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Chapter 11:

  • The Confederate invasion of Pennsylvania
  • -- battle of Gettysburg -- North Carolinians in the three Days -- fighting on the retreat -- the Potomac recrossed by Lee's army-cavalry fighting in Virginia during the invasion of Pennsylvania.

After General Hooker retreated from General Lee's front at Chancellorsville, the Confederate commander determined to transfer the scene of hostilities beyond the Potomac. His army was put in motion, and by the 27th of June, his advance corps, under Ewell, was at Carlisle, Pa., and his other two corps, under Longstreet and A. P. Hill, were encamped near Chambersburg. The further advance of the army was arrested by intelligence that the Federal army had crossed the Potomac and was approaching South mountain. ‘In the absence of the cavalry,’ says General Lee, ‘it was impossible to learn his intentions; but to deter him from advancing farther west and intercepting our communication with Virginia, it was determined to concentrate the army east of the mountains.’

Accordingly, A. P. Hill's corps was set in motion toward Gettysburg, and this corps was followed by Longstreet's a day later. General Ewell was directed to move back from Carlisle, and to join the army either at Cashtown or Gettysburg. Hill's advance division, Heth's, reached Cashtown on the 29th of June. From that point General Heth sent Pettigrew's North Carolina brigade to Gettysburg to procure supplies. When General Pettigrew arrived at the outskirts of the town, he found it [172] occupied by the Federals, and, not knowing the force there, he returned to Cashtown.

This was the first service of Pettigrew's brigade with General Lee's army, but, notwithstanding this fact, it was to render itself immortal by losing in this battle in killed and wounded (not prisoners), 208 more men than any other brigade in General Lee's entire army.1 Swinton says of this brigade, as well as the rest of Heth's Rebellion Records, XXV, I, pp. 185, 191. division:

The division on the left of Pickett, under command of General Pettigrew, was in considerable part made up of North Carolina troops, comparatively green. Army of the Potomac, p. 359

While the expressions ‘in considerable part’ and ‘comparatively green’ are somewhat indefinite, yet, taking language in its usual sense, both are erroneous as applied to this division. In the first place, the division was composed of seventeen regiments, only five of which were from North Carolina. In the second place, if one bears in mind that none of Lee's regiments was over two years old, ‘comparatively green’ fits no one of those five regiments. The Eleventh regiment, the ‘Bethel regiment,’ as it was known in North Carolina, was composed ‘in considerable part’ of the men who had made up the First North Carolina regiment of volunteers, the oldest regiment in the Confederate service. After its reorganization under the accomplished Leventhorpe, it had been severely tested at Franklin, at White Hall, and at Blount's creek. The Twenty-sixth regiment, commanded by as gallant a soldier as ever wore epaulettes, Harry K. Burgwyn, saw bloody service at New Bern, and took part, an honorable part, in all the battles around Richmond. The Fifty-second regiment, trained and commanded by an educated soldier, the noble J. K. Marshall, was over a year old in its organization and had been tried, and borne itself bravely, in battle on the Blackwater, at Blount's creek and at Goldsboro. The Forty-seventh regiment [173] also had been in service over a year, had for its officers many men originally members of the First regiment, had been under fire for three months in its campaigning in North Carolina, and while it had been in no great pitched battle, it was battle-tried. In like manner, the Fifty-fifth was not a new regiment. It was organized in the spring of 1862, had a dashing set of officers, and had many times before been under severe fire.

The battle of the first day at Gettysburg was a clear Confederate victory. Gen. A. P. Hill reached Cashtown on the 30th, with his former division, now commanded by Pender, who was promoted to a major-generalship when General Hill became corps commander. The next morning, July 1st, General Hill advanced Heth and Pender to develop the force of the Federals. As Heth, who had the van, approached Gettysburg, he found his adversaries strongly posted on the northwestern approaches to the town. Heth, little realizing that he was opening in front of that obscure little town the greatest contest of modern times, ordered his leading brigades under Davis and Archer into action. Davis was north of the Chambersburg pike, and was supported by Brockenbrough, who was just south of the pike. Archer, supported by Pettigrew, was south of the pike. Both brigades faced Seminary ridge. When the fighting began, only Buford's cavalry held the ground for the Federals; but the First army corps, under Reynolds' direction, was advancing rapidly to the support of the cavalry, and Cutler and the ‘Iron brigade,’ under Morrow of Wadsworth's division, soon took position in front of Seminary hill.

Davis' brigade, which consisted that day of only the Fifty-fifth North Carolina regiment, Colonel Connally, and two Mississippi regiments, encountered Cutler's brigade. After a stubborn contest, waged until Davis' men advanced within a few yards of their line, the Federals were broken, and by General Wadsworth's order were temporarily retired to Seminary hill. Archer was not so [174] fortunate as Davis. The ‘Iron brigade,’ advancing through a wood that concealed it, swept unexpectedly around Archer's right flank, captured him and many of his men, and broke the brigade badly. Archer out of the way, General Doubleday, who was directing operations after General Reynolds was killed, turned all his attention to Davis. The Federal reserves were ordered in, and struck Davis in flank as he was, says General Doubleday, ‘pursuing Cutler's brigade toward town.’ This reserve consisted of three regiments and 100 men of the brigade guard. General Doubleday says this reserve

went forward with great spirit, but was altogether too weak to assail so large a force. Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, p. 132.

A little search into records would have shown General Doubleday that General Davis, the only officer on the field, had but three regiments2 to meet his reserve three, and that they had already lost very severely, while the Federal three and brigade guard had not been under fire. This new attack fell on Davis' front and flank just as he was preparing to retire, and broke his line, leaving the arriving brigades of Doubleday's division free to form line of battle. General Heth reports that Colonel Connally and Maj. A. H. Belo, of the North Carolina regiment, bore themselves ‘with conspicuous gallantry.’ Lieutenant-Colonel Smith was killed.

The high spirit of Connally and his men is shown by an incident narrated by Capt. C. M. Cooke of this regiment. Colonel Connally, while the regiment was advancing, seized the battleflag and waved it encouragingly. He was at once shot down. Major Belo, who was near him, sprang to his side, inquiring whether he was much hurt. ‘Yes,’ answered the colonel, ‘but do not pay any attention to me. Take the colors and keep ahead of the Mississippians.’

After the repulse of Davis, a lull in the battle occurred. [175] Heth reformed his lines, putting Archer's brigade on his right next to the woods, then Pettigrew's brigade of four North Carolina regiments on Archer's left, then Brockenbrough's Virginia brigade to Pettigrew's left. Davis was placed on the extreme left as a reserve, and to collect his stragglers. Pender's division was formed just behind Heth; Lane's brigade of North Carolinians on the right, then Perrin in the center, and Scales' North Carolinians on the left. Thomas' brigade was retained by the corps commander to meet a threatened advance from the left. General Doubleday in his book on Gettysburg again gets numbers wrong. He says: ‘As I had but four weak infantry brigades at this time against eight large brigades that were about to assail my lines, I would have been justified in falling back.’3 As just seen, the Confederates sent in only six brigades. The six Confederate brigades consisted of twenty-seven regiments. Doubleday's four brigades had only eighteen regiments, it is true, but he had the assistance of Buford's two cavalry brigades and horse artillery, and good service they did him by a dismounted fight, for they practically neutralized Archer's gallant brigade. There is no reason to think that there was any great disparity in the regimental strength of the contestants; hence any claim of excessive numbers on the Confederate side is inadmissible. Moreover, the position of the Federal troops, on the ridge and behind stone walls, was worth several regiments.

On the Federal side, Biddle faced Pettigrew and part of Stone's brigade, and Meredith fronted Brockenbrough. Stone's men faced both north and west, and were in formidable position on a ridge and behind a stone fence. To his right was Cutler, and then Baxter and Paul. These last two brigades, says General Hunt, ‘took post behind the stone walls of a field.’ Baxter faced to the west and Paul to the north. These, then, were the posts of the six infantry brigades of the First corps, and formed [176] the left of the Federal line. Buford's cavalry was mainly on the left. To their right, the Eleventh corps, under General Howard, took post as it arrived on the field. General Schurz's two brigades, under Schimmelfennig and Krzyzanowski, were on Reynolds' immediate right, and Barlow's two, under Gilsa and Ames, formed the extreme Federal right.

While these troops were getting into battle order, General Ewell's corps was arriving and arraying itself on the Confederate left. Rodes' division, the first to reach the field, formed on Heth's left; Iverson's North Carolina brigade occupying his right, O'Neal his center, and Doles his left. Daniel, with his North Carolina brigade, supported Iverson, and had instruction to attack on his right if opportunity arose. Ramseur's four North Carolina regiments were held in reserve. When Early's division reported, it went into action with Gordon on the right, next to Doles, Hays on his left, and Hoke's North Carolina brigade on the extreme Confederate left. Smith was in reserve. Johnson's division did not arrive in time for the afternoon battle.

General Doubleday, commenting on the converging lines of A. P. Hill and Ewell, says:

It would of course have been impossible to hold the line if Hill attacked on the west and Ewell assailed me at the same time on the north; but I occupied the central position, and their converging columns did not strike together until the grand, final advance at the close of the day, and therefore I was able to resist several of their attacks before the last crash came. Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, p. 139.

As these early attacks of the Confederates were not synchronous, it may facilitate an understanding of the part taken by the North Carolina brigades to follow them from the Confederate right to the left. On the right, Pettigrew's brigade attacked Biddle's Federal brigade, posted just in front of the west face of Seminary ridge. The attack began between two and three in the [177] afternoon, and by 4 o'clock the brigade of Biddle was broken and driven back to a line partly protected by rails, just outside of the town. Capt. Louis G. Young, of Charleston, S. C., an aide-de-camp to General Pettigrew, bears this testimony to the soldiership of the brigade: ‘Opposite our left wing, composed of the Twenty-sixth and Eleventh North Carolina troops, the Federals fought desperately, inflicting so heavy a loss that too few were left for a successful bayonet charge; but our men pressed on persistently until the enemy was driven back to his intrenchments4 just outside of the town, and from which he was quickly driven by Pender's fine division. No troops could have fought better titan did Pettigrew's brigade on this day, and I will testify, on the experience of many hard-fought battles, that I never saw any fight so well. Its conduct was the admiration of all who witnessed the engagement; and it was the generally-expressed opinion that no brigade had done more effective service and won greater fame for itself than this one. The prisoners themselves testified that they, native to the soil or which they were fighting, had fought with unusual determination, but that there was no withstanding such an attack.’5 General Hill, in his official report, corroborates Captain Young: ‘Pettigrew's brigade, under the leadership of that gallant officer and accomplished scholar, Brig.-Gen. J. Johnston Pettigrew (now lost to his country), fought as well, and displayed as heroic courage as it was ever my fortune to witness on a battlefield. . . The Eleventh North Carolina regiment, Col. C. Leventhorpe commanding, and the Twenty-sixth North Carolina regiment, Col. H. K. Burgwyn, Jr., commanding, displayed conspicuous gallantry, of which I was an eyewitness. The Twenty-sixth North Carolina regiment lost in this action more than half its numbers in killed and [178] wounded, among whom were Colonel Burgwyn, killed, and Lieutenant-Colonel Lane, severely wounded. Colonel Leventhorpe, of the Eleventh regiment, was wounded, and Major Ross killed. The Fifty-second and Fortysev-enth, on the right of the center, were subjected to a heavy artillery fire, but suffered much less than the Eleventh and Twenty-sixth North Carolina regiments. These regiments behaved to my entire satisfaction.’ Biddle's brigade being driven back, Pettigrew's men co-operated with Brockenbrough's brigade in its attempts to dislodge Meredith's ‘Iron brigade’ under Morrow, that was tenaciously holding its position. The two soon sent him back to Biddle's new position on Seminary hill, but he had been a gallant foeman, for he reports here a loss of 316 killed and wounded, out of a total of 496.

Pender's division moved up behind Heth's lines, now commanded by General Pettigrew, as General Heth had been wounded; and when Pender found Heth's men ‘much exhausted and greatly reduced by several hours' hard and successful fighting,’ he ordered his division to take the front line and charge Seminary hill. General Lane's brigade was so delayed by the dismounted Federal cavalry on the right, that it did not get a fair opportunity to engage the enemy in front except a force posted in a wood. Perrin and Scales pressed straight up the hill in face of a close and accurate fire. Major Engelhard, assistant adjutant-general, who made the official report for Pender's division, said of Scales' North Carolinians: ‘General Scales on the left, with his left resting on the turnpike, after passing the troops of General Heth, advanced at a charge upon the flank of a brigade of the enemy which was engaged with the extreme left of General Heth's division, upon the opposite side of the road, which soon caused the enemy to fall back.’ The Federals, under General Doubleday's direction, had been very actively putting artillery on the hill, and it now opened murderously upon Scales, as he descended the hill to [179] charge up on the other side. Engelhard's report continues: ‘[The brigade] encountered a most terrific fire of grape and shell on the left flank, and grape and musketry in front, but still it pressed forward at double-quick until the bottom was reached. . . . Here the fire was most severe.’ The brigade halted at the foot of the hill to make reply to the enemy's fire. General Pender rushed up, urging the men to stop only to reform, and General Scales, though badly wounded in the leg, ordered his men to charge the hill. Led by Lieut.-Col. G. T. Gordon, of the Thirty-fourth regiment, the men dashed for the ridge, and attacking it concurrently with Ewell's advance, drove the Federals through Gettysburg. As they entered the town, the men of this brigade met their comrades from Ramseur's North Carolina brigade, and also from Hoke's brigade. These latter brigades entered from the north side of the town.

During the progress of this battle on the right, Rodes' division of Ewell's corps had been fiercely engaged. Baxter's Federal brigade repulsed O'Neal, and then moved forward and took post behind a stone wall on the Mummasburg road. In that position Iverson, supported by Daniel, attacked it. Iverson seems to have sent forward his line of battle with no skirmishers in front, and reports that his men rushed upon a ‘concealed stone wall.’ General Doubleday thus states the disadvantage at which Iverson's brave men were taken:

As his [Baxter's] men lay down behind the [rock] fence, Iverson's brigade came up very close, not knowing our troops were there. Baxter's men sprang to their feet and delivered a most deadly volley at very short range, which left 500 of Iverson's men dead and wounded, and so demoralized them that all gave themselves up as prisoners. One regiment, however, after stopping our firing by putting up a white flag, slipped away and escaped. Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, p. 143.

There is a mixture of truth and error in these statements. The men composing [180] Iverson's line of battle did fall almost in their tracks. General Rodes' expression, ‘His dead lay in a distinctly marked line of battle,’ exactly describes the catastrophe. As they stood there, too proud to retreat without orders and too sorely smitten to advance, they did, as General Rodes says, ‘fight and die like heroes.’ When their left was overpowered, many were captured, but no regiment raised a white flag and slipped away under it. The Twelfth regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Davis, which is the regiment to which General Doubleday refers, so far from slipping away, stood its ground under the terrific fire until Ramseur's brigade came to its succor. It then joined Ramseur, and had the satisfaction of assisting in forcing the Federals from their position, and of capturing more prisoners than it well knew what to do with. The fire that was so destructive to Iverson and also to Daniel was not from Baxter's men alone. Baxter was aided by the batteries posted between his brigade and that of Cutler, which was thrown forward on Iverson's flank, and also by a more distant fire from Stone's men. So long as Stone held his position, his line with that of Cutler and Robinson's division constituted what is known as a demi-bastion and curtain, and ‘every force,’ says Doubleday, ‘that entered the angle suffered severely.’ Rodes, in his report, speaks of it as a ‘murderous enfilade and reverse fire, to which, in addition to the direct fire it encountered, Daniel's brigade had been subject to from the time it commenced its final advance.’

General Daniel's brigade of North Carolinians had followed Iverson into action, but when Iverson obliqued his men somewhat to the left, the movement uncovered Daniel's front, and he went into direct action against Stone and his reinforcements; but sent Colonel Kenan with the Forty-third and Colonel Owen with the Fifty-third, to aid Iverson and his own left. Some of Stone's men were advantageously posted in a railroad cut, and were assisted by two batteries of artillery. As Daniel surged forward, the action [181] was becoming more general. General Rodes' report gives a succinct account of what followed. He says: ‘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, with irresistible force, upon the enemy just where he had repulsed O'Neal and checked Iverson's advance. . . . The Twelfth North Carolina regiment, 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 Capt. D. P. Halsey, assistant adjutant-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.’ Davis' three regiments, including the Fifty-fifth North Carolina, had also joined Daniel in his persistent endeavors.

The success of this part of the line had not been easily won. Paul's brigade went to reinforce Baxter, and the whole Federal First corps was now engaged. At one time Daniel's line was brought to a halt on the railroad cut, which was impassable at the point the men reached it. The Forty-fifth regiment and the Second battalion, gallantly supported by the Forty-third and Fifty-third, [182] fought their way to this critical point. Then Colonel Brabble, bold and ready always, was ordered to take the Thirty-second and, by a circuit, cross the cut and storm the battery at the barn. This was handsomely done. At the same time, the brigades of Pettigrew and Brockenbrough, as already seen, threw their weight on the right of Daniel as he advanced, and all the forces on his left also advanced. This general attack crushed the opposition in its front, and the Federal line swung back. Rodes followed the enemy into Gettysburg. Two of his brigades, Doles' and Ramseur's, became involved in skirmishes in the streets.

Only one other North Carolina brigade was in action on this day. That was Hoke's brigade, commanded by Col. I. E. Avery. It, as seen above, was on the extreme Confederate left, just east of the Heidlersburg road. When the Eleventh corps was defeated, the brigades of Hoke and Hays were sent in pursuit. General Howard ordered Coster's brigade to advance and cover the retreat of Schurz‘ division. This brigade formed behind a fence on the hillside to the northeast of the town. Avery's men and Hays' Louisianians pressed toward Coster's fence. Shells from the artillery on top of the ridge, followed by canister, admonished the Carolinians to move quickly. Colonel Avery, cool and resolute, ordered the brigade to double-quick up the slope and go over the fence. The men dashed after him, and in a few moments had displaced the Federal brigade and were hastening to the town. The Sixth North Carolina captured two pieces of artillery. Avery's brigade was directed to the east of the town and was halted at the foothills of Cemetery ridge. There it was exposed to a rapid artillery fire from the guns on that hill, but soon found shelter in a depression.

That night thirteen Confederate brigades bivouacked in or around the town of Gettysburg; six of these were from North Carolina. Sixteen Confederate brigades did all the fighting on the first day at Gettysburg; seven of these, [183] Daniel's, Hoke's, Iverson's, Lane's, Pettigrew's, Ramseur's and Scales', were from North Carolina. These brigades had been opposed principally to the Federal First corps, Buford's cavalry and the artillery of both arms. Their own losses and the losses of the First corps are sufficient evidence of soldierly bearing. The commander of that corps, after Reynolds, says: ‘General Wadsworth reported half his men as dead or wounded, and Rowley's division suffered in the same proportion. Stone reported that two-thirds of his brigade had fallen. Hardly a field officer remained unhurt. General Robinson reported a loss of 1,667, out of 2,500.’

The second day at Gettysburg was nearly equal in advantages to the contending armies, but the result inspired the Confederates with the hope of triumph. On the morning of the second day at Gettysburg and in the early afternoon, no North Carolina troops were in the assaulting forces. Four North Carolina batteries were posted along the center and right of the Confederate lines. These were Manly's, Reilly's, Latham's and Capt. Joseph Graham's. They faithfully executed the duties assigned them, and were under fire and engaged as circumstances required.

In the late afternoon, Johnson's division was ordered to assail Culp's hill. One of his brigades, Walker's, was detached, but his remaining three prepared for the attack. Early's and Rodes' divisions were to co-operate in this movement up the rugged and mountainous acclivity, strong by nature, and rendered more formidable by intrenchments and abatis. Jones led off, followed by Nicholls and Steuart. The First and Third North Carolina regiments were members of Steuart's brigade. These two regiments were veteran campaigners and indomitable fighters. They crossed Rocky creek and broke their way through the thick woods in spite of an incessant artillery fire, and were soon within range of Greene's and Wadsworth's muskets. If it had not been [184] so dark they would have fared far worse. On they pressed until Steuart's men captured Greene's works. Colonel Brown, of the First regiment, says that Lieut. Green Martin of that regiment was the first to enter the works, and was mortally wounded a moment later. That night they slept in the captured works, but their slumbers were broken before day by fast-falling shells. They were attacked by infantry, but repulsed the attack. Daniel's brigade, which had marched nearly all night, now reinforced Stewart. These two brigades then made a determined charge against the Federal works in their front, but were repulsed. Again they boldly charged, but the position was too strong and defended by too many soldiers for their weak numbers to be successful. They inflicted a severe loss on the Federals. There in the lines of the enemy these brigades and other troops remained until 12 o'clock that night, when they were ordered back to town.

It had been ordered that when Johnson engaged Culp's hill in the attack just described, Early and Rodes should assault Cemetery hill. Rodes failed to get there in time, but it was through no fault of that resolute, skillful and energetic soldier, for he moved promptly on his orders, but arrived just after the repulse of Early's two brigades.

Early selected the brigades of Hays and Hoke (the latter commanded by Col. I. E. Avery) ‘to dare the venture of that bristling hill.’ These two brigades, under the immediate command of General Hays, moved through the wide ravine between Culp's and Cemetery hills, up the rugged ascent, and made, as General Longstreet declares, ‘as gallant a fight as was ever made.’ General Hunt, of the Federal army, says of their advance:

A line of infantry on the slopes was broken, and Weidrich's Eleventh corps battery and Pickett's reserve batteries near the brow of the hill were overrun; but the excellent position of Stevens' 2-pounders at the head of the ravine, which enabled him to sweep it, the arrival of Carroll's brigade sent unasked by Hancock, and the failure of [185] Rodes to co-operate with Early, caused the attack to miscarry. The cannoneers of the two batteries so summarily ousted, rallied and recovered their guns by a vigorous attack — with pistols by those who had them, by others with handspikes, rammers, stones, and even fence-rails— the ‘Dutchmen’ showing that they were in no way inferior to their ‘Yankee’ comrades who had been taunting them ever since Chancellorsville. After an hour's desperate fighting, the enemy was driven out with heavy loss, Avery being among the killed. Battles and Leaders, III, p. 312.

This gallant officer, smitten unto death by a bullet through the neck, and being unable to speak, drew from his pocket a slip of paper, and in the darkness traced on it with dying fingers, ‘Major Tate, tell father that I died with my face to the enemy.’

The fighting over the guns was unusually fierce. In reference to one of the captured batteries, Major Tate, in a letter to Governor Vance, dated July 8, 1863, says: ‘Seventy-five North Carolinians of the Sixth regiment, and twelve Louisianians of Hays' brigade, scaled the wall and planted the colors of the Sixth North Carolina regiment and Ninth Louisiana on the guns. The enemy stood with a tenacity never before displayed, but with bayonet, clubbed musket, sword and pistol, and rocks from the wall, we cleared the heights and silenced the guns.’ Their bravery was to go unrewarded, however. No supports came to relieve their struggles for the guns and for the hill. Not only Carroll, but also a Pennsylvania regiment and a force from Schurz‘ division joined their enemies, and finding that they were about to be overwhelmed, they retreated. The lodgment here effected, if followed up promptly, would have turned the whole Federal line.

On the third day the Federals were entirely successful in defense, but were made unable to assail. The result of the second day's battle ‘induced the belief,’ says General Lee in his official report, ‘that we should ultimately [186] succeed, and it was accordingly determined to continue the attack.’ General Lee's report continues: ‘The general plan was unchanged. Longstreet, reinforced by Pickett's three brigades, . . . was ordered to attack the next morning, and General Ewell was directed to assail the enemy's right at the same time.’ General Longstreet, however, found that he needed some of his troops, hence a change in the plan of assault became necessary. It was finally decided that Pickett's division from Longstreet's corps, and Heth's division from Hill's corps, should constitute the column of assault, and that this column should be properly supported by a second line. It has often been asserted, and there are still people ignorant enough to believe the assertion, that to Heth's division, commanded that day by General Pettigrew, was assigned the duty of supporting Pickett's division. Others have been found ignorant enough of their country's history to assert that Pickett's attack failed because it was not supported by Pettigrew. General Lee's official report ought forever to dispose of these errors. He accurately sets forth the true relations of all the attacking forces when he says: ‘General Longstreet ordered forward the column of attack, consisting of Pickett's and Heth's divisions, in two lines, Pickett on the right. Wilcox's brigade marched in rear of Pickett's right, to guard the flank, and Heth's was supported by Lane's and Scales' brigades under General Trimble.’ Here, then, is given the front line, Pickett and Heth; the second, or supporting line, Wilcox, Lane and Scales. Pettigrew was no more supporting Pickett than was Ewell, a mile or more away; all three were ordered to make coincident attacks, as General Lee states, and Pettigrew was ordered to dress his line on Pickett. Pickett's assault failed for the same reason that Pettigrew's failed—because the men making it were flesh and blood. Had they been disembodied spirits, they could possibly have survived the artillery and musketry fire from those heights. [187]

In the memorable charge of the last day at Gettysburg there were forty-seven Confederate regiments engaged. Nineteen of these were from Virginia, fifteen being in Pickett's division and four in Heth's; fifteen regiments were from North Carolina, three from Tennessee, seven from Alabama, and three from Mississippi. The North Carolina regiments were distributed as follows: Five in General Scales' brigade, commanded by Colonel Lowrance; five in General Lane's brigade, four in General Pettigrew's brigade, and one in General Davis' brigade.

To prepare the way for the assaulting column, 115 Confederate guns had been massed in front of the left center of the Federal position. These were replied to by 80 Federal guns massed in front of the point of attack. The roar of these guns as they burst into deadly action fairly shook the rocky hills, and was heard, it is said, fifty miles away. ‘Strong battle was in the air, and the veterans of both sides swelled their breasts to gather nerve and strength to meet it.’

The Federals had strengthened their stronghold on the ridge and concentrated their lines for the stern conflict that they saw impending. Hancock held the portion of their line that was to receive the severest shock. Webb's brigade was behind a stone wall and breastworks. Hall and Smyth were on his left and right, respectively, Williard to Smyth's right. Stannard was ready to fall on the flank of the Confederate right. The second line was posted behind a crest. . Howard's corps held its former place, and Doubleday's men held lines to Gibbon's left. All lay in readiness, screening themselves as best they could from the fire of the artillery that was soon to cease from want of ammunition. ‘We lay behind a slight rise of ground,’ says an occupant of the second line, ‘just sufficient to hide us from the view of the rebels. It was awfully hot, and we were so close to the ground that not a breath of air could reach us.’ A row of guns quivered expectantly between the two lines. [188]

Pickett and Pettigrew mounted and spurred for their commands. Officers with stern smiles and fixed faces took their places to lead the long lines of eager men toward their grimly waiting foes. Clouds of dust arose from moving columns; aides dashed from command to command, bearing orders and rectifying alignments; bayonets were set, ammunition boxes were opened, battleflags tossed impatiently. Then the grand march against stone walls, fortifications, a hill crowned with the engines of death, was taken up with dauntless step. The lesson taught by Malvern Hill and Fredericksburg was again to be burned into unretentive memories. Two armies watch with fiery excitement as the stately columns, soon to moulder into dust, sweep over the intervening plain. Gallantly the officers lead; superbly the men follow. Now with blazes of pent — up destruction the silent guns burst into life. Round shot, shells, canister, shrapnel mingle in mad race to carry desolation to distant homes. Men begin to fall. ‘Close on your colors,’ fiercely shout the captains; officers go down, their juniors rush forward; colors from death-loosened fingers strike the ground only to be raised triumphantly by the nearest hand; greater gaps are rent, and instantly filled by the shrinking but unfaltering lines. Brockenbrough's brigade is borne down, Davis' line is staggered. Lane and Lowrance from the second line rush forward with their sturdy Carolinians, and without a halt Pettigrew's men push closer. The rifle shots from Gibbon's men now begin to find lodgment, and men sink by scores. In the wild roar of the battle no words of command can be heard, but caps and swords wave on the depleted ranks to still more desperate attempts.

The Federal line was parallel to Pickett's front, but turned back at an angle in front of Pettigrew, hence his men had further to go to reach the works. They reached the Emmitsburg road, struggling then at close quarters and pushing down the first fence. The survivors [189] of the division clambered over the fence on the other side of the road, and rushed for the works and guns. The front Federal line was seriously broken, but the second line rushed to the front and savagely engaged, while the guns worked incessantly. Some of the men from different companies and regiments broke into the Federal lines in a frenzied endeavor to plant their colors there. Let an eye-witness, Captain Young, tell the sequel:

Under this fire from artillery and musketry, the brigade on our left, reduced almost to a line of skirmishers, gave way. Pettigrew's and Archer's brigades advanced a little farther, and in perfect continuation of Pickett's line, which arrived at the works before we did, only because they jutted out in his front, and because he had to move over a considerably shorter distance. The right of the line formed by Archer's and Pettigrew's brigades rested on the works, while the left was, of course, further removed, say 40 to 60 yards. [The Federal line, as seen above, bent back here. ] Subjected to a fire even more fatal than that which had driven back the brigade on our left, and the men listening in vain for the cheering commands of officers who had, alas, fallen, our brigade gave way likewise, and simultaneously with it, the whole line. Our Living and Dead.

The North Carolina losses in this battle were startling. It has been erroneously said that they were ‘raw troops.’ If this were so, ambitious generals ought to ask only for such ‘raw troops.’ Captain Young states that on the morning of July 1st, Pettigrew's brigade numbered from 2,800 to 3,000 men, and on the 4th only 835 were present for duty. ‘All the field officers, save one, who was captured, were killed or wounded, and the brigade was commanded, after the repulse at Cemetery hill, by Major Jones of the Twenty-sixth regiment, who had been struck, on the 1st, by a fragment of a shell, and was knocked down and stunned on the 3d. On the 1st, Captain Tuttle, of the Twenty-sixth regiment, led into action 2 lieutenants [190] and 84 men; all of the officers and 83 of the men were killed or wounded. Company C of the Eleventh regiment lost 2 officers killed, and 34 out of 38 men. Captain Bird, with the remaining four, participated in the fight of the 3d.’ Every man in Company A of the Thirty-eighth regiment was shot down except two, and they were captured. The losses were equally great in other companies, whose glorious records have not been so painstakingly preserved.

The North Carolina soldiers feel that writers on the great combat at Gettysburg have never placed a fair estimate upon their important services. Almost uniformly Pickett's splendid charge has been glorified, and Pettigrew's equally splendid one minimized or disparaged. No North Carolina soldier desires to detract one scruple from the fame of ‘Pickett and his Virginians,’ but he does want ‘Pettigrew and his North Carolinians’ and other troops accorded their bloodily-won laurels. Take as an example, a writer quoted by Captain Bond: ‘The right (Pickett) behaved gloriously; the left (Pettigrew) faltered and fled. Each body acted according to its nature, for they were made of different stuff; the one of common earth, the other of finest clay. Pettigrew's men were North Carolinians, Pickett's were superb Virginians.’ To show that on this field the North Carolinians measured squarely up to every soldierly obligation, it is necessary only to examine, first, what they accomplished; second, to add the official casualty list. Let us take these separately.

In the first day's entirely successful battle, sixteen Confederate brigades followed their colors in action; seven of these, nearly one-half, were from North Carolina. In the second day's battle, but two Confederate brigades penetrated within the lines on Cemetery hill; one of these was Hoke's North Carolina brigade. On the third day, the unequivocal testimony of the commanders on the field, and under the guns, is that they went as far and [191] remained as long as Pickett's line of battle, and that the only reason they did not penetrate as solidly into the enemy's works was that, as already explained, the Federal works, beginning at Pettigrew's right, bent back. Hence Pettigrew's men, being in line with Pickett's, had farther to charge to enter those works. General Trimble, a sternly courageous Marylander, says: ‘They did get to the road and drove the opposing line from it. The loss here was fearful, and I knew that no troops could live long to endure it. I was anxious to know how things went on with the troops on our right, and taking a quick but deliberate view of the field over which Pickett had advanced, I perceived that the enemy's fire seemed to slacken there, and men in squads were falling back on the west side of the Emmitsburg road. By this I inferred that Pickett's division had been repulsed, and if so, that it would be a useless sacrifice of life to continue the contest. I, therefore, did not attempt to rally the men who began to give back at the fence.’6

General Lane's testimony, the testimony of a gallant Virginian, is the same. He says: ‘As soon as I could dismount from my wounded, plunging horse, I ordered Colonel [C. M.] Avery, in command of my left regiment, to move to meet the force above referred to, when he quickly replied, “My God, General, do you intend rushing your men into such a place unsupported when the troops on the right are falling back?” Seeing that it was useless to sacrifice my brave men, I ordered my brigade back.’7 The testimony of scores of others to the same facts is on record.

In the Gettysburg cavalry fight, of which W. Brooke-Rawle says, ‘for minutes which seemed like hours, amid the clashing of sabers, the rattle of small-arms, the frenzied imprecations, the demands to surrender, the undaunted replies, and the appeals for mercy, the Confederate [192] column stood its ground,’ North Carolina had also worthy representation in the enthusiastic charge of its First cavalry regiment under Colonel Baker, and in the meritorious services of the other regiments from that State.

In the second place, it is a rule of war, to which there are exceptions generally due to position, that the force that incurs the most casualties in killed or wounded is the force that stands most obstinately under fire and also inflicts the most loss on its adversaries. Tried by this rule, the soldiers from the North State have, according to Surgeon Guild's official report,8 much to show their bravery.

First, the total Confederate loss in killed and wounded (not including ‘missing’) was 15,301; the total North Carolina loss in killed and wounded was 4,033, over onefourth of the total loss. Four hundred in killed and wounded is considered a severe brigade loss. Only sixteen Confederate brigades lost over that number at Gettysburg; four of these, one-fourth, were from North Carolina. The heaviest regimental loss at Gettysburg, 588 men, was incurred by the Twenty-sixth North Carolina regiment. In the whole of General Lee's army, only eight regiments lost as high as 200 men in killed and wounded; three of these, the Eleventh, Twenty-sixth and Forty-fifth, were from the same State. Only eighteen regiments had over 50 killed and wounded; seven of these were likewise from North Carolina.

Second, in Pickett's grand charge on the right there were fifteen regiments. The total number of killed and wounded in these fifteen regiments was 1,364. In Heth's division, commanded on the 3d by Pettigrew, there were five North Carolina regiments. The killed and wounded in these five regiments amounted in the two days that they fought to 1,303. In other words, the killed and wounded in five North Carolina regiments of Pettigrew's division lacked only 61 men of numbering as many as the [193] killed and wounded in the whole fifteen of Pickett's division. The five regiments just mentioned had 229 killed in their two days of fighting; Pickett's fifteen regiments had 224 killed. That is, these five regiments from North Carolina had, during the battle, actually five more men killed than Pickett's fifteen. Yet little has been written of the modest daring of these men. Swinton goes so far as to say that men who could die in this way were only induced to charge by being told they were to meet merely ‘Pennsylvania militia,’ and that when they saw Meade's banners, they broke in disorder, crying, ‘The army of the Potomac!’ Most of the men on the left, of Pettigrew's and Trimble's divisions, had chased the army of the Potomac too often to so suddenly make a god Pan out of it.

During these days of blood, North Carolina lost many of her most soldierly sons. Gen. W. D. Pender, the State's senior officer on the field, was mortally wounded. General Pender was graduated from West Point in 1854. He served with distinction in many Indian campaigns, and, after resigning from the United States army to serve his native State, had, in every battle he entered, added to his reputation as a cool, sagacious, intrepid and persistent fighter. No fitter eulogium can be framed than was penned by the great commander whom he loved so well and served so faithfully. General Lee said of his loss: ‘General Pender has since died. This lamented officer has borne a distinguished part in every engagement of this army, and was wounded on several occasions while leading his command with conspicuous gallantry and ability. The confidence and admiration inspired by his courage and capacity as an officer were only equaled by the esteem and respect entertained by all with whom he was associated for the noble qualities of his modest and unassuming character.’

Next in rank to fall was Col. I. E. Avery, commanding Hoke's brigade. Colonel Avery had been recommended [194] for promotion by Generals Pender, Hood, Law and Early, and only his untimely death robbed him of his general's commission. He had been mentioned for meritorious conduct upon every field upon which his regiment was engaged. During General Hoke's absence, from a wound, Colonel Avery had commanded the brigade, and as General Early reports, ‘worthily filled the absent general's place.’ Although a believer and enforcer of discipline, Colonel Avery's fairness, urbanity and uprightness had drawn his men very close to him.

With him had gone other splendid soldiers. Among them the ‘boy colonel’ of the Twenty-sixth, the noble-souled, lion-hearted Harry K. Burgwyn; the daring, experienced and able Col. D. H. Christie; the accomplished, polished and soldierly colonel of the Fifty-second, J. K. Marshall; Lieut.-Col. H. L. Andrews, whose splendid leadership had encouraged the Second battalion to fight so grimly and lose so terribly; Lieut.-Col. M. T. Smith, the Ghristian soldier whose quiet example of conscientious discharge of duty left a lasting impression on the Fifty-fifth regiment; Maj. E. A. Ross, a hard fighter and earnest friend. Among the wounded field officers were Cols. J. K. Connally, C. Leventhorpe, T. S. Kenan, S. D. Lowe, F. M. Parker, R. T. Bennett; Lieut.-Cols. J. R. Lane, S. H. Boyd, R. D. Johnston, M. A. Parks, and W. J. Green, acting aide to General Pettigrew; Majs. A. H. Belo, J. R. Winston, J. M. Hancock, H. G. Lewis, D. W. Hurtt, C. C. Blacknall; Adjts. T. C. James and J. B. Jordan, and perhaps others equally brave whom the records do not mention. Several of these officers, like the gallant colonel of the Forty-third, T. S. Kenan, had not only the ill fortune to be wounded, but had added to it the misfortune of spending the rest of the time covered by the war in a Federal prison.

The day after the battle of Gettysburg, General Lee remained in position to see whether the Federals desired to attack him. General Meade showing no intention of [195] acting, the Confederate army withdrew on the night of the 4th of July, but owing to delays incident to heavy rains, General Ewell's corps did not leave its ground until the 5th.

On the 6th, Buford's cavalry, subsequently reinforced by Kilpatrick, moved on Williamsport to destroy the Confederate trains. This attack was met by Imboden's small cavalry command, reinforced by the Fifty-fourth North Carolina regiment of infantry, under Col. K. M. Murchison, and the Thirty-first Virginia infantry. These two regiments were returning from Richmond, where they had been sent to escort prisoners. These forces completely repulsed the Federal cavalry in a spirited fight. General Buford says in his report: ‘Just before dark, Kilpatrick's troops gave way, passing to my rear by the right, and were closely followed by the enemy.’ After this, Buford ordered his forces to withdraw. Colonel Murchison lost 2 men killed and 15 wounded.

At Hagerstown, on the same day, Stuart's cavalry and portions of Iverson's North Carolina brigade were engaged in a hot conflict with Kilpatrick's cavalry division. In this engagement, the four North Carolina cavalry regiments that had followed Stuart in his long raid into Pennsylvania, participating in the battles at Sykesville, Littleton, Hanover, Hunterstown and Gettysburg, bore themselves with their usual gallantry. These four were the First, Colonel Baker; the Second, Lieut.-Col. C. M. Andrews; the Fourth, Colonel Ferebee, and the Fifth, commanded by Lieut.-Col. J. B. Gordon, of the First regiment, after the mortal wounding of its brave and soldierly colonel, Peter G. Evans. Chambliss' brigade, to which the Second cavalry belonged,, although reduced to a skeleton, made, in co-operation with General Robertson's two regiments, the Fourth and Fifth, what General Stuart called a ‘gallantly executed charge.’ General Stuart [196] specially praised a repulse of the Federals by Colonel Gordon, ‘commanding a fragment of the Fifth North Carolina cavalry.’

On the 8th, the First regiment of cavalry and the other regiments of Hampton's brigade, commanded, after General Hampton was wounded, by Col. L. S. Baker of the First North Carolina, and Chambliss' brigade, had an animated dismounted fight near Boonsboro. The North Carolina losses in these cavalry operations, so far as reported, were, killed, 9; wounded, 79. There is no report from the First nor the Second regiment.

In the cavalry fight at Funkstown, the North Carolina troops took part on the 16th of July, and Manly's North Carolina battery was engaged nearly all day, losing several men.

Pettigrew's North Carolinians formed the rear guard when the Potomac was recrossed at Falling Waters on the 14th of July. There a portion of the Sixth Michigan cavalry regiment, not knowing in what force the Confederates were present, charged the line. At the time of this charge Pettigrew's men were resting, and many of them were asleep after their exhausting marches through the rain and mud. The small Federal force coming so boldly upon them was mistaken for Confederate cavalry, and allowed to come almost within the lines. They were, of course, quickly routed with severe loss, but, in the short struggle, Gen. J. J. Pettigrew, of North Carolina was mortally wounded. ‘At the beginning of the melee,’ says Captain Graham,

General Pettigrew's horse, frightened by the sudden and near discharge of musketry, plunged and threw his rider. Rising in great pain, for he was still suffering from his wound received at Seven Pines, and his arm was in a sling from his injury of the 3d of July, Pettigrew beheld a Federal corporal near him in the act of firing on his men. Drawing his pistol, he [197] was approaching this soldier with a view of engaging in combat with him, when he fell to the ground, himself pierced with a pistol ball. New Bern Memorial Address

General Pettigrew graduated at the university of North Carolina with brilliant honors, cultivated his mind in America and Europe, and was easily one of the ablest men in his State. He commenced his career as the colonel of the Twelfth, afterward the Twenty-second, regiment. His attainments as a man and his success as a soldier won speedy recognition, and he was promoted to command a brigade. His career as brigadier-general showed his ample capacity for command. Few nobler men ever died for any cause.

After the Confederate army crossed the Potomac, the corps of Longstreet and A. P. Hill were stationed near Culpeper Court House. General Ewell's corps operated for awhile in the valley, then retired toward Madison Court House. On the 1st of August the Federal cavalry, following him, crossed the Rappahannock at the station and at Kelly's ford, and advanced toward Brandy Station. The progress of the enemy, says General Lee, was gallantly resisted by General Stuart with Hampton's brigade, commanded by Col. L. S. Baker, who fell back gradually to our lines about two miles south of Brandy. Colonel Baker fought against great odds, and the engagement was most creditable to his efficiency and the bravery of his veteran troopers. Colonel Baker was severely wounded, losing an arm, and after he was wounded would probably have been captured but for the ever daring Capt. W. H. H. Cowles, who shouted to the men, ‘Charge again and save our colonel.’ For his gallant conduct in this campaign, Colonel Baker was promoted to a brigadier-generalship.

In the fall of this year Col. James B. Gordon was also promoted and assigned to a brigade, made up of the First, Second, Fourth and Fifth North Carolina cavalry regiments. [198] ‘About the same time,’ says Moore, ‘bold and fearless James Dearing succeeded Beverly Robertson in command of the Second North Carolina brigade.’ After this memorable campaign in the North, Lee's army took position along the Rapidan.

During the invasion of Pennsylvania, Gen. D. H. Hill, commanding the department of North Carolina, was temporarily assigned to the defenses around Richmond. The troops under his command took part in some minor engagements during this time. On the 26th of June, Colonel Spear, with a cavalry force numbering 1,050 men,9 moved from the White House to destroy the bridge over the South Anna river. The bridge was defended by 125 men, commanded by Lieut.-Col. T. L. Hargrove, of the Forty-fourth North Carolina regiment. Colonel Spear says of Colonel Hargrove's battle, ‘He held the bridge manfully for over an hour, when by a stratagem he found me in his rear and his entire force captured.’ Colonel Hargrove had 7 men killed and 13 wounded.

An expedition under General Getty was sent by the Federals to destroy the bridges over the South Anna and tear up the railroads in that vicinity. At the point in danger, Cooke's North Carolina brigade met the Federals and repulsed them successfully. General Cooke states in his official report: ‘The principal point of attack was the railroad bridge, where they were met by companies of Col. E. D. Hall's and William MacRae's regiments under Maj. A. C. McAlister, who repulsed them repeatedly in handsome style. Col. John A. Baker's regiment [Third North Carolina cavalry] occupied the right of our line and behaved very well.’

A raiding party under Gen. E. E. Potter, in July, inflicted much damage on some of the towns in eastern North Carolina. At Rocky Mount this force destroyed the bridge over Tar river, and also mills, depots, factories, and large quantities of flour and 800 bales [199] of cotton; at Tarboro some Confederate gunboats in process of construction were burned; at other places similar damage was done. This party was frequently fired upon by local troops, especially Whitford's battalion, and a loss of 32 men was entailed upon it.

On the 28th of July, Gen. M. W. Ransom, with four companies and a section of artillery, routed, at Jackson, N. C., a cavalry force of 650 men under Colonel Spear. [200]

1 See Dr. Guild's Casualty List, Rebellion Records.

2 One of his regiments was in Virginia.

3 Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, 1882, p. 134.

4 This refers to the line of rails on Seminary ridge, mentioned by General Doubleday.

5 Our Living and Dead.

6 Letter quoted in Moore's History, II, 256.

7 Letter in same, p. 206.

8 Rebellion Records, XXVII, II, 338-346.

9 Spear's Report, Rebellion Records, XXVII, p. 796.

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