Reports of Lieut. Col. James M. Bull, One hundred and twenty-sixth New York Infantry, commanding Third Brigade.
Gettysburg Campaign
O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XXVII/1 [S# 43]

HDQRS. THIRD BRIG., THIRD DIV., SECOND ARMY CORPS,
Camp near Frederick, Md., July 8, 1863.

Capt. G. P. CORTS,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

       SIR: I have the honor to make the following statement in relation to the operations of the Third Brigade, Third Division, Second Army Corps, in the battle of July 2 and 3, near Gettysburg, Pa.:
       The brigade, under the command of Col. G. L. Willard, of the One hundred and twenty-fifth New York Volunteer Regiment, first took its position, by direction of the division general, by battalion in mass near a barn a little south of the hill known as Cemetery Hill. The Thirty-ninth New York Volunteers, under the command of Major Hildebrandt, was, by order of the general commanding the division, sent to the front as skirmishers. The regiment deployed, and for some four hours did very effective service against the skirmishers of the enemy.
       During this skirmish, the regiment lost 26 enlisted men killed and wounded, and 2 commissioned officers wounded; one of whom, Lieutenant Wagner, has since died.
       About noon, the division general ordered the regiment withdrawn, and the brigade soon after changed its position, and was massed by battalion on a hill to the left of Cemetery Hill.
       At about 4 p.m., by order of the division general, the brigade moved from its position by the left flank about a quarter of a mile toward the left of the line, where it was formed in line of battle, and ordered by Colonel Willard to charge two rebel batteries, supported by infantry, posted on the hill in front of the position occupied by the brigade. The regiments composing the brigade were then commanded as follows: Colonel Sherrill, One hundred and twenty-sixth New York Volunteers; Colonel MacDougall, One hundred and eleventh New York Volunteers; Lieutenant-Colonel Crandell, One hundred and twenty-fifth New York Volunteers; Major Hildebrandt, Thirty-ninth New York Volunteers. The line advanced over declining ground, through a dense underbrush extending to the base of the hill previously mentioned, in as good order as the circumstances of the case would admit of, at which place (the base of the hill) the alignment, without stopping, was partially rectified.
       Contrary, as is evident, to the expectations of the brigade commander, the rebels in considerable force were found in this underbrush. They fired upon the brigade as it advanced, which fire was returned by a portion of the brigade without halting. Many fell in the charge through the woods. Reaching the base of the hill, the brigade advanced at a "charge bayonets" up the hill mentioned, and within a few minutes recaptured part of a battery previously taken from us. After taking the battery, the brigade continued to advance under the fire of a battery higher up the hill on the left and a concentric fire of musketry on the right. The commander, finding his brigade unable to stand so severe a fire, ordered the regiments to retire, which was done in good order down the hill and through the underbrush before mentioned.
       After emerging from the underbrush, the line was reformed by direction of Colonel Willard, and immediately afterward he was killed by a shot from a rebel battery on the hill. Colonel Sherrill then assumed command, and conducted the brigade to its original position, pursuant to the order of Colonel Willard, given just before his death.
       The coolness, courage, and determination displayed by officers and men throughout this trying occasion reflect great credit on them, and it is believed that the charge aided materially in maintaining our lines during that day. After the cessation of the firing, the brigade reoccupied the position it held in the morning.
       During the forenoon and part of the afternoon of the second day, large details were made from the several regiments of the brigade for skirmishing, such details being actively engaged in skirmishing with the enemy on the flat in front of the crest of the hill occupied by our artillery and infantry, extending left from Cemetery Hill. In anticipation of an attack upon the line on the crest of the hill mentioned, the regiments composing this brigade were formed in two lines, nearly parallel, some distance apart, under the slope of the hill occupied by us, being so placed as supports to the artillery.
       About 1 p.m. the enemy opened from his batteries planted on the slope of the hill across the flat mentioned, evidently with the intention of silencing our batteries, and a terrific cannonade ensued, which continued about two hours, during which period the regiments remained in the position before stated. Near the close of this severe artillery duel, the regiments were formed on the hill with other regiments of the division, to repel an infantry attack. The enemy, advancing in four lines across the flat, were subjected to a murderous fire of musketry and artillery, and were driven back in confusion, after an engagement of about an hour.
       The regiment behaved well during this engagement, to the best of my knowledge and belief. The brigade was commanded by Colonel Sherrill until his death, about 4 p.m., when the command devolved upon Lieut. Col. James M. Bull, his seniors in the brigade having been killed or disabled.
       In this engagement a severe loss was sustained by the brigade in killed and wounded, the precise number of which I am unable to report.
       The regiments maintained their positions mentioned on the slope of the hill during the next day, sending out details to skirmish on the flat.
       Herewith are inclosed lists of the killed, wounded, and missing of the several regiments of the brigade, which are as accurate as I can now furnish.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES M. BULL,
Lieut. Col. 126th New York Vols., Comdg. Brigade.


HDQRS. THIRD BRIG., THIRD DIV., SECOND ARMY CORPS,
Camp near Sandy Hook, Md., July 17, 1863.

Capt. G. P. CORTS,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

       SIR: Replying to the circular dated Philadelphia, Pa., July 7, 1863, I beg leave to represent that I have made diligent inquiry as to the subject-matter of said circular.
       During the afternoon of Thursday, the 2d instant, this brigade was formed and marched by the flank toward the left. During this march the Thirty-ninth New York Volunteers, by order of Colonel Willard, were detached, and ordered about a third of a mile from the point where the residue of the brigade advanced in line of battle. The commanding officer of this regiment claims that, in obedience to such order, at the point designated, he charged on a line of rebel skirmishers, drove them in, and retook four pieces of artillery with caissons belonging to Battery I, Fifth U.S. Artillery, which had been captured by the enemy. The commanders of the other regiments of the brigade claim that at least two of these guns and caissons were captured in the advance of the brigade.
       I am unable to settle the conflict of statement from my personal knowledge, nor am I able to state whether any regiment of this brigade is the one referred to in this circular from my knowledge, or from evidence before me which I deem conclusive.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES M. BULL,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Third Brigade,

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