Reports of Col. J. M. Williams, Second Louisiana Infantry, commanding Nicholls' brigade.
JUNE 3-AUGUST 1, 1863.--The Gettysburg Campaign.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXVII/2 [S# 44]
HEADQUARTERS NICHOLLS' BRIGADE,
June 16, 1863.
Maj. B. W. LEIGH,
MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the action of Nicholls' brigade in the battle of [Winchester], on June 15: On the 14th instant, at 8 o clock, the brigade was ordered to move to a point designated by the commanding general on the Martinsburg pike, 3 miles from Winchester, and to join General Steuart's brigade, then moving to the same point. The brigade joined General Steuart on the Charlestown road, about 5 miles from the battle-field.
When General Steuart's brigade reached the bridge over the Potomac Railroad, the enemy fired into them, and I immediately formed the brigade in line of battle parallel to the Martinsburg pike, and on the left and perpendicular to the Charlestown road, and at the same time ordered the Fourteenth Louisiana Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Zable commanding, to take the same line on the right of the Charlestown road, near the railroad. Riding then to the front, I observed that the line of the enemy, which was moving on the pike, was changing direction so as to flank my left.
To meet this movement of the enemy. I ordered the Second Louisiana, Lieutenant-Colonel [R. E.] Burke, and the Tenth Louisiana, Major Powell, to change front and move perpendicularly to the Martinsburg pike, and attack the flanking force. These regiments, having met the enemy, moved by the left flank on parallel line with the enemy's line until he had discovered about 1,000 of his men; then opened fire on his line, which was still moving by flank. These regiments, after engaging the enemy with great success, were moved off by the commanding general, who did them the honor of directing their further action in person.
This detachment (Second and Tenth Louisiana Regiments) captured about 1,000 prisoners, and the Second Louisiana captured a stand of colors from the Sixty-seventh Pennsylvania.
The First Louisiana, Captain Willett, and Fifteenth Louisiana, Major Brady, were held in reserve during the first part of the engagement, and were afterward moved to different positions as the circumstances seemed in my judgment to necessitate, but were not actively engaged in the battle.
The officers and men, without exception, behaved with much coolness and determined bravery.
I would call particular attention to Capt. Alexander Boarman, acting assistant adjutant-general, and Lieut. Joseph Taylor, acting aide-de-camp, who behaved with much courage, gallantry, and efficiency, and greatly assisted me in the engagement.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
[J. M. WILLIAMS,]
Colonel, Commanding Nicholls' Brigade.
CAMP OF NICHOLLS' BRIGADE,
August 28, 1863.
Maj. R. W. HUNTER,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of Nicholls' brigade at the battle of Gettysburg, Pa., on July 1, 2, and 3:
On July 1, at about 7 o'clock, while marching on the Cashtown road and toward Gettysburg, the brigade, being in front, was ordered by the major-general commanding to move to the east of Gettysburg, along the railroad, about three-quarters of a mile from town, and there, by his direction, was placed in line of battle on the extreme right of the division, about 600 yards from and perpendicular to the railroad.
Here, having formed the line with the division, the brigade remained until 7 p.m. of July 2, when, after changing position to the left of Jones' brigade, it was ordered forward in line of battle toward the heights in front, about three-quarters of a mile.
The brigade engaged the enemy near the base of these heights, and, having quickly driven his front line into the intrenchments on their crest, continued forward until it reached a line about 100 yards from the enemy's works, when it again engaged him with an almost incessant fire for four hours, pending which several attempts to carry the works by assault, being entirely unsupported on the right (Jones' brigade having failed to hold its line on the right), were attended with more loss than success.
The command remained in this position during the night, and at early light opened on the enemy again, and continued to engage him for four hours almost without cessation, and at intervals until 12 m., when the major-general commanding ordered the brigade to take position near the ravine or creek, about 300 yards from the line held during the night, where the command remained until about 3 a.m. of July 4, when, under the direction of the major-general commanding, it was marched to the rear of Gettysburg.
Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
J. M. WILLIAMS,
Colonel, Commanding Nicholls' Brigade.
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