Reports of Brig. Gen. Samuel W. Crawford,
U.S. Army, commanding Third Division.
O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XXVII/1 [S# 43] -- Gettysburg Campaign
HDQRS. PA. RESERVES THIRD DIV., FIFTH CORPS,
July 10, 1863.
Lieut. Col. FRED. T. LOCKE,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Fifth Army Corps.
COLONEL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this division in the recent battle near Gettysburg, Pa:
At daylight on the 2d instant, while resting my command near McSherrystown, having marched nearly all the previous night, I received an order from the major-general commanding the corps to march immediately toward Gettysburg. The column was put in motion at once, and by noon had arrived at the position occupied by the First and Second Divisions of the corps, near the Gettysburg and Hanover turnpike.
At 2 o'clock an order reached me to form my command at once, and proceed toward the left flank of our line, when my position would be indicated by a staff officer. The First Division of the corps, which I had been directed to follow, had taken a different road from that indicated to me. Under the guidance, however, of Captain Moore, an aide of the general commanding the army, who had come from the field for fresh troops, I pushed rapidly forward, and arrived in a short time upon the field, and reported to Major-General Sykes. I received orders at once to mass my troops upon the right of a road running through our line, near our left flank, and which, descending a rocky slope, crossed a low marshy ground in front to a wheat-field lying between two thick belts of woods beyond.
The position occupied by our troops on the left was naturally a strong one. A rocky ridge, wooded at the top, extended along the left of our position, ending in a high hill, called the Round Top, whose sides, covered with timber, terminated abruptly in the plain below, while the entire ridge sloped toward a small stream that traversed the marshy ground in front. Beyond this lay two thick masses of timber, separated by a large wheat-field, and skirting this timber a low stone wall ran from right to left.
The movement indicated had not been completed when I received a subsequent order to cross the road to the slope of the rocky ridge opposite the woods, and to cover the troops then engaged in front, should it become necessary for them to fall back. In carrying out this order, I received instructions to detach one brigade of my command, to go to the left of Barnes' division, on the crest of the ridge. The Third Brigade, under Col. J. W. Fisher, was detailed, and moved at once. The firing in front was heavy and incessant. The enemy, concentrating his forces opposite the left of our line, was throwing them in heavy masses upon our troops, and was steadily advancing.
Our troops in front, after a determined resistance, unable to withstand the force of the enemy, fell back, and some finally gave way. The plain to my front was covered with fugitives from all divisions, who rushed through my lines and along the road to the rear. Fragments of regiments came back in disorder, and without their arms, and for a moment all seemed lost. The enemy's skirmishers had reached the foot of the rocky ridge; his columns were following rapidly.
My command was formed in two lines, the second massed on the first. The Sixth Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Ent, on the right, the First Regiment, Colonel Talley, on the left, and the Eleventh Regiment, of Fisher's brigade, under Colonel Jackson, in the center. The second line consisted of the First Rifles (Bucktails), Colonel Taylor, and the Second Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Woodward. Colonel McCandless, the brigade commander, commanded the whole.
Not a moment was to be lost. Uncovering our front, I ordered an immediate advance. The command advanced gallantly with loud cheers. Two well-directed volleys were delivered upon the advancing masses of the enemy, when the whole column charged at a run down the slope, driving the enemy back across the space beyond and across the stone wall, for the possession of which there was a short but determined struggle. The enemy retired to the wheat-field and the woods.
The second line was immediately deployed to the left, the First Rifles (Bucktails), under their gallant leader, Colonel Taylor, gaining the flank and dashing upon the enemy, who, endeavoring for a moment to make a stand, finally broke and fled in disorder across the field, leaving his dead and wounded in our hands. As night was approaching, and my flanks were unprotected, I directed Colonel McCandless to hold the line of the stone wall and the woods on the right. Heavy lines of skirmishers were thrown out, and the ground firmly and permanently held.
I then rode to the left, toward Fisher's brigade. Upon ascending the crest of the ridge, I found, from the report of that officer, as well as from Colonel Rice, of Barnes' division, that the Round Top was still in possession of the enemy's skirmishers, who were firing upon our men.
It was important to hold this hill, as from its position it commanded that part of our line. I directed Colonel Fisher to occupy it at once. He immediately detached the Twelfth Regiment, under Colonel Hardin, the Fifth, under Lieutenant-Colonel Dare, and the Twentieth Maine Regiment, under Colonel Chamberlain, who advanced promptly, driving the enemy before them, capturing over 30-prisoners.
During the night the division commanded by Brigadier-General Bartlett, of the Sixth Corps, was moved up to my support. At 5 o'clock on the 3d, I received orders from General Sykes, commanding the corps, to advance that portion of my command which was holding the ground retaken on the left, and which still held the line of the stone wall in front, to enter the woods, and, if possible, drive out the enemy. It was supposed that the enemy had evacuated the position.
I proceeded at once to the spot, and directed the movement to be made. McCandless' brigade, with the Eleventh Regiment, under Colonel Jackson, were ordered to advance, throwing out skirmishers toward the right in the direction of a battery established by the enemy at noon, and which was plainly visible. I requested Brigadier-General Bartlett to move up one of his regiments to the stone wall from which I advanced, and also to throw a force toward my right, to protect that flank. The men of his command moved promptly into position, and rendered efficient service. The movement had hardly begun before this battery opened with grape and canister. The woods on the right were soon cleared; as soon as the skirmishers approached the battery, it ceased firing and fled.
The line was then formed, and, under the immediate direction of Colonel McCandless, dashed across the wheat-field and into the upper end of the woods. The enemy's skirmishers were driven back as he advanced, and the upper end of the woods was now cleared. The command then changed front to rear, and charged through the entire length of woods. One brigade of the enemy, commanded by Brigadier-General [George T.] Anderson and composed of Georgia troops, was encountered. It had taken position behind a stone wall running through the woods, and which they had made stronger by rails and logs. We fell upon their flank, completely routing them, taking over 200 prisoners, one stand of colors belonging to the Fifteenth Georgia, and many arms. The colors were taken by Sergt. John B. Thompson, Company G, First Rifles. Another brigade, under General Robertson, and composed of Texas troops, which lay concealed beyond the woods and near the foot of the ridge, ran, as reported by the prisoners, without firing a shot.
The enemy's force at this point (his extreme right)consisted of the division of Major-General Hood, and was composed of three brigades, under the rebel Generals Anderson, [J. B.] Robertson, and [H. L.] Benning. They very greatly outnumbered us, but the rapidity of the movement and the gallant dash of my men completely surprised and routed them. They fell back nearly a mile to a second ridge, and intrenched themselves. By this charge of McCandless' brigade and the Eleventh Regiment, Colonel Jackson, the whole of the ground lost the previous day was retaken, together with all of our wounded, who, mingled with those of the rebels, were lying uncared for.
The dead of both sides lay in lines in every direction, and the large number of our own men showed how fierce had been the struggle and how faithfully and how persistently they had contested for the field against the superior masses of the enemy.
The result of this movement was the recovery of all the ground lost by our troops, one 12-pounder Napoleon gun and three caissons, and upward of 7,000 stand of arms. Large piles of these arms were found on brush heaps, ready to be burned.
Our wounded were at once cared for, and, under the able and prompt management of Surg. L. W. Read, surgeon-in-chief of this division, who came promptly upon the field, they were moved to hospitals in the rear, and carefully provided for.
On the 4th, the large number of arms were collected, under the immediate direction of Lieutenant Harding, the ordnance officer of the division, and the brigade, which had been on incessant duty for forty-eight hours, under an annoying picket fire for a great period of the time, was withdrawn to the rear.
My list in killed and wounded was 20 officers and 190 men, 3 only missing.
The nominal and tabular list is inclosed.
Col. Charles Fred. Taylor, the gallant and brave leader of the Bucktail Regiment, fell while leading his regiment to the charge. No braver soldier and patriot has given his life to the cause.
The gallant men of this division fought upon their own soil--some of them at their very homes; and there was not an officer or private soldier who did not realize that the very contingency to meet which the division was formed had now arisen. The result is evinced in the gallantry displayed by those who were fortunate enough to enter the field when our left was overpowered and the enemy was boldly advancing upon the key of our position.
Great credit is due to Col. William McCandless, commanding the First Brigade, for his management of his brigade and the prompt and faithful execution of the order given to him in the face of a galling fire on the 2d, and for the rapid and successful dash upon the enemy on the 3d, and I recommend him especially to the notice of the major-general commanding the corps.
To Colonel Fisher, commanding the Third Brigade, great credit is also due in early realizing the importance of the occupation of the Round Top and in promptly and successfully occupying it. The enemy would undoubtedly have occupied it during the night.
The prompt and efficient support given to me by Brigadier-General Bartlett, commanding division, Sixth Corps, I desire here to acknowledge.
The officers of my staff accompanied me throughout the action. Captain [Louis] Livingston, my senior aide; Captain[Richard T.] Auchmuty, assistant adjutant-general; Major [James P.] Speer, inspector-general, and Lieutenant [Richard P.] Henderson, aide-de-camp, accompanied the command on the charge and were among the foremost.
Captain Livingston and Lieutenant Henderson are deserving of especial commendation for the prompt and fearless conveyance of orders intrusted to them on the 3d, under the immediate fire of the enemy's battery.
Lieutenant [William] Harding, the ordnance officer, managed his department with great credit, and promptly moved from the field a large proportion of the small-arms secured. His report has already been submitted.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. W. CRAWFORD,
Brigadier-General, Comdg. Third Division.
- - - - - - - - - - --
HEADQUARTERS PENNSYLVANIA RESERVES,
Near Gettysburg, Pa., July 4, 1863.
COLONEL: I have the honor to report the following list of arms captured on the 2d and 3d instant by my command:
First Brigade Enfield rifles 469 Springfield rifles 741 Smooth-bore, caliber 69 207 Austrian rifles, caliber 54 99 Remington rifles, caliber 54 15 Fowling pieces 2 French rifles 96 Springfield rifles, caliber 69 53 Springfield rifled muskets, caliber 58
(issued to Colonel Penrose, Fifteenth New Jersey Volunteers)
239 Stacked on battle-field 1,151 Third Brigade Pieces unassorted 600 Total 3,672
The assorted arms are mostly in good order. In addition, I have to report the capture of one Napoleon gun and three caissons.
The ammunition was used or destroyed on the field.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, yours,
S. W. CRAWFORD,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Division.
RETURN TO BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG UNION ORDER OF BATTLE PAGE