Report of Brig. Gen. Lysander Cutler,
U. S. Army, commanding Second Brigade.
O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XXVII/1 [S# 43] -- Gettysburg Campaign
HDQRS. SECOND BRIG., FIRST DIV., FIRST ARMY CORPS,
In the Field, July 9, 1863.
Capt. T. E. ELLSWORTH,
Aide-de-Camp, and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the part performed by this brigade in the actions of the 1st, 2d, and 3d days of the month, near Gettysburg, Pa.:
The brigade excepting the Seventh Indiana, which was on duty in the rear--moved from camp early on the 1st instant (being the leading brigade of the corps) on toward Gettysburg. As we approached, and when within about 2 miles of the town, I was ordered to move obliquely to the left across the fields to the ridge near the seminary, west of the town, where the enemy were already engaging our cavalry. I moved forward across the railroad with the Seventy-sixth New York Volunteers, One hundred and forty-seventh New York Volunteers, and the Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers, immediately formed in line of battle, and found myself engaged with a vastly superior force of the enemy, advancing in two lines, at short range, in front and on my right flank. The Ninety-fifth New York Volunteers and the Fourteenth Brooklyn had been detached to the left, by order of General Reynolds, to support the Second Maine Battery and to hold the enemy in check until other troops could arrive. The three regiments under my immediate command fought as only brave men can fight, and held their ground until ordered to fall back, by General Wadsworth, to the woods on the next ridge. The Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania and Seventy-sixth New York fell back. The One hundred and forty-seventh did not receive the order, in consequence of Lieutenant-Colonel Miller being wounded at the moment of receiving it. Major Harney held the regiment to its position until the enemy were in possession of the railroad cut on his left, when it was impossible for him to retire until relieved by a charge on the enemy from the left by the Sixth Wisconsin, Ninety-fifth New York, and Fourteenth Brooklyn, which resulted in capturing a large body of the enemy and enabling Major Harney to bring off the remainder of his regiment.
The loss of this gallant regiment was fearful at this point, being officers killed and 10 wounded, 42 men killed and 153 wounded--207 out of 380 men and officers within half an hour.
The Seventy-sixth New York fared no better. They went in with 348 men and 27 officers; their loss during the same time was 2 officers killed, 16 wounded, 27 men killed, and 124 wounded within thirty minutes.
The loss of the Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania was also severe. They went into action with 17 officers and 235 men, and lost 6 officers wounded, 1 mortally, and 8 men killed and 64 wounded at that point.
After falling back to the woods, and subsequently farther back, I received orders again to advance and occupy the crest of the ridge. Although reduced by a loss of half their numbers, the men bravely and cheerfully moved back to renew the fight. On my way back, I was joined by the Ninety-fifth New York, Fourteenth Brooklyn, and Sixth Wisconsin. After occupying the old ground from half to three-quarters of an hour, I discovered the enemy putting a battery in position on my right flank and moving forward large bodies of infantry in the same direction. This being reported to General Wadsworth, he directed me to take such a position as I judged proper. I left the Fourteenth Brooklyn to assist the Sixth Wisconsin in supporting the battery, and with the balance of the brigade present changed front to the right, and endeavored to hold the enemy in check as best I could, having no support on either my right or left until 2 o'clock, when a brigade from the Second Division formed on my right, and the Eleventh Corps came in on the right of them. Immediately after, a column of the enemy moved on the Second Division. I at once pushed my brigade through the woods, came in on their flank, and opened so hot a fire on them that one regiment threw down their arms and surrendered. By this time the enemy was so close on my left flank that I again changed front, and came into line on Robinson's left, where I remained until out of ammunition, and was relieved by other troops, when I fell back under the hill, and sent for ammunition.
The Eleventh Corps was already moving into town, and soon the enemy appeared, advancing in line of battle. After waiting about twenty minutes, I moved the brigade to the railroad, with a view to forming under cover of its bank and trying to hold him in check there, when I received an order through Colonel Bankhead to send three regiments to aid in repelling the enemy near the seminary. I immediately sent the Fourteenth Brooklyn and the One hundred and forty-seventh and Seventy-sixth New York, where they remained until I received orders to move my brigade to the rear in the best order I could. I moved off on the railroad embankment, and, although exposed to the enemy's fire on both flanks, the men marched with perfect steadiness and no excitement. Their steadiness had the effect to bring the enemy to a halt, when he threw out skirmishers, thus relieving me from the fire of his main line on the left. The brigade completely covered the troops who were retiring on my right from the fire of the enemy on my left. I suffered severely while retiring, having myself a horse killed on the railroad and another wounded going through town. After passing through town to Cemetery Hill, I was joined by the Seventh Indiana, which had come up. The Seventh was sent, by order of General Wadsworth, to hold the crest of a hill to the right, and the balance of the brigade, having been in action from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., were allowed to rest for the night.
Early on the morning of the 2d instant, the brigade was moved to the hill, and took a position between the First Brigade and General Greene's brigade of the Twelfth Corps. I consider it unnecessary to particularize as to the operations of the 2d and 3d instant, as most of the time we were immediately under the eye of the division commander. Sufficient to say that the fighting on those days was mostly in the trenches, with small loss to us and great loss to the enemy.
It affords me the highest satisfaction to bear testimony to the good conduct of all the officers and men of the brigade, with but one or two exceptions. Colonel Hofmann, Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers; Major Harney, One hundred and forty-seventh New York Volunteers; Major Pye, Ninety-fifth New York Volunteers; Captain Cook, Seventy-sixth New York Volunteers, deserve special mention for gallantry and coolness. Colonel Fowler, Fourteenth Brooklyn, for charging the enemy at the railroad cut in connection with the Ninety-fifth New York and Sixth Wisconsin, by which the One hundred and forty-seventh New York was relieved from its perilous position.
Major Grover, commanding Seventy-sixth New York Volunteers, a brave and efficient officer, was killed early in the action of the 1st instant, and the command devolved upon Capt. John E. Cook, and most ably and faithfully did he perform the duty.
Lieutenant-Colonel Miller, commanding the One hundred and forty-seventh New York Volunteers, was severely wounded at the head of his regiment on the 1st instant.
Colonel Biddle, Ninety-fifth New York Volunteers, was wounded in the breast.
Major Harney, of the One hundred and forty-seventh New York, and Major Pye, of the Ninety-fifth New York, on assuming command of their respective regiments, did all that brave men and good soldiers could do, and deserve well for their services.
Sergt. Henry H. Hubbard, Company D, One hundred and forty-seventh New York Volunteers, was in command of the provost guard of the brigade on the morning of the 1st instant. He formed the guard, consisting of 18 men, on the right of the Seventy-sixth New York, and fought until the battle was over, losing 12 of his men. He deserves promotion.
The color-sergeant of the One hundred and forty-seventh New York was killed, and the colors were caught by Sergt. William A. Wybourn, of Company I, One hundred and forty-seventh New York, and brought off the battle-field by him, notwithstanding he was himself severely wounded.
For amount of losses in the several regiments, I refer to separate reports on that subject. The loss is fearful, and I can only hope that the country may not again require that these brave men shall go through so severe an ordeal.
In closing, I beg to acknowledge my great obligations to Capt. John A. Kellogg, acting assistant adjutant-general; Capt. William Bloodgood, acting aide; Lieut. S. W. Woodrow, of the Ninety-fifth New York Volunteers, and Lieut. T. W. Miller, volunteer aide on my staff.
On the 1st instant, Captain Bloodgood and Lieutenant Woodrow were severely wounded. These officers all acted with the most perfect coolness and bravery during the whole action. Every one of my staff and orderlies was dismounted by having their horses shot; Lieutenant Miller and Captain Bloodgood twice each, and Lieutenant Woodrow three times. Lieutenant [Homer] Chisman, acting assistant inspector-general, came up from the rear, and joined me at 3 o'clock on the 1st instant; Lieutenant Burritt, of the Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers, was detailed on my staff on the 2d instant, and both behaved admirably.
Captain Kellogg not only behaved admirably on the whole, but deserves special notice for his exertions in rallying the men when repulsed on the 1st; for his efficiency in moving and placing re-enforcements to the right on the night of the 2d, when the enemy were making strenuous efforts to turn our right flank, and for having cut down with his saber a cowardly field officer of another corps who was endeavoring to march his men out of the trenches, and for keeping the men in their position.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brig. Gen., Comdg. 2d Brig., 1st Div., 1st Army Corps.
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