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Report of Brigadier-General George H. Steuart.

headquarters Steuart's brigade, September 2, 1863.
Captain R. W. Hunter, Assistant Adjutant-General, Johnson's Division:
Captain — I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by my brigade in the battle of Gettysburg. We reached the battlefield of July 1st toward evening of that day, and marching through a part of the town and along the Gettysburg and York railroad, formed line of battle to the northeast, our front facing the south and our left wing in a skirt of woods. The Fourth and Second brigades were on our right, the “Stonewall” on our left. We slept on our arms that night.

At about 3 o'clock P. M. the following day the enemy's and our own batteries opened fire, and the shelling was very heavy for several hours; the brigade, however, suffered but little, being protected by the woods and behind rising ground. Our pickets, which had been stationed three hundred yards in front of our line the night previous, were relieved at about five o'clock by four companies of skirmishers from the Twenty-third Virginia, and shortly afterward the brigade was formed in line of battle and moved forward.

The hill where the enemy was strongly entrenched and from which we were ordered to drive him lay in a southwesterly direction from our position, and accordingly our left wing was obliged to swing around by a right half wheel, and the brigade thus formed front toward the west by south.

The enemy's skirmishers fell back rapidly as we advanced [133] through the fields and across Rock creek, they suffering slightly and inflicting little or no injury.

The right wing of the brigade crossed the creek considerably in advance of the centre and left wing, owing to the fact that the order to move by a right half wheel was not immediately understood on the left, and also to the greater number of natural obstacles to be overcome by that part of the brigade.

The slope of the hill above referred to, at the point where the brigade crossed the creek, commences about fifty feet from the bank, and being thickly wooded the charge of our right wing was made under great disadvantages. The Third North Carolina and First Maryland, which were now entirely separated from the rest of the brigade, advanced up the hill, however, steadily towards the enemy's breastworks, the enemy falling slowly back. Our loss was heavy, the fire being terrific and in part a cross fire.

The order was now given by the Major-General Commanding to advance on our left wing as rapidly and as steadily as possible, which was done as soon as the regiments composing it could be hurried across the creek.

The left of the brigade now rested very near one line of the enemy's breastworks, which extended up the hill at right angles to the creek and then parallel with it on the summit. The enemy's attention being called more especially to our right, this fortification was not occupied in force. The Twenty-third Virginia, accordingly, under Lieutenant-Colonel Walton, immediately charged the work and scattered the enemy which was behind it.

This regiment then filed to the right until it reached the portion of the breastworks which was at right angles to the part first captured.

Forming in line on the flank and almost in rear of the enemy there stationed, it opened fire upon them, killing, wounding and capturing quite a number.

The Thirty-seventh and Tenth Virginia and First Maryland then came to the assistance of the Twenty-third Virginia and fully occupied the works.

The Third North Carolina still maintained its former exposed position, although its ammunition was nearly exhausted, notwithstanding the fact that the men had sought to replenish their cartridge-boxes from those of the wounded and dead.

The First North Carolina, which had been kept in reserve, was at this crisis led by Lieutenant McKim to its support. The brigade, [134] with the exception of the two North Carolina regiments, was then formed in line of battle between the captured breastwork and a stone wall on the left of and parallel to it, from which position it was enabled to open a cross fire upon the enemy, doing considerable execution. More, however, might have been done had not the impression at this time prevailed that we were firing upon our friends, and the fire been discontinued at intervals.

To ascertain the true state of the case, the Tenth Virginia, under Colonel Warren (which was on our extreme left and had formed a line at and perpendicular to the stone wall above referred to), changed front forward to the wall and then moved by the left flank along it, until it was supposed the regiment had gained the enemy's rear, when it opened fire and drove that part of the enemy's line back.

Finding, however, the enemy in its own rear, as evinced by their fire, the regiment was compelled to change front to the rear and perpendicular to the wall, from behind which it repulsed a bayonet charge made by a regiment of the enemy, which emerged from a wood on the left of the stone wall.

The enemy not renewing the attack, the brigade was ordered back to the works, where it was formed in line of battle, the First Maryland on the right and Tenth Virginia on the left; the North Carolina regiments still remaining outside the breastworks. This reconnoissance, as well as the reports of scouts and the statements of prisoners, gave us the assurance that we had gained an admirable position.

We had been but a short time behind the breastworks when at least two regiments advanced from the wood to the left of the works and opened fire upon us, but they were soon driven back.

The prisoners and wounded were sent a little to the rear, and our sufferers received such attention as could be given them by Dr. Snowden, Assistant Surgeon of the Maryland battalion.

The whole command rested from about 11 P. M. till about day-light, when the enemy opened a terrific fire of artillery and a very heavy fire of musketry upon us, occasioning no loss to the brigade, except to the First Maryland and Third North Carolina, which in part alternated positions behind the breastworks.

The First North Carolina, with the exception of four companies, which had been stationed as a picket on the other side of the creek, was at this time formed to the left of the brigade. At about 10 o'clock A. M. the Tenth Virginia was ordered to deploy as skirmishers [135] and clear the wood on our left of the enemy's skirmishers. This was done, and the enemy was discovered in the woods, drawn up in line of battle, at not over three hundred yards from the west of the stone wall. The brigade then formed in line of battle at right angles to the breastwork — in the following order: Third North Carolina, First Maryland, Thirty-seventh Virginia, Twenty-third Virginia, First North Carolina--and charged towards the enemy's second breastworks, partly through an open field and partly through a wood, exposed to a very heavy fire of artillery and musketry, the latter in part a cross fire.

The left of the brigade was the most exposed at first, and did maintain its position in line of battle. The right thus in advance suffered very severely, and, being unsupported, wavered, and the whole line fell back, but in good order.

The enemy's position was impregnable attacked by our small force, and any further effort to storm it would have been futile and attended with great disaster, if not total annihilation.

The brigade rallied quickly behind rocks and reformed behind the stone wall which ran parallel to the breastworks, where it remained about an hour exposed to a fire of artillery and infantry movie terrific than any experienced during the day, although less disastrous.

Ultimately, in accordance with orders from the Major-General Commanding, the brigade fell back to the creek, where it remained the rest of the day, nearly half of it being deployed as skirmishers. During the night the enemy advanced their line some distance beyond the breastworks, but were driven back to them again. Toward midnight the brigade, with the rest of the division, recrossed the creek, and passing to the rear of the town, occupied and entrenched itself on the crest of the hill where the enemy had been posted on the first day of the engagement.

It affords me the greatest pleasure to say that the officers and men of the brigade, with a few exceptions of the latter, conducted themselves most gallantly, and bore the fatigue and privations of several days in a soldierlike manner. The commanding officer of the different regiments of the brigade--Colonel Warren, Tenth Virginia; Lieutenant-Colonel Walton, Twenty-third Virginia; Major Wood, Thirty-seventh Virginia; Lieutenant-Colonel Brown, First North Carolina; Major Parsley, Third North Carolina, and Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert, First Maryland battalion, who was dangerously wounded the evening of the 2d; his successor, Major [136] Goldsborough, also severely wounded next morning, and Captain J. P. Crane, upon whom the command of the battalion finally devolved — handled their regiments with great skill and manifested the utmost coolness.

The following officers and non-commissioned officers are mentioned in the regimental reports as deserving of great praise for their coolness and bravery:

Adjutant T. C. James, Third North Carolina, dangerously wounded; Lieutenant R. N. Lyon, Company H, Third North Carolina; Lieutenant R. P. Jennings, Company E, Twenty-Third Virginia; Sergeant Thomas J. Betterton, Company “A,” Thirty-seventh Virginia, who took a stand of colors and was severely wounded.

To the officers serving on my staff--Captain George Williamson, Assistant Adjutant-General, and First Lieutenant R. H. McKim, Aid-de-Camp, whose duties kept them constantly with the brigade; Major George A. Kyle, Confederate State Maryland troops, who was always with me when his other duties will allow, and Mr. John H. Boyle, Volunteer Aid — I am greatly indebted for valuable assistance rendered, and of whose gallant bearing I cannot too highly make mention.

I am, Captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

George H. Steuart, Brigadier-General Commanding.

Report of General Alfred Iverson.

camp near Darkesville, July 17, 1863.
Major H. A. Whiting, Assistant Adjutant-General:
I have the honor to report that upon arriving in the vicinity of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where a fight was progressing between the corps of Lieutenant-General A. P. Hill and the enemy on the morning of July 1st, 1863, my brigade, being in the advance of Major-General R. E. Rodes' division, was ordered by him to form line of battle and advance towards the firing at Gettysburg.

This advance brought my brigade across a wooded height over-looking the plain and the town of Gettysburg. General Rodes here took upon himself the direction of the brigade and moved it by the right flank, changing at the same time the direction of the [137] line of battle. Masses of the enemy being observed on the plain in front, General Rodes ordered a halt until artillery could be brought to play upon them.

During the cannonading that ensued, my brigade was in support of the battery, and having received instructions from General Rodes to advance gradually to the support of a battery he intended placing in front, and not understanding the exact time at which the advance was to take place, I dispatched a staff officer to him to learn at what time I was to move forward, and received instructions not to move until my skirmishers became hotly engaged. Shortly afterwards, however, I received an order from him to advance to meet the enemy, who were approaching to take the battery; to call upon Brigadier-General Daniel for support; that Colonel O'Neal's Alabama brigade would advance on my left, and the batteries would cease firing as I passed them. I immediately dispatched a staff officer to inform Brigadier-General Daniel that I was about to advance, and one to notify my regiments and to observe when the brigade on my left commenced to move.

Learning that the Alabama brigade on my left was moving, I advanced at once and soon came in contact with the enemy, strongly posted in woods and behind a concealed stone wall. My brigade advanced to within one hundred yards and a most desperate fight took place. I observed a gap on my left, but presumed it would soon be filled by the advancing Alabama brigade under Colonel O'Neal. Brigadier-General Daniel came up to my position and I asked him for immediate support, as I was attacking a strong position. He promised to send me a large regiment, which I informed him would be enough, as the Third Alabama regiment was then moving down on my right, and I then supposed was sent to my support. At the same time I pointed out to General Daniel a large force of the enemy, who were about to outflank my right, and asked him to take care of them. He moved past my position and engaged the enemy some distance to my right, but the regiment he had promised me, and which I had asked him to forward to the position at which I stood, and when I was being pressed most heavily, did not report to me at all. I again sent Captain D. P. Halsey, Assistant Adjutant-General, to ask General Daniel for aid, who informed me that he met his staff officer and was told that one regiment had been sent and no more could be spared. I then found that this regiment had formed on the right of the Third Alabama, which was on my right and could not be used in time to [138] save my brigade, for Colonel O'Neal's Alabama brigade had in the meantime advanced on my left and been almost instantaneously driven back, upon which the enemy, being relieved from pressures charged in overwhelming force upon and captured nearly all that were left unhurt in this regiment of my brigade. When I saw white handkerchiefs raised and my line of battle still lying in position, I characterized the surrender as disgraceful, but when I found afterwards that five hundred of my men were left lying dead and wounded on a line as straight as at dress parade, I exonerated, with one or two disgraceful individual exceptions, the survivors, and claim for the brigade that they nobly fought and died without a man running to the rear.

No greater gallantry and heroism has been displayed during this war. I endeavored, during the confusion among the enemy incident to the charge and capture of my men, to make a charge with my remaining regiment and the Third Alabama, but in the noise and excitement I presume my voice could not be heard.

The fighting here ceased upon my part. The Twelfth North Carolina still retaining its position until Brigadier General Ramseur coming up, I pointed out the position of the enemy to him, and as soon as I observed his troops about to flank the enemy, I advanced the Twelfth North Carolina and fragments of the other regiments (which Captain D. P. Halsey had already prepared for a forward movement) into the woods overlooking the town and took possession of them. Going out to the front to stop General Ramseur's men from firing into mine who were in their front, I observed that the enemy were retreating along the railroad, and immediately hastened the Twelfth North Carolina forward to cut them off. The Fifty-third North Carolina regiment, of General Daniel's brigade, joined in the pursuit, and the Twelfth and Fifty-third North Carolina were the first to reach the railroad along which the enemy were retreating. Numberless prisoners were cut off by us, but I would not permit my men to take them to the rear, as I considered them safe. Arriving in the town, and having but very few troops left, I informed Brigadier-General Ramseur that I would attach them to his brigade and act in concert with him, and we formed on the street facing the heights beyond Gettysburg occupied by the enemy, where we remained till the night of July 2d, when I was informed by General Ramseur that a night attack was ordered upon the position of the enemy to the right of the town. I had received no instructions, and perceiving that General Ramseur was acquainted [139] with the intentions of the Major-General commanding the division, I raised no question of rank, but conformed the movements. of my brigade to that of Brigadier-General Ramseur, advanced with him, got under the fire of the enemy's skirmishers and artillery without returning the fire, and perceiving, as I believe every one did, that we were advancing to certain destruction, when other parts of the line fell back, I also gave the order to retreat and formed in the road, in which we maintained a position during that night and the whole of the 3d day of July, while the fight of that day was progressing, and from which we fell back about 3 o'clock A. M. of July 4th to the ridge near the Theological Seminary. From this position I was moved about 2 P. M. same day to escort the wagon train on the Fairfield road. I inclose herewith a list of casualties.

To the officers and men of the brigade, great credit is due for the great bravery with which they sustained the position to which they were ordered to advance. Captain D. P. Halsey, Assistant Adjutant-General, was very conspicuous throughout the day for his distinguished gallantry and energy.

Lieutenant-Colonel H. E. Coleman,Volunteer Aid, and Lieutenant J. T. Ector, Aid-de-Camp, were also especially zealous and brave in the discharge of the duties I called upon them to perform. Much credit is due the brave Captain B. E. Robinson, Fifth North Carolina, for the manner in which he handled his corps of sharpshooters. I cannot fail to commend the officers and men of the Twelfth North Carolina for the steady retention of their position, and for their bold advance without support into the woods occupied by the enemy.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

Alfred Iverson, Brigadier-General.

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