Reports of Maj. Gen. John Newton, U. S. Army,
commanding First Army Corps
O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XXVII/1 [S# 43] -- Gettysburg Campaign

HEADQUARTERS FIRST ARMY CORPS,
September 30, 1863.

        GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this corps at the battle of Gettysburg and subsequently, until its arrival at Warrenton Junction:
        July
1.--The operations of this day are fully set forth in Maj. Gen. Abner Doubleday's report, who commanded the corps in the bloody and important battle which inaugurated the three days' fight-big at Gettysburg.
        July
2.--In obedience to an order from Headquarters Army of the Potomac, dated July 1, I reported in person to the general commanding, at the cemetery gate, early in the morning of this day, and assumed command of the First Corps. I found the First Division (Brigadier-General Wadsworth) occupying the high wooded hill and slopes immediately on the right of General Howard's position on Cemetery Hill, an important position, from which it was not detached during the subsequent operations at Gettysburg. Major-General Doubleday's (Third) division was in reserve behind the Eleventh Corps on Cemetery Hill. Brigadier-General Robinson's (Second) division was likewise posted on the Cemetery Hill, but on the left of the Eleventh Corps, and facing to the left in the position afterward occupied by the Second Corps. The artillery of the corps, except one battery with the First Division, was posted on Cemetery Hill, and was not detached from this position during all the subsequent fighting. Beyond an occasional shot at the moving columns of the enemy, everything remained quiet until the afternoon, when the enemy opened a brisk cannonade on my position, which was vigorously and effectively returned.
        Near sundown I was summoned to move my troops in haste to fill a gap in the line on the left of the Second Corps, into which the enemy was on the point of entering. Notwithstanding the inconvenient positions of the Second and Third Divisions, these were quickly filed into the new position in time to stay the progress of the enemy, who relinquished their attempt on our appearance. I was deeply gratified at the promptitude with which these divisions moved at this critical period, their movement not consuming one-half the time it would have taken on drill. During this movement, the right wing of the Thirteenth Vermont, under Colonel Randall, charged upon the enemy, retook four of our guns, and captured two guns and 80 prisoners from them. Two more of our guns were retaken by the Second Brigade, Third Division.
        Night coming on, and active operations closing here for the day, parties were sent to the front to bring in such guns as had been left. They were successful to some extent, but the number thus reclaimed has never been reported. The Second Division was sent back to Cemetery Hill, to support the Eleventh Corps, which was threatened by the enemy. The First Division was vigorously attacked about sundown by the enemy, who were handsomely repulsed. One brigade of the Twelfth Corps, on their right, participated in this action. The position of the Eleventh Corps was attacked about the same time, the enemy succeeding in some instances in getting into the batteries, from which they were driven by the cannoneers themselves.
        July
3.--The dawn of day found the position of the First Corps as follows: The First Division as before reported; the Second Division on Cemetery Hill, ready to support the Eleventh Corps or the Second Corps; the Third Division on the left center and adjoining the left of General Hancock's position. Between the left of the Third Division and General Sykes' position on the left (an interval by my estimate of over half a mile), there were no troops in position. I reported this fact immediately to the general commanding, who authorized me to go to General Sedgwick, on the extreme left, and obtain troops from him to fill this gap. While proceeding on this mission, I encountered Caldwell's division, of the Second Corps, not then forming part of General Hancock's line of battle, and with this officer's consent I put it in position on the left of the Third Division, First Corps. General Sedgwick could only spare me the First New Jersey brigade (General Torbert), which was placed in position on the left of General Caldwell. My own batteries, occupying important positions in the center and right center, might not with propriety be removed, and I therefore applied and obtained permission to call upon the Artillery Reserve for batteries.
        By about 12 o'clock I considered my line between the left of General Hancock's and the right of General Sykes as very secure, having in position the infantry above mentioned, batteries from the Artillery Reserve, from the Third Corps, and one battery from the Sixth Corps.
        I must mention that the Third Corps, under Major-General Birney, which had suffered severely in the previous day's fight, I found posted directly in rear of my line of battle, and I made arrangements with General Birney to draw upon him for such support as might be needed; and I take advantage of this opportunity to express my obligations for the cheerful and handsome manner in which he responded to every call made upon him.
        Near 1 p.m. the enemy opened with about one hundred and twenty guns upon the position of the army, and kept up an incessant fire for a long period. This was intended to demoralize our troops and to cover the onset of their assaulting columns. They failed in their first object, our troops sustaining this terrific fire with admirable equanimity. At length their columns of attack began to move; one heavy column, a division, by General Stannard's report, marching by battalion front, directed itself upon the front of the Third (Doubleday's) Division, First Corps, but meeting with a warm fire from his front line of battle, composed of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Sixteenth Vermont Regiments, the Twentieth New York State Militia, and the One hundred and fifty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, swerved to the right to attack General Hancock. General Stannard immediately changed front forward, and, falling upon their flank, routed them, taking a large number of prisoners. This had hardly been done, when another column, attempting the left of General Doubleday's front, was attacked in flank in a similar way and nearly the whole column killed, wounded, or captured. For these brilliant episodes of the battle, I respectfully call the attention of the general commanding to the reports of Major-General Doubleday and Brigadier-General Stannard.
        I wish to call particular attention to the conduct of the regiments above mentioned, and to the skillful manner in which they were handled on this day, as being greatly instrumental in overthrowing the enemy's grand attack and in gaining for us a glorious victory. Brigadier-General Stannard, who was wounded the day before, refused to quit the field, and highly distinguished himself by his coolness and skill. Major-General Doubleday narrowly escaped with his life, having suffered a severe contusion from a fragment of a shell.
        With the first movement of the assaulting column of the enemy, I called upon General Birney for troops to form a reserve, first for one and subsequently for another division, which were promptly sent. With a portion of these troops I re-enforced General Hancock, who was severely pressed by heavy masses of the enemy, holding the remainder in readiness to fall upon the enemy should they succeed in penetrating our lines--a contingency which fortunately did not occur. The Second Division, under General Robinson, was moved to sustain General Hancock's right, but did not become engaged. The First Division was also not engaged. The batteries of the corps, in common with the other batteries in position, vigorously and effectively replied to the enemy's cannonading on this day. After the repulse of the enemy's attack (General Hancock having been wounded), I was placed in command of the line connecting General Sykes with General Howard.
        I conclude this report of the battle of Gettysburg by paying my tribute to the gallant and efficient conduct of the staff: Capt. Craig W. Wadsworth, additional aide-de-camp; Capt. John S. Bliss, Sixty-seventh New York Volunteers, aide-de-camp, severely wounded; Lieut. H. W. Jackson, Fourth New Jersey Volunteers, aide-de-camp; Lieut. Col. H. C. Bankhead, assistant inspector-general; Lieutenant-Colonel Sanderson, commissary of subsistence, and First Lieut. H. C. Egbert, Twelfth U.S. Infantry, commissary of musters.
        Colonel Wainwright, the chief of artillery of the corps; Captain Stevens, Fifth Maine Battery; Captain Reynolds, Battery L, First New York Artillery; Captain Cooper, Battery B, First Pennsylvania; Captain Hall, Second Maine Battery, and Lieutenant Stewart, Battery B, Fourth U.S. Artillery, all displayed the greatest gallantry throughout the engagements of the three days.
        Surg. J. Theodore Heard, medical director, and Surg. T. H. Bache, medical inspector, remained in the town of Gettysburg during its occupation by the enemy, and deserve the highest praise for their zealous and unremitting attention to the wounded.
        July 4, the troops maintained the same position. The day was devoted to collecting and caring for the wounded.
        On the 5th, the corps was concentrated, and attention was also given to the collecting of arms, the burial of the dead, and the care of the wounded.
        On the 6th, the corps marched to Emmitsburg.
        On the 7th, marched to Hamburg.
        On the 8th, marched to Turner's Gap, where it took up position against a threatened attack of the enemy.
        On the 10th, it took position beyond Beaver Creek.
        On the 12th, it marched to Funkstown heights, and was posted in line of battle in presence of the enemy.
        On the 14th, it marched to Williamsport. On the 15th, to near Crampton's Pass. On the 16th, to near Berlin.
        On the 18th, it crossed the Potomac, and marched thence to Waterford, Va.
        On the 19th, to Hamilton. On the 20th, to Middleburg. On the 22d, to White Plains On the 23d, to Warrenton.
        On the 25th, to Warrenton Junction.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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HEADQUARTERS FIRST ARMY CORPS,
Near Gettysburg, Pa., July 5, 1863.

Brig. Gen. S. WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

        GENERAL: In compliance with circular of yesterday, I have the honor to forward you the following information:
        The number of colors ascertained to have been captured by this command in the late action was seven. Two, however, of the seven were again lost--one by the party capturing the colors being again captured, and one taken from the private who captured it by some unknown colonel.
        There have been buried, in front of this command, up to this date, but 4 officers and 103 enlisted men of the enemy's dead. This arises from the want of tools, which were all taken from the corps in the action of the 1st instant.
        The entire command is supplied with 60 rounds of ammunition per man, and three days' rations from this a.m. Artillery ammunition report inclosed.

I am, general, very respectfully, &c.,
JOHN NEWTON,

Major-General, Commanding.

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HEADQUARTERS FIRST ARMY CORPS,
September 11, 1863.

Brig. Gen. S. WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

        SIR: I have the honor to report, in compliance with circular of this date, that no guns were lost by this corps during the recent campaign. Two guns are reported captured from the enemy by General Stannard on the evening of the 2d July.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN NEWTON,

Major-General, Commanding.

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HDQRS. FIRST ARMY CORPS, October 3, 1863.

Brig. Gen. S. WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

        The number of rebel dead buried by this corps at Gettysburg, as reported by divisions, is 7 officers and 404 men.

JOHN NEWTON,
Major-General.

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