Reports of Brig. Gen. George H. Steuart, C. S. Army, commanding brigade:
JUNE 3-AUGUST 1, 1863.--The Gettysburg Campaign.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXVII/2 [S# 44]
HEADQUARTERS STEUART'S BRIGADE, June 19, 1863.
Maj. B. W. LEIGH,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., Johnson's Division.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my brigade in the recent operations around Winchester:
On the morning of the 13th instant, I marched up the Front Royal road toward Winchester, with the Tenth Virginia and First and Third North Carolina Regiments, the Twenty-third Virginia having been detached to guard the division train, and the Thirty-seventh Virginia to support the reserve artillery. The brigade was not engaged during the day, being posted to the right of the road as a support to the Stonewall Brigade.
Early on the morning of the 14th instant, that brigade moved nearer the town, throwing out skirmishers, and I also moved forward, and in the afternoon farther to the right, next to the Berryville turnpike. At dark, I was directed by the major-general commanding to move down the road toward Berryville, and, after marching several miles (a guide afterward coming up to show the way)., the brigade took a circuitous left-hand road, passing by Jordan Springs, and was halted just before daybreak on the 15th instant at the small bridge where the road crosses the Winchester and Potomac Railroad, about 4 miles from Winchester and a few hundred yards from the Martinsburg turnpike. Wagons were heard moving along the pike, and, after a few minutes' halt, the major-general commanding, who had gone forward to reconnoiter, gave orders to move into the woods to the right of the road between the railroad and turnpike; and just as the head of the column was crossing the bridge, it was fired into, causing momentary confusion.
Notwithstanding the difficulty of crossing, in the dark, fences to the right and left of the road, line of battle was soon formed along the railroad cut, the Tenth Virginia to the right of the bridge, and the First and Third North Carolina to the left, where there were no woods. Skirmishers were thrown forward, and a brisk fire commenced. The enemy advanced in line of battle, cheering and driving in our skirmishers, but were soon themselves in turn driven back.
Receiving information that an attempt was being made to turn our left flank, I threw out two companies of the Third North Carolina to protect it. Lieutenant-Colonel Andrews, commanding the artillery battalion attached to this division, had previously placed a piece of the Maryland artillery on the bridge, and the other pieces of that battery and a section from each of the batteries of Captains Raine and Carpenter on the rising ground in rear of my left, rendering most valuable support. A column of the enemy was now observed passing round to our left and rear, and I directed the Third North Carolina to repel the attack; but finding that two regiments of Nicholls' brigade were coming up, that regiment was returned to its original position. Colonel [E. T. H.] Warren, of the Tenth Virginia, sent word from the right that the enemy were pressing him very hard, his supply of cartridges rapidly diminishing, and I sent the First and subsequently a portion of the Third North Carolina to his support. Just before this, the major-general commanding, with the aforementioned regiments of Nicholls' brigade, attacked and pursued most vigorously that portion of the enemy who were passing to our left and rear. After awhile, I was informed that the ammunition of the Tenth Virginia was all expended but one round, held in reserve, and that the other two regiments of my brigade had only a few rounds left; also, that the ordnance wagons were behind, and, after sending repeatedly, I found it impossible to get more ammunition.
Several attempts were made by the enemy to carry the bridge, and almost all the cannoneers of the piece placed there were killed or wounded. The gallant Lieutenant Contee was also wounded; and I must here mention the gallant conduct of Lieut. John A. Morgan, First North Carolina Regiment, who, with Private [B. W.] Owens, of the Maryland artillery, and some occasional assistance, manned the piece most effectively, driving the enemy back from the bridge at a most critical moment, as the regiments near, from want of ammunition, were unable to render any assistance.
Up to this time my brigade (with assistance from the artillery), had alone sustained the attack upon the front and right. Brigadier-General Walker now came up on my right with two regiments of his brigade (Stonewall), and rapidly advanced in line of battle through the woods toward the turnpike. The major-general commanding being engaged in a different part of the field, I directed two regiments of Nicholls' brigade to cross the bridge and attack the enemy's rear, which was passing. At the same time, General Walker was pressing them on their right, and, thus hemmed in, they gave way, and many were taken prisoners, about 1,000 by my brigade and the remainder by General Walker. Four stand of colors were taken by my brigade; also about 175 horses.
I am glad to say that my loss was small (only 9 killed and 34 wounded), though I regret to mention among the killed Capt. J. S. R. Miller, a gallant and meritorious officer of the First North Carolina Regiment.
I cannot speak in terms too high of the manner in which all the officers and men conducted themselves, every one doing all in his power to accomplish the end in view.
Capt. G. G. Garrison, assistant adjutant-general, and First Lieut. R. H. McKim, my aide-de-camp, rendered valuable assistance, the latter occasionally serving at the piece on the bridge.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. H. STEUART,
List of Casualties in Steuart's brigade, Johnson's division, Second Army Corps.
10th Regiment Virginia Infantry ---- ---- ---- 6 1st Regiment North Carolina Infantry 1 4 ---- 14 3rd Regiment North Carolina Infantry --- 4 2 12 Total 1 8 2 32
GEO. H. STEUART,
HEADQUARTERS STEUART'S BRIGADE, June 18, 1863.
HEADQUARTERS STEUART'S BRIGADE,
June 18, 1863.
Maj. B. W. LEIGH,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Johnson's Division.
MAJOR: No flags were captured in the recent battle near Winchester by the Third North Carolina Regiment and by the Tenth Virginia. Four stand of colors were captured by the First North Carolina, of which one was given to Lieutenant [William P.] Zollinger, Company A, First Maryland Battalion Infantry, as officer of the guard at court-house in Winchester, and there left by him. One was taken by members of the Fourth Brigade, under the circumstances stated in the accompanying report. Two were turned over at these headquarters, and are hereby turned over to division head-quarters--one a common flag. It is not known from whom the flags were captured. The other two regiments of the brigade were not engaged.
I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. H. STEUART,
HEADQUARTERS STEUART'S BRIGADE,
September 2, 1863.
Capt. R. W. HUNTER,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Johnson's Division.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by my brigade in the battle of Gettysburg:
We reached the battle-field of July 1 toward evening of that day, and, marching through a part of the town and along the Gettysburg and York Railroad, formed line of battle to the northeast, our front facing the south and our left wing in a skirt of woods. The Fourth and Second Brigades were on our right, the Stonewall on our left. We slept on our arms that night.
At about 3 p.m. the following day, the enemy's and our own batteries opened fire, and the shelling was very heavy for several hours. The brigade, however, suffered but little, being protected by the woods and behind rising ground. Our pickets, which had been stationed 300 yards in front of our line the night previous, were relieved at about 5 o'clock by four companies of skirmishers from the Twenty-third Virginia, and shortly afterward the brigade was formed in line of battle and moved forward.
The hill where the enemy was strongly intrenched, and from which we were ordered to drive him, lay in a southwesterly direction from our position, and accordingly our left wing was obliged to swing around by a right half-wheel, and the brigade thus formed front toward the west by south. The enemy's skirmishers fell back rapidly as we advanced through the fields and across Rock Creek, they suffering slightly, and inflicting little or no injury. The right wing of the brigade crossed the creek considerably in advance of the center and left wing, owing to the fact that the order to move by a right half-wheel was not immediately understood on the left, and also to the greater number of natural obstacles to be overcome by that part of the brigade. The slope of the hill above referred to at the point where the brigade crossed the creek commences about 50 feet from the bank, and, being thickly wooded, the charge of our right wing was made under great disadvantages. The Third North Carolina and First Maryland Battalion, which were now entirely separated from the rest of the brigade, advanced up the hill, however, steadily toward the enemy's breastworks, the enemy falling slowly back. Our loss was heavy, the fire being terrific and in part a cross-fire.
The order was now given by the major-general commanding to advance our left wing as rapidly and as steadily as possible, which was done as soon as the regiments composing it could be hurried across the creek. The left of the brigade now rested very near one line of the enemy's breastworks, which extended up the hill at right angles to the creek and then parallel with it on the summit. The enemy's attention being called more especially to our right, this fortification was not occupied in force. The Twenty-third Virginia accordingly, under Lieutenant-Colonel [S. T.] Walton, immediately charged the work, and scattered the enemy which was behind it. This regiment then filed to the right, until it reached the portion of the breastworks which was at right angles to the part first captured. Forming in line on the flank and almost in rear of the enemy, there stationed, it opened fire upon them, killing, wounding, and capturing quite a number. The Thirty-seventh and Tenth Virginia and First Maryland Battalion then came to the assistance of the Twenty-third Virginia, and fully occupied the works. The Third North Carolina still maintained its former exposed position, although its ammunition was nearly exhausted, notwithstanding the fact that the men had sought to replenish their cartridge-boxes from those of the wounded and dead. The First North Carolina, which had been kept in reserve, was at this crisis led by Lieutenant McKim to its support.
The brigade, with the exception of the two North Carolina regiments, was then formed in line of battle between the captured breastwork and a stone wall on the left of and parallel to it, from which position it was enabled to open a cross-fire upon the enemy, doing considerable execution. More, however, might have been done had not the impression at this time prevailed that we were firing upon our friends, and the fire been discontinued at intervals. To ascertain the true state of the case, the Tenth Virginia, under Colonel [E. T. H.] Warren (which was on our extreme left, and had formed a line at and perpendicular to the stone wall above referred to), changed front forward to the wall, and then moved by the left flank along it until it was supposed the regiment had gained the enemy's rear, when it opened fire, and drove that part of the enemy's line back.
Finding, however, the enemy in its own rear, as evinced by their fire, the regiment was compelled to change front to the rear and perpendicular to the wall, from behind which it repulsed a bayonet charge made by a regiment of the enemy which emerged from a wood on the left of the stone wall. The enemy not renewing the attack, the brigade was ordered back to the works, where it was formed in line of battle, the First Maryland Battalion on the right and Tenth Virginia on the left, the North Carolina regiments still remaining outside the breastworks. This reconnaissance, as well as the reports of scouts and the statements of prisoners, gave us the assurance that we had gained an admirable position. We had been but a short time behind the breastworks when at least two regiments advanced from the woods to the left of the works, and opened fire upon us, but they were soon driven back.
The prisoners and wounded were sent a little to the rear, and our sufferers received such attention as could be given them by Dr. [D.] Snowden, assistant surgeon of the Maryland battalion.
The whole command rested from about 11 p.m. till about daylight, 3d, when the enemy opened a terrific fire of artillery and a very heavy fire of musketry upon us, occasioning no loss to the brigade, excepting to the First Maryland Battalion and Third North Carolina, which in part alternated positions behind the breastworks. The First North Carolina, with the exception of four companies which had been stationed as a picket on the other side of the creek, was at this time formed to the left of the brigade.
At about 10 a.m. the Tenth Virginia was ordered to deploy as skirmishers, and clear the woods on our left of the enemy's skirmishers. This was done, and the enemy was discovered in the woods, drawn up in line of battle, at not over 300 yards from the west of the stone wall.
The brigade then formed in line of battle at right angles to the breastwork in the following order: Third North Carolina, First Maryland Battalion, Thirty-seventh Virginia, Twenty-third Virginia, and First North Carolina, and charged toward the enemy's second breastworks, partly through an open field and partly through a wood, exposed to a very heavy fire of artillery and musketry, the latter in part a cross-fire. The left of the brigade was the most exposed at first, and did not maintain its position in line of battle. The right, thus in advance, suffered very severely, and, being unsupported, wavered, and the whole line fell back, but in good order. The enemy's position was impregnable, attacked by our small force, and any further effort to storm it would have been futile, and attended with great disaster, if not total annihilation.
The brigade rallied quickly behind rocks, and reformed behind the stone wall which ran parallel to the breastworks, where it remained about an hour, exposed to a fire of artillery and infantry more terrific than any experienced during the day, although less disastrous. Ultimately, in accordance with orders from the major-general commanding, the brigade fell back to the creek, where it remained during the rest of the day, nearly half of it being deployed as skirmishers.
During the night, the enemy advanced their line some distance beyond the breastworks, but were driven back to them again. Toward midnight, the brigade, with the rest of the division, recrossed the creek, and, passing to the rear of the town, occupied and intrenched itself on the crest of the hill where the enemy had been posted on the first day of the engagement.
It affords me the greatest pleasure to say that the officers and men of the brigade, with a few exceptions of the latter, conducted themselves most gallantly, and bore the fatigue and privations of several days in a soldierlike manner.
The commanding officers of the different regiments of the brigade--Colonel Warren, Tenth Virginia ; Lieutenant-Colonel Walton, Twenty-third Virginia; Major Wood, Thirty-seventh Virginia; Lieutenant-Colonel Brown, First North Carolina; Major Parsley, Third North Carolina, and Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert, First Maryland Battalion Infantry, who was dangerously wounded the evening of the 2d, his successor, Major [W. W.] Goldsborough, also severely wounded next morning, and Capt. J. P. Crane, upon whom the command of the battalion finally devolved--handled their regiments with great skill and manifested the utmost coolness.
The following officers and non-commissioned officers are mentioned in the regimental reports as deserving of great praise for their coolness and bravery: Adjt. T. C. James, Third North Carolina, dangerously wounded; Lieut. R. H. Lyon, Company H, Third North Carolina; Lieut. R. P. Jennings, Company E, Twenty-third Virginia; Sergt. Thomas J. Betterton, Company A, Thirty-seventh Virginia, who took a stand of colors and was severely wounded.
To the officers serving on my staff--Capt. George Williamson, assistant adjutant-general, and First Lieut. R. H. McKim, aide-de-camp, whose duties kept them constantly with the brigade; Maj. George H. Kyle, commissary of subsistence Maryland troops, who was always with me when his other duties would allow, and Mr. John H. Boyle, volunteer aide--I am greatly indebted for valuable assistance rendered, and of whose gallant bearing I cannot too highly make mention.
I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. H. STEUART,
RETURN TO BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG CONFEDERATE ORDER OF BATTLE PAGE