Report of Maj. J. W. Latimer, C. S. Artillery, Commanding Andrews' Artillery Battalion, of engagement at Winchester
JUNE 3-AUGUST 1, 1863.--The Gettysburg Campaign
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXVII/2 [S# 44]
JUNE 25, 1863.
Maj. B. W. LEIGH,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Johnson's Division.
MAJOR: I hereby beg leave to submit the following report of the operations of this battalion in the recent engagements around Winchester:
On the morning of June 13, we marched at 4 a.m. with Johnson's division from our encampment at Cedarville, on the Front Royal and Winchester pike, Captain [J. C.] Carpenter's battery, Lieutenant [William T.] Lambie commanding, being detached and following the front brigade, under immediate direction of Lieutenant-Colonel Andrews. This battery arrived in sight of Winchester about 12 m. Had it proceeded directly up the road, it would have been subjected to the fire of a battery stationed on the right of the pike, and on an eminence between the first house on the right of the road and an encampment which the enemy had just vacated. Therefore, Colonel Andrews moved Carpenter's battery through the woods to the left of the road, reaching an open field inclosed by a stone wall, which somewhat protected the guns. The battery came into action under fire, and in a few minutes, by their well-directed shots, drove off the enemy's battery as well as the supporting infantry, both retreating rapidly toward the town, one of the enemy's limbers having been exploded, thereby killing 3 men, others having been killed and wounded by the firing.
During the engagement, Carpenter's battery lost 1 man killed and 1 wounded, and 3 horses disabled.
Dement's First Maryland Battery, which was not engaged, but exposed to the fire, lost 1 man killed. Carpenter's battery was for some time after this exposed to a severe fire from heavy batteries which the enemy had posted on the heights to the left of the town, but which we could not reach.
Later in the evening, when General Early advanced on the left, some of the enemy s infantry in retreating became exposed to view, when I ordered Lieutenant Lambie to open upon them with his two rifled guns, which he did with effect, very much accelerating their speed. This drew upon the battery a severe fire from the enemy's batteries, posted as before described, without any damage, however, excepting the loss of one or two horses. After night, the battery was withdrawn, and parked with the remainder of the battalion. None of the batteries of the battalion were again engaged during that day or the next, the enemy having retired within his works, and our lines not being advanced on that part of the field which we occupied. The battalion remained quietly in park behind a sheltering hill near the Front Royal road.
On the evening of the 14th, about dark, in accordance with orders from General Johnson, Dement's First Maryland Battery, four Napoleons, a rifle section belonging to Raine's battery, under command of Captain Raine, and a section of Carpenter's battery (rifled guns), under command of Lieutenant Lambie, were taken by Colonel Andrews, with two brigades of Johnson's division (Steuart's and Nicholls'), all under the command of General Johnson, and moved across the country to the road leading from the Winchester and Martinsburg pike to Charlestown, by Jordan Springs, striking it at a point about 4 miles from the Martinsburg pike about 3 a.m., and moving toward that pike. The remainder of the battalion had been left under my command, in front of Winchester.
The batteries under command of Colonel Andrews were marching closed up on the infantry, and the first intimation of the presence of an enemy was given by rapid firing of musketry, indicating skirmishing at the head of the column. The battalion was halted immediately. The first gun of Dement's First Maryland Battery, which was in front, being at this time within about 200 yards of the burned depot, was ordered forward by Colonel Andrews, under direction of General Johnson, and, having arrived at the burned depot, was halted.
In the meantime, the infantry was formed to the right and left of the road by which they had been marching, along the line of the Winchester and Harper's Ferry Railroad. The firing had ceased, and the remainder of the battalion was ordered into park in the woods to the right of the road at the burned depot. Before getting into park, however, Colonel Andrews, by direction of General Johnson, ordered forward the gun which was in advance, bringing it into position in the road near the bridge across the railroad, upon which it was subsequently moved. The left gun of the same section was brought into position on the left of the road by the same orders. Skirmishers had been sent out from our lines, and quite rapid firing had begun. The two guns could not fire, our skirmishers being in the way. The skirmishers were, however, quickly driven back by the enemy, who followed them. The two guns mentioned then opened upon them with canister. They were severely engaged with infantry at short range until the close of the action, about one hour and a half, not changing their position, and driving the enemy back frequently.
Shortly after these guns had been put into position, the remainder of the battalion was posted, by Colonel Andrews' orders, along the edge of the wood, to the left of the road. They became immediately engaged, though at longer range than the first two guns, excepting Lieutenant Lambie's section, of Carpenter's battery, which shortly after getting into position was, by direction of Colonel Andrews, taken to a position about 200 yards to the right of the road, to protect against a flank movement.
About half an hour after, Lieutenant [J. H.] Stonestreet, with the left section of Dement's battery, was ordered by Colonel Andrews to the support of Lieutenant Lambie. A body of the enemy's infantry and cavalry being seen moving to the left of our position, Colonel Andrews directed Captain Raine to move his section about 200 yards to the left and rear of his position, which he did, firing at right angles with his former line of fire with good effect. Shortly thereafter one of his guns, by order of General Johnson, was taken down the road toward Jordan Springs, to intercept a body of the enemy who were retreating in that direction. The enemy 'seeing this gun before it had been put in position, several hundred of them surrendered to about 7 of our infantrymen. About the same time, Lieutenant Lambie's section and one gun of Captain Dement's, which were on the right of the road, not having had occasion to fire, were moved, by direction of Colonel Andrews, about half a mile to the rear of our left, to fire upon the body of infantry and cavalry above spoken of, which Captain Raine's guns had not succeeded in arresting. The result was to scatter them in every direction, thus making them an easy prey to our infantry.
The action at this time was pretty well over, the enemy's line being broken at nearly every point, and, in order to complete the rout, Colonel Andrews was making preparations to charge with one of the sections of Dement's battery through the shattered lines of the enemy and open upon his rear, when he was struck in the arm by a shot from a lingering sharpshooter, which gave him a severe, but not serious, flesh wound. A short time afterward, the action was closed, the greater part of the enemy surrendering, the remainder having fled.
The conduct of the batteries on this occasion was most creditable, eliciting, by the effect with which they were handled by their commanders, the admiration of all beholders. It will be seen that they were several times moved while under fire (always a difficult matter), and the celerity with which these movements were made showed the ability of the battery commanders and the efficiency of their commands. Captain Raine's battery, though exposed to a severe infantry fire, suffered no loss excepting having 3 horses disabled.
Sergeants East, Eades, and Milstead are mentioned as having made themselves conspicuous for coolness and fine service rendered, having acted as gunners in addition to their duties as chiefs of pieces.
The conduct of the officers, non-commissioned officers, and men serving the right section of Captain Dement's battery cannot be spoken of in terms of praise sufficiently high. The stern determination with which they stood up to their guns is proven by the fact that the gun at the bridge was worked with terrible effect until 6 men were disabled, and, on account of the difficult position which the gun occupied, the two cannoneers who were left were unable to work it. Finding the other gun detachment becoming weak, the sergeant and corporal, with the two men, went over to its assistance. In a few minutes, the latter detachment had suffered as great loss as the former, but, owing to the superiority of the ground, the gun could be worked with diminished numbers.
The loss in Captain Dement's battery was 2 killed and 13 wounded; among the wounded, Lieutenant Contee and Sergeant Glascocke. This loss was confined to the two guns above spoken of, excepting in the case of one of the men killed, which was done on Saturday, when not engaged; 16 horses were also killed and disabled, 15 of these being in the same section.
I desire to bring to your immediate notice on this occasion the names of Lieut. C. S. Contee, commanding the section; Sergeant Harris, Corporals Compton and Thompson, of the first gun; Sergeant Glascocke and Corporal May, of the second gun.
Captain Carpenter's battery, under command of Lieutenant Lambie, was served in the most efficient manner, both on the day on which we arrived in front of Winchester and on the 15th instant. The lieutenant commanding finds difficulty in making any distinction, but mentions Sergt. Maj. Ben. Karnes as having been in command of a section and having rendered excellent service.
Captain Brown's battery was not engaged at any time.
It is useless for me to speak of the commanders of the batteries engaged. Their known skill and gallantry, as proven on every battle-field, make it unnecessary to speak of them on this particular occasion.
I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. W. LATIMER,
Major, Commanding Andrews' Artillery Battalion.
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