Reports of Brig. Gen. Wade Hampton, C. S. Army, commanding brigade, with congratulatory orders
JUNE 3-AUGUST 1, 1863.--The Gettysburg Campaign
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXVII/2 [S# 44]
HEADQUARTERS HAMPTON'S BRIGADE,
June 12, 1863.
Maj. H. B. MCCLELLAN,
MAJOR: I have the honor to lay before you the following report of the operations of my brigade during the fight on the 9th instant, near Brandy Station:
On the morning of that day, about 6 o'clock, hearing heavy firing on the picket line, I ordered my command to mount and proceed to the station, while I reported to General Stuart at his headquarters. On arriving there, I was directed to take my command to the support of General Jones, who was engaging the enemy on the Beverly Ford road, leaving one regiment in reserve to protect Brandy Station. The Second South Carolina, Colonel Butler, was detailed for this purpose, with orders to picket the roads leading to Carrico's Mills and to Kelly's Ford. One regiment (the First South Carolina) had already been sent off by General Stuart, by direct orders from the general to Colonel [J. L.] Black, and as no information as to its position could he given to me, I could not find it for an hour or more.
With the only three regiments thus left at my disposal (the First North Carolina, the Cobb and the Jeff. Davis Legions), I took position on the right of the artillery, which was engaged, and deployed 100 men, dismounted, as sharpshooters, to dislodge the enemy from the woods in my front.
Colonel Black rejoined the command at this point, and his sharpshooters were sent in with the others. Our men soon met the enemy, and drove them back steadily. Seeing that a heavy force of infantry and cavalry held the woods, I re-enforced my sharpshooters by sending 100 more men to their support. Forming a junction, the whole line pressed forward, and in my view charged the enemy at double-quick, driving him from his position in confusion until he fell upon his reserves. A heavy infantry fire here met my men, who were directly afterward charged by the cavalry of the enemy. The Jeff. Davis Legion was immediately thrown forward to support the sharpshooters, when the enemy instantly fled to the woods. The sharpshooters again advanced, regaining their lost ground, and were pressing forward, when, to my surprise, I discovered the enemy in my rear, attacking the hill upon which the headquarters of General Stuart were located, and over which ran the only road giving egress from my position. Knowing that if this hill was held by the enemy, I should be entirely surrounded, I at once began withdrawing my regiments singly, and recalled my sharpshooters, who were ordered to fall back, fighting.
Both of these objects were accomplished safely, and I then notified General Robertson, who was on the Kelly's Mills road, of the position of the enemy; that I was moving to attack him, and that he had better withdraw rapidly, as my withdrawal would leave his rear entirely open.
At this moment I received an order from General Stuart to send up one regiment at a gallop, as the enemy had possession of his headquarters. I ordered up a regiment (the Eleventh, I think, of Jones' brigade which had been left under my charge by General Jones, and at once followed with the mounted men of my command, ordering the sharpshooters to mount and follow. Another message from General Stuart met me as I was moving to attack the enemy, ordering up a second regiment at a gallop. I directed Colonel Young, Cobb s Legion, to take a gallop, and to charge the enemy, who were then driving our men in my front. The same orders were extended to Colonel Black, First South Carolina, who followed the Cobb Legion closely. In conjunction with this charge on the enemy in front, I moved with the First North Carolina and the Jeff. Davis Legion so as to turn his right. The leading regiments (Cobb's Legion and First South Carolina) charged gallantly up the steep hill upon which the enemy were strongly posted, and swept them off in a perfect rout without a pause or a check. Their guns were abandoned and many of their men killed and captured.
In the meantime, as the enemy attempted to escape down the side of the railroad, the two regiments which were with me met the head of their fleeing column, and dispersed it in every direction. The First North Carolina, which was in front, took many prisoners and the colors of the Tenth New York Regiment. The capture of the whole force which had been driven from the hill would have been almost certain but that our own artillery, which had again been posted on the hill we had recovered, opened a heavy and well-directed fire at the head of my column. The delay rendered necessary to make this fire cease enabled the enemy to gain the woods in his rear.
I at once prepared to follow them, and ordered Colonels Black and Young to join me with their regiments, as I had only a portion of the First North Carolina Regiment and of the Jeff. Davis Legion with me. In response to my order, their officers informed me that they had been directed by General Stuart to remain where they were, to support the battery on the hill. No notice of this disposition of half of my brigade by General Stuart had been given to me by that officer, and I found myself deprived of two of my regiments at the very moment they could have reaped the fruits of the victory they had so brilliantly won. This division of my command left me too small a force to operate to advantage, and when the other regiments rejoined me, I received orders to assume a position to protect the hill. This was done, and this closed the offensive operations of my brigade for the day until late in the afternoon, when we drove a small party across the river, below the railroad bridge. While in my position, however, to hold the hill, my men were subjected to a heavy artillery fire, which they bore without even a momentary confusion.
The Second South Carolina, which had been left to protect Brandy Station, was ordered off by General Stuart without notifying me, and, after its removal, the enemy took unresisted possession of the station, which was in the rear of our whole position. This regiment having been detached from my command during the whole fight, I can make no report of its operations. I have called for a report from the officers who commanded it, and it shall be forwarded as soon as received. The accompanying reports of Colonels Baker, Black, Young, and Lieutenant-Colonel Waring are forwarded for the information of the major-general commanding. These reports show an aggregate loss of 15 killed, 55 wounded, and 50 missing; total loss, 120. Among the killed I regret to announce the name of Lieut. Col. Frank Hampton, Second South Carolina Regiment, a brave and gallant officer, and that of Capt. Robin Ap. C. Jones, First South Carolina, a most admirable officer, who fell while gallantly leading his men in the dashing charge made by his regiment.
In the list of wounded are Colonel Butler, who has lost his leg, thus depriving the service (for the present only, I trust) of one of the most gallant and able officers it has been my good fortune to command; Captain [R.] Barringer, First North Carolina, who acted as field officer on that occasion, and who bore himself with marked coolness and good conduct; Captain [J. R. P.] Fox, First South Carolina, who commanded well the sharpshooters from that regiment, and Lieutenants [James L.] Clanton and [F. A.] Singuefield, of the Cobb Legion.
For particular instances of good conduct on the part of officers and men, I beg to refer to reports of regimental commanders. I cannot close this report without expressing my entire satisfaction at the conduct of the four regiments which were under my immediate command and observation. I have never seen any troops display greater coolness, bravery, and steadiness. The sharpshooters charged and drove back the infantry skirmishers of the enemy, holding them in check perfectly on the extreme right of our line. When the enemy had gained my rear, and it became necessary to dispossess them of the hill they had gained, which commanded the whole position, without the slightest confusion or hesitation (though their critical condition was manifest to all) they moved to the charge, which they executed in the most brilliant manner and with complete success, recovering all the ground which had here been lost by our troops; and the ground which they had so gallantly won they held until the close of the fight. During the entire fight of twelve hours, I did not see, nor do I think there was, one single straggler from my ranks.
Where all the officers behaved so well, it would be invidious to specify any particularly. All the commanding officers of regiments met my fullest expectations and wishes.
I beg to acknowledge my indebtedness to Colonels Baker. Black, Young, and Lieutenant-Colonel Waring, commanding the regiments which were with me, for a large part of the success which attended our efforts in the late fight. They handled their commands with skill and judgment, while their conduct was marked by conspicuous gallantry.
Captain [W. H. H.] Cowles, First North Carolina, accompanied by Captain [W. R.] Wood, of the same regiment, performed a (lashing feat by charging with a squadron through the ranks of the enemy, following him for some miles, and returning around his column in safety, with 60 prisoners.
The members of my staff--Captains [T. G.] Barker and [Rawlins] Lorndes, with Lieutenants [John] Preston and [T. P.] Hampton--rendered me invaluable assistance on the field, and bore themselves with great gallantry.
The reports of field officers show that 216 prisoners were captured by the brigade, while the ground over which they fought proved by the dead and wounded on it how faithfully they performed their work.
In conclusion, I beg to express to my officers and men in the most emphatic manner my earnest thanks for the gallantry and good conduct displayed by them during the whole fight.
I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
* * * * *
COLUMBIA, August 13, 1863.
Major [H. B.]McCLELLAN,
MAJOR: I avail myself of the first opportunity at which I am able to do so, to send in a report of the part taken by my brigade during the battle of Gettysburg. The previous operations of the brigade shall be embodied in a subsequent report as soon as I am well enough to make it out. I send the present report, as I deem it important that it should go in at the earliest moment.
The brigade was stationed on July 2, at Hunterstown, 5 miles to the east of Gettysburg, when orders came from General Stuart that it should move up, and take position on the left of our infantry. Before this could be accomplished, I was notified that a heavy force of cavalry was advancing on Hunterstown, with a view to get in the rear of our army. Communicating this information to General Stuart, I was ordered by him to return, and hold the enemy in check. Pursuant to these orders, I moved back, and met the enemy between Hunterstown and Gettysburg. After skirmishing a short time, he attempted a charge, which was met in front by the Cobb Legion, while I threw the Phillips Legion and the Second South Carolina as supporting forces on each flank of the enemy. The charge was most gallantly made, and the enemy were driven back in confusion to the support of his sharpshooters and artillery, both of which opened on me heavily. I had no artillery at this time, but soon after two pieces were sent to me, and they did good service. Night coming on, I held the ground until morning, when I found that the enemy had retreated from Hunterstown, leaving some of his wounded officers and men in the village.
The Cobb Legion, which led in this gallant charge, suffered quite severely, Lieutenant-Colonel [W. G.] Delony and several other officers being wounded, while the regiment lost in killed quite a number of brave officers and men, whose names I regret not being able to give.
On the morning of July 3, I was ordered to move through Hunterstown, and endeavor to get on the right flank of the enemy. In accordance with these orders, the brigade passed through the village just named, across the railroad, and thence south till we discovered the enemy. I took position on the left of Colonel Chambliss, and threw out sharpshooters to check an advance the enemy were attempting. Soon after, General Fitz. Lee came up, and took position on my left. The sharpshooters soon became actively engaged, and succeeded perfectly in keeping the enemy back, while the three brigades were held ready to meet any charge made by the enemy. We had for the three brigades but two pieces of artillery, while the enemy had apparently two batteries in position.
In the afternoon (about 4.30 o'clock, I should think), an order came from General Stuart for General Fitz. Lee and myself to report to him, leaving our brigades where they were. Thinking that it would not be proper for both of us to leave the ground at the same time, I told General Lee that I would go to General Stuart first, and, on my return, he could go. Leaving General Lee, I rode off to see General Stuart, but could not find him. On my return to the field, I saw my brigade in motion, having been ordered to charge by General Lee. This order I countermanded, as I did not think it a judicious one, and the brigade resumed its former position: not, however, without loss, as the movement had disclosed its position to the enemy.
A short time after this, an officer from Colonel Chambliss reported to me that he had been sent to ask support from General Lee, but that he had replied my brigade was nearest and should support Chambliss' brigade. Seeing that support was essential, I sent to Colonel Baker, ordering him to send two regiments to protect Chambliss, who had made a charge (I know not by whose orders), and who was falling back before a large force of the enemy. The First North Carolina and the Jeff. Davis Legion were sent by Colonel Baker, and these two regiments drove back the enemy; but in their eagerness they followed him too far, and encountered his reserve in heavy force.
Seeing the state of affairs at this juncture, I rode rapidly to the front to take charge of these two regiments, and, while doing this, to my surprise I saw the rest of my brigade (excepting the Cobb Legion) and Fitz. Lees brigade charging. In the hand-to-hand fight which ensued, as I was endeavoring to extricate the First North Carolina and the Jeff. Davis Legion, I was wounded, and had to leave the field, after turning over the command to Colonel Baker. The charge of my brigade has been recently explained to me as having been ordered by Captain Barker, assistant adjutant-general, who supposed that it was intended to take the whole brigade to the support of Colonel Chambliss--a mistake which was very naturally brought about by the appearance of affairs on the field.
Of what occurred after I gave up the command, I am, of course, ignorant; nor can I state the casualties of my command. I am now only able to give a brief and bare statement of the part taken by my brigade in the battle of July 3, showing how it became engaged.
The disposition I had made of my command contemplated an entirely different plan for the fight, and beyond this disposition of my own brigade, with the subsequent charge of the First North Carolina and the Jeff. Davis Legion, I had nothing whatever to do with the fight.
I am, major, very respectfully, yours,
GENERAL ORDERS, No. 27.
HDQRS. CAVALRY DIV., ARMY N. VA.,
August 6, 1863.
The gallant and spirited resistance offered by Hampton's brigade to a body of the enemy's cavalry, greatly superior in numbers, on the 1st instant, deserves the highest commendation at the hands of the division commander.
The good conduct of the officers and men of that veteran brigade in such a conflict, reflects the highest credit on their patriotism and good soldierly qualities, and is worthy of the emulation of the entire division.
In this contest, the Horse Artillery, as usual, performed a part equal in heroism to its already brilliant prestige, and but for its supply of ammunition on the field becoming exhausted, the enemy's losses, confessedly more than three times our own, would have been far greater.
The division must mourn the loss of some brave spirits, and the noble wounded, who for a time have left us, will, it is hoped, ere long be welcomed to our ranks, to strike again for independence and victory.
Let the sons of the Carolinas and the Gulf, in Virginia continue to rival the heroism of their noble comrades of Vicksburg and Charleston, remembering that every blow struck at the enemy, no matter where, is a blow for home and its hallowed rights.
J. E. B. STUART,
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