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Chapter 31: after the battle.

Hundreds of the enemy fired their last round, dropped their muskets and surrendered themselves as prisoners of war rather than run the chance of getting safely back to their lines under the fire of the Union guns over the 1580 yards of open plain.

Most of the remaining men of the regiment pushed ahead, directly through the grove and over the fence into the field beyond. This was covered by dead and wounded rebels, and the men were here exposed to the fire of the enemy's artillery which opened as soon as their infantry retired. A few of the men got behind some large rocks in an angle of the stone wall and fired on the retreating rebels as long as they remained in view.

A number of the rebel prisoners were quite communicative. One had been shot through the fleshy part of the leg, below the knee and was wondering how he could get to the rear. He was told to take two muskets for crutches, as there were plenty lying about. He was afraid that some of the men would take them away from him, but someone got him a couple and he hobbled away. One prisoner declared that Gen. Lee had said that a fly could not live under the shelling of his artillery and that most of the Union troops there were Pennsylvania militia, and, as evidence of this, called the attention of his men to the large number of new colors in the Union line. (The fact is that many regiments had received new sets of colors during the spring. The Nineteenth Massachusetts had a new set.) ‘But,’ said the soldier, ‘when I got up to the stone wall and saw that damned white club (pointing to the trefoil on the cap of one of the men), I knew that the whole Army of the Potomac was here and I just dropped my gun and gave up.’

The brave old Nineteenth Massachusetts, which entered [245] the fight numbering 141 and now mustered but 39 dirty, bloody, panting heroes, was re-formed at the north of the grove, near the Shippenburg Pike and marched back to the crest of the Ridge to its place in the line, amid a storm of cheers from those who had shared with it the indescribable perils of that last hour.

A detail was told off for picket duty and these were marched out to the front and posted along Plum Run, the right being near the Emmetsburg road, south of the Cordora house, and the left was opposite the right of the Third Corps. Twelve men from the regiment were detailed to man Hazard's Rhode Island battery and a squad to act as provost guard, collecting stragglers, etc. The balance of the regiment bivouacked for the night.

Ah! How sad were the hearts of the survivors that night!

In front and to the left of the line were thousands of wounded men who were groaning and crying for help during the night. Those inside the lines were cared for, but those lying between the lines were left to suffer, because neither side dared to go to their assistance. During the night a heavy rain began to fall (as is usual after great battles) and by morning it was falling in torrents, continuing with diminishing force throughout the day and the following night. Everybody and everything was drenched.

In the afternoon skirmishers came out, passed the pickets and advanced to the road. Then the pickets were withdrawn. Rations had been issued and there was an abundance of food,— it having been issued for the number of troops who were on duty before the battle. As a consequence a great deal of fresh beef was thrown away.

The officers were engaged in completing the count of losses. The Third Brigade had lost nearly 1,000 men and could now bring into line but 300. The Second Division of the Second Corps could report but 1037. It had reported 3730 the previous day at noon. Of those who remained there were but few who had not received some injury.

In speaking of the position of the Nineteenth Massachusetts and the Forty-Second regiments during this great fight, Col. Devereux has since said: ‘I have always felt a reverential [246] awe of the responsibility resting on these two regiments during that conflict. They were advanced before I could anticipate what use could be made of them and halted just at the spot, as it proved, where they could hurl, with full effect, right against the front of Pickett's column which had actually pierced our lines and gained its objective point. They were the only troops in prompt striking distance. They were under full command and perfect order, sent forward to the performance of a specific purpose. Their arrival steadied Hall's and Harrow's swaying line; enabled Webb to rally his command once more; made effective Stannard's throwing out perpendicularly to the line, on the left, and Hayes' rush from the right; formed a cul-de-sac, and held the enemy in the jaws of a vise whose resistless pressure must inevitably crush. If they had not been just there, who will say what might have happened.?’

The four rebel colors taken were all captured during the hand to hand fighting. Corporal Joseph H. DeCastro, of Co. I, and Private John Robinson, Co. I, Sergt. Benjamin H. Jellison, Co. C, and Private Benjamin Falls, of Co. A, each got one.

Benjamin Falls captured his flag at the stone wall, taking it from the rebel color bearer's hands. When he reached the wall, he saw the flag flying above it, and, supposing it to have been left there, he took hold of it, but it could not be moved. Looking over the wall, he saw that a rebel soldier still had hold of it. Falls raised his musket on which was the bayonet, and, holding it like a spear over the Johnnie, said ‘Hut, Tut! Let alone of that or I'll run ye through.’ He captured the flag and the ‘Johnnie too.’

The flag of the Fourteenth Virginia regiment was captured by Sergt. Benjamin H. Jellison, of Co. C, and, in addition, he succeeded in capturing a squad of prisoners, bringing them in with the captured flag. This flag was handed to Second Lieut. Joseph Snelling.

After the charge had been repulsed, Gen. Alexander Hayes was seen, riding up and down, waving a captured flag. It was claimed by one of the Nineteenth Massachusetts that he had captured it and that the general forgot to return it after borrowing it. [247]

Following is the official receipt, received by Col. Devereux, for the captured colors at Gettysburg, the original of which is on file at the State House, Boston, Mass.

Gettysburg, Pa., July 4TH, 1863.
Received of Col. A. F. Devereux,

Battle flags of the

57th Va. Infy.

53rd Va. Infy.

14th Va. Infy. and one with the number of the regiment torn out, supposed to be the 19th Va. Infy., all captured by the 19th Mass. Vols. in battle, July 3rd 1863.

Norman J. Hall, Col. Commanding Brigade.

During this engagement First Lieutenant Herman Donath, of Roxbury, a very valuable and promising young officer, was instantly killed and the following officers wounded: Lieut. Col. Ansel D. Wass; Maj. Edmund Rice, Capt. Wm. L. Palmer, Capt. James G. C. Dodge, First Lieut. David T. Chubbuck, Second Lieut. John J. Ferris and Second Lieut. Joseph W. Snellen.

The total loss of the Nineteenth Massachusetts regiment in the battles of Gettysburg was—officers, killed, 2; wounded, 9; enlisted men, killed 7; wounded 51; missing, 8 (about 50%). The regiment went into action with 141 men and the due proportion of officers,—160 all told.

Casualties—Gettysburg, July 2-3, 1863.


Co. A. Second Lieutenant Sherman S. Robinson.
Sergeant Gorham Coffin.
Co. B. Private Patrick Scannell.
Co. C. First Lieutenant Herman Donath.
Sergeant Joseph H. Hervey.


Co. D.Private Daniel Holland.
Co. E.Private Thomas Doyle.
Private Edward Roche.
Co. I.Corporal Thomas W. Tuttle.


Lieutenant Colonel Ansel D. Wass.
Major Edmund Rice.
Co. A.Corporal Charles L. Noyes.
Private William Edwards.
Private Michael Scannell.
Private Duncan Sherwood.
Co. B.Private Andrew Goodwin.
Private Charles H. Preston.
Co. C.Captain Wm. L. Palmer.
Second Lieutenant Joseph W. Snellen.
Sergeant Stephen Armitage.
Private John H. Steele.
Private John F. Fowler.
Private George H. Breed.
Private Albert Rogers.
Co. D.First Lieutenant David T. Chubbuck.
Sergeant John L. Hoyt (Died July 5.)
Private Patrick Fitzgerald.
Private Patrick Ford.
Private William P. R. Estes.
Co. E.Sergeant Terrence Gormley.
Sergeant Cornelius Russell.
Private Daniel Corrigan.
Private James Corrigan.
Co. F.First Lieutenant William Stone.
Second Lieutenant John J. Ferris.
Corporal Hugh McPartland.
Private Charles E. Marston.
Private Johnson Achason.
Private William Gibbons.
Co. G.Sergeant William H. Tibbetts.
Corporal George E. Morse.


Private Thomas Kelley.
Private John Mann.
Private D. F. McNeal.
Co. H.Captain J. G. C. Dodge.
Corporal William Ellery.
Private John W. Anderson.
Private Benjamin H. Aikins.
Private William H. Bailey.
Private Jeremiah Y. Wells.
Private Charles A. Brown.
Private William A. Bartlett.
Co. I.First Lieut. J. G. B. Adams.
Sergeant Albert Damon.
Sergeant William H. Hoyt.
Private Michael O'Brien.
Private James A. Coombs.
Private George B. Ham.
Private Michael Connolly.
Co K. First Sergeant William A. McGinnis.
Sergeant John W. Hayes.
Sergeant Patrick Nolan.
Corporal Joseph Libby.
Corporal Samuel E. Viall.
Private Patrick W. Harvey.
Private Exor Oliver.
Private Charles A. Newhall.
Private Charles B. Newhall.
Private Thomas J. Salisbury.


Co. C.Private William E. Northend.
Co. D.Private Henry Hines.
Private Charles McCarthy.
Co. ECorporal Charles A. Johnson.
Private John Doherty.
Co. I.Private D. F. Reardon.
Co. K.Sergeant Charles A. Rowe.
Private A. J. Norwood.

[250] Recapitulation:

Officers killed2
Officers wounded9
Men killed7
Men wounded51
Men missing8Total 77

Lieut. Donath was killed by a buckshot which entered his heart. When found, there was no blood upon his person, but when his clothing was opened, a little round hole was discovered in his side, showing what had caused his death. He was quite boyish looking and in the short time he had been with the company had won its love and respect.

Joseph H. Hervey, of Co. C, was a Georgetown boy, popular in the company and a model soldier, His body was found, after the battle, in the ‘Clump of Trees’ where the battle had raged the fiercest. It was terribly mangled by a solid shot.

Sergt. McGinnis, of Co. K, received his wound just as the ine of Pickett's men broke, under the terrible fire trained upon them. McGinnis could not restrain his enthusiasm at the spectacle, and, jumping to the top of a little ridge in front of his company, he waved his arms and shouted: ‘They've broke, boys! They're running! There they go! See 'em run!’ As he cried out in his excitement, a rebel bullet found lodgment in the back of his neck and he dropped.

In an official report, made in 1878, Col. Devereux says:

Gen. E. D. Townsend, Adjutant General, Army U. S.

In obedience to your request, dated April 24, 1878, asking for a report of the operations of the Nineteenth Massachusetts Volunteers in the Gettysburg Campaign, I have the honor to submit the following, as being an authentic report. While it may not be the original, verbatim, it is made from notes taken on the field during said campaign, and is substantially correct:

The Second Corps, of which the Nineteenth Massachusetts formed a part, left Falmouth, on the Rappahannock, several days after the main body of the army, acting as its rear guard, struck across Manassas Plains to Thoroughfare Gap, where it laid three days; then followed up the East side of the Blue Ridge to Edward's Ferry, Md., crossing after nightfall [251] and then camping. During the march from Falmouth to Edward's Ferry there was some insignificant skirmishing with cavalry, mounted troops and light batteries, but nothing of serious moment. Leaving Edward's Ferry early in the morning, after its arrival there, the corps marched by Poolesville and the Monocacy to Frederick City, Md.; thence through Liberty to Uniontown, making a forced march from early dawn until 9 o'clock in the evening. There had been some cavalry skirmishing through the town, and further on, during the day, but the Second Corps were not engaged. On arriving at Uniontown, I received orders to take possession of the town, with the regiment, to preserve order there, picket the exits and prevent the exhibition of any disloyal feeling, especially if it took the active shape of intention to give information to the enemy.

I must here say, in justice to the citizens, that they manifested a spirit unexpected and worthy of the name of the town—something that we had been unaccustomed to in our previous experience with the population of Maryland. It so happened that our marching rations were exhausted, and our teams behind. The citizens gave my men supper in their houses, and breakfast in the morning, refusing pay from any enlisted man, and making very moderate charges to the officers. This was the morning of July 1st, 1863.

Early we commenced to distribute rations, but had scarcely begun when sudden orders to move set us on the march and my men had to leave with empty haversacks. We marched all that day until after nightfall, the moon shining with extreme brightness, and we were placed in line of battle in rear of Round Top, where it was understood we might expect to meet the enemy—the First and Eleventh Corps, under Reynolds and Howard, having met with severe disaster during the day and at and beyond Gettysburg.

During the night the plan was changed, and before daylight of a dark, cloudy morning, the Second Corps was on the move, and halted only when it reached the low cemetery Ridge, where it relieved the badly broken First Corps, on the left of Howard's line, thus occupying about the centre of the Army, and held this position until the conclusion of what was soon to be the ever memorable battle of Gettysburg in its second and third day's continuance.

Early in the morning of July 2nd, General Gibbon, commanding the Second Division of the Second Corps, assumed command of the corps, General Hancock being temporarily in chief command. General Harrow, commanding First Brigade, came into command of the division by seniority. At the joint request of Generals Gibbon and Harrow, I left my regiment and joined General Harrow's staff for the purpose of taking charge of the operations of the division, giving orders in General Harrow's name. Nothing of importance occurred, however. Later in the day, when General Gibbon resumed his own command, I returned to my regiment. Some time past the middle of the afternoon when General Sickles, commanding the Third Corps [252] marched from his position on the Ridge, out through the peach orchard endeavoring to occupy the high ground along the Emmetsburg Pike, where Longstreet struck his left flank, I received a hurried order to take the Nineteenth Massachusetts, accompanied by the Forty Second New York (Colonel Mallon) to support Humphrey's Division, which held the right of the Third Corps' line.

It is right for me to say here that there was a disputed, and as yet unsettled, right of seniority between myself and Colonel Mallon, but which never interfered with our cordial personal relations; and it is due to the memory of so good an officer, who died gallantly at the head of his brigade, shortly after, at Bristow's Station, to state that he frankly and cheerfully waived all claim on his part and obeyed my orders without reserve the balance of that day and during the next. My report, therefore, will include the operations of both regiments from here on.

Some portions of the division to our left had preceded us. On reaching the little swale, lined with willows, we met the First Minnesota beaten back and badly handled by the enemy, but making a desperate effort to maintain their ground; their ranks were so badly cut that I easily passed through with my command, marching by the flank. We were guided by a young lieutenant on horseback, all the officers of my own command being on foot, orders having been given some time before to send all horses to the rear. Just as we rose the further side of the swale, everything was in direct confusion; our troops were flying in great disorder, and apparently no organization left. Just at this moment my guide disappeared, and where he went and what became of him, I have never yet learned.

I could find no one to report to, and h ad to trust to my own judgement. I formed a line of battle, Mallon on my right, and ordered both regiments to lie down, officers and men—except myself. The enemy's line of battle followed closely in upon the flying men, and their artillery, running up to close quarters, used canister. It seemed to me that I must preserve the organization of my command, keep it from disorder and panic, so as to use it as a nucleus for re-formation of the old line.

I waited until my front was clear of all the broken fragments of our troops, then directed Colonel Mallon to make his men stand up, fire a volley by the rear and front rank in succession, then to face about and regain the old line on the double-quick, meaning thereby the old line of the Third Corps, directly in our rear, then to halt, face about again and wait for me. After Mallon had well left the field, I ordered my men to rise and fire a volley, also by the front and rear flank.

These successive volleys checked, to a considerable extent, the enemy's advance in our immediate front and gave me opportunity to face my men to the rear and move them toward the old line at ordinary quick time, but the enemy was so near that I was able to bring in with me several prisoners. In this connection, I wish to state that I have always felt that it was due to the regiment that I commanded that special mention should be made of [253] their conduct, under circumstances the most trying to soldiers. Their backs were to the foe, the enemy was close upon them, using canister upon us. (I lost a large percentage of my men, shot in the back.) I was between them and the enemy, directing their movements, and their line never wavered but once, when the fire on my right flank was too heavy for men to bear. But one single command from my lips and they moved as steadily as before, until we met the front line of the Fifth Corps coming up most opportunely to the rescue of the situation, when we passed through, halted and again faced to the front by the side of Mallon's Forty-Second New York. I consider no men could have been put to a severer test of true courage, thorough discipline and absolute confidence in themselves and their officers, and this regiment should receive credit for it. I marched them back in this order, unable to tell how Mallon had reached the old ground, totally unaware of the arrival of the Fifth Corps, and not knowing but that I might find myself with the only organized force on the field at that point—believing it my duty to sacrifice all of us, if necessary, to secure that end.

After nightfall the two regiments marched back to the position they had left the afternoon previous, but finding the gap filled in the front line, took position in the rear of Rorty's battery, the most convenient place for use in case of need.

During the next forenoon our lines at that point were not engaged. About 1 o'clock in the afternoon General Lee opened with his artillery, which we noticed he had been massing so as to bring a concentric fire on that portion of our line. For two hours the cannonade was incessant, and we knew, of course, that it was to be followed by an infantry assault. All the infantry were lying down and suffered comparatively little from the enemy's fire, but our batteries suffered severely. Rorty's battery, behind which I lay, lost all of its officers and many men, and for the last hour of the cannonade I manned the battery with men from my own regiment, bringing ammunition from the caissons and furnishing all the help possible from the infantry troops. After cessation of the cannonade, and with a clump of small oaks as the objective point, General Pickett's Division, as was afterward ascertained, was pushed forward to capture that point, then held by General Alex. S. Webb and Colonel N. J. Hall. Both were forced back and our line cut in two.

There were no troops to support the single front line except myself. Unable to do anything actively because of our troops in front, and receiving no order, but watching an opportunity to be of service, I was about to move when General Hancock came riding up, as he always did when the commander's presence was needed, and as he rushed past the left of our line I halted him, and pointed out how completely our line was broken at that point, and asked permission to put my troops in there. I was told to ‘get in quick.’ Colonel Mallon was near me, and I ordered him to put his regiment in on the double-quick, and put my own [254] regiment instantly in motion, and side by side the two regiments went up and filled the gap. The head of Pickett's column was just breaking through the little oak grove. We were just in time to meet them, and became in this way the only force directly in their front.

Both lines were stopped and the question was which could make an advance. The two lines stood and fired into each other, at a distance (which I carefully measured after the fight) of a little short of fifteen paces. Being able to stop their direct advance, General Webb and Colonel Hall were able to rally their men, assisted by General Alex. Hayes on the right, Harrow, Stannard and other troops from Newton's command on the left.

Our troops made a rush forward, and it seemed as if what remained of the enemy almost simultaneously threw down their arms, begged for quarter, and poured through our ranks, glad to be taken prisoners.

During the fight at this point I captured with my regiment alone, four colors, which were handed to me before the firing ceased. These were the flags of the Fifty-Seventh, Fifty-Third, Fourteenth and Nineteenth Virginia regiments.

One of the standards was captured in this way: the color bearer of my regiment, carrying the Massachusetts State Colors, knocked down with his color staff, the color bearer in the enemy's line, and took it from the hands of the enemy's color bearer.

After the surrender of the enemy, our men were in great confusion, the various regiments so intermingled that it was impossible to reform in separate regimental organizations, but as the enemy showed the head of a fresh column (Anderson's division), it was necessary to re-form at once along our old line. From the gap, directly in front of this little grove, between the stone fence on the right and the rail fence on the left, I was trusted with that duty and placed the men in line irrespective of their regimental connection, my orders to that effect being cheerfully obeyed by officers and men.

In reference to the capture of four stands of colors by my regiment, I believe it to be true that the colors of one of the regiments, which were handed by Gen. Alex. S. Webb to one of my men, who in turn handed them to me, were captured by the Seventy-Second Pennsylvania, and the credit belongs to them.

After this the Nineteenth Massachusetts and the Forty-Second New York came under the direct command of Colonel N. J. Hall, the brigade commander. We again marched with the Second Corps through Frederick City to Williamsport and Falling Waters, where we were the supporting force to Kilpatrick's cavalry when he captured, at that point, the enemy's battery, their rear guard in crossing the river, the infantry not being engaged.

Very respectfully submitted,

A. F. Devereux, Late Colonel 19th Massachusetts Vol. Inf. Brevet Brigadier General.

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