Report of Brig. Gen. John C. Robinson,
U.S. Army, commanding Second Division.
O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XXVII/1 [S# 43] -- Gettysburg Campaign

HDQRS. SECOND DIVISION, FIRST ARMY CORPS,
July 18, 1863.

The ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL,
First Army Corps.

        SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this division in the engagements of the 1st, 2d, and 3d instant:
        On the morning of Wednesday, the 1st, the division marched from Emmitsburg, bringing up the rear of the column, and when about 3 miles from Gettysburg, hearing firing in front, it was pushed rapidly forward, and, arriving on the field, was placed, by order of the major-general commanding First Corps, in reserve, near the seminary. Almost immediately after taking this position, I received notice that the enemy was advancing a heavy column of infantry on the right of our line of battle, when I sent the Second Brigade, under Brigadier-General Baxter, to meet it. Orders being received at this time to hold the seminary, the First Brigade, under Brigadier-General Paul, was set at work to intrench the ridge on which it is situated. I then rode to the right of the line, to superintend the operations there. On my arrival, I found my Second Brigade so placed as to cover our right flank, but with too great an interval between it and the line of the First Division. I at once directed General Baxter to change front forward on his left battalion, and to close this interval, toward which the enemy was making his way. By the time this change was effected, the whole front of the brigade became hotly engaged, but succeeded in repulsing the attack The enemy, however, soon after brought up fresh forces in increased masses, when, finding the position so seriously threatened, I sent for and brought up the First Brigade, and placed part of it in the position first occupied by Baxter's brigade, and the remaining battalions as a support to his second position. The enemy now made repeated attacks on the division, in all of which he was handsomely repulsed, with the loss of three flags and about 1,000 prisoners.
        In one of these attacks I was deprived of the services of the veteran commander of the First Brigade, Brigadier-General Paul, who fell, severely wounded, while gallantly directing and encouraging his command.
        The division held this position on the right--receiving and repelling the fierce attacks of a greatly superior force, not only in front, but on the flank, and, when the enemy's ranks were broken, charging upon him and capturing his colors and men--from about noon until nearly 5 p.m., when I received orders to withdraw. These orders not being received until all other troops (except Stewart's battery) had commenced moving to the rear, the division held its ground until outflanked right and left, and retired fighting.
        From the nature of the enemy's attacks, frequent changes were rendered necessary, and they were made promptly under a galling fire. No soldiers ever fought better, or inflicted severer blows upon the enemy. When out of ammunition, their boxes were replenished from those of their killed and wounded comrades.
        The instances of distinguished gallantry are too numerous to be embodied in this report, and I leave it to the brigade and regimental commanders to do justice to those under their immediate command. Where all did so well, it is difficult to discriminate. As, however, they came under my personal observation, I cheerfully indorse the remarks of General Baxter in commendation of Colonel Coulter, Eleventh Pennsylvania; Colonel Wheelock, Ninety-seventh New York; Colonel Lyle, Ninetieth Pennsylvania; Colonel Bates and Lieutenant-Colonel Allen, Twelfth Massachusetts; Lieutenant-Colonel Moesch, Eighty-third New York, and Major Foust, Eighty-eighth Pennsylvania.
        After the fall of General Paul, the command of the First Brigade devolved successively upon Colonel Leonard, Thirteenth Massachusetts, Colonel Root, Ninety-fourth New York, and Colonel Coulter, Eleventh Pennsylvania, all of whom were wounded while exercising the command.
        After withdrawing from this contest. I took up a position on a ridge to the left of the cemetery, facing the Emmitsburg road, and remained there until afternoon of the next day, when I was relieved by a division of the Second Corps, and ordered to the support of the Eleventh Corps. In the evening, I was ordered to the left of our line, but was soon after directed to return.
        On Friday morning, 3d instant, the division was massed, and held ready to push forward to the support of the Twelfth Corps, then engaged with the enemy on our right.
        About noon, I was informed by the major-general commanding the army that he anticipated an attack on the cemetery by the enemy's forces massed in the town, and was directed to so place my command that if our line gave way I could attack the enemy on his flank. I proceeded to make this change of position at the moment the enemy commenced the terrific artillery fire of that day. Never before were troops so exposed to such a fire of shot and shell, and yet the movement was made in perfect order and with little loss.
        Later in the day, the enemy having made his attack on our left instead of the center, I was ordered to the right of the Second Corps, which position I held until Sunday, when the line was withdrawn.
        My thanks are due to Brigadier-Generals Baxter and Paul for the able and zealous manner in which they handled their brigades. The officers of my staff were actively engaged during the whole of the three days' engagements. Lieutenant [Samuel M.] Morgan, acting assistant adjutant-general; Lieutenant [Frederick M.] Hallock, aide-de-camp, and Lieutenants Bratton and Mead, acting aides, were at all times distinguished for their gallantry and good conduct. Captain [John G.] Hovey, acting assistant inspector-general, was wounded and taken from the field early in the fight. Lieutenant Smith, ordnance officer, was diligent in the performance of his duty, and collected and turned in 2,251 muskets and a large number of equipments.
        It affords me pleasure to call special attention to the gallant conduct of one of my orderlies, Sergt. Ebenezer S. Johnson, First Maine Cavalry, whose chevrons should be exchanged for the epaulette. When we make officers of such men, the soldier receives his true reward and the service great benefit.
        This division went into battle with less than 2,500 officers and men, and sustained a loss of 1,667, of which 124 were commissioned officers.
        I transmit herewith a nominal and tabular statement of casualties, showing the loss of each regiment.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JNO. C. ROBINSON,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Division.

ADDENDA.

HDQRS. SECOND DIVISION, FIRST ARMY CORPS,
November 15, 1863.

Maj. Gen. GEORGE G. MEADE,
Commanding Army of the Potomac:

        GENERAL: I feel it is my duty to inform you of the intense mortification and disappointment felt by my division in reading your report of the battle of Gettysburg.
        For nearly four hours on July 1 we were hotly engaged against overwhelming numbers, repulsed repeated attacks of the enemy, captured three flags and a very large number of prisoners, and were the last to leave the field.
        The division formed the right of the line of battle of the First Corps, and during the whole time had to fight the enemy in front and protect our right flank (the division of the Eleventh Corps being at no time less than half a mile in rear). We went into action with less than 2,500 men and lost considerably more than half our number.
        We have been proud of our efforts on that day, and hoped that they would be recognized. It is but natural we should feel disappointed that we are not once referred to in the report of the commanding general.
        Trusting that you will investigate this matter and give us due credit, I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JNO. C. ROBINSON,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Division.


HDQRS. SECOND DIVISION, FIRST ARMY CORPS,
July 5, 1863.

General WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the Potomac:

        I have the honor to send by bearer two stand of colors captured by this division in the action of July 1. One taken besides was retained by Colonel Wheelock, who was afterward taken prisoner.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JNO. C. ROBINSON,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Division.

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