Thursday, April 07, 2011

Elisha Sweat

(3rd great grand uncle)

Name: Elisha F Swett
Residence: Danby, Vermont
Enlistment Date: 18 Sep 1862
Rank at enlistment: Sergeant
State Served: Vermont
Survived the War?: No
Service Record: Enlisted in Company K, Vermont 14th Infantry Regiment on 21 Oct 1862.
Mustered out on 03 Jul 1863 at Gettysburg, PA.

Sources: Roster of Vermont Volunteers During the War of the Rebellion 1861-66
These Honored Dead: The Union Casualties at Gettysburg

Name: Elisha Swett
Residence: Danby, Vermont
Enlistment Date: 18 Sep 1862
Side Served: Union
State Served: Vermont
Service Record: Enlisted as a Sergeant on 18 September 1862.
Enlisted in Company K, 14th Infantry Regiment Vermont on 21 Oct 1862.
Killed Company K, 14th Infantry Regiment Vermont on 3 Jul 1863 at Gettysburg, PA.

Sources: 20,65

Regiment: 14th Infantry Regiment Vermont
Date of Organization: 21 Oct 1862
Muster Date: 30 Jul 1863
Regiment State: Vermont
Regiment Type: Infantry
Regiment Number: 14th
Officers Killed or Mortally Wounded: 1
Officers Died of Disease or Accident: 0
Enlisted Killed or Mortally Wounded: 26
Enlisted Died of Disease or Accident: 43
Regimental Soldiers and History: List of Soldiers

Regimental History


THE fourteenth regiment was raised under President
Lincoln's call of August 4, 1862, for three hundred thousand
militia to serve for nine months. It consisted of companies
recruited in Addison, Rutland and Bennington counties, and
contained men from every town, except Brandon, which had
furnished a company (G) under Capt. (Gov.) E. J. Ormsbee, to
the Twelfth regiment. The headquarters of the various
companies were as follows: A, Bennington; B, Wallingford; C,
Manchester; D, Shoreham; E, Middlebury; F, Castleton; G,
Bristol; H, Rutland; I, Vergennes; K, Danby.

The regiment went into camp at Brattleboro, October 6,
1862, and was mustered into the United States service, October
21, and left next day for Washington, D. C., nine hundred
fifty-two strong. They were as fine a body of men as could be
found in the State, representing every walk in life. Every one
was a volunteer, and not one deserter is found on their roster.
A draft had been ordered by Governor Holbrook for September 11
in case the quotas of the towns were not raised by that time,
but no draft was needed. During the recruiting of the
regiment, an incident occurred in Benson, which, while local,
well illustrates the patriotic spirit which pervaded Vermont.
By a mistake in the office of the Adjutant General, the quota
of this town was five in excess of the real number. It was
discovered too late to be remedied, and the intelligence
reached the town on the evening of the 10th, that the selectmen
must proceed with the draft if the quota was not full by the
morning of the 11th. Messengers were dispatched, and the
people of the town summoned to consider the emergency. By ten
o'clock nearly every male inhabitant was present. The first
thing to do was to raise $1,000 to pay the usual bounty. As
this was not a legal meeting, it was promptly raised by
subscription, and the five men needed stepped into the breach,
and the dreaded stigma of a draft was averted.

The officers of the regiment were a fine and able body of
men. Few changes were found necessary during their term of
service, yet they could have been duplicated, twice over, from
the ranks. Of those now living it is not needful to speak.
Many of them are well known in the State, but of the dead the
spirit of comradeship compels a word.

Col. William T. Nichols of Rutland, was a brave and
efficient commander. His first service was as a volunteer in
the Rutland company of the First regiment. On his return he
was elected as representative in the Legislature, and again in
1862, but dropping all civil duties and legal practice, he
devoted himself to the service of his country. He is
remembered by his officers and men with affection and esteem,
as a good soldier and a gentleman. He died in April, 1882.

Charles Field of Dorset, was a Quartermaster, whose energy
and care for the wants of the regiment were as unfailing as his
native courtesy and gentle manners. Of this he gave signal
proof, when, on the morning of July 2, he appeared on Cemetery
Hill, with four wagon loads of coffee and hard tack. In doing
this he took the risk of disobeying orders to go to the rear,
with his train, and narrowly escaped capture, but his coming
was welcomed by hungry men, and he saved the brigade from
having to fight on empty stomachs.

Captain Munson of Manchester, company C, was a brave and
capable officer in whose hands the colors never wavered on the

Capt. (Judge) Walter C. Dunton, company H, was as cool,
careful and devoted to duty on the field, as he was afterwards
distinguished for his ability and probity on the bench. He has
gone over to the majority, mourned as a true patriot and good

The Fourteenth was attached to the defenses of Washington
and did picket duty, first at Alexandria, after the 11th of
December near Fairfax Court House, where it assisted in the
repulse of Stuart's cavalry raid, and from March to June, 1863,
at Wolf Run Shoals on the Occoquan river. This was the outer
picket line of Washington. This duty was interspersed with the
digging of rifle pits and the building of corduroy roads. The
duty, while not particularly dangerous, was arduous and
involved much exposure and hardship in winter weather. The
health of the regiment, however, was good and the record
remarkable. The entire loss by disease was only thirty-nine
men, far less than the other regiments of the brigade. Some of
this redounds to the credit of our excellent Surgeon, Dr. A. T.
Woodward, and his assistant, Dr. L. D. Ross. Something is also
to be attributed to the pluck and good spirit of the men, as is
illustrated in the medical record of company A. It was called
the "noisy company." There was always some sport on hand among
the boys of company A. They did not lose a man by sickness,
and Captain Gore had the satisfaction of bringing back to
Brattleboro every man he took out. Not a man was hit during
the battle, although they were in no better position,
apparently, than the rest of the line. The company must have
been out of the range of the terrible artillery fire from which
the regiment sustained its heavy loss at Gettysburg.

On the 20th of April, Gen. George J. Stannard, was
assigned to the command of the brigade and on June 25th, the
brigade, having been attached to the Third Division of the
First Corps, began the march to the North, which ended at
Gettysburg. June 30 it had reached Emmettsburg, Maryland,
having marched one hundred twenty miles in six days, gaining a
day on the First Corps, which had proceeded in advance of the
entire army.

The next day's march was made with quickened pace, for the
sound of guns to the north told that a battle was going on and
we were needed. The regiment reached the field too late to
participate in the fighting of the first day, and bivouacked in
a wheat field to the left of Cemetery Hill. At daylight of
July 2 the brigade joined the First Corps, which was reduced by
the casualties of the first day to two thousand four hundred
men. This march was severe and told heavily on our ranks. The
seven hundred twenty-two men who left Wolf Run Shoals, June 25,
were reduced to five hundred. Two hundred and twenty-two had
been compelled to fall out, unable to bear the killing pace.

Late in the afternoon of the 2nd, the brigade was called
into action on the left center, to repel the attack of Gen. A.
P. Hill. A battery had already been captured and was re-taken
by the Thirteenth Vermont. Another was in peril and was saved
as the Fourteenth double-quicked to its rescue. The regiment
remained in this position during the rest of the engagement.
In the opening cannonade of the third day the Fourteenth had
several non-commissioned officers and men killed by the
explosion of a battery caisson, near which they were lying.
Colonel Nichols obtained permission to move his regiment
forward about ten rods from the main line, where they lay
during the terrific cannonade of the third day. When the gray
line of Pickett's massive charge, seventeen thousand strong,
moved down upon the position of the Fourteenth, they lay
concealed on the ground, until the line was within sixty yards.
The men rose at command and gave a staggering and unexpected
volley in the face of the charging column. The direction of
the advancing charge was changed, and swung off to the north,
until their right flank was beyond the right of the Fourteenth.
It was at this time that General Stannard's quick eye saw his
chance for a flank movement, and delivered it with such fatal
effect upon Pickett. The Fourteenth moved a short distance by
the flank to the north, and obliquely from the main line. The
Thirteenth, followed by the Sixteenth, changed front on the
first company and moved out at right angles from the line and
charged forward. The Fourteenth kept up a rapid fire at close
range and closed up the pen in which Pickett's right wing was
caught and crushed.

After the main charge was repulsed, General Wilcox's
Brigade was seen coming down in front of the position of the
Fourteenth. The Sixteenth was coming back to get into line to
receive the charge, but Colonel Veazey saw an opportunity to
strike them on the front, which he did in splendid style. Four
companies of the Fourteenth, A, F, D and I, under Lieutenant-
Colonel Rose, formed on his left and assisted in capturing most
of the Rebel Brigade. So it fell to the lot of the Fourteenth,
with the other regiments, to uphold the honor of Vermont on
this hotly contested field, and at this critical time in the

It can with truth be said, that they
"Nothing common did, or mean,
Upon that memorable scene."

General Doubleday, in his official report, says of these
troops, which had never been in action before: "These movements
were executed in open field, under very heavy fire of shell,
grape and musketry, and were performed with the promptness and
decision of battalion drill." The losses sustained by the
Fourteenth in this engagement, were the largest in the brigade.
Nineteen were killed in action; nine died from wounds received
in action; total, twenty-seven. The wounded numbered seventy-

The Fourteenth joined in the pursuit of Lee after the
battle and made some hard marches, one, on the 7th of July, is
recalled of thirty-five miles continuously, ending in rain, mud
and darkness, on the top of the Catoctin Mountain, after
midnight. July 18 the regiment was released and started for
home, and was mustered out at Brattleboro, July 30, 1863.

Vermont does well to preserve the names and deeds of her
soldiers in the Civil War among her most precious archives,
that the spirit of her sons, more immortal than their deeds,
may be preserved to future generations. Such were the young
men of Vermont in 1863. Such may they ever be when their
country needs their service.

The average age of the regiment was a fraction over
twenty-five years. Three hundred thirty two were from sixteen
to twenty-one years of age.

All hail to the Vermont veterans, whose locks are growing
gray, but who in youth's golden prime, held country dearest of
all. May their generations never cease.


Fairfax Court House, Va.
(Repulse of Stuart's Raid), Dec. 28, 1862.
Gettysburg, Pa., July 1, 2 and 3, 1863.

Battles Fought
Fought on 3 Jul 1863 at Gettysburg, PA.

JULY 1ST - 3RD, 1863

Gettysburg, Pa., July 1-3, 1863. Army of the Potomac.
After the battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville the
opinion became prevalent through the South that Lee's Army of
Northern Virginia was more than a match for the Federal Army
of the Potomac, and a clamor arose for an aggressive movement.
There were at this time potent reasons why Lee should assume
the offensive. An invasion of Maryland and Pennsylvania would
have a tendency to draw troops from Grant at Vicksburg and
Rosecrans in Tennessee to repel the invaders, thus relieving
the pressure on the Confederate forces under Pemberton,
Johnston and Bragg. If the invasion should prove to be
successful European nations might be persuaded to recognize
the Confederacy, loans could be obtained and probably aid
secured to open the Southern ports, then in a state of
blockade. All these reasons and possibilities were carefully
weighed and toward the last of May Lee decided to make the
invasion. Since the battle of Chancellorsville he had been
lying at Fredericksburg, recruiting and reorganizing his army,
which on June 1, numbered, according to Confederate reports,
88,754 men. It was divided into three corps, as follows: The
1st, commanded by Lieut.-Gen. James Longstreet, was composed
of the divisions of McLaws, Pickett and Hood, and the reserve
artillery under Col. J. B. Walton. The 2nd, under the command
of Lieut.-Gen. Richard S. Ewell, included the divisions of
Early, Johnson and Rodes, the reserve artillery being in
charge of Col. J. T. Brown. The 3rd, commanded by Lieut.-Gen.
Ambrose P. Hill consisted of the divisions of Anderson, Heth
and Pender, and the reserve artillery under Col. R. L. Walker.
In addition to these three corps was the cavalry under the
command of Maj.- Gen. J. E. B. Stuart, and consisting of the
brigades of Fitzhugh Lee, W. H. F. Lee, Hampton, Jenkins, W.
E. Jones and Imboden, and six batteries of horse artillery
under the command of Maj. R. F. Beckham.

Having decided to undertake an offensive movement, Lee
chose a route along the eastern base of the Blue Ridge, from
which he could at any time threaten Washington or Baltimore,
hoping by this means to detain the Union army in a position to
defend the national capital, or failing in that to draw it
after him and into a general engagement on a field of his own
selection. He accordingly began the concentration of his army
at Culpeper leaving Hill at Fredericksburg to keep up a show
of force there in order to keep Hooker from ascertaining what
was going on until it was too late for him to interfere.
Through the medium of despatches captured in the affair at
Brandy Station on June 9, Hooker learned that the major part
of Lee's army was at Culpeper. He proposed to cross over the
river and attack Hill, but the movement was forbidden by Gen.
Halleck. He then suggested a movement against Richmond to
force Lee to recall his army in that direction, but this, too,
was forbidden, though either might have been successful.
Hooker then sent the 3rd and 5th corps to guard the fords on
the Rappahannock, to prevent the Confederates from crossing,
and on the night of the 13th, moved his forces northward to
Manassas Junction and Thoroughfare gap. This compelled Lee to
change his plans and select the longer route through the
Shenandoah Valley. The Federal force at Winchester, commanded
by Gen. Milroy, was driven out on the 15th, Ewell pursuing
across the Potomac and occupying Hagerstown and Sharpsburg.
About the same time the Union troops at Harper's Ferry and
Martinsburg were withdrawn to Maryland heights, thus leaving
the valley open to Lee, who crossed the Potomac at
Williamsport and Shepherdstown on the 24th and 25th, united
his columns at Hagerstown, and pushed on toward Chambersburg,
Pa. On the 25th and 26th, Hooker crossed the Potomac at
Edwards' ferry and the next day Reynolds, with three corps,
occupied the passes of South mountain, thus forestalling any
attempt of Lee to pass to the eastward. To cut the enemy's
communications with Virginia, Hooker ordered the 12th corps,
then near Harper's Ferry, to march to that place, where it
would be joined by the forces under Gen. Kelley on Maryland
heights, and then, in connection with Reynolds, operate on
Lee's rear. Again Halleck interposed an objection, deeming it
inadvisable to abandon Harper's Ferry, and Hooker asked to be
relieved from command of the army. He was succeeded by Maj.-
Gen. George G. Meade on June 28. The Army of the Potomac was
then organized as follows: Maj.-Gen. John F. Reynolds,
formerly commanding the 1st corps, was placed in command of
the left wing, Maj.-Gen. Abner Doubleday taking command of the
corps, which consisted of three divisions under Brig.-Gens.
James S. Wadsworth, John C. Robinson and Thomas A. Rowley, and
the artillery brigade commanded by Col. Charles S. Wainright.
The 2nd corps, commanded by Maj.-Gen. Winfield S. Hancock,
embraced the three divisions under Brig.-Gens. John C.
Caldwell, John Gibbon and Alexander Hays, and the artillery
brigade of Capt. John G. Hazard. The 3rd corps, Maj.-Gen.
Daniel E. Sickles, was made up of the divisions of Maj.-Gen.
David B. Birney and Brig.-Gen. Andrew A. Humphreys, and the
artillery brigade commanded by Capt. George E. Randolph. The
5th corps, Maj.-Gen. George Sykes, was composed of the three
divisions of Brig.-Gens. James Barnes, Romeyn B. Ayres and
Samuel W. Crawford, and the artillery brigade of Capt. A. P.
Martin. The 6th corps, Maj.-Gen. John Sedgwick, embraced the
divisions of Brig.-Gen. Horatio G. Wright, Brig.-Gen. Albion
P. Howe and Maj.-Gen. John Newton, and the artillery brigade
of Col. Charles H. Tompkins. The 11th corps, Maj.-Gen. Oliver
O. Howard, included the divisions of Brig.-Gens. Francis C.
Barlow and Adolph von Steinwehr, Maj.-Gen. Carl Schurz, and
the artillery brigade commanded by Maj. Thomas W. Osborn. The
12th corps, Maj.-Gen. Henry W. Slocum was composed of the two
divisions of Brig.-Gens. Alpheus S. Williams and John W.
Geary, and the artillery brigade under command of Lieut. E. D.
Muhlenberg. The cavalry corps, Maj.-Gen. Alfred Pleasonton,
included the three divisions commanded by Brig.-Gens. John
Buford, David McM. Gregg and Judson Kilpatrick, and the horse
artillery under Capt. James M. Robertson. Altogether the army
had 65 batteries numbering 370 guns. Of these 212 were with
the infantry, 50 with the cavalry, and an artillery reserve of
108 under the command of Brig-Gen. Robert O. Tyler, Brig.-Gen.
Henry J. Hunt being the chief of artillery. Meade took
command in the midst of a campaign, and when the army was
preparing to move through a region with which he was but
little acquainted. For the time he decided to follow Hooker's
plans, the only departure there from being to recall Slocum's
corps from the Confederate rear, with orders to join the main
column. Without consulting Halleck he ordered the troops at
Maryland heights, now under the command of Gen. French, to
move up to Frederick, where they were to act as a reserve when
the army moved forward. Such information as he could obtain
regarding the enemy's movements located Longstreet at
Chambersburg, Ewell at Carlisle and York, where he was
preparing to attack Harrisburg, and Hill in the vicinity of
Cashtown. Conjecturing that Harrisburg was Lee's objective
point, Meade determined to move directly toward that place and
if possible strike the enemy before he could cross the
Susquehanna. Orders to that effect were issued to the various
corps commanders on the evening of the 28th and early the next
morning the army was in motion.

Stuart's cavalry had been sent on a raid around the Union
army, in the hope that by threatening its rear he could delay
the crossing of the Potomac until Lee could capture
Harrisburg. But he encountered Federal troops in so many
unexpected places that his raid was prolonged to such an
extent he did not arrive at Gettysburg until the battle was
almost over. Being thus deprived of his cavalry, Lee had no
way of obtaining information of the movements of the Federals,
and up to the 28th, supposed them to be still on the south side
of the Potomac. On the afternoon of that day he ordered Hill
and Longstreet to join Ewell for an advance on Harrisburg.
Late that night a scout came to Lee's headquarters with the
information that Hooker had been superseded by Meade, that the
Union army was north of the Potomac and in a position to
seriously menace the Confederate line of communications.
These tidings changed the whole situation. In his report Lee
says: "In the absence of the cavalry, it was impossible to
ascertain 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." Instructions were hurried to Hill and
Longstreet to move to Cashtown, 8 miles northwest of
Gettysburg, Ewell was recalled from Carlisle, and Pickett was
left at Chambersburg to guard the rear until relieved by
Imboden. Owing to rainy weather these movements were
performed somewhat leisurely, but Heth's division reached
Cashtown on the afternoon of the 29th. That evening the Union
army was in position just south of the state line, with the
right at New Windsor and the left at Emmitsburg. Buford's
cavalry division was on the extreme left, with his advance
well toward Gettysburg. Buford sent Merritt's brigade to
Mechanicstown to guard the trains and issued orders for
Gamble's and Devin's brigades to move early on the following
morning to Gettysburg, where he expected to find some of
Kilpatrick's cavalry. The two brigades entered the town about
noon, and found a detachment of the enemy within half a mile
of the place. This was Pettigrew's brigade of Heth's
division, which had been sent from Cashtown to procure
supplies, but finding the town in possession of the Union
forces hurriedly fell back on the main body of the division.
Scouting parties were sent out in all directions, bringing in
information showing that the Confederates were unquestionably
aiming to concentrate in the vicinity of Gettysburg, and
Buford so notified Meade that evening. Pickets were thrown
out toward Cashtown and Hunterstown, and the ridges west of
the town occupied in anticipation of an attack the next day.

Meade's chief objects had been to force Lee to forego his
intention of crossing the Susquehanna, and to bring on an
engagement at the first opportunity. The field selected for
such an engagement was along the banks of Pipe creek, a little
stream 15 miles south of Gettysburg. With a view to meeting
Lee at this point the different commands were so placed as to
be easily concentrated along Pipe creek, while at the same
time they were held in readiness to move elsewhere as the
occasion might demand. On the evening of June 30, the 1st
corps was at Marsh creek, about halfway between Emmitsburg and
Gettysburg; the 2nd and 3rd were in the vicinity of Taneytown,
the 5th was at Union Mills, southeast of Taneytown, the 6th
was at Manchester, still farther east; the 11th was near
Emmitsburg, Kilpatrick's cavalry was at Hanover, and Gregg's
at Westminster. The information received from Buford caused a
change in Meade's plans. Reynolds was ordered to move the
1st, 3rd and 11th corps to the support of Buford, Sickles
relieving the last at Emmitsburg, and the other corps
commanders instructed to move toward Gettysburg.

The town of Gettysburg is located about 7 miles from the
Maryland line, and some 10 miles east of South mountain. It
is in a valley, surrounded by broken granite ridges. On one
of these, about half a mile west of the town, stood the
Lutheran seminary, the elevation being known as Seminary
ridge. It was covered with an open woods and at the north end
is a knoll called Oak hill. South is a chain of hills
beginning about 3 miles from town and running almost due north
for a distance of 2 miles when it makes a curve to the east.
At the south end of this chain is Round Top, just east of this
is a smaller hill called Little Round Top; at the curve is
Cemetery hill, while at the eastern extremity of the range is
Culp's hill. About 500 yards west of Little Round Top, in the
forks of Plum creek is a hill known as the Devil's Den. It is
steep and rocky on the eastern side sloping away gradually to
the west and is about 100 lower than Little Round Top. The
summits of nearly all the ridges were covered with huge
boulders, forming a natural protection to sharpshooters, etc.
Near the western base of Cemetery hill was Ziegler's grove,
and along the base of the ridge farther south were the Weikert
and Trostle houses. Roads enter the town from almost every
direction. Through the valley between the Round Tops and
Seminary ridge ran the Emmitsburg road; along the eastern side
of the ridge was the road to Taneytown, running southeast,
between Cemetery and Culp's hills, was the Baltimore pike.
These three roads came together near the cemetery and entered
the town from the south. The Fairfield and Chambersburg roads
diverged at the west side of town, the former running
southwest and the latter northwest over Seminary ridge. From
the north came the Harrisburg, Carlisle and Middletown roads,
and Black's turnpike, while the Oxford and Bonaughton roads
entered the town from the east. On the east side of town is
Rock creek and west of Seminary ridge is Willoughby run, both
flowing southward.

At daybreak on July 1, Buford held the roads and ridges
to the west of Gettysburg with Devin's and Gamble's brigades,
his vedettes being thrown out far enough to give timely
warning of the enemy's approach. About 8 a.m. the scouts
reported the enemy advancing in force from the direction of
Cashtown. This was Heth's entire division, which had been
sent forward to occupy Gettysburg. Gamble's brigade was
formed on the left from the Fairfield road to the railroad
cut, with one section of Calef's battery near the left and the
rest of it on the Chambersburg pike. Devin formed on the
right, extending the line to Oak hill, a portion of the men
being dismounted and thrown forward as skirmishers. Heth
advanced on the Chambersburg road, with Archer's brigade to
the right and Davis, to the left of the pike, and the brigades
of Pettigrew and Brockenbrough in support. About 9 o'clock
Buford had three cannon shots fired as a signal for his
skirmishers to open fire on the advancing Confederates, and
the battle of Gettysburg was begun. Buford had been notified
that Reynolds was coming to his support and determined to hold
his ground until the reinforcements arrived. When the sound
of the firing reached Reynolds his advance, Wadsworth's
division, was within a mile of the town. This command was
hurried forward across the fields, Reynolds riding ahead to
Seminary ridge, where he met Buford and learned the positions
of the contending forces. As soon as Wadsworth arrived three
regiments of Cutler's brigade were formed north of the
railroad cut and the other two south of the pike, Hall's
battery relieving Calef's, which had almost exhausted its
supply of ammunition. Meredith's "Iron Brigade" was sent
against Archer on the left, and Devin's brigade of cavalry was
faced north to meet Ewell, who was known to be coming up from
Heidlersburg. Cutler's line had barely been formed when it
was struck on the front and right by Davis. Col. Fowler who
was in command of the two regiments south of the road, changed
front, drove Davis from the field, and took possession of the
railroad cut, capturing the two regiments which occupied it.
Reynolds sent word to Howard to hurry forward the 11th corps,
and then rode over to where Meredith and Archer were
contending for a piece of timber, known as McPherson's woods,
on the east side of Willoughby run. While directing the
movements of this brigade Reynolds was killed by a shot from a
Confederate sharpshooter, and Meredith was wounded by the
explosion of a shell in front of his horse. Col. Morrow, of
the 24th Mich., then took command, charged into the woods,
captured Archer and about 800 of his men, and forced the rest
to retire across the creek. By this time all of the 1st corps
was on the field. Stone's brigade of Rowley's division was
sent to the left of the pike, where it drove out the enemy's
skirmishers and took position behind a ridge, being partly
sheltered by a stone fence. Biddle's brigade was posted on
the left of McPherson's wood, with Cooper's battery on the
right, while Robinson's division was stationed in reserve on
Seminary ridge. Reynolds' battery relieved Hall's and Calef's
again joined Gamble's cavalry, which was also in reserve.

The enemy had also received heavy reinforcements,
Pender's division coming up from Cashtown and Ewell's corps
from Carlisle. Heth reformed his division south of the
Chambersburg road, with Pender in support, and nine batteries
stationed on commanding points west of Willoughby run. Lee
had notified Ewell not to bring on a general engagement until
the entire army was brought up, but on arriving on the field
and finding Hill's corps already engaged he ordered Rodes'
division to take position on Seminary ridge and Carter's
battalion of artillery to occupy Oak hill. It was now nearly
2 p.m., when the batteries on Oak hill opened upon the Union
lines an enfilading fire that forced Wadsworth to retire
Cutler to Seminary ridge, where he was joined by Robinson's
whole division to resist the advance of Rodes, who was
following along the ridge with O'Neal's and Doles' brigades on
the eastern slope and Iverson's, Daniel's and Ramseur's on the
western. At 2:30 Rodes gave the order to attack. Iverson was
confronted by Paul's brigade and O'Neal by Baxter's. O'Neal
was soon repulsed and Baxter went to the assistance of Paul.
At the same time Cutler swung his line around so as to attack
Iverson on the right flank. Baxter's men from the shelter of
a stone fence fired a volley at short range into the
Confederate ranks, leaving 500 of Iverson's command dead and
wounded on the field, and the rest surrendered. About 1,000
prisoners and 3 regimental colors were taken in this part of
the engagement. Howard had arrived with the 11th corps about
noon and assumed command. Shurz took command of the corps and
Brig.-Gen. Alexander Schimmelfennig of the 3rd division. This
division and Barlow's were thrown forward on the right to
check Ewell's advance, leaving Steinwehr's, with two
batteries, as a reserve and rallying point on Cemetery hill.

Upon hearing of the death of Reynolds Meade ordered
Hancock to proceed from Taneytown to Gettysburg and assume
command of the left wing. Hancock arrived about 3 p.m. and
found the Union troops retiring before the vastly superior
numbers of the enemy. Early's division had secured a position
on the flank and rear of the 11th corps, the artillery on the
hills east of Rock creek enfilading its entire line. Up to
this time the assaults of the enemy had been made without
concert at various points along the line, giving the Federals
an opportunity to repulse one before the next was commenced.
But about 4 o'clock the whole Confederate line advanced-50,000
against probably 15,000. The odds were too great and orders
were issued to fall back to Cemetery hill. The men retired in
good order, fighting as they went, the only confusion being
that which resulted by crowding the narrow streets of the
town. Wadsworth's division was sent to occupy Culp's hill and
skirmishers were thrown forward to the west side of the town
to hold the Confederates in check until the new line of battle
could be formed. About 5 o'clock Williams' division of the
12th corps came up and was stationed on the right and rear of
Wadsworth. Geary's division arrived soon afterward and was
sent to occupy Little Round Top and the ridge running toward
Cemetery hill, in a position commandmg the Emmitsburg and
Taneytown roads. Stannard's brigade of Rowley's division also
came up and joined the command, but too late to participate in
the fight. These reinforcements greatly encouraged those who
had borne the brunt of the battle all day, and the trains were
sent to the rear out of the way to prepare for the action
which was to come on the morrow. As the day drew to a close
and it became evident that the enemy did not intend to renew
the attack, Hancock turned over the command to Slocum and set
out for Meade's headquarters at Taneytown. Orders were given
for all the different commands to march at once to Gettysburg,
Meade set out for the scene of action, and about 1 a.m. on the
2nd reached the field.

Notwithstanding Lee's order on the evening of the 1st to
"attack the enemy in the morning as early as practicable," the
greater part of the day was spent in maneuvering for position.
Longstreet did not want to attack until the arrival of
Pickett's division. As a matter of fact Pickett did not come
up in time to take any part in the second days, battle, and
Law's brigade of Hood's division did not arrive on the field
until noon on the 2nd. Considerable delay was incurred in
moving the artillery so as to keep out of sight of the Union
signal station on Little Round Top, so that it was the middle
of the afternoon before the Confederates were in position to
begin the general assault on Meade's flanks according to Lee's
plans. This delay cost them dear in the end, as Meade's
different commands were hurrying to the front and when the
attack did come there was an opposition too strong to be
overcome. As soon as possible after his arrival Meade looked
over the ground and at dawn he commenced the formation of his
lines for an attack on the Confederate left. The 12th corps
was sent to the right of Wadsworth on Culp's hill, but Slocum
and Gen. G. K. Warren, who had served as chief engineer under
Hooker, and now held that position on Meade's staff, advised
against such a movement. Meade, however, was determined to
fight aggressively and began to arrange his troops for an
assault on the enemy's left. Some time was necessarily spent
in the preparations and before they were completed Lee
attacked both ends of the Union line, thus forcing Meade to
assume the defensive, which finally proved to be to his
advantage. The Union line was formed as follows: Slocum on
the extreme right; Wadsworth's division on Cemetery hill, with
the other two divisions of the 1st corps at the base;
Hancock's corps, which had come up during the night, next on
the left; then Sickles; Sykes on the extreme left, while
Sedgwick, who had made a march of 35 miles, arriving just
before the attack commenced, was stationed in reserve on the
Taneytown road behind the Round Tops, where he could rest his
men until called on to strengthen some part of the line.

The Confederate line was in the form of a concave.
Longstreet on the left was opposite the Round Tops; Hill in
the center occupied Seminary ridge; Ewell on the right held
the town and the ridges east of Rock creek. Along the north
side of Little Round Top ran a road which crossed the
Emmitsburg road almost at right angles near the center of the
open country lying between the two lines. On the south side
of this road and east of the Emmitsburg road was a large peach
orchard, to the east of which was a wheatfield. Sickles moved
his corps to the cross roads, forming Humphrey's division
along the Emmitsburg road and Birney's in the peach orchard
and on a ridge south of the cross-road, Ward's brigade being
thrown forward to the Devil's Den. As this position was some
distance in advance of the main line, and subsequently proved
to be untenable, there has been some controversy as to whether
Sickles occupied it by order of the commanding general or
selected it himself. It is not the province of this work,
however, to settle responsibilities, but to tell what
happened. Birney's skirmishers were engaged almost from the
time his line was formed until the main attack of the
Confederates about 4 p.m. When that attack was opened
Longstreet directed a severe artillery fire against the two
sides of the angle formed by Sickles' line, and this was
followed by a fierce assault on Ward, who was overlapped by
the enemy's line and compelled retire. The attack was then
extended toward the peach orchard and some of the enemy's
batteries secured positions from which an enfilading fire was
poured into the two lines forming the angle. Humphreys sent a
brigade and later a regiment to the assistance of Birney, but
soon afterward his own line was vigorously assailed by
Barksdale's brigade on the north and Kershaw's on the west,
making it impossible to render any further aid to Birney, who
was now hard pressed. Graham's brigade was driven from the
orchard, Sickles had lost a leg and Graham was wounded and a
prisoner in the hands of the enemy. The Federal batteries,
commanded by Maj. McGilvery, and which was stationed on the
cross-road below the orchard, met the Confederate advance by
an effective fire, but in vain. One of the batteries was
captured by Kershaw's men, but the 141st Pa. made a gallant
charge and recaptured the guns, bringing them off by hand.
Still the Confederates pressed on, and as a last resort
McGilvery ordered Biglow to sacrifice his battery to save the
rest. With the courage born of desperation he obeyed the
order, fighting until the enemy approached within a few feet,
when he managed to withdraw, but with severe loss. This left
the orchard in the hands of the enemy, which brought them on
Humphreys' flank and Birney's right. Reinforcements were
called for and Hancock sent in Caldwell's division, but it was
compelled to fall back after losing heavily in killed and
wounded, two brigade commanders, Cross and Zook, being among
the killed. Ayres' division next went in, and, although he
struck the enemy on the flank, doubled up their line and
forced them back, he was in the end compelled to make a
hurried retreat to save his command from annihilation.

This fight on the left was a struggle for the possession
of Little Round Top. About the time that Ward was outflanked
Warren rode over to the signal station there to obtain a
better view of what was going on. Seeing the importance of
the position which was then undefended, he assumed the
responsibility of ordering Vincent's brigade of Barnes'
division to occupy the crest, at the same time notifying Meade
of what he had done and asking for a force sufficient to hold
it. As Ward retired the Confederates, made a rush for the
hill, but were met on the top by Vincent's men who repulsed
the first assault with the bayonet. The 140th N. Y.,
belonging to Weed's brigade of Barnes' division, and Hazlett's
battery were then sent to the aid of Vincent. Having failed
in the first attempt to carry the position, the enemy next
made an effort to turn the left, but were met by the 2Oth Me.,
under Col. Chamberlain. At first the Unionists were forced
back by the main strength of superior numbers, but Svkes
hurried a brigade to the relief of Chamberlain, and a brigade
of the Pennsylvania reserves arriving about the same time, the
Confederates were driven from the hill with a loss of 500
captured and 1,000 stands of arms taken, besides a large
number in killed and wounded. After the 3rd corps had been
driven from the peach orchard the enemy began to form in front
of the wheatfield for another assault on Little Round Top.
McCandless' brigade of Crawford's division, led by Crawford
himself, charged and drove them to the farther side of the
wheatfield, where they found shelter behind a stone fence. In
the meantime two brigades-Eustis' and Nevin's-of Sedgwick's
corps had come forward and during the time of Crawford's
charge took a position in front of the ridge. The sight of
these fresh troops had a discouraging effect on the
Confederates and they withdrew from the contest.

Through some miscalculation Ewell did not begin his
attack on the Federal right until after Longstreet's repulse.
The plan of attack here was for Johnson to move against Culp's
hill, and as soon as he was fairly engaged Early and Rodes
were to assault the works on Cemetery hill. When the fight
commenced on the left Ewell opened with his artillery and kept
up the fire for about an hour before making any further
movement against the Union lines. In this time Meade, under
the impression that the demonstration on his right was merely
a feint, withdrew from that portion of his line all of the
12th corps except Greene's brigade, and sent it to the support
of Sykes. About 5 p.m. Johnson crossed Rock creek and
advanced against Greene and Wadsworth. Greene held out until
he was reinforced, when the enemy was driven from his front,
though Johnson occupied the intrenchments that had been
abandoned by the 12th corps, giving him a strong position on
the right flank of the Union army. While this was taking
place Early sent the brigades of Hays and Hoke, the latter
commanded by Col. Avery, up the valley between Culp's and
Cemetery hills to assault the Federal position on the latter.
The advance was somewhat impetuous driving back Von Gilsa's
and Ames' brigades, which were stationed at the foot of the
hill. In the rear of this infantry line were Wiedrich's and
Ricketts' batteries, which were next attacked, the former
being captured and 2 guns of the latter spiked. Farther up
the hill were the batteries of Stevens, Reynolds and Stewart,
the officers of which had orders from Col. Wainright to "fight
the guns to the last." As the enemy advanced in the face of
these guns they were met by a storm of canister Stevens'
battery especially doing effective work. Hancock voluntarily
sent Carroll's brigade to the support of the batteries, which
were also reinforced by the 106th Pa. and a detachment from
Schurz' command. The arrival of these troops carried dismay
into the enemy's lines, which had not been properly supported,
although Gordon's brigade had been assigned to that duty, and
a retreat was ordered. As they fell back they were followed
by a shower of canister from the batteries, which killed and
wounded a large number and threw the line into some confusion.
It is said that the Confederate organization known as the
"Louisiana Tigers," went into this fight with 1,750 men, of
whom only 150 returned unscathed. Rodes was delayed in making
his attack, having to move out of Gettysburg by the flank,
then change front and march some distance. By the time he was
in position to cooperate with Early the latter had met defeat.
The day closed with the Union forces still in possession of
the ridge, though the enemy had gained some advantage on the
right, as Johnson still held the intrenchments of the 12th
corps, which threatened the safety of Meade's army by cutting
off the line of retreat if such a movement became necessary.
This victory, meager as it was, offered Lee sufficient
incentive to continue the contest the next morning. That
night a council of war was held, at which it was unanimously
decided to "stay and fight it out." It is said that Meade was
somewhat displeased at the decision, because he wanted to
retire to the ground previously selected at Pipe creek.
However this may have been he acquiesced in the judgment of
his corps commanders, and preparations were immediately
commenced looking to the coming engagement.

Lee's general plan of battle for the 3rd was similar to
that of the preceding day. Ewell was to open the fight by
pressing the advantage already gained on the extreme right,
and after his attack was well under way the main assault was
to be made on the center. Johnson was reinforced by three
brigades and instructed to begin his attack at daybreak. But
a disagreeable surprise was in store for him. Geary returned
to Culp's hill about midnight and learned that his
intrenchments were in the hands of the enemy. He took a
position with Greene and began making arrangements to recover
his works at the earliest opportunity the next morning.
Batteries were brought up during the remaining hours of
darkness and stationed at all the points bearing on Johnson,
and as soon as it was light enough to distinguish objects the
guns opened fire. Johnson was without artillery, so he
determined to risk all on a charge. The charge was gallantly
made, but it was bravely met by Kane's brigade of Geary's
division, and a severe contest was waged for several hours.
Williams' division, now commanded by Col. Thomas H. Ruger,
came up and gained a position where it could strike Johnson on
the flank, and about the same time Shaler's brigade of
Newton's division joined Kane, when Johnson, finding the
conflict an unequal one, withdrew to Rock creek, leaving Geary
and Ruger in possession of their old line. This part of the
third day's battle was ended long before Lee's troops were in
position to assault Cemetery hill, and again that concert of
action, so essential to Confederate success, was lost.

Pickett's division, which had not yet been engaged, was
selected to lead the charge against the Union center.
Longstreet, in his report, thus describes the arrangement of
troops and plan of the assault: "Orders were given to Maj.-
Gen. Pickett to form his line under the best cover that he
could get from the enemy's batteries, and so that the center
of the assaulting column would arrive at the salient of the
enemy's position, Gen. Pickett's line to be the guide and to
attack the enemy's defenses, and Gen. Pettigrew, in command of
Heth's division, moving on the same line as Gen. Pickett, was
to assault the salient at the same moment. Pickett's division
was arranged, two brigades in the front line, supported by his
third brigade, and Wilcox's brigade was ordered to move in
rear of his right flank, to protect it from any force that the
enemy might attempt to move against it. Heth's division, under
command of Brig.-Gen. Pettigrew was arranged in two lines, and
these supported by part of Maj.-Gen. Pender's division, under
Maj.-Gen. Trimble. All of the batteries of the 1st and 3rd
corps, and some of those of the 2nd, were put into the best
positions for effective fire upon the point of attack and the
hill occupied by the enemy's left. Col. Walton, chief of
artillery of the 1st corps, and Col. Alexander had posted our
batteries and agreed with the artillery officers of the other
corps upon a signal for the batteries to open." At 1 p.m. two
cannon shots were heard in quick succession. This was the
signal for the Confederate batteries to open fire, and
immediately 150 guns commenced their deadly work. The object
was to silence the Union guns, and when this was accomplished
Pickett was to move forward to the grand assault which was to
decide the fate of the battle. Owing to the convex form of
the Federal position only 80 guns could find room on the ridge
to respond to the enemy's fire. That number was already in
position and for two hours was waged an artillery duel seldom
if ever equaled in the annals of wars. The enemy's fire was
very effective, although many of the shells went high and
exploded in the open ground to the rear of the ridge, forcing
the artillery reserve to move to a better protected position
Meade was compelled to change the location of his
headquarters, a number of guns were disabled, though they were
quickly replaced by others brought up from the reserve, about
a dozen caissons were blown up and after each of these
explosions the exultant yells of the Confederates could be
heard along their entire line. During this time Pickett's men
were in the wood on Seminary ridge, waiting for the command to
move forward across the 1,400 yards of open ground in their
endeavor to pierce the Union center. The Union generals knew
that this fierce artillery fire was but the prelude to a
charge and placed their commands in position to receive the
shock. About 3 o'clock Hunt ordered the guns to cease firing,
partly to replenish his supply of ammunition, and partly to
see what the enemy would do. Thinking that the batteries were
silenced Pickett emerged from the woods and began his advance,
his men marching with such even step that for a little while
the whole Union line stood in silent admiration of this
display of heroism on the part of men who were marching to
certain death. But when about half of the open space had been
crossed the Federal batteries again opened with telling
effect. Great gaps were torn in Pickett's line by the shot
and shell, but they were quickly closed up as the line pressed
forward. When the Confederates crossed the Emmitsburg road
canister came into use, and at the same time McGilvery's guns
on Little Round Top opened a destructive, enfilading fire on
the advancing lines. Still on they came. Hancock's
skirmishers near the Emmitsburg road were driven back like
chaff before the wind. The enemy had now come within musket
range and Hays' division poured volley after volley into the
left, causing it to waver so that it fell behind the main
column. Before Pickett's first line reached the stone wall,
behind which the main line of Meade's army was posted,
Stannard found an opportunity to make a flank attack with his
Vermont brigade. Quickly changing front with two of his three
regiments, he brought them perpendicular to the enemy's line
and sent in a volley that forced Kemper's brigade staggering
back on the center. This was closely followed up by Col.
Gates, of the 20th N. Y. militia, throwing Pickett's left into
confusion and causing many to surrender, while others threw
away their arms and took to their heels.

Although the two ends of the line were badly disorganized
by these flank attacks, the center kept bravely on to the
stone wall. Gen. Armistead, whose brigade was in this portion
of the line, was one of the first to gain the wall. Placing
his hat on the point of his sword he waved it above his head
and shouted: "Give,em the cold steel, boys!" His example was
speedily followed and with fixed bayonets the Confederates
came pouring over the wall. One of the batteries was
captured, the enemy's flag floated for a few brief moments
over the Federal works, while the "rebel yell" resounded on
all sides. But their triumph was of short duration. The
place where the Union line was broken was directly in front of
Webb's brigade of Gibbon's division. Webb rallied the 72nd
Pa. and led it against the enemy; part of the 71st Pa. gained
a position behind a stone wall on the right, from which they
poured a murderous fire into Armistead's flank. The remainder
of this regiment and the 68th Pa. found shelter in a clump of
trees and sent a storm of leaden hail into the ranks of the
assailants. Col. Hall, commanding Gibbon's 3rd brigade, made a
dashing charge with two regiments of his own command, the 15th
Mass., the 1st Minn., and the 19th Me. of the 1st brigade,
that drove the enemy from the works and turned defeat into
vitory. Back across the open space, over which they had
marched with heroic determination but a short time before, the
Confederates now fled in the wildest disorder. Of Pickett's
three brigade commanders Armistead and Garnett were killed and
Kemper severely wounded. Nearly three-fourths of his command
were either killed, wounded or captured. As the enemy
retreated, Stannard, who had held his position during the
action, repeated his flank movement and captured a large part
of Wilcox's brigade, which was coming up to Pickett's support.
Lee's grand coup de main had failed.

While the main battle was in progress in the center there
were sharp cavalry engagements on both flanks. On the left
part of Kilpatrick's division made a charge through the woods
near Devil's Den, against the infantry and artillery stationed
there. In this action Kilpatrick lost a number in killed and
wounded, among the former being Gen. Farnsworth. The affair
on the right was of greater magnitude. Four of Stuart's
brigades were ordered to cover Ewell's left, and to make a
demonstration to divert attention from the main attack. Then,
if Pickett's charge proved successful, he was to fall on the
rear of the Federals or harass their retreat. Stuart planted
several batteries on the hills commanding the Baltimore pike
and made other preparations to attack the minute he heard that
Pickett had carried the works on Cemetery hill. Custer's
brigade of Kilpatrick's division became engaged, although he
was under orders to join his command on the left, and
continued the fight until he was relieved by McIntosh's
brigade of Gregg's division. One of Stuart's batteries was
posted near the buildings of the Rummel farm and Mclntosh
undertook to drive it away. He soon encountered a strong body
of skirmishers and sent back for reinforcements. Randol's and
Pennington's batteries were moved to the front and soon
silenced the enemy's batteries, when McIntosh moved up and
occupied the position. W. H. Lee's brigade now came up to the
support of the skirmish line and succeeded in repulsing the
1st N. J., whose ammunition was exhausted. The 7th Mich. was
also driven back and it began to look dark for McIntosh, when
the 5th Mich. made a charge on Lee and soon had him on the
retreat. Just then Hampton's brigade, which had been kept in
reserve by Stuart, came up and again turned the tide in favor
of the Confederates. Although Custer had been relieved he had
not yet left the field. Seeing the Union troops about to be
overpowered he placed himself at the head of the 1st Michigan
and shouting "Come on, you Wolverines!" charged with such
impetuosity that Hampton's line was temporarily thrown into
confusion. Custer's timely action put new courage into those
already engaged, and for a few minutes every saber was busy
officers and privates fighting side by side. Capt. Hart next
brought up a squadron of the 1st N. J. and the Confederates
gave way.

Beaten at every point the Confederates fell back to a
strong position on Seminary ridge, where the army lay all day
on the 4th anxiously expecting and dreading an attack from
Meade, who was content to hold his position on Cemetery ridge.
Some skirmishing occurred during the day and that night Lee's
army, broken and dispirited, began its retreat into Virginia.
The decisive battle of the Civil war had been fought and won
by the Federals and the days of the Confederacy were numbered.

The Union losses at Gettysburg were 3,155 killed, 14,529
wounded and 5,365 missing. The Confederate reports give Lee's
losses as being 2,592 killed, 12,709 wounded and 5,150
missing, but the records of prisoners of war in the office of
the adjutant-general of the United States army bear the names
of 12,277 Confederates who were captured at the battle of

Source: The Union Army, vol. 5

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