Report of Col. H. C. Cabell, 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 CULPEPER COURT-HOUSE, VA.,
August 1, 1863.
Col. J. B. WALTON,
Chief of Artillery, First Corps, Army Northern Virginia.
COLONEL: In compliance with your order, at the earliest period to make a report of the operations of my battalion from the-time it left the Rappahannock for Maryland and Pennsylvania until its return, I have the honor to submit the following report:
The battalion left Stanard's farm, about 10 miles in the rear of Fredericksburg, on June 3.
Encamped near Culpeper Court-House June 7. Remained near Culpeper Court-House till the 16th. Were ordered to accompany the division to meet the enemy, who were pressing Stuart's cavalry at Brandy Station. The enemy did not advance, being driven off, as it seemed, by the appearance of our forces.
On the 16th, resumed the march. We arrived at Ashby's Gap on the 19th, and encamped on the mountain, there being some fighting between the cavalry. Crossed the Shenandoah on the evening of the 20th.
The division recrossed the river, accompanied by Captain Fraser's battery, on the 21st. Subsequently the rest of the battalion moved across the Shenandoah, and took position at Ashby's Gap, where we again encamped.
On the 22d, we again crossed the Shenandoah, and, resuming our march on the 24th, on the 26th crossed the Potomac. We encamped a mile beyond Chambersburg on the 28th.
On July 1, we encamped a few miles from Gettysburg, and, on July 2, moved up with the division. When we commenced to ascend the road leading to the crest of the hill, where the battle was subsequently fought my battalion moved to the head of the column. Near the crest of the hill, I turned to the right, and placed the battalion in position on the edge of the wood, the right resting near the road leading from Gettysburg to Emmitsburg. One horse was wounded while crossing the field, although this movement was made beyond the view of the enemy. On our right, and slightly in front, the enemy occupied a rocky mountain with several batteries, and directly in front, about 600 or 700 yards distant, were a large number of batteries, occupying a peach orchard. Receiving orders, we opened a most effective fire upon these batteries. Exposed ourselves to a flanking fire from the enemy's mountain batteries, our position gave us a similar advantage in firing upon a large part of his line, which was drawn up nearly parallel with the Emmitsburg road. The battalion, being first to open fire, received for a short time a concentrated fire from the enemy's batteries. The fire from our lines and from the enemy became incessant, rendering it necessary for us sometimes to pause and allow the smoke to clear away, in order to enable the gunners to take aim. During the same time, two guns were ordered to play upon the batteries on the stony mountain--I have reason to believe with great effect.
The loss of my battalion was very heavy during this cannonading, Captain Fraser, who had always in previous engagements, as in this, set an example of the highest courage, coolness, and gallantry, fell, dangerously wounded by the bursting of a shell. The same shell killed 2 sergeants and 1 man.
Lieutenant [R. H.] Couper, of the same battery, was wounded during the same engagement.
The batteries in the peach orchard were driven off, and our fire was suspended to allow the infantry to advance. The guns on the right continued to fire on the enemy's batteries on the mountain as soon as the infantry had charged.
The next day, finding that Captain Fraser's command was so much crippled by the loss of men, I placed two of his guns (3-inch rifles) in charge of Captain [B. C.] Manly. These two guns, under command of Lieutenant [J. H.] Payne, of Manly's battery, two 3-inch rifles of Captain [E. S.] McCarthy's battery, under command of Lieut. R. M. Anderson, and two Parrott guns of Captain Fraser's battery, under command of Lieutenant [W. J.] Furlong, were ordered to take position on the new and advanced line of battle.
These guns were placed several hundred yards in front of the infantry, near a small brick house, and fronted the road leading from Gettysburg to Emmitsburg. The line of artillery extended up the road for some distance. Captain [H. H.] Carlton's battery and a section of Captain McCarthy's battery (two Napoleons) were ordered to the left of the line, in front of Pickett's division, the guns being placed slightly en échelon, owing to the conformation of the line of battle. Their position was considerably to the left of the brick house, the interval being occupied by batteries of other battalions.
Captain McCarthy, who had, early in the morning, been placed 300 or 400 yards in advance of the skirmishers, fired 20 rounds, and, with a section of another battery, succeeded in driving back an advancing line of the enemy.
The fire of the artillery was opened about 1 p.m. For over two hours the cannonading on both sides was almost continuous and incessant, far, very far, exceeding any cannonading I have ever before witnessed. The last-named batteries were opposite the cemetery position of the enemy. During this cannonading, Lieutenant [Henry] Jennings, a brave and gallant officer, fell, wounded, and, later in the day, Captain Carlton, who has in action so gallantly commanded his battery, fell, also wounded.
The command of the battery fell upon, and was at once assumed by, First Lieut. C. W. Motes.
The artillery ceased firing, and a part of Pickett s division passed over the ground occupied by these batteries in their celebrated charge. Captain Manly occupied, slightly shifting the position of his guns, the same position occupied the day before, and engaged the mountain batteries, particularly, with effect.
After Pickett's division was ordered back from their assault on the Cemetery Hill, Captain McCarthy and Lieutenant Motes were ordered to move forward, and came in position immediately on the road above mentioned, occupying the left flank of the line extended, upon which were placed the sections commanded, respectively, by Lieutenants Anderson, Payne, and Furlong. One of Lieutenant Furlong's guns being entirely out of ammunition, was ordered to the rear. The other piece was placed about 300 yards on the left of his previous position.
The enemy's sharpshooters were continually firing and annoying us. Only a few of our pickets were in front of us; no infantry in sight in our rear, but [R. II.] Anderson's division was in the woods, about 400 yards in the rear. The ammunition of the guns was nearly exhausted. The position occupied by these guns was about 700 yards from the Cemetery Hill. The change in the position of the guns was made about 4 p.m., with orders to hold it till night. We fired upon a line of infantry approaching, and, with the other batteries, dispersed them or drove them back. The attack was not renewed. The guns remained in this position till after dark, When they were withdrawn.
During the next day there was but little firing on either side. During the night of the 4th, we withdrew from our position, and, after a most distressing march, encamped at Monterey Springs the night of the 5th.
We arrived at Hagerstown the next evening, and encamped about 1 mile from the town.
On July 8, Captain Manly's battery was ordered to picket near Funkstown, Md., on the Antietam.
On Friday, July 10, this battery crossed the Antietam, and went to the assistance of General Stuart's cavalry. It engaged the enemy at about 6 a.m. near the suburbs of Funkstown, and fought him from that position until late in the afternoon, compelling his artillery to change position twice during the engagement. Captain Manly was then ordered by Lieutenant-General Longstreet to report with four guns to Major-General Pickett. He rejoined the battalion after we recrossed the Potomac. Lieutenant [S. M.] Dunn, of this battery, with one gun, remained with the battalion.
On July 7, First Lieut. R. M. Anderson, of McCarthy's battery, was ordered to take command of Captain Fraser's battery. Owing to the wounds received by Captain Fraser and Lieutenant Couper, this battery had been left with only one officer.
On the morning of the 10th, the battery was ordered to report to Brigadier-General Kershaw, on the Sharpsburg turnpike. It was placed in position on the right of the road. About 2 o'clock, the battery took position on a hill to the left of the bridge over the Antietam, and in close range of the enemy's sharpshooters, who immediately opened a vigorous fire, killing l man and slightly wounding another. Lieutenant Anderson opened fire into a brick building on the opposite side of the Creek, under cover of which the enemy's sharpshooters were collecting and seriously annoying our forces. After a few rounds from each piece, he succeeded in dispersing them from the house, as well as (for the time) silencing their sharpshooters in his immediate front.
At twilight, he received orders to withdraw his pieces, and to report to Colonel [T. T.] Munford, commanding a brigade of cavalry. Remained with him until about 9 a.m. the following day, when, by order, he reported to the battalion.
Lieutenant Motes, commanding Carlton's battery, reported to Brigadier-General Wofford on the morning of the 10th and was placed in position on the left of the Williamsport and Sharpsburg pike, near Saint James' Church where he remained till the next evening, when, under orders, he retired to a position on the right of the road. My battalion was placed in position on this line on both sides of the road, with orders to fortify it, which was clone during the night and the following day.
During the evening of the 13th, I was ordered to send my caissons across the Potomac, and to withdraw my-pieces at dark. The order was promptly obeyed, and we recrossed the river, without loss, on the morning of the 14th.
We arrived at Culpeper Court-House on the 25th, having encamped, successively, near Bunker Hill; on a farm about 10 miles from Winchester; near Milwood; on the left bank of the Shenandoah; at Gaines' Cross-Roads, and on the right bank of Hazel River. During this march, although threatened by the enemy, there was no engagement, and we suffered no loss of an kind.
I was much indebted to Maj. S. P. Hamilton for assistance rendered me on every occasion.
I desire to return my thanks to my ordnance officer (Lieut. H. L. Powell) and ordnance sergeant (O. M. Price) for their efficiency. Lieutenant Powell, though wounded, continued on duty.
Captain Manly, in his report, calls attention to-- an act of coolness by Private H. E. Thain, by which many lives were probably saved. Thain was acting No. 6 at one of the guns, and, while adjusting a fuse-igniter, it accidentally exploded, and ignited the fuse already in the shell. He seized the shell, and ran with it several yards from the limber, at the same time drawing the burning fuse from the shell with his fingers.
Captain McCarthy pays the following high, but no less deserved, tribute to Corpl. Allan Morton, who fell on July 3:
In Corpl. Allan Morton the battery lost its best and bravest soldier--one who had endeared himself to all by his unflinching bravery, his strict attention to all duties, and his cheerful obedience to all orders.
Lieutenant Furlong says that he was-- much indebted to Corporals [Alexander] Campbell and [Francis] Keenan for the manner in which they managed their respective pieces.
The battalion sustained the following casualties:
Command Killed Wounded Missing Total Manly's Battery Officers ---- ---- ---- ---- Men 3 4 4 11 Total 3 4 4 11 (13 horses killed and 7 disabled) McCarthy's Battery Officers ---- ---- ---- ---- Men 2 8 --- 10 Total 2 8 ---- 10 (23 horses killed and 2 disabled) Carlton's Batter Officers ---- 2 ---- 2 Men 1 5 ---- 6 Total 1 5 ---- 6 (18 horses killed and 4 wounded--disabled for a short time only) Fraser's Battery Officers ---- 2 ---- 2 Men 6 11 ---- 17 Total 6 13 ---- 19 (18 horses killed)
Total killed, 12; wounded--officers, 4; enlisted men, 26; 67 horses killed and 13 disabled.
I have the honor to inclose the reports of the battery officers.
I have not language to express my admiration of the coolness and courage displayed by the officers and men on the field of this great battle. Their acts speak for them. In the successive skirmishes in which a portion of the battalion was engaged, and when placed in line of battle near Hagerstown, inviting and expecting an attack, their cool courage and energy are above praise. In crossing rivers; in overcoming the difficulties of a tedious march; in providing for the horses of the battalion, no officers ever exhibited greater energy and efficiency. Passing over muddy roads, exposed to rain nearly every day, they bore the difficulties of the march without a murmur of dissatisfaction. All seemed engaged in a cause which made privation, endurance, and any sacrifice a "labor of love."
H. C. CABELL,
General W. N. PENDLETON,
Chief of Artillery, Army of Northern Virginia.
[P. S.]--GENERAL: This report, not having been finished before Colonel Walton left Virginia, is respectfully forwarded to you.
H. C. C.
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