Report of Lieut. Gen. Ambrose P. Hill, C. S.
Army, Commanding Third Army Corps.
JUNE 3-AUGUST 1, 1863. The Gettysburg Campaign.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXVII/2 [S# 44]
HEADQUARTERS THIRD ARMY CORPS,
November --, 1863.
Col. R. H. CHILTON,
A. and I. G., Army Northern Virginia.
COLONEL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the Third Army Corps during and subsequent to the battle of Gettysburg:
On the morning of June 29, the Third Corps, composed of the divisions of Major-Generals Anderson, Heth, and Pender, and five battalions of artillery, under command of Col. R. L. Walker, was encamped on the road from Chambersburg to Gettysburg, near the village of Fayetteville. I was directed to move on this road in the direction of York, and to cross the Susquehanna, menacing the communications of Harrisburg with Philadelphia, and to co-operate with General Ewell, acting as circumstances might require.
Accordingly, on the 29th I moved General Heth's division to Cash-town, some 8 miles from Gettysburg, following on the morning of the 30th with the division of General Pender, and directing General Anderson to move in the same direction on the morning of July 1. On arriving at Cashtown, General Heth, who had sent forward Petti-grew's brigade to Gettysburg, reported that Pettigrew had encountered the enemy at Gettysburg (principally cavalry), but in what force he could not determine. A courier was then dispatched with this information to the general commanding, and with orders to start Anderson early; also to General Ewell, informing him, and that I intended to advance the next morning and discover what was in my front.
On July 1, at 5 a.m., Heth took up the line of march, with Pegram's battalion of artillery, followed by Pender, with McIntosh's battalion of artillery, Colonel Walker with the remainder of the artillery being with General Anderson. About 3 miles from Gettysburg, Heth's advance brigade (Archer's) encountered the advance of the enemy. Archer and Davis were thrown into line, and, with some pieces of artillery from Pegram, the enemy were steadily driven back to the wooded hills this side of Gettysburg, where their principal force (since ascertained to be the First and Eleventh Corps) were disposed to dispute our farther advance.
Heth's whole division was now thrown into line; Davis on the left of the road, Archer, Pettigrew, and Brockenbrough on the right, and Pender's formed in his rear; Thomas on the left, and Lane, Scales, and Perrin on the right. Pegram's and McIntosh's battalions of artillery were put in position on the crest of a hill overlooking the town of Gettysburg. Heth's division drove the enemy, encountering a determined resistance.
About 2.30 o'clock, the right wing of Ewell's corps made its appearance on my left, and thus formed a right angle with my line. Pender's division was then ordered forward, Thomas' brigade being retained in reserve, and the rout of the enemy was complete, Perrin's brigade taking position after position of the enemy, and driving him through the town of Gettysburg. The want of cavalry had been and was again seriously felt.
Under the impression that the enemy were entirely routed, my own two divisions exhausted by some six hours' hard fighting, prudence led me to be content with what had been gained, and not push forward troops exhausted and necessarily disordered, probably to encounter fresh troops of the enemy. These two divisions were bivouacked in the positions won, and Anderson, who had just come up, was also bivouacked some 2 miles in rear of the battle-ground.
The results of this fight were, for the Third Corps, 2 pieces of artillery and 2,300 prisoners, and the almost total annihilation of the First Corps of the enemy. Major-General Heth was slightly wounded; Brigadier-General Archer was taken prisoner by the enemy; Brigadier-General Scales also wounded. Pettigrew's brigade, under its gallant leader, fought most admirably, and sustained heavy loss.
On the morning of July 2, Anderson was ordered to the front, and relieved Heth's division, extending to our right and along a crest of hills which faced the Cemetery Hill at Gettysburg, and, continuing to the right, ran nearly parallel to the Emmitsburg road.
On the 2d, then, my position was this: Pender's division occupying the crest from the theological seminary, extending to the right and joined by Anderson's, who carried on the line, almost entirely covering the whole front occupied by the enemy; Heth's division (now commanded by General Pettigrew) in reserve. Colonel Walker had distributed his artillery along this line in the most eligible positions. The corps of General Longstreet (McLaws' and Hood's divisions) was on my right, and in a line very nearly at right angles to mine. General Longstreet was to attack the left flank of the enemy, and sweep down his line, and I was ordered to co-operate with him with such of my brigades from the right as could join in with his troops in the attack. On the extreme right, Hood commenced the attack about 2 o'clock; McLaws about 5.30 o'clock.
Soon after McLaws moved forward, General Anderson moved forward the brigades of Wilcox, Perry, and Wright, en échelon. The charge of these three brigades was very gallantly made, and pressed on until Wilcox's right had become separated from McLaws' left. Wilcox and Wright drove the enemy from their intrenchments, inflicting very heavy loss upon them. Wilcox's brigade succeeded in capturing eight pieces of artillery and Wright's brigade about twenty. The enemy threw forward heavy re-enforcements, and no supports coming to these brigades, the ground so hardly won had to be given up, and the brigades occupied their former positions in line of battle. The three brigades lost heavily in this attack. On this day, also, the Confederacy lost the invaluable services of Maj. Gen. W. D. Pender, wounded by a shell, and since dead. No man fell during this bloody battle of Gettysburg more regretted than he, nor around whose youthful brow were clustered brighter rays of glory.
On the morning of the 3d, the divisions of my corps occupied the same positions as on the 2d. The reserve batteries were all brought up, and put in position along the crest of the ridge facing the enemy's line. In addition, the battalion of Colonel Alexander, of Longstreet's corps, was put in position in front of the right wing of Anderson's division, and on the ground won by Wilcox and Wright. I was directed to hold my line with Anderson's division and the half of Pender s (now commanded by General Lane), and to order Heth's division (commanded by Pettigrew), and Lane's and Scales' brigades, of Pender's division, to report to Lieutenant-General Longstreet as a support to his corps in the assault on the enemy's lines. As the troops were filing off to their positions, Major-General Trimble reported to me for the command of Pender's division, and took command of the two brigades destined to take part in the assault.
At 1 o'clock our artillery opened, and for two hours rained an incessant storm of missiles upon the enemy's lines. The effect was marked along my front, driving the enemy entirely from his guns.
The assault was then gallantly made, Heth's division and Trimble's two brigades on the left of Pickett. Anderson had been directed to hold his division ready to take advantage of any success which might be gained by the assaulting column, or to support it, if necessary. To that end, Wilcox and Perry were moved forward to eligible positions. The assault failed, and, after almost gaining the enemy's works, our troops fell back in disorder. The enemy made no attempt to pursue. Major-General Trimble, Brigadier-General Pettigrew, and Colonel Fry, commanding Archer's brigade, were wounded while most gallantly leading their troops. General Trimble and Colonel Fry were both taken prisoners.
The troops resumed their former positions, and remained thus until the night of the 4th, when the march was taken up toward Hagerstown, by Fairfield and Waynesborough.
At Hagerstown, we lay in line of battle from the 7th to the night of the 13th, when I moved my corps in the direction of the pontoon bridge at Falling Waters. Being the rear guard of the army, such dispositions as were necessary were made to repel any advance of the enemy. Anderson's division crossed without molestation, and Pender's was in the act of crossing when the enemy made their appearance. A small body of cavalry charged Pettigrew's and Archer's brigades, and were annihilated. Only 2 of ours killed; but, unfortunately for the service, one of them was the gallant and accomplished Pettigrew.
Subsequently the enemy pressed on vigorously, and I directed General Heth to retire his troops and cross the river. In doing this, some loss was sustained, principally in stragglers, and not exceeding 500, composed of men from the various brigades of the army. Two pieces of artillery were broken down on this night march, and abandoned. Colonel Walker brought off three guns captured on the field of Gettysburg.
On the 21st, the march was resumed toward Culpeper Court-House. On the 23d, Wright's brigade, under Colonel Walker, was left to guard Manassas Gap until relieved by General Ewell. This brigade was attacked while there by an overwhelming force of the enemy, but held its ground stubbornly until relieved by Ewell's corps, when it marched with him to Culpeper. General Ewell speaks in high terms of the admirable conduct of this brigade.
Continuing the march on the morning of the 24th, at Newby's Cross-Roads a brigade of the enemy's cavalry attempted to arrest our march. Heth's' division (his own and Pender's) was leading. General Benning's brigade, of Longstreet's corps was also along, and rendered prompt and valuable assistance. The enemy were soon put to flight in confusion, and no more annoyance occurred on the march to Culpeper Court-House.
On August 1, Anderson's division was sent out on the road to Brandy [Station], to repel some of the enemy's cavalry, which had driven back our cavalry and were quite near the court-house. This was handsomely done by Mahone's brigade and Perry's, and with but trifling loss.
The total loss of the Third Corps in this campaign was 849 killed, 4,289 wounded, and 3,844 missing. The larger portion of those reported missing were killed or wounded in the fight of July 3, but the possession of the field by the enemy prevented a true count.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. P. HILL,
Commanding Third Corps.
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