Reports of Brig. Gen. James A. Walker, C. S. Army, commanding brigade.
JUNE 3-AUGUST 1, 1863.--The Gettysburg Campaign.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXVII/2 [S# 44]
HEADQUARTERS STONEWALL BRIGADE,
Camp near Chambersburg, June 25, 1863.
Maj. B. W. LEIGH,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Johnson's Division.
MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the Stonewall Brigade around Winchester and Jordan Springs on the 13th, 14th, and 15th instant:
At daylight on Saturday morning, the 13th, the brigade moved from its camp near Cedarville in the direction of Winchester, on the Front Royal and Winchester turnpike. About noon, when 3 miles from Winchester, the Second Virginia Regiment, Colonel Naden-bousch commanding, was detached from my command, and deployed on the left of the road as skirmishers. For report of operations of that regiment during the remainder of that day, see report of Colonel Nadenbousch, inclosed.
The remainder of the brigade was formed in line of battle on the right of the turnpike, out of sight and out of range of the enemy's guns. After remaining in this position for half an hour, I received orders to move by the left flank, under cover of a ravine, and occupy a wood a few hundred yards in our front, which was done. After occupying that position for a short while, I again received orders to move to another wood on our left and nearer Winchester, which was also done, and we remained in that position during the remainder of the day and that night. That portion of the brigade under my command did not fire a single gun during these operations, and did not suffer a single casualty, although we were in range of the enemy's fire during a considerable portion of the time. After nightfall, the Second Regiment rejoined the command.
Early on the morning of the 14th, I was ordered by the major-general commanding the division to move across the Millwood pike, and to advance between the Millwood and Berryville pikes until I occupied the hills to the east of and fronting the town of Winchester. Moving by the right flank, under cover of the hills, until the command reached a position opposite the point it was ordered to occupy, the Fifth Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel [H. J.] Williams commanding, was deployed as skirmishers, and advanced in the direction of the town as rapidly as possible, the remainder of the brigade following about 300 yards in rear.
My skirmishers encountered the enemy's skirmishers on the crest of the hills, and drove them back to the edge of the town, where they remained during the remainder of the day under shelter of the houses and fences, and keeping up a continual and brisk fire upon our skirmishers, who occupied the stone fence at the western base of the hills, within easy musket-range of their position. A continuous and brisk skirmish between the two lines was kept up until dark, and the Fifth Regiment lost during the day 3 men killed, 16 wounded, and 10 missing.
About 4 o'clock in the afternoon, the enemy advanced a considerable body of men against the right of the line of skirmishers, compelling it to fall back, and capturing 10 prisoners. At this time, Lieutenant-Colonel Williams, who had commanded the regiment during the day with activity, coolness, and courage, was wounded by a musket-ball through the thigh, and the command of the regiment devolved on Major [J. W.] Newton.
The Eighteenth Connecticut Regiment was deployed in front of our skirmishers, and from the testimony of some of its officers captured by this brigade the next day, I was highly gratified at the efficiency and accuracy of the fire of my skirmishers. During the day, the rest of the brigade occupied a position in rear of the hills, under cover of a ravine, and lost not a single man either killed or wounded.
After dark, I received an order from Lieut. Oscar Hinrichs, of Major-General Johnson's staff, to move forward, with the further direction to push my skirmishers into and through the town, if practicable.
While preparing to obey this order, Dr. [R. T.] Coleman, medical director for the division, came up, and informed me that the rest of the division was moving on the Berryville turnpike, and that it was intended my command should follow. I immediately sent Lieutenant [R. W.] Hunter, of my staff, to find Major-General Johnson, and ascertain what I was expected to do. While he was gone, I ordered the left of my skirmishers to advance into Winchester, and learn whether the enemy still held the place. They advanced into the town, and reported that the enemy had left, and retired to their fortifications soon after dark. About 11 o'clock, Lieutenant Hunter returned, having found the Major-general commanding, who directed me to follow the rest of the division on the Berry ville road. Calling in my skirmishers as quickly as possible, I moved by the Berryville pike and Jordan Springs, and was within a mile of Stephenson's Depot at dawn, when 'heavy firing in that direction announced that the brigades in our front were engaging the enemy.
Hurrying up the command as rapidly as possible, we reached the scene of action just as a portion of the enemy's forces were endeavoring to make their escape in the direction of Jordan Springs. I ordered the Fourth, Twenty-seventh, and Thirty-third Regiments, which were in rear of the column, to face to the left, and advanced in line of battle in the direction of the enemy's column, to cut off its retreat. The Second and Fifth Regiments were moved forward, and formed in line of battle on the right of the road and on the right flank of General Steuart's brigade.
At this juncture, Captain [H. K.] Douglas, of Major-General Johnson's staff, informed me that the whole of my command was needed on the right. I directed Captain [Lieut. C. S.] Arnall, of my staff, to recall the Fourth, Twenty-seventh, and Thirty-third Regiments from the left, and bring them to the support of the Second and Fifth, on the right. Advancing at once with the Second and Fifth Regiments through the fields on the right of the woods in which General Steuart's brigade was posted, we crossed the railroad, and reached the turnpike without encountering the enemy. The smoke and fog was so dense that we could only see a few steps in front, and when, on reaching the Martinsburg turnpike, I saw a body of men about 50 yards to the west of that road, moving by the flank in the direction of Martinsburg, it was with difficulty I could determine whether they were friends or foes, as they made no hostile demonstrations, and refused to say to what brigade they belonged. Being satisfied at last that it was a retreating column of the enemy, I ordered the command to fire. The enemy gave way, and retreated back from the pike in disorder at the first fire, returning only a straggling and inaccurate fire. Pressing them back rapidly to the woods west of the road, they made no stand, but hoisted a white flag, and surrendered to the two regiments before the others came up.
Total number of prisoners taken by the brigade at this point amounted to 713 non-commissioned officers and privates, and 83 commissioned officers, 6 stand of colors, and arms, accouterments, &c., corresponding to the number of prisoners taken. Among the prisoners was Colonel [William G.] Ely, of the Eighteenth Connecticut, commanding the brigade; Colonel [William T.] Wilson, One hundred and twenty-third Ohio; Lieutenant-Colonel [Monroe] Nichols, Eighteenth Connecticut; Lieutenant-Colonel ------, Twelfth [West] Virginia, and two or three other field officers. The prisoners captured represented the following regiments: Eighteenth Connecticut, One hundred and twenty-third Ohio, Fifth Maryland, Twelfth [West] Virginia, and Seventy-sixth [Eighty-seventh] Pennsylvania.
Total casualties of the brigade on this day were 3 wounded. During the entire operations detailed above, the officers and men of the command behaved to my entire satisfaction, and not a single instance of misbehavior came under my observation.
To my personal staff--Lieutenants [F. C.] Cox, Hunter, and Arnall--I am indebted for their prompt and ready assistance during the three days' operations.
I have, major, the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. A. WALKER,
HEADQUARTERS STONEWALL BRIGADE,
August 17, 1863.
Captain [R. W.] HUNTER,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
CAPTAIN: In obedience to circular from division headquarters, I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the Stonewall Brigade at the battle of Gettysburg, and subsequently until it recrossed the Potomac:
On the evening of July, 1, the brigade, with the rest of the division, arrived at Gettysburg, Pa., and after nightfall took position on the southeast side of the town, near the Hanover road, and on the extreme left of our line, on Culp's farm, and, throwing forward skirmishers, we remained for the night.
At dawn the next morning, the enemy's skirmishers were seen in our front, and a brisk fire was opened between them and my own, which was kept up during the day at long range, with but short intervals of quiet. About 6 p.m. our line was advanced in a northerly direction, and took position immediately on the north side of the Hanover road. In this position, our left flank being harassed by the enemy's sharpshooters, posted in a wheat-field and wood, I ordered Colonel Nadenbousch with his regiment (the Second Virginia)to clear the field, and advance into the wood, and ascertain, if possible, what force the enemy had at that point, which he did at a single dash, his men advancing with great spirit, driving the enemy's skirmishers out of the clear ground and following them into the woods.
When he had advanced some distance into the woods, the enemy opened on his line with two pieces of artillery, and he fell back into the clear ground again, leaving skirmishers in the edge of the wood, and reported that the enemy had a large force of cavalry (supposed to be two brigades), two regiments of infantry, and a battery of artillery. This information I communicated through a staff officer to Major-General Johnson, and immediately thereafter received information from Major [H. K.] Douglas, of his staff, that the line was about to advance, with instructions from General Johnson to remain on the flank, if I thought it necessary.
As our flank and rear would have been entirely uncovered and unprotected in the event of my moving with the rest of the division, and as our movement must have been made in full view of the enemy, I deemed it prudent to hold my position until after dark, which I did.
After dark, I withdrew, and leaving a picket on the Hanover road, joined the rest of the division in rear of the enemy's breastworks, which they had driven them from the evening before.
At daylight next morning 3d, Steuart's brigade, which was immediately in my front, became hotly engaged, and, on receiving a request from General Steuart, I moved up to his support, and became warmly engaged along my whole line, and my right, extending beyond the breastworks, suffered very heavily.
After five hours' incessant firing, being unable to drive the enemy from his strong position, and a brigade of Rodes' division coming to our assistance, I drew my command back under the hill out of the fire, to give them an opportunity to rest and clean their guns and fill up their cartridge-boxes. In about an hour, I was ordered by General Johnson to move more to the right, and renew the attack, which was done with equally bad success as our former efforts, and the fire became so destructive that I suffered the brigade to fall back to a more secure position, as it was a useless sacrifice of life to keep them longer under so galling a fire. An hour or two later, I was again ordered to advance, so as to keep the enemy in check, which I did, sheltering my men and keeping up a desultory fire until dark.
About midnight, we were drawn off with the rest of the division, and at daylight were again formed in line of battle on the heights south of Gettysburg, where we remained all day and until about 11 o'clock, when we marched with the division in the direction of Fairfield.
The subsequent operations of this brigade up to the crossing of the Potomac having been altogether with the division and under the eye of the major-general, I do not deem any report necessary.
It affords me pleasure to say that the officers and men of the brigade behaved in a manner worthy their high reputation. It may seem individious to select any particular officer for commendation, but justice requires that I should especially notice the gallant and efficient conduct of Maj. William Terry, commanding the Fourth Virginia Regiment, who gallantly led his regiment almost to the breastworks of the enemy, and only retired after losing three-fourths of his command.
I am, captain, very respectfully,
J. A. WALKER,
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