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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. His 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 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 Hoffman ordered his men to fire. Their volley was instantly followed by that of other regiments, and was returned in full measnro by the foe, whoe 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, 1863. 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 engaged, was presented to the Loyal League of Philadelphia, by Colonel Hoffman, on the 5th of December, 1863. 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 1964, 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 1863, on which was inscribed the names of the battles in which the regiment had then been engaged, namely, Sulphur Springs, Gainesville, Manassas, South
Mountain. Antietam, Union, Fredericksburg, Rappahannuck, Chancel. lorsville, Beverly Ford, and Gettysburg.
1 The Confederate sharpshooters had made a stone barn, near the western 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.
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 Hill, 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.
OLIVER 0. HOWARD.
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
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, 1868.
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
PREPARATIONS FOR RENEWING THE STRUGGLE.
troops of his adversary present or near at hand, prudently awaited the arrival of the rest of his army.'
When General Meade, at Taneytown, thirteen miles distant, heard of the death of Reynolds, he ordered General Hancock, the junior of Howard in rank, to leave his corps with General Gibbons, hasten to Gettysburg, and assume the chief command, at the same time giving him discretionary power to offer battle where the advance of the army then was, or to withdraw the troops to the line of Pipe Creek. Hancock arrived just as the beaten forces were hurrying toward Cemetery Hill. He was satisfied with the new position chosen by General Howard, and so reported to General Meade. After assisting in forming a new battle-line with the troops then present, and turning over the command to General Slocum, who arrived with his corps (Twelfth) from Littlestown at sunset, Hancock returned to head-quarters late in the evening.
Fortunately for the cause, Howard had called early-upon Sickles and Slocum for aid, and both had promptly responded by moving forward. The former, with his corps (Third), was near Emmettsburg, where he had been halted in the morning by a circular letter from General Meade, ordering the advance to fall back, and the whole army to form a line of battle along the general direction of Pipe Creek, between Middleburg and Manchester.” Howard informed Sickles of the death of Reynolds, and the peril of the troops. Sickles was perplexed for a moment. It was full three o'clock in the afternoon when the astounding news reached him. He could not communicate with Meade, ten miles distant, without a delay that might be fatal to the National advance, so he took the responsibility of pressing forward. Just as Howard had gained position on Cemetery Hill, Sickles's van came up and formed on the left, where it was joined by the whole corps before morning. Hancock, on his way back, met his own corps under Gibbons, which Meade had sent forward, and posted it a mile and a half in the rear of Cemetery Hill. When he reached head-quarters, at nine
MEADE'S HEAD-QUARTERS. in the evening, he found Meade determined to make a stand at Gettysburg. He had given orders for the whole army to concentrate there, and was about leaving for the front. Both officers rode rapidly forward, and at one o'clock on the morning of the 2d,“ Meade made his head-quarters at the house of Mrs. Lydia
July, 1863 Leister, on the Taneytown road, a short distance in the rear of Cemetery Hill. Only the corps of Sykes and Sedgwick were then absent.
1 See Lee's Report of the Battle of Gettysburg, July 31, 1863. In that report he says he had not intended to fight a general battle so far away from his base, but being "unexpectedly confronted by the Federal army, it became a matter of difficulty to withdraw through the mountains with the large trains.”
Meade was satisfied that the main object of his forward movement, namely, the arrest of the invasion, was accomplished, and proposed to take a defensive position and await further developments of Lee's plans.
POSITIONS OF THE OPPOSING ARMIES.
The former, by a forced night march, arrived early in the morning, and the latter at two o'clock in the afternoon.'
Lee, too, had been bringing forward his troops as rapidly as possible. He made his head-quarters on Seminary Ridge, at the house of the venerable Mary Marshall, where the Chambersburg road crosses the eminence, and on the morning of the 2d of July, a greater portion of the two armies con
fronted each other, both in a strong position, with the little village of Gettysburg, and a valley not a mile in width, between them. Meade's army lay along rocky heights, forming two sides of a triangle, with its apex at Cemetery Hill, near the town, its shorter line bending back southeasterly over Culp's
Hill to Rocky Creek, CONFEDERATE HEAD-QUARTERS. 2
and its longer line bending back south-southwest to Round Top. Howard's shattered corps, re-enforced by two thousand Vermont troops under General Stannard, occupied Cemetery Hill, supported by the divisions of Robinson and Doubleday, of the First, with Wadsworth's, of the same corps, on the right. This division joined Slocum's corps on Culp's Hill, which formed the right wing of the army. On the left of Howard, the corps of Hancock and Sickles occupied the irregular ridge from Zeigler's Grove, on Cemetery Hill, to Round Top, the latter forming the extreme of the left wing. Sykes's corps was held in reserve. Slocum’s corps, re-enforced by Lockwood's Marylanders, twenty-five hundred strong, comprised about ten thousand men. Sedgwick, with over fifteen thousand men, was yet many miles away.
Lee's army then present occupied Seminary Ridge and the high ground to the left of Rock Creek, making an irregular curve along a line about five miles in length. His right, facing Sickles and Hancock, was composed of the divisions of Hood and McLaws, of Longstreet's corps. Hill's three divisions stretched from their left, so as to confront Howard on Cemetery Hill; and Ewell's, forming the left wing, occupied the village and its vicinity, the divisions of Early and Johnson extending so as to menace Wadsworth and Slocum on Culp's Hill. Stuart's cavalry had not yet arrived from Carlisle, and Buford's so roughly handled the day before, was recruiting its
strength in the National rear. Such was the general disposition 1863.
of the two armies on the morning of the 2d of July, each having a large number of cannon in position.
1 Sykes was not far from Hanover, twenty-three miles distant, when ordered to advance, and Sedgwick was at Manchester, more than thirty miles distant.
2 This was the appearance of Lee's head-quarters when the writer sketched it, from the Chambersburg road, late in September, 1866. It was a substantial old stone house. Mrs. Marshall yet occupied it, and was then seventy-eight years of age.
3 See note 1, page 59.