke's brigade, and the whole of Smith's, were placed in line ready to support him. The enemy's works on the front presented to me, consisted of the bastion-front on the high hill which has been mentioned, another smaller breastwork between that and the Pughtown road, and a more extensive, but incomplete, work on the north side of the Pughtown road. He had evidently been making recent preparations against an attack from this quarter, and had commenced felling the timber in the woods under cover of which I operated, but strange to say, on this occasion he failed to keep a lookout in that direction. About an hour by sun, everything being ready, Jones ran his pieces by hand into position, and opened almost simultaneously from the whole of his twenty guns upon the enemy, before he was aware of our presence in his vicinity.3 The cannonading was kept up briskly about three-quarters of an hour, when Hays advanced as directed, ascended the steep slope of the hill leading to the enemy's works, through a brush-wood that had been felled to answer the purpose of abattis, and drove the enemy from his fortifications in fine style, capturing in the assault six rifled pieces, two of which were immediately turned upon the enemy, thus preventing an effort to recapture the works before reinforcements could arrive, for which a portion of the enemy's main force commenced preparing. As soon as I saw Hays's men entering the works, I ordered forward Smith's brigade to the support, and also ordered Jones to advance with the pieces that were posted on our left, leaving Colonel Avery with that part of Hoke's brigade with him to look out for the rear. On reaching the captured work, which proved to be open in the rear, I found that it overlooked and commanded, as had been anticipated, the enemy's main work near the town, and also a redoubt to the north of the main work, which was also occupied by infantry and artillery, and that all the works on the left (north) of the captured  one had been evacuated. The enemy was in evident commotion, but by the time the artillery and Smith's brigade reached the captured hill, dusk was approaching, and it was too late to take any farther steps for the capture of the main work, which was very strong, and to accomplish which would have required the co-operation of the other troops around Winchester.4 I contented myself therefore with directing an artillery fire to be kept up until dark on the enemy's position, which was returned from the main work and redoubt spoken of, though with but little effect.5 During the night I had the captured work turned and embrasures cut, so as to be able to open at early light on the main work. The Fifth-seventh N. C. regiment was ordered to the work on the north of the Pughtown road; Hays's brigade occupied the works captured by it; Smith's brigade was formed in line in rear of Hays; Avery was left with two regiments of Hoke's brigade to prevent any surprise by the enemy from that direction; and the Fifty-fourth N. C. regiment was allowed to remain on picket on the Romney road. In this position the troops lay on their arms all night. I sent my aid, Lieutenant Calloway, to General Gordon, to direct him to move upon the main fort at light next morning, and I also sent a courier to General Ewell to inform him of what had been accomplished, and that I thought the enemy would evacuate before morning. As soon as it was light enough to see the next morning it was discovered that the enemy had evacuated, taking the Martinsburg road, and very shortly afterwards firing was heard on that road, which proved to be from the encounter of Johnson's division with the retreating enemy. I immediately ordered my whole command in pursuit, after having detached the Thirteenth Virginia regiment, of Smith's brigade, to guard the abandoned wagons and property. Gordon's brigade, which first reached the main fort and pulled down the flag left flying over it, preceded  the rest of the division; and on reaching the point at which General Johnson had encountered the enemy, I found his division halted and in possession of the greater part of the enemy's infantry as prisoners. It was evident that further pursuit on foot of Milroy and the small body of mounted men who had escaped with him was useless, and I therefore halted my command and camped it near the place of Johnson's engagement. The enemy had abandoned at Winchester all his artillery, all his wagons, and a considerable quantity of public stores. Twenty-five pieces of artillery in all, with their caissons, were secured, as was a considerable quantity of artillery ammunition, though somewhat damaged. In the hurry of the pursuit in the morning I gave such directions, and took such steps, as were possible under the circumstances to preserve the captured property; nevertheless, much of it was pilfered and damaged by stragglers, and even after it got into the hands of the quartermasters and commissaries, much of it seems to have been made away with. I cannot too highly commend the conduct of Generals Hays and Gordon, and their brigades, in the two days fighting which occurred around Winchester. The charge of Hays's brigade upon the enemy's works was a most brilliant exploit, and the affair of the day before when General Gordon drove the enemy from the position he occupied near Kernstown, reflected equal credit on himself and his brigade. All the arrangements of Lieutenant-Colonel Hilary P. Jones, and the conduct of himself and his artillery (including that under Captain Dance), were admirable, and have not been surpassed during the war. I must also commend the gallantry of Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert and Major Goldsborough of the Maryland line and their troops. Hoke's and Smith's brigades did not become engaged on either day. The members of my staff, Major Samuel Hale, Division Inspector, Major John W. Daniel, A. A. General, and Lieutenants A. L. Pitzer and Wm. G. Calloway, aides-de-camp, acquitted themselves to my entire satisfaction; and Mr. Robert D. Early and Mr. Lake, volunteer aids (the latter being a citizen of Maryland, who had been sent through the lines by the enemy the day before our arrival), rendered me efficient service, as did Lieutenant Barton of the Second Virginia infantry, detailed to accompany me as a guide. My loss in the whole affair was light, consisting of 29 killed, 130 wounded, and 3 missing. Among the killed and wounded, however, were some gallant and efficient officers. Having been afterwards assigned to the command of Winchester for  a short time, I sent to Richmond, by way of Staunton, 108 officers, and 3,250 enlisted men as prisoners, leaving in Winchester several hundred prisoners sick and wounded. The greater part of the prisoners were captured by General Johnson's division while attempting to make their escape after the evacuation.
March from Winchester into Maryland and Pennsylvania, and operations until the battle of Gettysburg.While in command at Winchester, I detached the Fifty-fourth N. 0. regiment, of Hoke's brigade, and the Fifty-eighth Virginia regiment, of Smith's brigade, to Staunton in charge of the prisoners, and leaving the Thirteenth Virginia regiment, of Smith's brigade, on duty in Winchester, I left that place on the afternoon of the 18th, and proceeded with the residue of Hoke's brigade, and Jones's battalion of artillery, to Shepherdstown on the next day, Gordon's and Hays's brigades, and the three remaining regiments of Smith's brigade, having preceded me to that place. On the 22d I crossed the Potomac at Shepherdstown and moved through Sharpsburg and Boonsboroa, encamping on the road towards Hagerstown, about three miles from Boonsboroa.6 The Seventeenth Virginia cavalry, under Colonel Wm. H. French, of Jenkins's brigade, reported to me on this day, by order of General Ewell, and remained with me until the battle of Gettysburg. On the 23d I moved through Cavetown, Smithtown, and Ringgold (or Ridgeville, as it is most usually called) to Waynesboro in Pennsylvania. On the 24th  I moved through Quincy and Altodale to Greenwood on the macadamised road from Chambersburg to Gettysburg.7 At this point my division remained in camp on the 25th, and I visited General Ewell at Chambersburg, and received from him instructions to cross the South Mountain to Gettysburg, and then proceed to York, cut the Northern Central railroad running from Baltimore to Harrisburg, destroy the bridge across the Susquehanna at Wrightsville and Columbia, on the branch railroad from York towards Philadelphia, if I could, and rejoin him at Carlisle by the way of Dillstown.8 Colonel Elijah White's battalion of cavalry was ordered to report to me for this expedition, and on the morning of the 26th, having sent all my wagon trains to Chambersburg except the ambulances, one medical wagon for each brigade, the regimental ordnance wagons, one wagon with cooking utensils for each regiment (including the officers), and fifteen empty wagons to use in gathering supplies, and carrying no other baggage, I moved towards Gettysburg.9 On reaching the forks of the road, on the east slope of  the mountain, about one and one-half miles from Cashtown, I sent General Gordon with his brigade and White's battalion of cavalry on the macademised road through Cashtown towards Gettysburg, and I moved with the rest of the command to the left through Hilltown to Mummasburg. I had heard on the road that there was probably a force at Gettysburg, though I could get no definite information as to its size, and the object of this movement was for Gordon to amuse and skirmish with the enemy while I should get on his flank and rear so as to capture the whole force. On arriving at Mummasburg (with the cavalry advance) I ascertained that the force at Gettysburg was small; and while waiting here for the infantry to come up — its march having been considerably delayed by the muddy condition of the country roads — a company of French's cavalry that had been sent towards Gettysburg, captured some prisoners, from whom it was ascertained that the advance of Gordon's command (a body of forty cavalrymen from White's battalion), had encountered a regiment of militia which fled on the first approach. I immediately sent forward Colonel French with the whole of his cavalry to pursue this militia force, which he did, capturing a number of prisoners. Hays's brigade on its arrival was also sent towards Gettysburg, and the other brigades, with the artillery, were ordered into camp near Mummasburg.10 I then rode to Gettysburg and found Gordon just entering the town, his command having marched with more ease than the other brigades because it moved on a macadamised road. The militia regiment which had been encountered by White's cavalry was the Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania, consisting of 800 or 900 men, and had arrived in Gettysburg the night before, and moved out that morning a few miles on the road towards Cashtown, but had fled on the first approach of White's advance, taking across the fields between Mummasburg and Gettysburg and going towards Hunterstown. Of this force a little over 200 prisoners in all were captured and subsequently paroled. Hays's brigade was halted and camped about a mile from Gettysburg, two regiments having been sent to aid French in the pursuit of the fugitive militia, but were not able to get up with it. The  authorities of Gettysburg declared their inability to furnish the supplies required of them, and a search of the stores resulted in securing only a very small quantity of commissary supplies; but about 2,000 rations were found in a train of cars and issued to Gordon's brigade. The cars, numbering ten or twelve, were burned, as was also a small railroad bridge near the place. There were no railroad buildings of consequence. The day was cold and rainy and the roads were very muddy, and as it was late when I reached the place, and desired to move upon York early next day, I had no opportunity of compelling a compliance with my demands on the town or ascertaining its resources, which, however, I think were very limited.11 I ordered Tanner's battery of artillery and a company of French's cavalry to report to General Gordon during the night, and directed him to move with them and his brigade on the turnpike towards York at light next morning; and I also directed Colonel White to proceed with his cavalry to Hanover Junction on the Northern Central railroad, destroying the railroad bridges on the way, and to destroy the Junction and a bridge or two south of it, and then proceed to York, burning all the bridges up to that place. Having returned to Mummasburg that night, I moved next morning from that place with the rest of my command, through Hunterstown, New Chester, Hampton, and East Berlin, towards Dover, and camped a short distance beyond East Berlin. I then rode over to Gordon's camp on the York turnpike, which was about four miles distant, to arrange with him the manner of the approach upon York if it should be defended. But all the information we could gain induced me to believe that there was no force in York, and that night a deputation came out from the town to Gordon's camp to surrender it. I directed General Gordon, in the event of there being no force in the place, to march through and proceed to the Columbia bridge and secure it at both ends if possible. Next morning (the 28th) General Gordon marched into the town of York without opposition and I proceeded with the rest of the command by the way of Weigalstown, leaving Dover to my left. At Weigalstown I sent Colonel French, with the greater part of his cavalry, to the mouth of the Conewago, to burn two railroad bridges at that point, and all other bridges on the railroad between there and York; and I then proceeded on to York, sending  Hays's and Smith's brigades into camp at Lauck's mill near the railroad, some two miles north of the town. Hoke's brigade, under Avery was marched into the town and quartered in some extensive buildings put up for hospitals. I found General Gordon in the town, and repeated to him the directions to move to the Susquehanna and secure the Columbia bridge if he could, and he promptly moved his command in that direction. I then made a requisition upon the town authorities for 2,000 pairs of shoes, 1,000 hats, 1,000 pairs of socks, $100,000 in money, and three day's rations of all kinds for my men. Subsequently, between 1,200 and 1,500 pairs of shoes and boots, the hats, socks and rations were furnished and issued to the men, but only the sum of $28,600 in money was furnished, which was paid to my quartermaster, Major Snodgrass--the chief-burgess or Mayor and other authorities protesting their inability to raise any more money, as they said nearly all in the town had been previously run off, and I was satisfied that they had made an honest effort to raise the amount called for. A short time before night I rode out in the direction of the Columbia bridge to ascertain the result of Gordon's expedition, and had not proceeded far before I saw an immense smoke rising in the direction of the Susquehanna, which I subsequently ascertained arose from the burning of the bridge in question. On arriving at Wrightsville, on the bank of the Susquehanna opposite Columbia, I learned from General Gordon that on approaching Wrightsville in front of the bridge he found a command of militia, some 1,200 strong, entrenched, and after endeavoring to move around the flank of this force to cut it off from the bridge, which he was unable to do promptly from want of knowledge of the locality, he opened his artillery on the militia, which fled at the bursting of the third shell, when he immediately pursued; but, as his men had then marched a little over twenty miles on a very warm day, the enemy beat them running. He, however, attempted to cross the bridge in pursuit and the head of his column got half-way over, but he found the bridge, which had been prepared for the purpose, on fire in the middle. As his men had nothing but muskets and rifles to operate with, he sent back for buckets to endeavor to arrest the flames, but before they arrived the fire had progressed so far that it was impossible to extinguish it; he had therefore been compelled to return and leave the bridge to its fate. This bridge was one and one-quarter miles in length, the superstructure being of wood on stone abutments and piers, and it included under one covered structure a railroad bridge, a passway for wagons, and also a tow-path for the canal which here crosses the river by means of locks and a dam below. The bridge was entirely consumed,  and from its flames the town of Wrightsville caught fire and several buildings were consumed, but the farther progress of the conflagration was arrested by the exertions of Gordon's men.12 I regretted very much the failure to secure this bridge, as, finding the defenceless condition of the country generally and the little obstacle likely to be afforded by the militia to our progress, I had determined, if I could get possession of the Columbia bridge, to cross my division over the Susquehanna, cut the Pennsylvania Central Railroad, march upon Lancaster and lay that town under contribution, and then move up and attack Harrisburg in the rear, while it should be attacked in front by the rest of the corps, relying, in the worst contingency that might happen, upon being able to mount my whole command from the immense number of horses that had been run across the river, and then move westwardly, destroying the railroads and canals and returning back again to a place of safety. This project, however, was entirely thwarted by the destruction of the bridge, as the river was otherwise impassable, being very wide and deep at that point. I therefore ordered General Gordon to move his command back to York next day, and returned to that place myself that night. Colonel White succeeded in reaching Hanover Junction and destroying the depot at that place, and also one or two bridges in the vicinity; but he did not, however, destroy all the bridges between that point and York, as one or two of them were defended by an infantry force, as he reported. Colonel French succeeded in destroying the bridges at the mouth of the Conewago, and all the bridges between that point and York; and I sent him to destroy the remaining bridges over the Cordorus, between York and Hanover Junction, which he succeeded in doing, any force which may have been defending them having disappeared. I found no public stores at York. A few prisoners found in the hospital, with some others captured by Gordon at Wrightsville, were paroled. All the cars found at the place were destroyed, but the railroad buildings, two large car-manufactories, and the hospital buildings, were not burned, because, after examination, I was satisfied that the burning of them would probably cause the destruction of the greater part of the town, and notwithstanding the barbarous policy pursued by the enemy in similar cases, I determined to forbear in this case, hoping that the example might not be without its effect even upon  our cruel enemy.13 It has been lost upon the Yankees, however, as so far from appreciating the forbearance shown, I am informed that it has been actually charged by some of their papers that Gordon's command fired the town of Wrightsville, whereas the exertions of his men saved the place from utter destruction.14 On the afternoon of the 29th I received through Captain Elliott Johnson, Aide to General Ewell, a copy of a note from General Lee, and also verbal instructions, which required me to move back and rejoin the rest of the corps on the western side of the South Mountain; and accordingly at daylight, on the morning of the 30th, I put my whole command in motion, taking the route with the main body through Weigalstown and East Berlin, in the direction of Heidlersburg, from which place I could move either to Shippensburg or Greenwood by the way of Arendtsburg, as circumstances might require. I, at the same time, sent Colonel White's cavalry on the turnpike from York towards Gettysburg, to ascertain if any force of the enemy was on that road. At East Berlin a small squad of  the enemy's cavalry was seen and pursued by my cavalry advance; and I received information at this point from Colonel White, by a messenger, that a cavalry and infantry force had been on the York and Gettysburg road at Abbotstown, but had moved south towards Hanover. A courier from General Ewell met me here with a despatch, informing me of the fact that he was moving with Rodes's division by the way of Petersburg to Heidlersburg, and directing me to move in that direction. I encamped that afternoon about three miles from Heidlersburg, and rode to see General Ewell at that point, where I found him with Rodes's division, and was informed that the object was to concentrate the corps at or near Cashtown, and I received direction to move next day to the latter point. I was informed that Rodes would move by the way of Middletown and Arendtsville, but it was arranged that I should go by the way of Hunterstown and Mummasburg.15
Battle of Gettysburg.Having ascertained that the road from my camp to Hunterstown was a very rough and circuitous one, I determined next morning (July 1st) to march to Heidlersburg, and thence on the Gettysburg road to the Mummasburg road. After passing Heidlersburg a short distance I received a note from yourself,16 written by order of General Ewell, informing me that General A. P. Hill was moving towards Gettysburg against the enemy, and that Rodes's division had turned off at Middletown and was moving towards the same place, and directing me to move directly for Gettysburg. I therefore continued on the road I was then on, and on arriving in sight of the town I discovered that Rodes's division was engaged with the enemy to my right on both sides of the Mummasburg road. A considerable body of the enemy occupied a position in front of the town, and the troops constituting his right were engaged in an effort to force back the left of Rodes's line. I immediately ordered my troops into line and formed them across the Heidlersburg road, with Gordon's brigade on the right, Hays's in the centre, Hoke's (under Avery) on the left, Smith's in the rear of Hoke's, and Jones's artillery in the field immediately in front of Hoke's brigade on the left of the Heidlersburg road, in order to fire on the enemy's right flank. As soon as these dispositions could be made, a fire was opened  by my artillery on the enemy's infantry and artillery with very considerable effect; and Gordon's brigade was advanced to the aid and relief of Doles's brigade, which was Rodes's left, and was being pressed back by a considerable force of the enemy that had advanced from the direction of the town to a wooded hill on the west side of Rock Creek (the stream which is on the north-east and east of the town). When Gordon had become fairly engaged with this force, Hays's and Hoke's brigades were ordered forward in line, and the artillery, supported by Smith's brigade, was directed to follow. After a short but hot contest Gordon succeeded in routing the force opposed to him, consisting of a division of the eleventh corps commanded by Brigadier-General Barlow, and drove it back with great slaughter, capturing among a number of prisoners General Barlow himself, who was severely wounded. Gordon had charged across the creek, over the hill on which Barlow was posted, and through the fields towards the town, until he came to a low ridge behind which the enemy had another line of battle extending beyond his (Gordon's) left. The brigade was halted here to reform and replenish its ammunition, and I then ordered Hays and Avery, who had been halted on the east side of Rock Creek while I had ridden to where Gordon had been engaged, to advance towards the town, on Gordon's left, which they did in fine style, encountering and driving into the town in great confusion the second line of the enemy on this part of the field. Hays's brigade entered the town, fighting its way, while Avery moved to the left of it across the railroad, and took his position in the fields on the left and facing Cemetery Hill, which here presented a very rugged ascent. This movement was made under the fire of the enemy's artillery from Cemetery Hill, which had previously opened when my artillery first opened on the enemy's flank, but Avery succeeded in placing his men under the cover of a low ridge which runs through the fields from the town. Hays's brigade was formed in line on a street running through the middle of the town. A very large number of prisoners were captured in the town and before reaching it, their number being so great as really to embarrass us. Two pieces of artillery (Napoleons) were also captured outside of the town, the capture being claimed by each brigade; but it is unneccessary to decide which reached the pieces first, as their capture was due to the joint valor of the two brigades (Hays's and Hoke's). While these operations were going on with Hays's and Hoke's brigades, I saw farther to our right the enemy's force on that part of the line falling back and moving in comparitively good order on the right of the town towards the range of hills in the rear, and I sent  for a battery of artillery to be brought up to open on this force and on the town, from which a fire had opened on my advancing brigades; but before the battery got up my men had entered the town, and the retiring force on the right had got beyond reach. I had at the same time sent an order to General Smith to advance with his three regiments, but he thought it advisable not to comply with this order on account of a report that the enemy was advancing on the York road, near which he was. As soon as my brigades entered the town I rode into that place myself, and after ascertaining the condition of things I rode to find Generals Ewell and Rodes or General Hill for the purpose of urging an immediate advance upon the enemy before he could recover from his evident dismay, in order to get possession of the range of hills to which he had fallen back with the remnant of his forces; but before I found either of these officers General Smith's aide came to me with a message from the General, stating that a heavy force of the enemy consisting of infantry, artillery and cavalry, was advancing on the York road, and that we were about to be flanked; and though I had no faith in this report, I thought it best to send General Gordon with his brigade to take charge of Smith's also, and to keep a lookout on the York road and stop any further alarm. Meeting with an officer of Major-General Pender's staff, I sent word by him to General Hill (whose command was on the Cashtown road and had not advanced up to Gettysburg) that if he would send up a division we could take the hill to which the enemy had retreated;17 and shortly afterwards meeting with General Ewell, I communicated my views to him, and was informed by him that Johnson's division was coming up; and General Ewell then determined with this division to take possession of the wooded hill18 on our left of Cemetery Hill, which commanded the latter. But Johnson's division arrived at a late hour, and the movement having been further delayed by another report of an advance on the York road,19 no effort was made to get possession of the wooded hill that night.20  Having been informed that the greater portion of the rest of our army would move up during the night, and that the enemy's position would be attacked on the right and left flanks very early next morning, I gave orders to General Hays to move his brigade, under cover of night, from the town into the field on the left of it, where it would not be exposed to the enemy's fire, and would be in position to advance on Cemetery Hill when a favorable opportunity should occur. This movement was made, and Hays formed his brigade on the right of Avery, and just behind the extension of the low ridge on which a portion of the town is located. The attack did not begin in the morning of next day as was expected, and in the course of the morning I rode with General Ewell to examine and select a position for artillery. Having been subsequently informed that the anticipated attack would begin at 4 P. M., I directed General Gordon to move his brigade from the York road on the left to the railroad, immediately in rear of Hays and Avery, Smith with his regiments being left under General J. E. B. Stuart to guard the York road.21 The fire from the artillery on the  extreme right and also on the left having opened at 4 P. M., and continued for some time, I was ordered by General Ewell to advance upon  Cemetery Hill with my two brigades that were in position, as soon as Johnson's division, which was on my left, should become engaged at the wooded hill [Culp's] in its front on which it was about to advance, information being given me that the advance would be general, and that Rodes's division on my right and Hill's divisions on his right would unite in it. Accordingly, as soon as Johnson became fully engaged, which was about or a little before dusk, I ordered Hays and Avery to advance and carry the works on the heights in their front. Their troops advanced in gallant style to the attack, passing over the ridge in front of them under a heavy fire of artillery, then crossing a hollow between that and Cemetery Hill, and moving up the rugged elope of this hill in the face of at least two lines of infantry posted behind stone and plank fences, but these were driven from their positions, and passing over all obstacles the two brigades reached the crest of the hill and entered the enemy's breast-works crowning it, getting possession of one or two batteries; but no attack was made on their immediate right, and not meeting with the expected support from that quarter, these brigades, whose ranks were very much depleted, could not hold the position they had gained, because a very heavy force of the enemy was turned against them from that part of the line which the divisions on the right were to have attacked, and they had therefore to fall back, which they did with comparatively slight loss, considering the nature of the ground over which they had to pass and the immense odds opposed to them. Hays's brigade, however, on this occasion brought off four captured colors from the top of Cemetery Hill. At the time these brigades advanced, Gordon's brigade moved forward to support them, and advanced to the position from which they had moved, but was halted there because it was ascertained that no advance was being made on the right, and it was evident that the crest of the hill could not be held by the three brigades without other assistance, and that the attempt would be attended with a useless sacrifice of life.22  Hays's and Hoke's brigades were reformed on the line previously occupied by them, on the right and left of Gordon respectively. In this attack Colonel Avery of the Sixth North Carolina regiment, commanding Hoke's brigade, was mortally wounded; and with this affair the fighting on the 2d of July terminated. After night I was directed by General Ewell to order Smith's brigade (three regiments) to report to General Johnson on the left by daylight next morning; and General Smith, in pursuance of the orders given him, did report to General Johnson, and his three regiments were engaged on the 3d, on the extreme left, under that officer's direction. As the operations of this brigade on that day were under the immediate control of General Johnson, I will in that connection merely refer to the report of Colonel Hoffman, the present brigade-commander, which is herewith forwarded. Before light on the morning of the 3d, Hays's and Hoke's brigades (the latter now under the command of Colonel Godwin of the 57th N. C. regiment) were withdrawn to the rear, and subsequently formed in line in the town, on the same street formerly occupied by Hays's brigade, Gordon's brigade being left to occupy the position held by these brigades on the previous day. In these positions the three brigades remained during the day, and did not again participate in the attack, though they were exposed during the time to the fire of sharpshooters and an occasional fire from the enemy's artillery posted on the heights. At 2 o'clock on the morning of the 4th my brigades were quietly withdrawn, under orders, from their positions, and moved around to the Cashtown road, where they were formed in line across the said road, in rear of Rodes's and Johnson's divisions, which occupied the  front line on our left along the crest of Seminary Ridge, west of the town.23 My loss in the three days fighting at Gettysburg was 154 killed,  800 wounded, and 227 missing, a large proportion of the missing being in all probability killed or wounded.
The march from Gettysburg, recrossing the Potomac, and return to the vicinity of Orange C. H.At two o'clock on the morning of the 5th, under orders from General Ewell, my division moved on the road towards Fairfield, following in the rear of the corps and constituting the rear-guard of the whole army. While I was waiting at the junction of the road on which the corps had moved with the direct road from Gettysburg to Fairfield, for the passage of all the troops and trains, a few pieces of artillery were run out by the enemy and opened at long range, but without doing any damage. The whole force having got on the road in front of me, I moved on slowly in the rear, Gordon's brigade bringing up my rear, followed by White's battalion of cavalry.24 On arriving in view of Fairfield, which is situated in a wide low plain surrounded by hills, I found the wagon-trains in front blocked up, and while waiting for the road to be cleared, I received a message from Colonel White that a force of the enemy was advancing in our rear. I immediately sent word forward to hasten the trains up, but as they did not move I was preparing to fire a blank cartridge or two for the purpose of hastening their movements, when the advance of the enemy appeared on a hill in my rear, and it became necessary to open on him with shells. The enemy also brought up a battery and returned my fire, and the trains very soon moved off and cleared the road. One of Gordon's regiments (the Twenty-Sixth Georgia) was deployed as skirmishers and sent against the enemy, and drove back his advance, thus holding him in check while my division was gradually moved forward in line past Fairfield to a favorable position for making a stand, when the Twenty-Sixth Georgia regiment was called in. In this affair it sustained a loss of some eight or ten killed and wounded. The enemy not advancing, the division was encamped not far from Fairfield, and so posted as to protect the trains which had been parked a little farther on.25 The enemy did not again molest me, and at light next morning  (the 6th) my skirmishers were replaced by those of Rodes, whose division was this day to constitute the rear-guard, when I moved to the front of the corps, and, passing the Monterey Springs on the summit of the mountain, crossed over to Waynesboro, where I encamped for the night. Early next morning I moved towards Hagerstown, by the way of Leitersburg, following Rodes and being followed by Johnson, whose division this day constituted the rear-guard. My division was halted and encamped about a mile north of Hagerstown, on the Chambersburg turnpike, where it remained until the afternoon of the 10th, when it was moved through the town and placed in line of battle, along the crest of a ridge a little south-west of the town, with the left resting on the Cumberland road. On the next day (the 11th) the division was moved to the right and placed in position, with its right flank resting on the road from Hagerstown to Williamsport, and remained there until after dark on the 12th, when it was moved across the Williamsport road to the rear of General Hill's position, for the purpose of supporting his line which faced the Sharpsburg road, along and near which a considerable force of the enemy had been massed in his front. At dark on the 13th my division was withdrawn and moved to Williamsport that night, bringing up the rear of the corps; and after light on the morning of the 14th it was crossed over the Potomac, Gordon's, Hoke's, and Smith's brigades (the latter now commanded by Colonel Hoffman, as General Smith had resigned and received leave of absence on the 10th) fording the river above Williamsport, and Hays's brigade with Jones's artillery crossing on the bridge at Falling Waters.26 The division encamped near Hainesville that night, and. the next day moved through Martinsburg, reaching Darksville on the 16th, where it went into camp and remained until the 20th, when it was ordered to move across North Mountain at Mills's Gap and then down Back Creek, to intercept a body of the enemy reported to have advanced to Hedgeville. On the night of the 20th I camped near Gerard's Town, and next day crossed the mountain, and proceeding down Back Creek, reached the rear of Hedgeville, but found that the enemy had hastily retreated the night before, when I recrossed the mountain, through Hedgeville, and encamped on the east side. That night I received orders to move up the Valley for the purpose of crossing  the Blue Ridge, and I moved next day to Bunker Hill, and then through Winchester on the 22d to the Opequan on the Front Royal road; but, in consequence of instructions from General Ewell, I turned off to the main Valley road from Cedarville the next day, and marching by the way of Strasburg, New Market, Fisher's or Milam's Gap, Madison C. H., Locust Grove and Rapidan Station, I reached my present camp near Clark's Mountain, in the vicinity of Orange C. H., on the 1st of this month. The Fifty-Fourth N. C. regiment and Fifty-Eighth Virginia regiment rejoined their brigades near Hagerstown on the march back, after having participated in the repulse of the enemy's cavalry attack on our trains near Williamsport on the 6th of July, and the Thirteenth Virginia regiment rejoined its brigade on our passage through Winchester. The conduct of my troops during the entire campaign, on the march as well as in action, was deserving of the highest commendation.27 To Brigadier Generals Hays and Gordon I was especially indebted for their cheerful, active and intelligent cooperations on all occasions, and their gallantry in action was eminently conspicuous. I had to regret the absence of the gallant Brigadier--General Hoke, who was severely wounded in the action of the 4th of May at Fredericksburg and had not recovered; but his place was worthily filled by Colonel Avery of the Sixth N. C., regiment, who fell mortally wounded while gallantly leading his brigade in the charge on Cemetery Hill at Gettysburg on the 2d of July. In his death the Confederacy lost a good and brave soldier. The conduct of Lieutenant-Colonel Jones and his artillery battalion on all occasions, as well as that of Brown's battalion under Captain Dance at Winchester, was admirable. My commendations are also due to Colonel French and Lieutenant-Colonel White and their respective cavalry commands for the efficient services performed by them. To the members of my staff, Major S. Hale, Division-Inspector, Major J. W. Daniel, Assistant Adjutant-General, Lieutenants A. L. Pitzer and Wm. G. Calloway, my aides, and Mr. Robert D. Early, a volunteer aide, I was indebted for the active zeal, energy and courage with which they performed their duties.  Accompanying this report will be found lists of the killed, wounded28 and missing, and also the official reports of Brigadier-Generals Hays and Gordon, Colonels Godwin and Hoffman, and Lieutenant-Colonel Jones; also a report by Colonel Murcheson, of the Fifty-Fourth North Carolina regiment, of the part taken by his regiment in the repulse of the enemy's cavalry near Williamsport, Maryland. Very respectfully,
J. A. Early, Major-General Commanding Division.