Report of Brig. Gen. Andrew A. Humphreys,
U.S. Army, commanding Second Division
O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XXVII/1 [S# 43] -- Gettysburg Campaign
CAMP, HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
August 16, 1863.
Lieut. Col. O. H. HART.
Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Corps.
COLONEL: I submit, for the information of the major-general commanding Third Corps, the following report of the operations of my division (Second Division, Third Corps) during the recent campaign, up to July 9, on the motoring of which day I was relieved from the command of the division, having been appointed chief of staff at the headquarters of this army:
On June 11, about midday, while encamped near Falmouth, Va., orders were received by me from the headquarters of the corps to march at 2 o'clock on the Warrenton road, which order was complied with, the division bivouacking for the night at Hartwood Church.
The march was resumed the next morning at 6 o'clock, my division leading. Upon arriving at Morrisville, I was directed to move to the Rappahannock River, and cover that part of it from Wheatley's Ford, near Kellysville, to Beverly Ford, near the upper forks; to throw up such works and make such defensive arrangements as would render it impracticable for the enemy to cross in my front. It was past midnight of the 12th before my command, after a march of from 22 to 25 miles, was in position at all the fords, it having been posted under my own supervision. Rifle-pits and batteries were thrown up at the crossings, and the railroad bridge was rendered impassable.
On the afternoon of the 13th, the Second Brigade rejoined the division, having been on picket on the 11th, from which it was not relieved until between midnight and morning of the 12th.
On the morning of the 14th, before daylight, it was marched to Kelly's Ford, to relieve the detachments of the Fifth Corps holding that ford.
On the evening of the 14th, in compliance with orders from the corps commander, as soon as it was sufficiently dark to conceal the movement of my troops, the division was concentrated on the railroad, and the march to Manassas Junction was begun.
I reached Cedar Run, near Catlett's Station, between 7 and 8 a.m. of the 15th, where, by authority of the corps commander, the division was halted for rest until 2 p.m., when the march was resumed. It was painful in the extreme, for owing to the long-continued drought, streams, usually of considerable magnitude, were dried up, the dust lay some inches deep on the roadway, and the fields were equally uncomfortable. The suffering from heat, dust, thirst, fatigue, and exhaustion was very great. It was near midnight when the division reached Manassas Junction, after a march varying in the different brigades from 25 to 29 miles.
On the 16th, we remained at Manassas Junction, resting.
On the 17th, marched to Centreville, and on the 19th to Gum Springs, where the division remained until the 25th, when at 10 a.m. it marched to Edwards Ferry, through Fairfarm and Franklinville, and crossing the Potomac on the pontoon bridge about 5 p.m., marched on the tow-path of the canal to the mouth of the Monocacy, reaching that point about midnight, after a march of not less than 25 miles, that portion on the tow-path being rendered very fatiguing and exhausting by a heavy rain that set in at nightfall. The whole command, officers and men, were more exhausted by this march than by that of the 14th and 15th.
On the 26th, the division marched to the vicinity of the Point of Rocks, and bivouacked on the farm of Dr. Duvall, near the summit of the Catoctin Mountain.
On the 27th, marched to the vicinity of Middletown, on the Hagerstown pike, via Jefferson.
On the 28th, marched through Frederick, crossed the Monocacy 3 miles above, and bivouacked for the night 7 miles from that town, on the Woodsborough road.
On the 29th, marched to Taneytown through Woodsborough and Bruceville.
On the 30th, made a short march after midday on the road to Emmitsburg, bivouacking about midway between the two places.
On July 1, marched through Emmitsburg, and halted I mile out of the town, on the Waynesborough pike. While I was engaged in a careful examination of the ground in front of Emmitsburg, the division was ordered at 3 p.m. to move up to Gettysburg, 12 miles distant, where an engagement had taken place between the two corps of Generals Reynolds and Howard (the First and Eleventh Corps) and the enemy.
A brigade (the Third) and a battery (Smith's) were left, in accordance with orders, in position on the Waynesborough pike. I overtook the head of the division (the First and Second Brigades, with one battery of artillery, Seeley's) 1 mile from the halting ground, and found Lieutenant-Colonel Hayden, assistant inspector-general, Third Corps, with some guides there, for the purpose of pointing out the route the division was to follow. This was on a road nearly parallel to the main road from Emmitsburg to Gettysburg, and about 2 miles west of it.
When half-way to Gettysburg, a dispatch from General Howard to General Sickles, commanding the Third Corps, was delivered to me by Captain McBlair, of the staff, in which the latter general was warned to look out for his left in coming up to Gettysburg, and about the same time I learned from a citizen, who had guided part of General Reynolds' command, that our troops occupied no ground near Gettysburg west of the road from that town to Emmitsburg.
As we approached the crossing of Marsh Run, I was directed by General Sickles, through a staff officer, to take position on the left of Gettysburg soon as I came up. For reasons that will be apparent, from this statement I concluded that my division should from this point follow the road leading into the main road to Gettysburg, reaching the latter road in about a mile and a half, and at a distance from Gettysburg of about 2 miles; but Lieutenant-Colonel Hayden was positive that General Sickles had instructed him to guide the division by way of the Black Horse Tavern, on the road from Fairfield to Gettysburg. Accordingly, I moved the division in that direction, but, upon approaching the Black Horse Tavern, I found myself in the immediate vicinity of the enemy, who occupied that road in strong force. He was not aware of my presence, and I might have attacked him at daylight with the certainty of at least temporary success; but I was 3 miles distant from the remainder of the army, and I believed such a course would have been inconsistent with the general plan of operations of the commanding general. I accordingly retraced my steps, and marched by the route I have heretofore indicated, bivouacking at 1 a.m. on July 2 about 1 mile from Gettysburg and eastward of the Emmitsburg road.
At an early hour of the morning, my division was massed in the vicinity of its bivouac, facing the Emmitsburg road, near the crest of the ridge running from the cemetery of Gettysburg, in a southerly direction, to a rugged, conical-shaped hill, which I find goes by the name of Round Top, about 2 miles from Gettysburg.
At 9 a.m. the Third Brigade, with Smith's battery, joined the division, having been ordered up by Major-General Meade, commanding the army. It marched by the main road from Emmitsburg to Gettysburg.
Shortly after midday, I was ordered to form my division in line of battle, my left joining the right of the First Division of the Third Corps, Major-General Birney commanding, and my right resting opposite the left of General Caldwell's division, of the Second Corps, which was massed on the crest near my place of bivouac. The line I was directed to occupy was near the foot of the westerly slope of the ridge I have already mentioned, from which foot-slope the ground rose to the Emmitsburg road, which runs on the crest of a ridge nearly parallel to the Round Top ridge. This second ridge declines again immediately west of the road, at the distance of 200 or 300 yards from which the edge of a wood runs parallel to it. This wood was occupied by the enemy, whose pickets were exchanging shots from an early hour in the morning with our pickets thrown out beyond the road on the westerly slope.
The front allotted to me admitted of my forming the First Brigade, commanded by Brig. Gen. Joseph B. Carr, in line of battle, with one regiment of the Second Brigade on its left, the Seventy-first New York (Second Excelsior), commanded by Col. H. L. Potter. The Second Brigade, commanded by Col. W. R. Brewster, was formed in line of battalions in mass 200 yards in rear of the first line, and the Third Brigade, commanded by Col. George C. Burling, was massed 200 yards in rear of the second line, opposite its center. On the east side of the Emmitsburg road, opposite the middle of my line, was a log house surrounded by an orchard. This I occupied with the Seventy-third New York (Fourth Excelsior), Second Brigade, Maj. M. W. Burns commanding. This regiment was subsequently relieved by the Sixteenth Massachusetts, First Brigade. A series of peach orchards extended to the left along the Emmitsburg road some distance beyond the point where the road from Marsh Run crosses the Emmitsburg road. This Marsh Run road extends over to the Taneytown road and Baltimore pike, crossing the former just north of the Round Top. The ground occupied by my division and in my front was open. Communication with all points of it had been made easy by removing such of the fences as were in the way. Seeley's battery (K, Fourth U.S. Artillery) was placed at my disposal.
Shortly after these dispositions were made, I was directed to move my Third Brigade to the rear of the right of General Birney's division, and make it subject to his order for support, which was accordingly done. I was at the same time authorized to draw support, should I need it, from General Caldwell's division, Second Corps, and by General Hunt, chief of artillery, was authorized to draw from the Artillery Reserve should I require more.
About 4 p.m., in compliance with General Sickles' orders, I moved my division forward, so that the first line ran along the Emmitsburg road a short distance behind the crest upon which that road lies. At the same time I ordered Lieutenant Seeley to place his battery in position on the right of the log house. As the division moved forward in two lines, as heretofore described, the enemy opened with artillery, which enfiladed us from the left, and subsequently with artillery on our front, both with but little effect. In reply to my inquiry whether I should attack, I was directed to remain reposition. Lieutenant Seeley's battery was transferred to the left of the log house, and soon silenced the battery in our front. The position he vacated was immediately occupied by a battery (parts of F and K, Third U.S. Artillery) commanded by Lieut. J. G. Turnbull, sent at my request from the Artillery Reserve. Captain Ransom, Third U.S. Artillery, while engaged in supervising the posting of this battery, was severely wounded.
The division on my left was now engaged with the enemy's infantry, which in my front merely made demonstrations, but did not drive in my pickets.
Colonel Sewell, commanding the Fifth New Jersey Volunteers, of my Third Brigade, reported to me at this time and relieved the pickets of General Graham's brigade (on my left), some of which extended over a part of my front. This regiment had been posted but a short time when a most urgent request was made by a staff officer of General Sickles that another regiment should be sent to the support of General Birney (Graham's brigade), leaving it to me, however, to decide whether it could be sent.
At this moment, Colonel Sewell sent me word that the enemy was driving in my pickets, and was about advancing in two lines to the attack. The demand for aid was so urgent, however, that I sent Major Burns' Fourth Excelsior to General Graham's brigade, and at the same time dispatched one of my aides, Lieutenant Christiancy, to General Hancock, commanding Second Corps (General Caldwell's division having been sent to the extreme left), with the request that he would send a brigade, if possible, to my support.
Seeley's battery had now opened upon the enemy's infantry as they began to advance. Turnbull's battery was likewise directed against them, and I was about to throw somewhat forward the left of my infantry and engage the enemy with it, when I received orders from General Birney (General Sickles having been dangerously wounded and carried from the field) to throw back my left, and form a line oblique to and in rear of the one I then held, and was informed that the First Division would complete the line to the Round Top ridge. This I did under a heavy fire of artillery and infantry from the enemy, who now advanced on my whole front.
At this time, Colonel Sewell's regiment returned to the line, having maintained most gallantly its position on picket, with very heavy loss. Seeley's battery remained to the last moment, withdrawing without difficulty, but with severe loss in killed and wounded, including its commander among the latter. His loss was 2 enlisted men killed; 1 commissioned officer and 19 enlisted men wounded; 1 enlisted man missing, and 25 horses killed and disabled.
My infantry now engaged the enemy's, but my left was in air (although I extended it as far as possible with my Second Brigade), and, being the only troops on the field, the enemy's whole attention was directed to my division, which was forced back slowly, firing as they receded. Lieutenant Turnbull fell back with the infantry, suffering severe loss in men and horses, himself wounded. His loss was 1 commissioned officer and 8 enlisted men killed; 14 enlisted men wounded; 1 enlisted man missing, and 44 horses killed.
The two regiments sent me by General Hancock were judiciously posted by Lieut. H. C. Christiancy in support of my right. At this time I received orders through a staff officer from General Birney to withdraw to the Round Top ridge--an order previously conveyed to General Carr, commanding the First Brigade on the right, by General Birney in person. This order I complied with, retiring very slowly, continuing the contest with the enemy, whose fire of artillery and infantry was destructive in the extreme.
Upon arriving at the crest of the ridge mentioned, the remnants of my division formed on the left of General Hancock's troops, whose artillery opened upon the enemy, about 100 yards distant. The infantry joined, and the enemy broke and was driven from the field, rapidly followed by Hancock's troops and the remnants of my two brigades, who took many prisoners and brought off two pieces of our artillery which had been left after all the horses were killed.
Sergt. Thomas Hogan, Third Excelsior, brought to me on the field the flag of the Eighth Florida Regiment, which he had captured. He deserves reward.
It was now near dusk, and the contest for the day was closed. Its severity may be judged by the fact that the loss in killed, wounded, and missing of my division, 5,000 strong, was 2,088, of whom 171 were officers and 1,917 enlisted men. The missing numbered 3 officers and 263 enlisted men, the greater part of whom were probably wounded; some were killed.
I append a tabular list of the loss.
As I have already stated, my Third Brigade was ordered to the support of Major-General Birney, commanding the First Division. The accompanying report of Col. George C. Burling, commanding that brigade, exhibits the disposition that was made of the regiments of the brigade. In succession they, with the exception of Colonel Sewell's regiment, were sent to aid the brigades of the First Division. The Seventh New Jersey, Col. Louis R. Francine commanding, and the Second New Hampshire, Col. Edward L. Bailey commanding, were sent to the support of General Graham's brigade, and the Eighth New Jersey, Colonel Ramsey commanding, the Sixth New Jersey, Lieut. Col. S. R. Gilkyson commanding, and the One hundred and fifteenth Pennsylvania, Major Dunne commanding, were sent to the support of General Ward's brigade.
For the part taken in the engagement by these regiments, I must refer to the reports of the commanders of these brigades. That they did their duty in a manner comporting with their high reputation is manifest from the severe loss they met with--430 killed and wounded. Colonel Sewell, Colonel Francine, Colonel Ramsey, and Lieutenant-Colonel Price, officers distinguished for their skill and gallantry, were severely wounded. Colonel Francine's wound proved to be mortal. Colonel Bailey and Lieutenant-Colonel Carr, Second New Hampshire, were also wounded.
The fortune of war rarely places troops under more trying circumstances than those in which my division found itself on this day, and it is greatly to their honor that their soldierly bearing sustained the high reputation they had already won in the severest battles of the war. The fine qualities of many officers were brought out conspicuously. In some instances their gallant conduct fell under my own observation. I wish particularly to recommend to notice the cool courage, determination, and skillful handling of their troops by the two brigade commanders, Brigadier-General Carr and Col. William R. Brewster, and to ask attention to the officers mentioned by them as distinguished by their conduct.
My attention was attracted by the gallant bearing of Capt. Le Grand Benedict, assistant adjutant-general, First Brigade, and of Lieut. E. A. Belger, aide, staff of Second Brigade. Lieut. F. W. Seeley's gallantry, skill, good judgment, and effective management of his battery excited my admiration, as well as that of every officer who saw him. I should not omit to mention the bold and determined manner in which Lieutenant Turnbull managed his battery. Lieut. Manning Livingston, of this battery, was killed during the engagement.
Of my own staff, part of whom had gone through hotly contested fields with me before, I might well use the highest terms of commendation that language admits of, though in speaking of their acts I am painfully reminded that as yet I have been powerless to further the advancement they have won while serving with me. Most conspicuous for gallantry and untiring efforts in aiding me in forming, encouraging, and leading the troops were Capt. Carswell McClellan, of the adjutant-general's department, my special aide; Capt. William Henry Chester, special aide, mortally wounded; and Lieut. H. H. Humphreys, aide, wounded.
I beg leave also to express my sense of the obligations I am under for valuable services rendered me on the field by Maj. Charles Hamlin, assistant adjutant-general; Capt. A. F. Cavada, assistant inspector-general, and my aide, Lieut. Henry C. Christiancy. The judicious disposition by the latter of the re-enforcements he brought me is particularly deserving of mention.
The officers whose gallant and meritorious conduct General Carr brings to my notice are, using the language of General Carr:
Col. Robert McAllister, commanding Eleventh New Jersey Volunteers, twice wounded; Lieut. Col. Porter D. Tripp, commanding Eleventh Massachusetts Volunteers; Lieut. Col. Waldo Merriam, commanding Sixteenth Massachusetts Volunteers, wounded; Maj. Robert L. Bodine, commanding Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers; Maj. Philip J. Kearny, Eleventh New Jersey Volunteers, seriously wounded, since dead; Major McDonald, Eleventh Massachusetts Volunteers, wounded; Captain Tomlinson Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers, acting lieu-tenant-colonel; Captain Goodfellow, Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers, wounded, and Adjt. John Schoonover, Eleventh New Jersey Volunteers, who was twice wounded, but remained in command of his regiment; and to the following officers of my staff, to whom my sincere thanks are due for valuable services rendered: Capt. Le Grand Benedict, assistant adjutant-general; Capt. George E. Henry, First Massachusetts Volunteers, acting aide-de-camp, and Lieut. John Oldershaw, Eleventh New Jersey Volunteers, acting assistant inspector-general.
Colonel Brewster's mention of those of his brigade distinguished for their conduct is as follows:
The conduct and bearing of both officers and men was so good under the fatigues of the long and tiresome marches, and so gallant, brave, and steady in action, that it is almost impossible to particularize individual acts. It is enough to say that every officer and man in the command seemed determined to sustain the reputation of the brigade, earned on many a hard-fought field, and how well they succeeded is best shown by the loss sustained.
The members of my staff--Adjt. Gen. J. P. Finkelmeier, Capt. George Le Fort, acting assistant inspector-general, and Lieuts J. A. Smith and Belger--were very active in the field, and behaved in the most gallant manner, conveying my orders under the hottest fire. Major Finkelmeier and Captain Le Fort were both wounded, and obliged to leave the field before the action was over. * * * Col. John S. Austin, Third Excelsior, Asst. Surg. Joseph D. Stewart, Fifth Excelsior, and Lieut. Col. C. D. Westbrook, One hundred and twentieth New York Volunteers, were also wounded.
Col. George C. Burling, commanding Third Brigade, expresses himself in relation to the conduct of his brigade in the following terms:
During the two days of fighting, both officers and men behaved with their usual gallantry. I thank Capt. T. W. Eayre, assistant adjutant-general; Capt. J. W. Crawford, acting commissary of subsistence; Lieutenant Bruen, acting aide-de-camp, and Lieutenant Clark, ambulance officer, for their gallantry and promptness in conveying my orders. The last named was mortally wounded, and died on the field.
Colonel Sewell's conspicuous gallantry in the maintenance of his post has been already mentioned by me. He was severely wounded soon after his regiment rejoined the main line.
The enemy having been driven from the field, I formed my division on the left of Hancock's (Second) corps, along the Round Top ridge, where it remained during the night. Parties were at once sent out to bring in the wounded. Lieutenant [William J.] Rusling, ambulance officer, was promptly on the ground.
At daylight on the 3d, the enemy opened a brisk artillery fire upon my division, which, however, soon abated. About sunrise, by order of General Birney, I moved my division to the left and rear, to resupply ammunition, distribute rations, and bring up stragglers. My Third Brigade joined me here. After an hour thus spent, my division was moved to the front again, and massed in rear of the right of the First and left of the Second Corps, a disposition which was soon changed, my division being moved to the left, and massed in rear and support of the Fifth Corps and part of the Sixth Corps, near where the Marsh Run road passes by the Round Top. It remained thus posted until about 4. 30 o'clock, when it was moved rapidly to the right, and formed in mass by battalion in rear and support of the left of the Second and right of the First Corps, several batteries being in position in my front. Here it remained until dusk, losing several valuable officers and a large number of men from the enemy's artillery fire. My special aide, Captain McClellan, was wounded.
At dusk, the position was resumed in rear of the Fifth and Sixth Corps, where my division remained during July 4, 5, and 6, engaged in bringing in the wounded, burying the dead, and collecting arms.
My thanks are due to Capt. G. S. Russell, provost-marshal the division, for the faithful manner in which the duties of his command were performed in the battle. It was judiciously posted, but from the nature of the ground was subjected to constant fire, causing the loss of several men.
The great distance of the hospital from the field and the necessity of my continued presence with the division prevented my making the visits to it which I had been in the habit of doing. My staff officers were sent by me to see to the wounded. Surgeon Calhoun, medical director of my division, was placed in charge of the corps hospital, owing to the absence of the corps medical director, and, aided by Surg. C. K. Irwin, acting medical director of the division, and its medical officers, gave every possible attention and skillful treatment to those whom the fortunes of the combat brought upon his hands.
The enterprise and energy of Captain [B. Weller] Hoxie, ordnance officer of the division, entitle him to my thanks, which are also due, for the faithful performance of duty, to Captain [James D.] Earle, commissary of subsistence, and Captain [Thomas P.] Johnston, assistant quartermaster.
At 3 a.m. of the 7th, my division marched on the Emmitsburg road, and bivouacked for the night at Mechanicsville, 9 miles south of Emmitsburg.
At 6 a.m. of the 8th, the march was resumed for Middletown, on the Frederick and Hagerstown pike, by way of Hamburg and the mountain pass in that vicinity, but in consequence of the heavy rains of the night and morning, the roads being nearly impassable, the route was changed to that through Frederick, and the division bivouacked from 2 to 3 miles beyond Frederick, and about 4 miles from Middletown. At midnight I received directions to join the headquarters of the army at Middletown, having been announced in orders as chief of staff of the Army of the Potomac, directions that I complied with at once, turning over the command of the division to Brigadier-General Carr.
In parting from this celebrated division, after having commanded it for the brief period of fifty days, I trust that I may be excused for expressing my admiration for its high soldierly qualities. It is impossible to pass it in review, even, without perceiving that its ranks are filled with men who are soldiers in the best meaning of the term, and that it possesses in the grade of commissioned officers men whose skill, courage, and accomplishments would grace any service.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. A. HUMPHREYS,
Major-General of Volunteers, Commanding Division.
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