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Casualties in the old First at Gettysburg: two out of every three men who were carried into the charge shot down.

To the Editor of the Dispatch:
Will you kindly publish the following in justice to the old First regiment of Virginia infantry?

I presume the fact that the official report of Pickett's division at the battle of Gettysburg was suppressed at the request of General Lee is well known. In the absence of such report many statements, more or less unjust to the division, have been made, all which have come to my knowledge, I have deemed it unnecessary to notice until I read the following report in the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Serial No. 44, pages 330, published under the auspices of the Government: [408]

Record of Killed and Wounded at Gettysburg.—First Virginia regiment: Killed, 2; wounded, 62.’

Whether or not there was intentional misrepresentation in this report I deem it but just to give the true record, giving the names of the killed, which can be verified by their surviving comrades.

First Virginia Regiment at Gettysburg. —Killed—Officers: Col. L. B. Williams, Captain James Holloran, Company C; Lieutenant W. A. Caho, Company 1—total 3. Sergeant C. P. Hansford and Corporal Richard Chaddick, Company H; Corporal I. O. Ellett, Company 1—total, 3. Privates: Fendall Franklin, Company B; Willie Mitchell, D. S. Edwards, M. J. Wingfield, and J. W. Freeman, Company D; William F. Miller, Company G; W. J. Vaughan, Flowers, Nuckols, St. Clair, J. W. Paine, M. Brestrahan, and W. S. Waddell, Company H; E. J. Griffin, Edwin Taliaferro, and H. McLaughlan, Company 1—total, 16. Commissioned officers, 3; non-commissioned officers, 3; privates 16—total, 22. Total killed, 22; wounded, 71; casualty, 93.

Suppose the six companies then composing the regiment carried into the fight 150 men, which I believe to be an over-estimate, it will be seen that more than one-seventh of the entire number were killed. Of the remainder nearly two-thirds were wounded. In other words, about two out of every three men carried into the charge were either killed or wounded. When we reached the enemy's lines they surrendered and passed to the rear without a guard. An order was brought from General Kemper by Captain Fry, his adjutant, for the First regiment to move by the right flank. He called for the commander, and finding myself in that position I responded and gave the order for them to fall in preparatory to making the movement. All in sight, about a dozen, took position promptly; but so terrible was the fire to which we were exposed they were shot almost as fast as they took their places. I turned to Captain Fry and told him it was too late, and there was no First regiment left to execute the order. He turned and rode from the field. A few moments later, as I moved forward with the troops, I was wounded. The remnant of the division continued to advance till the color-bearer in the lead paused, turning to see what following he had, and finding the force entirely inadequate turned his face to the rear, and still displaying his colors marched from the field, thus ending this memorable charge, in which our losses were as described. I have no reason to suppose that other commands suffered less than we did, as we passed through the ordeal together; and I rectify the [409] mistakes in reference to my own regiment simply because I know the facts.

For these figures I am indebted to a little volume published by my friend and comrade, C. T. Loehr, entitled, ‘War History of the Old First Regiment, Virginia Infantry.’

Very respectfully,


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