Report of Col. E. Porter Alexander, C. S. Army, commanding battalion Reserve Artillery
JUNE 3-AUGUST 1, 1863.--The Gettysburg Campaign
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXVII/2 [S# 44]
AUGUST 3, 1863
Lieut. Col. G. MOXLEY SORREL,
SIR: In obedience to orders, I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my battalion in the recent campaign:
Leaving Milford Depot on June 3, we marched to Culpeper CourtHouse, and encamped in its vicinity on the 5th. Leaving-this place on the 15th, we proceeded to Millwood, where we encamped on the 18th, and remained until the 24th, when we again marched with the First Corps, and accompanied it, via Winchester, Greencastle, and Chambersburg, to Gettysburg, Pa., where we arrived at 9 a.m. on July 2, having halted for three days at Chambersburg and one day between that and Gettysburg.
Shortly after our arrival. I was directed by General Longstreet to accompany with my battalion the divisions of Major-Generals Me-Laws and Hood in the attack upon the left. The march into position was performed with these divisions, and about 4 p.m. I placed four batteries (those of Captains [George V.] Moody, [W. W.] Parker, [O. B.] Taylor, and [A. B.] Rhett, the latter commanded by Lieutenant [S.C.] Gilbert, and the whole commanded by Maj. Frank Huger, I having been ordered to control also the other battalions of artillery on the field) in action against a heavy artillery and infantry force of the enemy, about 500 yards distant, in a peach orchard on the Emmitsburg pike.
After a spirited engagement of a half hour, assisted by Cabell's battalion from a short distance on our right, the enemy's guns were silenced, and the position was immediately carried by the infantry, and the enemy fell back to his position on the mountain, where our infantry gallantly pursued him.
Just before the enemy ceased his fire, annoyed by his obstinacy, I had ordered up my two remaining batteries, [T. C.] Jordan's and [P.] Woolfolk, jr.'s. These, arriving on the ground just as the infantry charge was made, joined in it, under the immediate command of Maj. James Dearing, who had volunteered his services to me. Major Huger also followed with the four batteries under his control as soon as the teams could be disencumbered of killed and wounded animals (for his loss had been serious), and occupied the enemy's original position, in time to seriously annoy their retreat to the mountain, and to assist the infantry in causing them to abandon several guns at its foot. From this new position a spirited duel now ensued with their new line, which our infantry attacked in vain, and was kept up till dark, shortly before which our infantry fell back, and the enemy, who attempted to pursue, were checked and driven back by our fire.
Sleeping on the field that night, and replacing ammunition, at dawn I again placed the whole battalion in position for the attack upon the enemy's new line. In this attack, my battalion bore its full share, and suffered heavy loss, fighting again under Major Huger, excepting Woolfolk's battery, which was detached under Lieut. James Woolfolk, Captain Woolfolk having been wounded severely in his gallant charge the evening before. During the afternoon, the batteries all maintained their respective positions, part of the time without infantry support, and driving off the enemy's sharpshooters with canister. They were withdrawn from the field only when it was entirely abandoned by our infantry--Captain Taylor and Lieutenant Woolfolk only withdrawing at midnight.
During the next day, the battalion remained near and in rear of its original position on the 2d until 4 p.m., when it marched to Black Horse Tavern, ready to take its place in the column.
It marched from the latter place on the 5th, and proceeding via Fairfield and Monterey Springs, encamped at Hagerstown on the evening of the 6th.
On the 10th, we were ordered into position at Downsville, to resist a threatened attack of the enemy, advancing in force.
On the 11th, we constructed pits for all the guns on the line of battle at this place, and remained in them until the night of the 13th, when, with the rest of the army, we crossed the river, and encamped the next day on the Martinsburg pike, near Hainesville, and, on the 15th, marched to Bunker Hill.
Marching from the latter place on the 20th, via Front Royal, Gaines' Cross-Roads, and Sperryville, we encamped again near Culpeper Court-House on the 24th.
The sum total of the losses in my battalion during the period covered by this report are as follows: In the battle of Gettysburg, July 2 and 3, killed, 19; wounded, 114; missing, 6; total, 139 men. There were also 2 killed and 3 wounded of a detachment of 8 gallant Mississippians at Captain Moody's guns, who volunteered to help maneuver them on very difficult ground. Horses killed and disabled in action, 116. Many of my wounded sent to Cashtown fell into the hands of the enemy there. On the night march across the Potomac, 8 men missing. Deserted near Martinsburg, 3 men. Upset near the pontoon bridge and thrown into the river, by order to clear the passage to the bridge, one limber of 24-pounder howitzer caisson. Destroyed in action, one 12-pounder howitzer, two 12-pounder howitzer carriages, and six wheels. The howitzer, however, was brought off In a wagon.
I cannot speak too highly of the ability and soldierly qualities, both on the field of battle and no less creditably on forced marches by day and night, over terrible roads and with scarcely half teams, by the officers of my battalion; nor of the splendid courage and tenacity of both officers and men under as deadly a fire as has often been faced; nor of the cheerfulness with which the men endured the fatigue, exposure, and short rations which often fell to their lot, the latter, I fear, being necessarily incidental to the make-shift arrangements by which rations are supplied to them.
I very respectfully recommend for special merit and gallantry, Majors Huger and Dearing; Capts. T. C. Jordan, G. V. Moody, P. Wool-folk, jr., W. W. Parker, O. B. Taylor, and W. W. Fickling; Lieutenant Gilbert, commanding Brooks' artillery until severely wounded; Lieut. J. Donnell Smith and Lieutenant [James] Sillers, temporarily commanding their respective batteries or detached sections, and Lieutenant [F. M.] Colston, ordnance officer. Under Assistant Surgeons [H. V.] Gray and [Aristides] Monteiro, Captain [P. A.] Franklin, quartermaster, and Lieutenant [George D.] Vaughan, commissary, the arduous duties of their respective departments were creditably performed.
Captains Jordan, Moody, and Fickling, and Lieutenant Woolfolk, commanding Woolfolk's battery, decline specifying any of their brave commands for praise, on the grounds that where all so well deserve it, it would be invidious to particularize. Captain Parker speaks highly of the behavior of Lieutenant [George E.] Saville, in particular, and First Sergeant [E. S.] Wooldridge. Captain Taylor also praises the behavior of Corpls. W. P. Ray and Joseph T. V. Lantz, both of whom were killed on the field while behaving most gallantly.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. P. ALEXANDER,
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