Report of Lieut. Col. John J. Garnett, C. S. Army, commanding Artillery Battalion
JUNE 3-AUGUST 1, 1863.--The Gettysburg Campaign
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXVII/2 [S# 44]
CAMP NEAR GORDONSVILLE, VA.,
August 2, 1863
Col. R. L. WALKER,
Chief of Artillery, Third Corps, Army of Northern Virginia
COLONEL: In obedience to your circular, dated July 29, directing me to "make and forward to these (your) headquarters as soon as possible an official report of the operations of your (my) battalion of artillery, from the time it left Fredericksburg to the present time," I have the honor to report as follows:
On the morning of June 15, in obedience to your orders, I withdrew my command from the position it had occupied on Lee's Hill since the 6th instant [June], to the rear, immediately on the Telegraph road, and reported to Major-General Heth for duty with his division. At 2 p.m. I moved with Heth's division from Fredericksburg, and accompanied this command on its daily marches through the Maryland and Pennsylvania campaign until the morning of July 1, when I was relieved, and became directly subject to your orders.
The commencement of the battle around Gettysburg found my battalion at Cashtown, Pa., where it had arrived the previous evening from near Fayetteville, Pa.
About 11 a.m. on the morning of July 1, I received orders to bring up my command to within supporting distance on the Gettysburg pike, which I reached after the battle had been in progress for several hours. On reaching the scene of action, as directed, I halted my battalion in column on the side of the road, and awaited further orders. After a delay of about an hour, I received a message from Major Pegram, requesting that I relieve one of his batteries, whose ammunition had become exhausted. I accordingly sent him Capt. V. Maurin, of the Donaldsonville Battery, with six of my rifled pieces, which almost immediately opened upon the enemy and with apparent effect. These pieces kept up a slow and steady fire for about an hour, when, the enemy having been forced back out of range to the position held by them on the second and third days, together with the other pieces of the command, they were advanced to the front, in the rear of the line of battle nearly opposite Cemetery Hill, where they remained in park until the following morning, protected from the enemy's fire by a high hill.
On the morning of the second day, having received an order to send all of my rifles to the position immediately opposite Cemetery Hill, and to the right of the Fairfield turnpike, I accordingly dispatched Major Richardson with the nine rifled pieces of the battalion to the hill indicated, where they remained in position until the following morning. At 3 p.m., when the engagement became general, these pieces opened fire upon the enemy's batteries opposite, which they kept up without cessation until about thirty minutes before sunset. Just as the sun had disappeared behind the horizon, the enemy's guns were observed to be turned upon a portion of General Ewell's forces, which had attacked them in the rear, when Major Richardson, by opening upon them with his nine rifles, succeeded in diverting their fire.
On the third day, Major Richardson was ordered to the position held by Major-General Anderson's division, and to the right of Major Pegram's battalion. Toward the close of the day, in obedience to orders from General Longstreet, he placed his guns in position under fire at this point, but did not fire a single shot, having received orders to that effect. The remaining six guns (four Napoleons and two howitzers) bore no part in these actions, although they were upon the field in readiness whenever they should be called upon.
On the morning of the 4th, however, I placed them in the position occupied by the rifled pieces on the second day, where they remained until night, when they were recalled to take their position in the line of march for Hagerstown.
On the 4th instant, Major Richardson was ordered to report to General Imboden, in charge of the wagon train, with the three rifled pieces of Company B, and the two rifles of Company D, which were thus temporarily detached from the battalion. Major Richardson being absent at Culpeper Court-House, under orders, I am unable to make at present an official report of the operations of that portion of the battalion under his command, but will forward it as soon as I can communicate with him. It may not be improper here to state that three of these pieces (the two others having been turned over to Captain [J. F.]Hart on the march, in consequence of the horses becoming too weak to pull them) formed a part of the escort of the wagon train under the command of General Imboden, and that they performed good service in the engagement at Williamsport. On reaching Hagerstown, the battalion was reunited under Major Richardson, who continued in command until the morning of the day on which the army fell back across the Potomac, when I resumed the command.
I regret to state that, owing to the jaded condition of the horses, which had been but scantily supplied with forage since July 1, during all of which time they had not received a single feed of corn, I was forced to abandon two rifled pieces belonging to Captain [J. W.] Lewis' battery on the night of the retreat from Maryland. Every effort was made to bring them off, but being the rear of the artillery, and before my arrangements could be completed, which were made with all possible dispatch, the enemy's cavalry charged and took them, together with 6 men and spare horses which had been sent back for the purpose of bringing them off.
On reaching the Virginia shore, I was ordered to place six of my pieces (two Napoleons and four rifled) in position on the hills to the left of the turnpike, and commanding the pontoon bridge, which I accordingly did, and very soon thereafter, General Pendleton being present, they opened upon the enemy's skirmishers, and checked their advance upon the bridge. These pieces kept up an irregular fire until evening, when I ordered them to cease firing, the enemy evincing no intention of attempting to cross, and their formations not being sufficiently large to warrant the further expenditure of ammunition. The subsequent movements of my battalion are identical with those of the corps to which it is attached until we reached near Front Royal, when, in obedience to orders received through you, I turned off at that point, and proceeded up the Valley pike, by New Market, to this place, where my command is now conveniently encamped, having arrived here at 3 p.m. on the 29th ultimo by easy marches.
I regret to state that the losses which my battalion has incurred during the recent campaign are especially heavy in horses, those now remaining being for the present almost totally unserviceable. It is my opinion, however, that with a short respite I will soon be able to report them as serviceable. I would respectfully state that, at the time of leaving Fredericksburg, their condition was generally bad, in consequence of the hardships they had encountered during the past winter, together with what they had gone through during the spring campaign.
The various losses in detail I have already sent you. The casualties in my command are as follows: Severely wounded, 2 enlisted men; slightly wounded, 3 enlisted men; missing (supposed to be in the hands of the enemy), 14 enlisted men.
JNO. J. GARNETT,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Artillery Battalion.
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