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58

DISPOSITION OF THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.

ments, and his evident intention to give battle in full force. Satisfied of this, Meade issued a short but stirring address to his army,' and then sought a good position, where he might easily concentrate his troops, and engage advantageously in the great struggle which he knew was impending. He chose the line of Big Pipe Creek, on the water-shed between the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay, southeast of Gettysburg, with the hills at Westminster in the rear. On the night of the 30th, he issued orders for the right wing, composed of General Sedgwick's (Sixth) corps, to take position at Manchester, in the rear of the creek; the center, consisting of Generals Slocum (Twelfth) and Sykes's (Fifth) corps, to move toward Hanover, in advance of the creek, and the left, nearest the foe, under General John F. Reynolds, formerly of the Pennsylvania Reserves, composed of his own (First), Sickles's (Third), and Howard's (Eleventh), to push on toward Gettysburg, and thus mask the forming of the battle-line on Pipe Creek. Second Corps (late Couch's, and then under Hancock) was directed to take position, with the army head-quarters, at Tancytown, on the road from Emmettsburg to Winchester. Meade's cavalry, in the mean time, was diligently engaged on his front and flanks. Buford's division had moved north

through Middleburg, and, at noon of the 29th, occupied Gettys* June, 1563.

burg. At about the same hour, Kilpatrick, with his command, while passing through IIanover, was suddenly and unexpectedly assailed by Stuart (then on his march for Carlisle), who led a desperate charge, in

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SCENE OF CAVALRY BATTLE AT HANOVER.2

son, on the flank and rear of General Farnsworth's brigade, on the common near the railway at the eastern end of the village. A severe battle ensued in the town and on its borders, when General Custer, who had advanced to Abbottsville, returned, and the Confederates were repulsed with the loss of

1 " The enemy are on our soil," he said ; " the whole country now looks anxiously to this army to deliver it from the presence of the foe; our failure to do so will leave us no such welcome as the swelling of millions of hearts with pride and joy at our success would give to every soldier of this army. Ilomes, firesides, and domestic altars are involved. The army has fonght well heretofore; it is believed that it will fight more desperately and bravely than ever, if it is addressed in fitting terms. Corps and other commanders are authorized to order the instant death of any soldier who fails in his duty at this hour."

? This is from a sketch made from the railway, by the writer, a few days after the battle, and represents the open common on the eastern end of the village, near that road. In the buildings, and also in the fence toward the right of the picture, a number of marks made by pistol-balls might then be seen. Here the battle began, and continued down the street seen near the center of the picture.

OPENING OF THE CONTEST AT GETTYSBURG.

59

a flag and fifty men. Farnsworth lost about one hundred men. The gallant New York Fifth Cavalry, led by Farnsworth and Major Hammond, bore the brunt of battle, and won high commendation.

At this time Gettysburg was the focal point toward which the hostile armies were really tending, and circumstances speedily made the fields about that village the theater of a great battle,' instead of those along the line of Pipe Creek, where Meade expected to fight. Buford, as we have seen, entered Gettysburg on the 29th, and on the following evening, Reynolds, commanding the left, was ordered to advance upon it along the Emmettsburg turnpike. At that time the corps of Hill and Longstreet were upon the Chambersburg turnpike, west of Gettysburg, and Ewell was marching down from Carlisle, on the north.

At the hour when Reynolds was ordered to move on Gettysburg, the advance divisions of Hill were lying within a few miles of that town, after a reconnoitering party had ventured to the crest of Seminary or Oak Ridge, only half a mile northwest of the village. That night, Buford, with six thousand cavalry, lay between Hill and Gettysburg, and, at about nine o'clock the next morning, he met the van of the Confederates, under General H. Heth,' on the Chambersburg road, near Wil

* July 1, loughby's Run, between Seminary Ridge and the parallel eminence a mile farther west. A skirmish ensued.

A skirmish ensued. Reynolds, who had bivouacked at Marsh Creek, a few miles distant, was then advancing with his own corps, followed by IIoward's, and having those of Sickles and Slocum within call. The sound of fire-arms quickened his pace, and, at a little past ten o'clock, his advance division, under General Wadsworth, composed of the brigades of Generals Cutler and Meredith, passed rapidly through the village, and over the fields from the Emmettsburg road, under cover of Seminary Ridge, to the relief of Buford, who, by skillful maneuvering, and good use of his horse artillery, had kept the foe in check. Reynolds, who was with his advance, directed Cutler to place his brigade in position, with Hall's battery, on each side of the Chambersburg road and across a railway-grading at a deep cut near. Before this could be accomplished, the advancing Confederates were upon them, when a volley of musketry from the Fiftysixth Pennsylvania, led by Colonel J. W. Hoffinan, opened the decisive Battle of Gettysburg. Meredith's "Iron Brigade” was immediately to

1963.

1 Gettysburg lies on the northern slope of a gentle eminence, known as Cemetery Hill, because on its crown was a public burying-place. Half a mile west of the village is another eminence, called Oak Ridge, and some. times Seminary Ridge, because a theological seininary of the Lutheran Church stands upon it. About a mile farther west, beyond Willoughby's Run, is a similar ridge, parallel with Oak Ridge. North of the town, also on a gentle slope, is the Pennsylvania College. Southeast from Cemetery Hill, between the Baltimore turnpike and Rock Creek, is Culp's Hill; and beyond the creek, in that direction, is Wolf Hill, a rugged, wooded eminence. Two miles southwest of Cemetery Hill is a rocky peak, called Round Top, and near it a rocky hill of less altitnde, called Round Top Ridge. This extends, in diminished altitude, to Ziegler's Grove, on Cemetery Hill. North of the town, the country is a rolling plain ; and, at a distance of about ten miles southwest of it, is seen the bold outline of the South Mountain range.

? IIill's corps consisted of the divisions of Heth, Pender, and Anderson, the first two containing 10,000 men cach, and the last, 15,000. Longstreet's corps followed, with McLaws's division, 12,000, in advance; Hood's, 12,000; and Pickett's, 7,000; the latter having the wagon-trains of the Confederates in charge. Two divisions of Ewell's corps (Rocles's, 10,000 strong, and Early's, 9,000) had encamped the previous night at Heidlersburg, nine miles from Gettysburg; and his third division, under Edward Johnston, 12,000, was yet at Carlisle. At the hour when the van of each army met, the Union force near was less than 30,000 men, and that of the Confederates was over 70,000.

" Hoffman's regiment was in the second brigade of the first division of the First Army Corps, and was then under the command of Brigadier-General L. Cutler. The Fifty-sixth Regiment was the second in the column GEORGE'S HOUSE. ordered the “Iron Brigade” back to the woods, and of Reynolds's advance division, and got into position a moment sooner than others, when the Confederates were seen within musket-range. The atmosphere was a little hazy. Hoffman turned to General Cutler, who. was just behind him with a field-glass, and inquired, “ Is that the enemy ?" Cutler answered, “ Yes," when Hotfman ordered his men to fire. Their volley was instant!y followed by that of other regiments, and was returned in full measure by the foe, who_e bullets killed and wounded many of the Fifty-sixth. So the BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG was begun.-See Letter of General Cutler to the Governor of Pennsylvania, November 5, 1563. The regimental flag of the Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania, bearing the disk badge of the First Army Corps, of red color, with seven holes in it, as evidences of the strife in which it was engagod, was presented to the Loyal League of Philadeiphia, by Colonel Hoffman, on the 5th of December, 1563. In their house it is preserved as a precious memento of the gallantry of one of the most noted of the regiments of Pennsylvania, Under the leader. ship of Colonel (afterward General) Hoffman, it became perfect in discipline, and ever ready for daring service. In Pope's Army of Virginia, at Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Grant's campaigns in 1561, it was always conspicuous. So much was the commander loved and honored by the officers and men of his regiment, that they presented him an elegant sword, in 1563, on which was inscribed the names of the battles in which the regiment had then been engaged, namely, Sulphur Springs, Gainesville, Manassas, South

60

DEATH OF GENERAL REYNOLDS.

JOHN F. REYNOLDS.

charge into a wood on the left of the road, in rear of the Seminary, and fall upon Hill's right, under General Archer, then pressing across Willoughby's Run. Meanwhile a Mississippi brigade, under General Davis, assailed and flanked the three regiments of Cutler's brigade, on the Chambersburg road,

causing them to retire behind a wood on Seminary Ridge. This left Hall's battery uncovered, and the gunners were compelled to retire, leaving one cannon behind. The skirmishers of Cutler's other two regiments (Fourteenth Brooklyn and Ninety-fifth New York) were, at the same time, near the woods just spoken of, disputing the passage of Willoughby's Run. The “ Iron Brigade” opportunely swept down in that direction, the Second Wisconsin, Colonel Fairchild, leading, and under the personal direction of Reynolds, struck Archer's. flank, captured that officer and eight

hundred of his men, and re-formed on the west side of the little stream. At the moment when the charge was made, Reynolds,was anxiously observing the movement, having dismounted at the corner of the wood, when the bullet of a sharpshooter pierced his neck.' He fell forward on his face, and soon expired. IIis body was carried sorrowfully to the rear, and laid in the house of George George, on the Emmettsburg road, near the village.

General Doubleday had just arrived, and took Reynolds's place in command of the field, leaving his own division in charge of General Rowley. He

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Mountain, Antietam, l'nion, Fredericksburg, Rappabannock, Chancel. lorsville, Beverly Ford, and Gettysburg,

1 The Confeilerate sharpshooters had made a stone barn, near thewestern side of Willoughby's Run, and not far from the grove, at the edge of which Reynolds was making his observations, a sort of citadel, and it is believed that the bullet which slew the general went from that building. It was used, also, as a temporary hospital, and in it wounded Unionists, who had been made prisoners, were found after the Confederates fled from Gettysburg.

STONE BARN.

BATTLE ON SEMINARY RIDGE.

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sent a force to attack Davis's flank, and save Hall's battery. These consisted of Cutler's two regiments, on the left of the road, which, with the Sixth Wisconsin, changed front and, led by Lieutenant Daws, charged upon Davis, who also changed front, and made a stand at the railway cutting. They not only saved the battery, but surrounded and captured Davis and his Mississippians, with their battle-flag. Meanwhile Cutler's other regiments, which had lost heavily in killed and wounded, had re-formed, and joined in the attack; and now, with his brigade unbroken, he took position farther to the right to meet the extension of the Confederate lines in that direction.

It was now meridian. The whole of the First Corps, under General Doubleday, was well posted on Seminary Ridge, and the remainder of Hill's was rapidly approaching. At the same time Rodes, with the advance division of Ewell's corps, had hastened forward from Heidlersburg, and, swinging round, took a commanding position on the ridge north of the town, connecting with Hill on his right, and seriously menacing the National right, held by Cutler. Doubleday sent Robinson's division to Cutler's aid, the brigades of Generals Baxter and Paul taking position on his right at the . Mummasburg road. There a severe contest was sustained for some time, when three North Carolina regiments, under General Iverson, were captured.

The battle soon assumed far grander proportions. Thus far only the First Corps of the Nationals and the advance divisions of Hill's and Ewell's corps had been engaged. Howard's corps, animated by the sounds of battle in its front, pressed forward rapidly, and reached the field at a little past noon. Pender's division had been added to the strength of Hill's already in the struggle, and Early's division now joined that of Rodes. Howard, who had arrived in advance of his corps, had left General Steinwehr's division on Cemetery IIill, placed General Schurz, whose division was intrusted to General Schimmelpfennig, in temporary charge of the corps, and, ranking Doubleday, took the chief command of all the troops on the field of action. He placed the divisions of Barlow and Schurz to the right of the First Corps, to confront Early, and so, from the necessity of meeting an expected simultaneous attack from the north and west, the National line was lengthened and attenuated along a curve for about three miles. This was an unfortunate necessity that could not be avoided, for Howard had perceived the value of a position for the army on the series of ridges of which Cemetery Hill formed the apex of a redan, and had determined to secure it, at all hazards, if his inferior numbers should be pressed back from the battle-line on the north and west of the town, which now seemed probable.

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OLIVER 0. HOWARD.

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DEFEAT OF THE NATIONALS.

At this juncture, Rodes, near the northern extremity of Seminary Ridge, occupied the key-point of the entire field; and when, at about three o'clock in the afternoon, Early had pressed Barlow back, and there was a general advance of the Confederates, Rodes dashed through the weak center of the National line, and, aided by an enfilading battery, threw into confusion the right of the First and the left of the Eleventh Corps. Then the Nationals fell back in some confusion upon the village, in which they became entangled, when Early, dashing forward, captured about three thousand men, chiefly of the Eleventh Corps. The First Corps, whose left had been held firmly by Doubleday, now fell back. It brought away the artillery and ambulances from Seminary Ridge, and took position on Steinwehr's left and rear on Cemetery Hill, while the Eleventh

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halted in its retreat on Steinwehr's right and front. Buford's cavalry had well covered the retreat, and when, toward sunset, Ewell's corps quietly occupied Gettysburg, and Hill's lay on Seminary Ridge, the sorely smitten Nationals were in a strong position on Cemetery Hill, anxiously awaiting

the arrival of re-enforcements from the scattered corps of the • July 1,

Army of the Potomac, then on the way. So ended, in the defeat

of the Unionists, the severe engagement preliminary to the great Battle of Gettysburg, for the cautious Lee, ignorant of the number of the

1868.

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