Report of Col. Joseph W. Fisher,
Fifth Pennsylvania Reserves, commanding Third Brigade.
O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XXVII/1 [S# 43] -- Gettysburg Campaign
HDQRS. THIRD BRIGADE, PENNSYLVANIA RESERVE CORPS,
July 9, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to report that at the recent battle of Gettysburg I marched my brigade to the left of General Sykes' corps, being the extreme left of the Army of the Potomac, and at once engaged the enemy, although very shortly afterward he retired, leaving large numbers of his killed and wounded on the field.
Soon after the close of the fight of the 2d, I discovered in my immediate front a hill called Round Top, from the summit of which the enemy was doing us great damage. I thought it highly important that we should at once occupy it. I accordingly took two regiments of my brigade, viz, the Fifth, Lieutenant-Colonel Dare, and the Twelfth, Colonel Hardin, and the Twentieth Maine, commanded by Colonel Chamberlain, and at 10 p.m. ascended the hill, which was occupied by a full brigade of the enemy. We went up steadily in line of battle, taking over 30 prisoners in our ascent.
In the morning I discovered that the hill was of immense importance to us, inasmuch as that if we had not taken it the enemy most undoubtedly would have done so, and in that event our left would have suffered very much, if, indeed, it could have held its position at all. I also discovered that our troops were not well posted for defense, so I changed my position, throwing the left flank of the two regiments which had not gone up the hill around so as to completely cover the ravine between the two hills, and at once threw up a stone wall across the entire ravine and up the hill, thus giving my men a sure protection against any advance which could possibly have been made by the enemy.
My officers and men behaved throughout with great coolness and bravery. Among others equally worthy of and deserving special mention, I beg leave to call your attention to the conduct of Colonel Hardin, of the Twelfth Regiment, who, still suffering from wounds received at Bull Run, went gallantly up the mountain, leading his regiment to where hot work was expected; Lieutenant-Colonel Dare, of the Fifth Regiment, who was also wounded at Fredericksburg, led his regiment up the hill, over rocks and ravines; Colonel Warner, of the Tenth Regiment, who is still so lame from wounds received at Antietam as to be unable to walk without support, went into the engagement against my wishes, and behaved with great coolness and courage; Lieutenant-Colonel Snodgrass, of the Ninth, evinced all the elements of a soldier in his calm and dignified demeanor, while all the subordinate field officers are deserving of special mention, especially Maj. James H. Larrimer, of the Fifth Regiment, who, suffering from acute rheumatism, refused to remain out of the battle, although, in my judgment, unfit for duty.
The members of my staff--Lieutenant [John L.] Wright, acting assistant adjutant-general; Captain [Hartley] Howard, brigade inspector; Lieutenants [Charles K.] Chamberlain and [William H. H.] Kerns, aides--all rendered me efficient support. Sergt. Thomas M. Fisher, acting as one of my orderlies, deserves special mention as exhibiting most remarkable coolness and bravery.
My brigade captured and turned in to the proper officer over 1,000 stand of arms, brought off over 200 wounded rebels, and buried 80 of their dead. Taking it all in all, I have no hesitation in saying that my brigade fulfilled their mission to Gettysburg.
[J. W. FISHER, Colonel, Commanding Third Brigade.]
RETURN TO BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG UNION ORDER OF BATTLE PAGE