Page images



[ocr errors]

the day before by the advance division of General Couch's militia, who had come up from the Susquehanna under General W. F. Smith, he ordered Sedgwick's comparatively fresh corps to commence a direct pursuit, and sent Kilpatrick to harrass the fugitives and destroy their train on the Chambersburg road. The greater part of the army remained to rest, and to succor the wounded and bury the dead.

Sedgwick overtook the rear-guard of the Confederates ten miles from Gettysburg, at the Fairfield Pass of South Mountain, and reported to General Meade that it was easily defensible by a small force, against him. Meade recalled Sedgwick, and determined to put his whole force in pursuit, in a flank movement, by way of Emmettsburg and Middletown, and the lower passes of the South Mountain range, through which he hoped to strike his antagonist's flank. He ordered General French at Frederick to send a force to Turner's Gap,' and with his main body to re-occupy Harper's Ferry. Leaving a brigade each of cavalry and infantry to harrass and delay the Confederate rear, he left Gettysburg, with a greater portion of the army, on the 6th, and crossed the mountains into the Antietam Valley. But he moved so cautiously and tardily that when, on

July, 1963, the 12th,' he overtook Lee, the latter was strongly intrenched on a ridge covering the Potomac from Williamsport to Falling Waters, waiting for the flood in the river, caused by the recent rains, to subside, and allow him to cross into Virginia. Unfortunately for Lee, General French had anticipated Meade's order, re-occupied Harper's Ferry, and sent a cavalry force to destroy the pontoon bridges which the Confederate commander had left, under guard, at Falling Waters. But for the accomplishment of this destruction, Lee's army might have passed over on the day of its arrival at Williamsport; but he was compelled to make preparations anew, and also to present a bold front to his pursuers. He showed so much strength when they approached, that Meade spent the 12th in intrenching and reconnoitering. He desired to attack Lee the next morning, but a majority of his commanders, whom he consulted late that evening, decided against it. Unwilling to take the responsibility, he allowed his army to remain inactive all the next day. That night, Lee having constructed another

• July 13, 14. bridge at Falling Waters, passed the corps of Longstreet and Hill quietly over it in the gloom, while Ewell's forded the river above Williamsport. The vigilant Kilpatrick had observed the movement toward the bridge, and struck Hill's rear-guard under the unfortunate Pettigrew, drove it to the river, killed one hundred and twenty-five of the men, and made fifteen hundred of them prisoners, with three battle-flags. Pettigrew was mortally wounded, and Major Webb, who led the Sixth Michigan Cavalry in a charge on the occasion, was killed. Kilpatrick's total loss was one hundred and five men. Thus ended, in utter discomfiture and repulse, Lee's formidable invasion of Maryland and Pennsylvania in the summer of 1863."


1 See page 471, volume II.

9 In the preparation of this narrative of the events of the invasion, the writer has availed himself, in addition to personal observations, and the accounts, written and oral, given him by actors in the scenes, of the official reports of the opposing commanders and their subordinate officers; narratives of correspondents with the armies, and of Professor Jacobs and others who have published interesting monographs concerning the battle. Special acknowledgment is due to Colonel J. B. Batchelder, for his communications to the writer on the subject, and his admirable isometrical drawing of the battle-field of Gettysburg, whose accuracy is attested by General Meade and his fellow-commanders on that occasion. It is wonderfully minute in its



The writer visited the battle-ground at Gettysburg a week after the conflict, and again in the autumn of 1866, each time with traveling companions already mentioned in these pages. On the first occasion we encountered many difficulties after leaving Philadelphia, first in trying unsuccessfully to reach Gettysburg by way of Harrisburg, and then by detention in Baltimore, the Northern Central railway being in the exclusive service of the Government for some days after the battle. Having “friends at court,” we gained, through them, permission to take passage in a Government train, which we did at ten o'clock on a pleasant morning, in company with Mr. Barclay, the philanthropist spoken of,' members, of both sexes, of the Sanitary and Christian Commissions, and friends of slain and badly wounded soldiers.

On leaving Baltimore, we saw the evidences of the hasty preparations to repel the invaders ;' and on the way to Hanover Junction we passed several of the block-houses constructed for the defense of the bridges on the railway. We dined at the Junction, where lay the charred remains of a train of cars, destroyed by the invaders, and toward evening arrived at Hanover. There we tarried an hour, and the writer visited the scene of the cavalry fight on the 29th of June, and made the sketch on page 58. We reached Gettysburg at eight o'clock in the evening, and gladly accepted the kind hospitality of the family of a leading citizen (David M. McConaughy), whose services before the battle, in imparting information, were acknowledged by General Meade. He, like all other patriotic citizens of Gettysburg, had opened his house to the strangers who thronged the town; and on the fol

lowing morning" he kindly accompanied us to the important July 11,

points on the battle-field, of whose scenes he had been an eye and

ear-witness. With him, in his light carriage, the writer was privileged to spend the entire day in an inspection of the theater of the drama chiefly within the National lines. We rode out on the Bounaughtown road, across Rock Creek, to the heights on which Ewell's guns were planted; and along a by-road we went down by the base of Wolf Hill,

recrossed the creek where the southern slopes of Culp's Hill touch it, and there began to see the evidences of the struggle of Slocum's corps with the foe on the right of the National line. Unexploded conical shells were half-buried in the oak-trees, whose branches were cut and bruised by others; and the trunks of nearly all were scarred so thickly with bullet-marks for ten or fifteen feet from the ground, that

scarcely an inch together of the untouched bark remained. Over the rocky slope of Culp's Hill, up which the Confederates





details, showing the movements, even of regiments, during the conflict, and giving a perfect impression of the event.

i See note 3, page 49. · The blessed labors of the Sanitary and Christian Commissions everywhere, will be hereafter mentioned. We found the members of each in full force, when we were at i ettysburg, with supplies of every kind needful for the suffering bodies and minds of the soldiers. The Christis Commission distributed about a thousand boxes of stores and publications at Gettysburg. The Sanitary Comy ision was equally active there. 3 See page 55.

4 See page 55 5 This is a sketch of one of the monuments mentioned ! the text. It was a rough piece of a sapling, with a figure : on a smooth spot, which referred to a registry nade, that would indicate the number of bodies buried there. Great care was taken by the Unionists to have very one of the four thousand dead bodies found on the field, buried, and the places of burial indicated.



[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

pressed in front of Slocum's lines, fragments of clothing, accouterments, shells, and fire-arms were strewed among many new-made graves, some in the form of trenches, in which a number of the dead were buried together, with some rude monument to mark the spot.

Passing over Culp's Hill among the debris of battle, along the line of breastworks depicted on page 70, we came to the open field where Wadsworth was stationed, between Culp's Hill and Cemetery Hill. There were the mounds of several batteries, and on the wooded slope in front were the marks of a severe struggle. Southward we could see Round Top, nearly three miles distant, and toward it we rode by way of the Cemetery, whose 'fences were gone and grounds were furrowed by shot and shell. There we saw the result of Howard's foresight and kindness, in the preservation of the monuments he had caused to be laid prone on the ground. One granite shaft, standing upright, had received a spent ball point-blank, which bruised but did not break the stone. In all that region the effects of the heavy cannonade on the 3d' were visible at every turn. The bodies of the slain soldiers were buried, but those of the horses, some untouched and some a-consuming by fire, were scattered thickly over the fields, especially where Hancock's batteries were, and along the Taneytown road, near Meade's headquarters. No less than eight dead horses were lying near a farm-house (Mr. Trossel's), as seen in the engraving; and during our ride within the Union lines we saw the remains of not less than two hundred of these noble brutes, many of them on fire, the smoke of which, with the effluvium of decomposition everywhere, filled the whole region of Gettysburg with unpleasant odors.

After sketching Meade's head-quarters, we passed down the Taneytown road a short distance, and turned into a rough by-way that led over to the Emmettsburg road, at the northern slope of Little Round Top. From that eminence we had an excellent general view of the battle-field between it and

Gettysburg. As we descend-
ed to the road, we

saw the graves of

several Massachu-
setts soldiers, at the
heads of which
their companions
had placed small boards,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


I See page 71.


? See page 63.



with the name and regiment marked on each, and planted a small evergreen close by, a tender memorial of heavenly emotions in the midst of the hellish deeds of war. We passed on to the peach-orchard so prominent in the records of the battle, and then rode back to Gettysburg, observing the fields on our right, over which Pickett swept with his division to the attack of Hancock,' thickly strewn with the graves of men and horses, the former marked by small head-boards, and the latter distinguished by large mounds.'

Expecting to revisit Gettysburg soon, we did not then go over the Confederate line of battle. The remainder of the day was spent in visiting the head-quarters of the benevolent Commissions, already mentioned; the hospitals of the National wounded, in the town, and the College where the Confederate sick and wounded lay. Sad, indeed, were the sights that met us.

Many, mostly young men, were maimed in every conceivable
way by every kind of weapon and missile, the most fiend-
ish of which was an explosive and a poisoned bullet, repre-
sented in the engravings a little more than half the size of
the originals, procured from the battle-field there by the
writer. These were sent by the Confederates. Whether
any were ever used by the Nationals, the writer is not in-
formed. One (figure a) was made to explode in the body

of a man, and the other (figure b) to leave a deadly poison in him, whether the bullet lodged in or passed through him.

Among the Confederates wounded at the College were boys of tender

[ocr errors]



i See page 72.

? See page 77. 3 Figure a represents the explosive bullet. The perpendicular stem, with a piece of thin copper hollowed, and a head over it, of bullet metal, fitted a cavity in the bullet proper, below it, as seen in the engraving. In the bottom of the cavity was fulminating powder. When the bullet struck, the momentum would cause the copper inverted disk to flatten, and allow the point of the stem to strike and explode the fulminating powder, when the bullet would be rent into fragments which would lacerate the victim. In figure b the bullet proper was hollowed, into which was inserted another, also hollow, containing poison. The latter, being loose, would slip out and remain in the victim's body or limb, with its freight of poison, if the bullet proper should pass through.

It may be here remarked that wonder is often expressed because of the comparatively small loss of life in great battles. The explanation lies in the fact that a great proportion of the combatants are highly excited at the time of action, and as a general rule, when raising the musket to fire, bring it up with a jerk that makes the elevation of the piece, when fired, too great. The writer observed in the woods on Culp's Hill, between the lines of combatants, the bullet marks on the trees were thicker at a height above a man's head than below it. Again, in all armies there are a vast number of cowards and incompetents, who actually "lose their senses" in action, and perform accordingly. In a report of the number and condition of the small arms picked up on the field of Gettysburg, appears the curious fact, that of 27,554 gathered up, at least 24,000 were loaded. One-half contained two loads each, and many contained ten loads, showing that the bearers of them had loaded but did not firu. In some the balls were put in before the powder, and in many instances a large number of cartridges were found in one musket, having been put in without being torn. In one percussion smooth-bore

found 22 bul-
lets, 62 buck-
shot, and a
quantity of

powder, mixed

together. It

has been estimated by experts, that a soldier in battle fires away, on an average, his weight in lead, before he kills a man.

The effect of blows upon fire-arms in battle is often very curious. Lieutenant C. A. Alvord, Jr., of General Caldwell's staff, who was in the Battle of Gettysburg, has in his possession an Austrian musket, which was struck by a cannon-ball while in the hands of a soldier, bent in the form seen in the engraving, and nearly every screw of the piece wrenched from its position, without being knocked from the hand of the bearer. The writer saw in the street at Gettysburg, a 12-pound brass cannon, with a bruise at the






age, and men who had been forced into the ranks against their wills ;' and a large portion of them were even then satisfied that on the part of the slaveholders, for whose special benefit the rebellion had been begun, it had been made, as thousands expressed it later in the contest, “The rich man's war and the poor man's fight.” At a late hour we left these scenes of woe and returned to Mr. McConaughy's, where we passed another night, and departed for Baltimore the next morning on a cattle-train of cars, which bore several hundred Confederate prisoners, destined for Fort Delaware, on the Delaware River, which was used for the safe-keeping of captives during a great portion of the war. We arrived in Baltimore in the evening in time to take the cars for Philadelphia, whence the writer went homeward, reaching the City of New York when the great “Draft riot," as it was called, at the middle of July was at its height, and a considerable portion of the city was in the hands of a mob.

The writer, with friends, revisited Gettysburg in September, 1866, and had the good fortune to go over nearly the entire ground on which the battle was fought, in the company of Professor Stoever, of Pennsylvania College, and the Rev. Mr. Warner, who had thoroughly studied the localities and incidents of the battle. Industry had changed the aspects of the theater of strife since our first visit, but many scars yet remained. Tradition had already treasured up a thousand touching stories of the conflict; and John Burns, a solitary “hero of Gettysburg," was yet a resident of the place, but absent at the time of our visit. It would be an interesting task to here record the many incidents of personal courage, sublime fortitude, holy selfdenial, patient suffering, and Christian sympathy, at Gettysburg and else

[ocr errors]

• 1863.


muzzle, and its ball about half-way out. It had been struck by a heavy solid shot, which made the piece recoil 10 suddenly and swiftly, that its own ball was made, by the momentum, to rush to the muzzle, where it was arrested by the crushed edge of the bore at that point.

1 There were some Friends, or Quakers, from North Carolina, in the battle at Gettysburg, who were forced into the ranks, but who, from the beginning to the end, refused to fight. They were from Guilford County, which was mostly settled by their sect, and who, as the writer can testify by personal observation, presented the only region in that State where the evidences of thrift which free labor gave in a land cursed by slavery might be seen. These excellent people were robbed and plundered by the Confederates without mercy. About a dozen of them were in Lee's army at Gettysburg, and were among the prisoners captured there. They had steadily borne practical testimony to the strength of their principles in opposing war. They were subjected to great cruelties, One of them, who refused to fight, was ordered by his colonel to be shot. A squad of twelve men were drawn up to shoot him. They loved him as a brother, because of his goodness, and, when ordered to fire, every man refused. The remainder of the company was called up, and ordered to shoot the first twelve if they did not execute the order. The intended victim folded his hands, raised his eyes, and said, “ Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!" The entire company threw down their muskets, and refused to obey the order. Their exasperated captain, with a horrid oath, tried to shoot him with his pistol. The cap would not explode. Then he dashed upon him with his horse, but the meek conscript was unbarmed. Just then a charge of some of Meade's troops drove the Confederates from their position, and the Quaker became a prisoner. He and his coreligionists were sent to Fort Delaware, when the fact wus made known to some of their sect in Philadelphia. It was laid before the President, and he ordered their release.

« PreviousContinue »