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OPENING AT GETTYSBU
EG-REYNOLDS KILLED. 377
the right, as if his intended point of concentration were Gettysburg also. But, in fact, foreseeing that Lee must give battle, he had issued a timely address to his officers," and was moving circumspectly east of north, looking for advantageous ground whereon to fight, and had about fixed on the line of Pipe creek, some 15 miles south-east of Gettysburg, when an unexpected encounter precipitated the grand collision.
Gettysburg, the capital of Adams county, is a rural village of 3,000 inhabitants, the focus of a well-cultivated upland region. Though long settled and blessed with excellent country roads, all centering on the borough, much of it is too rugged for cultivation; hence, it is covered with wood. The village is in a valley, or rather on the northern slope of a hill; with a college and other edifices on the opposite hill, which rises directly from the little run at its foot.
Part of our cavalry advance, under Gen. Kilpatrick, pushed out from Frederick," moving north-west through Liberty and Taneytown to Hanover, Pa., where they were considerably astonished" by an attack from Stuart's cavalry—not imagining that there was any enemy within a march of them. A sharp fight ensued, wherein Gen. G. F. Farnsworth's brigade was at first roughly handled, losing 100 men; but Gen. Custer's, which had passed, returned to its
""Hbadquahtehs Army Of The Potomac, ) "June 30, 1S63. J
"The commanding general requests that, previous to the engagement soon expected with tho enemy, corps and all other commanding officers will address their troops, explaining to them briefly tho immense issues involved in the struggle. Tho enemy are on our soil; the whole country now looks anxiously to this army to doliver it from the presence of the foe; our failure to do so will leave us no such welcome as the swelling of millions of hearts wrth pride and joy
aid, and the enemy was beaten off. A similar dash was simultaneously made on the train of another column of our cavalry at Littlestown, but easily repulsed. Meantime, Gen. Buford, with another division, had moved directly upon Gettysburg; where he encountered" the van of the Rebel army, under Gen. Heth, of Hill's corps, and drove it back on the division, by whom our troopers were repelled in their turn. And now the advance division of Gen. Reynolds's (1st) corps, under command of Gen. J. S. Wadsworth, approaching from Emmitsburg, quickened its pace at the familiar sound of volleys, and, rushing through the village, drove back the Rebel van, seizing and occupying the ridge that overlooks the place from the north-west.
Gen. John F. Reynolds, formerly of the Pennsylvania Reserves, was in command of the two corps (1st and 11th) now rapidly coming up, together numbering about 22,000 men. As Gen. Wadsworth was forming his advance division, 4,000 strong, in order of battle, Gen. Reynolds went forward to reconnoiter, and, seeing that the enemy were in force in a grove just ahead, he dismounted and was observing them through a fence, when he was struck in the neck by a sharp-shooter's bullet, and, falling on his face, was dead in a few minutes. Born in Lancaster in 1820; entering the army in 1846; he had
at our success would give to every soldier of this army. Homes, firesides, and domestic altars, are involved. The army has fought well heretofore; it is Delieved that it will fight more desperately and bravely than ever, if it is addressed in fitting terms. Corps and other commanders are authorized to order the instant death of any soldier who fails in his duty this hour.
"By command of Maj.-Gen. Meade:
"S. Williams, Assistant Adj.-Gen."
"June 28. "Juno 30. "July L
served his country in Mexico, in California, and in nearly every important action yet fought in Virginia; returning to fall in defense of the Boil of his native State, and almost in sight of his home. •
Gen. Abner Doubleday' came up half an hour afterward, and assumed command; hut the residue of the corps, with the whole of the 11th, did not arrive till nearly two hours later; meantime, the Rebels, under Hill, were too strong, and pushed back Wadsworth's division, eagerly pursuing it. As Wadsworth fell back with his left, and Archer pressed forward on his heels, the right of our division swung around on the rear of the pursuers, enveloping the Rebel advance, and making prisoners of Archer and 800 of his men.
Douhleday fell back to Seminary ridge, just west of the village, where
he was joined by the residue of his corps; the 11th coming up almost simultaneously and taking post on his right; Howard ranking Doubleday and assuming command, assigning the 11th corps to Schurz. Here the struggle was renewed with spirit; our men having the better position, and the best of the light; until, about 1 p. M., Ewell's corps, marching from York under orders to concentrate on Gettysburg, came rapidly into the battle—Rhodes's division assailing the 11th corps in front, while Early's struck hard on its right flank. Of course, being greatly outnumbered, the 11th was soon routed, falling back in disorder on Gettysburg, and compelling the 1st, which had hitherto fully held its own, to do likewise—the two divisions, under a heavy Rebel fire, commingling and obstructing each other HANCOCK AND SICKLE
in the streets of the village, and thus losing heavily in prisoners. Their wounded, who had thus far been taken to Gettysburg, were of course abandoned to the enemy, as the debris of the two corps, scarcely half the number that had marched so proudly through those streets a few hours before, fell hastily back and were rallied on Cemetery hill, just south of the village: Buford, with his troopers, covering the retreat, and trying to show a bold front to the Rebels; who —though there were still several hours of good daylight—did not see fit to press their advantage: presuming that our whole army was moving hitherward, and fearing that they might miscalculate and suffer as Reynolds had just done.
And they were right. For Gen. Sickles, with his (3d) corps, which had advanced, the day before, from Taneytown to Emmitsburg, and had there received from Meade a circular to his corps commanders, directing a concentration on the line of Pipe creek—the left of the army at Middleburg, the right at Manchester— had been preparing to move, as directed, to Middleburg, when, at 2 P. M.," he received a dispatch from Howard at Gettysburg, stating that the 1st and 11th corps were there engaged with a superior force, and that Reynolds had been killed; thereupon, calling urgently for assistance.
Sickles was perplexed. Meade was at Taneytown, ten miles away; and to wait to hear from him was to leave Howard to his fate. Sickles had been moving on Gettysburg till halted by Meade's new circular; and he decided that he ought to persist now; so, leaving two brigades and two bat
S REACH GETTYSBURG. 379
teries to hold Emmitsburg, he put the rest of his corps in rapid motion for Gettysburg; arriving just after Howard had taken post on Cemetery hill, and coming into position on his left. As he came up the Emmitsburg road, he might have been assailed by Hill's forces, holding the ridges on his left; but the enemy were satisfied with their day's work, and did not molest him.
Gen. Meade was at Taneytown, when, at 1 P. M., news came that there was fighting at Gettysburg, and that Gen. Reynolds had heen killed. He at once ordered Hancock to turn over his (2d) corps to Gibbon, hasten himself to Gettysburg, and take command there; which was done: Hancock reaching Cemetery hill at 3£ p. M., when the rear of our broken 1st and 11th corps was retreating in disorder through the village, hotly pursued by the triumphant foe. Howard having already formed a division on Cemetery hill, Hancock ordered Wadsworth to post his, or what was left of it (1,600 out of the 4,000 he had led to battle in the morning) on Culp's hill, at our right; while Gen. Geary, with the advance division of Slocum's (12th) corps, then coming up, was directed to take position on high ground toward Round Top, on our left. Meade had hurriedly requested Hancock to judge whether Gettysburg afforded us better ground for a battle than that he had selected on Pipe creek; and Hancock now (4r p. M.) sent word that he would hold on here until Meade could arrive and judge for himself. But Meade had already impelled the 2d corps, under Gibbon, toward Gettysburg. Hancock wrote him that the position here was good, but liable to be turned by way of Emmitsburg. Slocura having arrived at 7, and ranking Hancock, the latter turned over the command, as he had been instructed to do, and rode back to Meade, whom he reached at 9 P.m.; when he was told by Meade that he had decided to fight at Gettysburg, and had given orders accordingly." Both started for Gettysburg immediately, arriving at 11 p. M.
During that night, our army was all concentrated before Gettysburg, save Gen. Sedgwick's (6th) corps, which was at Manchester, 30 miles distant, when, at 7 P. M., it received orders to move at once on Taneytown; which were so changed, after it had marched 7 or 8 miles, as to require its immediate presence at Gettysburg, where it arrived, weary enough, at 2 p. M. next day."
Meantime, Lee also had been bringing up his several corps and divisions, posting them along the ridges north and west of Gettysburg and its rivulet, facing ours at distances of one to two miles. Longstreet's corps held his right, which was stretched considerably across the Emmitsburg road; the divisions of Hood, MeLaws, and Pickett posted from right to left. Hill's corps, including the divisions of Anderson, Pender, and Heth, held the center; while Ewell's, composed of Rhodes's, Early's, and Johnson's divisions, formed the Rebel left, which bent well around the east side of our position, making the enemy's front considerably longer than
"Gen. Buttertield, chief of staff, testifles that Meade directed him to make out, next morning, a General Order of retreat from Gettysburg, proscribing the route of each corps. Meade vehemently denies that he ever intended to retreat Those statemonts seem nowise incompatible. ' A
ours. Of the entire Rebel army that had crossed the Potomac, scarcely a regiment was wanting when Pickett's division, forming the rear-guard, came up on the morning of the 2d.
On our side, Sickles's (3d) corps held the left, opposite Longstreet, supported by the 5th (Sykes's); with Hancock's (2d) in our center, touching its right; while what was left of Howard's (11th), riienforced by 2,000 Vermonters, under Stannard, and Reynolds's (1st, now Doubleday's) corps held the face of Cemetery hill, looking toward Gettysburg and Early's division, but menaced also by Johnson's division on its right, and by Hill's corps, facing its left. The 12th corps (Slocum's) held our extreme right, facing Johnson's division of Ewell's corps, and had recently been strengthened by Lockwood's Marylanders, 2,500 strong; raising it to a little over 10,000 men. Buford's cavalry, pretty roughly handled on the 1st, was first sent to the rear to recruit, but confronted Stuart on our extreme right before the close of the 2d; Kilpatrick's division being posted on our left.
Meade had resolved to fight a defensive battle; beside, as Sedgwick's strong corps (15,400) had not yet come up, while the whole Rebel army might fairly be presumed present, it was not his interest to force the fighting. Yet he had given orders to Slocum, commanding on our right, for an attack on that wing with the 12th, 5th, and 6th corps so soon as the 6th should arrive; but
prudent general might very well forecast and mark out his line of retreat, even while resolved to hold on to the utmost It does not appear that Meado told either of his corps commanders that he had any notion of retreating. "July 2.
Slocum, after reconnoitering, reported that the ground in his front was unfavorable; whereupon, the attack was countermanded. • The enemy not being yet ready, the morning wore ont and the day wore on with the usual skirmishing and picket-firing at intervals along the front, with occasional shots from batteries on one side or the other; but nothing approaching a great battle.
At 3 p. M.—Sedgwick's weary corps having just arrived—Sykes was ordered to move the 5th corps over from our right to our left, while Meade rode out to see it properly posted on the left of the 3d; the 6th resting in reserve behind them. He now found that Sickles (who was very eager to fight, and seems to have suspected that Meade was not) had thrown forward his corps from half to three-fourths of a mile; so that, instead of resting his right on Hancock and his left on Round Top, as he had been directed to do, his advance was in fact across the Emmitsburg road and in the woods beyond, in the immediate presence of half
"" Agate " [Whitelaw Reid], of Tlte Cincinnati Gazette, gives the following incident of this sanguinary fray:
"Let me give ono phase of the fight—fit type of many more. Some Massachusetts batteries— Capt. Bigelow's, Capt. Phillips's, two or tlireo more under Capt. MoGilvry, of Maine—were planted on the extreme left, advanced now well down to tbo Emraitsburg road, with infantry in their front—tho first division, I think, of Sickles's corps. A little after 6, a fierce Rebel charge drove back the infantry and menaced the battories. Orders are sent to Bigelow on the extreme left, to hold his position at every hazard short of sheer annihilation, till a couple more batteries can be brought to his support. Reserving his fire a little, then with depressed guns opening with double charges of grape and canister, ho smites and shatters, but cannot break the advancing line. His grape and canister are exhausted, and still, closing grandly up over their slain, on they come. He falls back on spherical case, and pours this in at the shortest range. On, still onward, comes tho artillery-defying line,
the Rebel army. Meade remonstrated against this hazardous exposure, which Sickles considered within the scope of the discretion allowed him, but said he would withdraw, if desired, from the ridge he then occupied to that behind it, which Meade indicated as the proper one. Meade replied that he apprehended that no such withdrawal would be permitted by the enemy; and, as he spoke, the Rebel batteries opened, and their charging columns came on.
Lee had ordered Longstreet to attack Sickles with all his might, while Ewell should assail Slocum on our right, and Hill, fronting the apex of our position, should only menace, but stand ready to charge if our troops facing him should be withdrawn or seriously weakened to reenforce either our left or our risrht.
Sickles's new position was commanded by the Rebel batteries posted on Seminary ridge in his front, scarcely half a mile distant; while magnificent lines of battle, a mile and a half long, swept up to his front and flanks, crushing him back" with
and still he holds his position. They are within six paces of the guns—ho fires again. Onco more, and he blows devoted soldiers from his very muzzles. And, still mindful of that solemn order, he holds his place, they spring upon his carriages, and shoot down his horses 1 And then, his Yankee artillerists still about him, ho seizes the guns by hand, and from the very front of that lino drags two of them off. The caissons are farther back—fivo out of the six are saved.
"That single company, in that half-hour's fight, lost 33 of its men, including every sergeant it had. The captain himself was wounded. Yet it was the first timo it was ever under fire I I give it simply as a type. So they fought along that fiery lino I
"The Rebels now poured on Phillips's battery, and it, too, was forced to drag off the pieces by hand when the horses were shot down. From a new position, it cpened again; and at last the two reonforcing batteries came up on tho gallop. An enfilading fire swept the Rebel lino; Sickles's galla n t in fan try charged, tho Rebel 1 ine swept back on a refluent tide—we regained the lost ground, and every gun just lost in this splendid fight."