Report of Maj. Gen. Richard H. Anderson, C. S. Army, commanding division
JUNE 3-AUGUST 1, 1863.--The Gettysburg Campaign.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXVII/2 [S# 44]
HDQRS. ANDERSON'S DIVISION, THIRD ARMY CORPS,
Orange Court-House, Va., August 7, 1863.
Maj. WILLIAM H. PALMER,
A. A. and I. G., and Chief of Staff, Third Army Corps.
MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my division, from its departure from Fredericksburg to its return to Culpeper Court-House, Va., during the months of June and July:
Pursuant to instructions from Lieut. Gen. A. P. Hill, commanding the Third Army Corps, my command, composed of Wilcox's, Mahone's, Wright's, Perry's, and Posey's brigades, and Lane's battalion of artillery, moved on the afternoon of June 14 from the position which it had been occupying in line of battle near Fredericksburg for ten days previously, and followed the march of the First and Second Corps toward Culpeper Court-House.
The night of the 14th, it lay near Chancellorsville.
On the 15th, it moved to within 4 miles of Stevensburg, having been detained two hours at the Rapidan, clearing away obstructions from the road approaching the ford.
On the 16th, it arrived at Culpeper Court-House.
On the 17th, it moved to Hazel River, forded it, and encamped on its left bank; on the 18th to Flint Hill, and on the 19th to Front Royal, at which place it halted early in the day, and encamped, in obedience to the directions of the lieutenant-general commanding.
At 4 o'clock in the afternoon, orders were received to resume the march, and during that night the troops and a part of the wagon train crossed the two branches of the Shenandoah, rain and darkness preventing the greater part of the wagons from crossing until the following morning.
As soon as all the wagons had crossed on the morning of the 20th, the march was continued, and in the afternoon the command halted 2 miles beyond White Post.
Moved on the 21st to Berryville; on the 22d to Roper's farm, on the road to Charlestown, and on the 23d to Shepherdstown. On the 24th, it crossed the Potomac, and moved to Boonsborough. On the 25th, to Hagerstown; on the 26th, 2 miles beyond Greencastle, and on the 27th, through Chambersburg to Fayetteville, at which place it halted until July 1.
Soon after daylight on July 1, in accordance with the commands of the lieutenant-general, the division moved from Fayetteville in the direction of Cashtown. Arrived at the latter place early in the afternoon, and halted for further orders. Shortly Before our arrival at Cashtown, the sound of brisk cannonading near Gettysburg announced an engagement in our front. After waiting about an hour at Cashtown, orders were received from General Hill to move forward to Gettysburg. Upon approaching Gettysburg, I was directed to occupy the position in line of battle which had just been vacated by Pender's division, and to place one brigade and a battery of artillery a mile or more on the right of the line, in a direction at a right angle with it and facing to the right. Wilcox's brigade and Captain [H. M.] Ross' battery, of Lane's battalion, were posted in the detached position, while the other brigades occupied the ground from which Pender's division had just been moved.
We continued in this position until the morning of the 2d, when I received orders to take up a new line of battle on the right of Pender's division, about a mile and a half farther forward. Lane's battalion of artillery was detached from my command this morning, and did not rejoin it.
In taking the new position, the Tenth Alabama Regiment Wilcox's brigade, had a sharp skirmish with a body of the enemy who had occupied a wooded hill on the extreme right of my line. The enemy were soon driven from the wood, and the line of battle was formed, with the brigades in the following order: Wilcox's, Perry's (commanded by Col. David Lang), Wright's, Posey's, and Mahone's. The enemy's line was plainly in view, about 1,200 yards in our front, extending along an opposite ridge somewhat more elevated than that which we occupied, the intervening ground being slightly undulating, inclosed by rail and plank fences, and under cultivation. Our skirmishers soon became engaged with those of the enemy, and kept up an irregular fire upon one another. Shortly after the line had been formed, I received notice that Lieutenant-General Longstreet would occupy the ground on the right; that his line would be in a direction nearly at right angles with mine; that he would assault the extreme left of the enemy and drive him toward Gettysburg, and I was at the same time ordered to put the troops of my division into action by brigades as soon as those of General Longstreet's corps had progressed so far in their assault as to be connected with my right flank.
About 2 o'clock in the afternoon, the engagement between the artillery of the enemy and that of the First Army Corps commenced, and was soon followed by furious and sustained musketry; but it was not until 5.30 o'clock in the evening that McLaws' division (by which the movement of my division was to be regulated) had advanced so far as to call for the movement of my troops. The advance of Mc-Laws' division was immediately followed by the brigades of mine, in the manner directed. Never did troops go into action with greater spirit or more determined courage. The ground afforded them but little shelter, and for nearly three-quarters of a mile they were compelled to face a storm of shot and shell and bullets; but there was no hesitation nor faltering. They drove the enemy from his first line, and possessed themselves of the ridge and of much of the artillery with which it had been crowned; but the situation discovered the enemy in possession of a second line, with artillery upon both our front and flanks. From this position he poured a destructive fire of grape upon our troops. Strong re-enforcements pressed upon our right flank, which had become disconnected from McLaws' left, and the ridge was untenable. The brigades were compelled to retire. They fell back in the same succession in which they had advanced--Wilcox's, Perry's, Wright's, and Posey's. They regained their positions in the line of battle. The enemy did not follow. Pickets were again thrown to the front, and the troops lay upon their arms. In Wilcox's, Perry's, and Wright's brigades the loss was very heavy.
On July 3, nothing of consequence occurred along that portion of the line occupied by my division until the afternoon, when at 3.30 o'clock a great number of pieces of our artillery, massed against the enemy's center, opened upon it, and were replied to with equal force and fury. After about an hour's continuance of this conflict, the enemy's fire seemed to subside, and troops of General Longstreet's corps were advanced to the assault of the enemy's center. I received orders to hold my division in readiness to move up in support, if it should become necessary. The same success at first, and the same repulse, attended this assault as that made by my division on the preceding evening. The troops advanced gallantly under a galling and destructive storm of missiles of every description: gained the first ridge; were unable to hold it; gave way, and fell back, their support giving way at the same time.
Wilcox's and Perry's brigades had been moved forward, so as to be in position to render assistance, or to take advantage of any success gained by the assaulting column, and, at what I supposed to be the proper time, I was about to move forward Wright's and Posey's Brigades, when Lieutenant-General Longstreet directed me to stop the movement, adding that it was useless, and would only involve unnecessary loss, the assault having failed. I then caused the troops to resume their places in line, to afford a rallying point to those retiring and to oppose the enemy should he follow our retreating forces. No attempt at pursuit was made, and our troops resumed their line of battle.
Some loss was sustained by each of the brigades of the division from the cannonading, Wilcox's, which was supporting Alexander's artillery, suffering the most seriously.
There was nothing done on July 4. Late in the evening, I received orders to draw off the division as soon as it became dark, and take the road to Fairfield.
On the 5th, I was directed to hold the gap in the mountains between Fairfield and Waynesborough. In the evening, I moved to a place called Frogtown, at the base of the mountain.
At 6 p.m. on the 6th, moved toward Hagerstown. Halted on the morning of the 7th about 2 miles from the town, and remained in camp until July 10.
On the afternoon of the 10th, moved about 3 miles beyond Hagerstown, in the direction of Williamsport, and on the morning of the 11th moved 2 miles, and took a position in line of battle, with the right resting on the Boonsborough and Williamsport turnpike, the general direction of the line being at right angles to that road. The enemy was in view on the hills in our front. Skirmishers were advanced at once, and the troops were diligently employed in strengthening the position.
We lay in this line until the night of the 13th, when we marched just after dark toward the Potomac, which we crossed the following day (the 14th) at Falling Waters.
On the 15th, moved to Bunker Hill, at which place we remained until the 21st, when the march was resumed, and the division encamped on that night 2 miles south of Winchester.
On the 22d, crossed the Shenandoah, and halted for the night at Front Royal.
On the 23d, the division marched at daylight, Wright's brigade, under command of Colonel Walker, being detached, to relieve a brigade of the First Corps, on duty at Manassas Gap. This brigade had a very sharp encounter with a greatly superior force of the enemy at Manassas Gap, and behaved with its accustomed gallantry. Colonel Walker was severely, but not dangerously, wounded in the beginning of the fight, when the command devolved upon Captain [B. C.] McCurry, who, being incapacitated by ill-health and feebleness, subsequently relinquished it to Captain [C. H.] Andrews.
The division encamped on the night of the 23d at Flint Hill.
On the 24th, while pursuing the march, and when near Thornton River, some skirmishing occurred between the leading division (Heth's) and the enemy. Mahone's brigade relieved Walker's (Heth's division) which had been posted to support the artillery and to cover the road, and continued in that position until the rear of the corps had passed, when it followed and rejoined the division on the south of Hazel River.
On July 25, the command arrived at Culpeper Court-House.
The total loss sustained by the division in the battle of Gettysburg, the fight at Manassas Gap, and in minor affairs, is 2,266.
The reports of the commanders of brigades, including Captain Andrews' report of the fight at Manassas Gap, are herewith submitted.
The members of my staff--Majs. T. S. Mills and R. P. Duncan, assistant adjutant and inspectors general; Lieuts. William McWillie and S. D. Shannon, aides-de-camp, and Messrs. R. D. Spann and J. G. Spann, volunteer aides-de-camp--by their active and zealous attention to their duties, rendered valuable services at all times and upon all occasions.
The conduct of the troops under my command was in the highest degree praiseworthy and commendable throughout the campaign. Obedient to the orders of the commanding general, they refrained from taking into their own hands retaliation upon the enemy for the inhuman wrongs and outrages inflicted upon them in the wanton destruction of their property and homes. Peaceable inhabitants suffered no molestation. In a land of plenty, they often suffered hunger and want. One-fourth of their number marched, ragged and barefooted, through towns in which it was well ascertained that the merchants had concealed supplies of clothing. In battle they lacked none of that courage and spirit which has ever distinguished the soldiers of the Army of Northern Virginia, and, if complete success did not attend their efforts, their failure cannot be laid upon their shortcoming, but must be recognized and accepted as the will and decree of the Almighty disposer of human affairs.
I am, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
R. H. ANDERSON,
Major-General, Commanding Division.
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