Reports of Lieut. Col. John Fraser, One hundred and fortieth Pennsylvania Infantry, commanding regiment and Third Brigade.
O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XXVII/1 [S# 43]
HDQRS. 140TH REGIMENT PENNSYLVANIA VOLUNTEERS,
August 8, 1863.
Maj. JOHN HANCOCK,
Assistant Adjutant-General, First Division.
MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Third Brigade in the recent engagement with the enemy at Gettysburg, Pa.:
On the morning of July 2, this brigade arrived on the battle-field, under the command of Brigadier-General Zook, and was placed in order of column in rear of the Second Brigade.
About 4 p.m. on same day, the brigade was marched rapidly toward the left, to assist the Third Corps, which was at the time engaged with the enemy. When the brigade arrived nearly opposite the position assigned to it, it was formed in order of battle, having the One hundred and fortieth Pennsylvania Volunteers on the extreme right, the Sixty-sixth New York Volunteers in the center, the Fifty-second New York Volunteers on the left, and the Fifty-seventh New York Volunteers a short distance in the rear as a reserve, and was moved rapidly forward to engage the enemy. The brigade advanced steadily, driving the enemy before it, until it reached its most advanced position on the crest of a small hill. It held this position until it became necessary to retreat, the enemy having brought forward fresh troops, who succeeded in flanking us on the right and left. The retreat, however, did not commence before it had become general on other parts of the line.
Shortly after the close of this action, July 2, the brigade assembled, and was formed in line of battle in the position assigned to it, on the left center of the battle-field, about 50 paces in rear of the Second Brigade.
The severe and long-continued artillery fire which the enemy opened on us preparatory to their fruitless attack upon the left center, on the afternoon of July 3, inflicted no loss on the brigade. It was unnecessary for the brigade to take an active part in this engagement, the enemy having failed to advance beyond our picket line.
The conduct of officers and men deserves very high commendation.
In the action of July 2, the brigade lost its highly esteemed general, several gallant officers, and a large number of brave men. A list of casualties has been already forwarded.
I have the honor to be, major, yours, respectfully,
Lieut. Col. 140th Pennsylvania Vols., Comdg. Third Brig.
HEADQUARTERS 140TH PENNSYLVANIA VOLUNTEERS,
August 7, 1863.
Capt. GEORGE W. JONES,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Brigade.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the One hundred and fortieth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers in the recent engagements at Gettysburg, Pa.:
On the morning of July 2, this regiment, under the command of Col. R. P. Roberts, arrived on the battle-ground, where it remained for several hours in order of columns by wings, right wing in front, a few paces in rear of the Second Brigade.
About 4 p.m. the brigade was marched rapidly to the left, to assist the Third Corps, which was then sustaining a fierce attack. When it arrived nearly opposite the place assigned to it, the brigade was formed in line of battle, with the One hundred and fortieth Pennsylvania Volunteers on the extreme right, and was moved rapidly forward to engage the enemy. As soon as the order was given, this regiment opened a brisk fire, which it kept up with great firmness and coolness, steadily driving the enemy Before it until we reached the crest of a small hill. During the advance to this crest, the four left companies of this regiment, with the regiments to the left, gradually made a considerable wheel to the right. Shortly after reaching the crest, I observed a great many to the left of this brigade moving rapidly to the rear, and the rebels, apparently fresh troops, in large numbers and in good order marching to outflank us on the right. Anxious to know what orders General Zook had to give in the crisis, I sent twice to get instructions from him, but neither the general nor any of his staff could be found. I did not know at the time, nor until after the fight was over, that General Zook had been mortally wounded when leading the brigade into action. Inferring, from the large numbers of men who to the left of my regiment were continuously rushing to the rear, that a large portion of our division was actually retreating, I judged it necessary for the safety of those who had wheeled considerably into the enemy's ground to maintain my position and keep the enemy at bay as long as possible. I therefore held my position until I considered it necessary to order my men to march in retreat, which they did at first in good order, the four right companies halting several times, and firing, to check the pursuit of the enemy.
After this engagement on the 2d, the regiment assembled with the rest of the brigade, and formed in line of battle on the left center of the battle-ground and about 50 paces in rear of the Second Brigade.
On the morning of July 3, the regiment, pursuant to orders, constructed breastworks immediately in front of its line. The severe and long-continued artillery fire which the rebels opened upon us prior to their fruitless attack upon our position in the afternoon of this day, did no harm to any one in the regiment.
Colonel Roberts was killed while bravely leading on his men at the commencement of the action on July 2.
The conduct of officers and men in these engagements at Gettysburg deserves the highest praise.
A list of the heavy casualties of the regiment has been already forwarded.
I have the honor to be, captain, yours, respectfully,
Lieutenant-Colonel 140th Pennsylvania Volunteers.
RETURN TO BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG UNION ORDER OF BATTLE PAGE