Winfield Hancock Gettysburg Battle Report
General Hancock / Winfield Hancock
The Winfield Hancock Gettysburg battle report goes a long way toward describing the actions of both armies during the battle. It's a must-read for anyone looking for a clean and concise report.
Second in command for the Union Army of the Potomac at the Battle of Gettysburg, many say Hancock contributed the most of any general during the battle. His actions particularly on the 2nd day helped save the Union line from total collapse due to his masterful movement of troop reinforcements.
Gettysburg campaign - June 28 to July 5, 1863
Report of Maj. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock,
U.S. Army, commanding Second Army Corps.
Brig. Gen. S. WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the Potomac.
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my command from June 28 until July 5, inclusive:
On the morning of June 28, the Second Corps marched from near Sugar Loaf Mountain, Md., with orders from Major-General Hooker to encamp at Frederick. When near Monocacy Junction, the corps was ordered into camp near that place by Major-General Meade, who had that day assumed command of the army.
On the morning of the 29th, orders were received for the corps to march at 4 a.m. and move to Frizellburg. An accident delaying the delivery of the order, the command was not in motion until 8 a.m.
At 10 p.m. the command was halted for the night 1 mile beyond Uniontown, having accomplished with its entire train a march of over 30 miles. Frizellburg was not reached, owing to its being considerably farther from Monocacy Junction than indicated by the maps.
At Uniontown I ascertained that Stuart was at Westminster with a heavy force of cavalry and a number of guns, which information I communicated to the major-general commanding.
The corps remained in camp at Uniontown on the 30th.
On the morning of July 1, the command marched to Taneytown, going into bivouac about 11 a.m. I then proceeded in person to General Meade's headquarters, and, on reporting to him, was informed as to his intention with reference to giving battle to the enemy, the orders for preparatory movements being then ready for issue.
A few minutes before 1 p.m., I received orders to proceed in person to the front, and assume command of the First, Third, and Eleventh Corps, in consequence of the death of Major-General Reynolds. Having been fully informed by the major-general commanding as to his intentions, I was instructed by him to give the necessary directions upon my arrival at the front for the movement of troops and trains to the rear toward the line of battle he had selected, should 1 deem it expedient to do so. If the ground was suitable, and circumstances made it wise, I was directed to establish the line of battle at Gettysburg.
Turning over the command of the Second Corps to Brigadier-General Gibbon, under instructions from General Meade, at 1.10 o'clock I was on the road to Gettysburg, accompanied by my personal aides, Lieutenant-Colonel Morgan, chief of staff, Second Corps, and the signal party of the corps, under command of Captain Hall.
At 3 p.m. I arrived at Gettysburg and assumed the command. At this time the First and Eleventh Corps were retiring through the town, closely pursued by the enemy. The cavalry of General Buford was occupying a firm position on the plain to the left of Gettysburg, covering the rear of the retreating corps. The Third Corps had not yet arrived from Emmitsburg. Orders were at once given to establish a line of battle on Cemetery Hill, with skirmishers occupying that part of the town immediately in our front. The position just on the southern edge of Gettysburg, overlooking the town and commanding the Emmitsburg and Taneytown roads and the Baltimore turnpike, was already partially occupied on my arrival by direction of Major-General Howard. Some difficulty was experienced in forming the troops of the Eleventh Corps, but by vigorous efforts a sufficiently formidable line was established to deter the enemy from any serious assault on the position. They pushed forward a line of battle for a short distance east of the Baltimore turnpike, but it was easily checked by the fire of our artillery. In forming the lines, I received material assistance from Major-General Howard, Brigadier-Generals Warren and Buford, and officers of General Howard's command.
As soon as the line of battle mentioned above was shown by the enemy, Wadsworth's division, First Corps, and a battery (thought to be the Fifth Maine) were placed on the eminence just across the turnpike, and commanding completely this approach. This important position was held by the division during the remainder of the operations near Gettysburg. The rest of the First Corps, under Major-General Doubleday, was on the right and left of the Taneytown road, and connected with the left of the Eleventh Corps, which occupied that part of Cemetery Hill immediately to the right and left of the Baltimore turnpike. A division of the Twelfth Corps, under Brigadier-General Williams, arrived as these arrangements were being completed, and was established, by order of Major-General Slocum, some distance to the right and rear of Wadsworth's division. Brigadier-General Geary's division, of the Twelfth Corps, arriving on the ground subsequently, and not being able to communicate with Major-General Slocum, I ordered the division to the high ground to the right of and near Round Top Mountain, commanding the Gettysburg and Emmitsburg road, as well as the Gettysburg and Taneytown road to our rear.
The trains of all the troops under my command were ordered to the rear, that they might not interfere with any movement of troops that might be directed by the major-general commanding.
My aide, Major Mitchell, was then sent to General Meade to inform him of the state of affairs, and to say that I would hold the position until night. Shortly after, I addressed a communication to the major-general commanding, sending it by Captain Parker, of my staff, giving in detail the information in my possession, and informing him that the position at Gettysburg was a very strong one, having for its disadvantage that it might be easily turned, and leaving to him the responsibility whether the battle should be fought at Gettysburg or at a place first selected by him.
Between 5 and 6 o'clock, my dispositions having been completed, Major-General Slocum arrived on the field, and, considering that my functions had ceased, I transferred the command to him The head of the Third Corps appeared in sight shortly afterward, on the Emmitsburg road.
About dark I started for the headquarters of the army, still at Taneytown, 13 miles distant, and reported in person to General Meade. I then ascertained that he had already given orders for the corps in the rear to advance at once to Gettysburg, and was about proceeding there in person.
The Second Army Corps had marched from Taneytown toward Gettysburg at 1.30 p.m., and bivouacked for the night about 3 miles in rear of the town. The march was resumed at daylight, and I rejoined the corps before its arrival on the field, which took place about 7 a.m. of the 2d. The troops were soon placed in position, the right resting near the Emmitsburg road, to the west of Cemetery Hill, connecting there on the right with the Eleventh Corps and on the left with the Third Corps, the line of battle extending along the crest from the left of Cemetery Hill to Round Top Mountain, the ground being less elevated, as near Round Top. The Third Division, Brigadier-General Hays commanding, was placed on the right; the Second Division, Brigadier-General Gibbon commanding, was placed in the center, and the First Division, Brigadier-General Caldwell commanding, was on the left. The batteries of the corps were disposed from right to left as follows: Woodruff's I, First U.S. Artillery, Arnold's A, First Rhode Island, Cushing's A, Fourth U.S. Artillery, Brown's B, First Rhode Island, and Rorty's B, First New York. Each division had one of its brigades in rear as a reserve.
Sharp skirmishing occurred at intervals during the morning, particularly in front of Hays' division, where quite a number of prisoners were taken from the enemy. The artillery was also frequently engaged, but no severe fighting took place until about 3 p.m., when the Third Corps advanced from its position toward the Emmitsburg road and became heavily engaged. Subsequently the Fifth Corps became engaged in the vicinity of Round Top, in support of and some distance to the rear of the Third Corps.
Having been directed by General Meade to send a division to the assistance of the Third Corps, with orders to report to General Sykes, commanding Fifth Corps, the First Division, under Brigadier-General Caldwell, was dispatched to the scene of conflict. The division was assigned to its position by one of Major-General Sykes' staff officers. As soon as it could form line of battle, the division advanced, the left along the foot of Round Top Mountain, and drove the enemy steadily before it until, from the want of any connection on its right, the right flank of the division was turned by a column of the enemy, which had passed unobserved at a considerable distance to its right and almost to its rear, where it formed line of battle and soon forced the division to retire, with a loss of nearly half its numbers. Three out of four of the brigade commanders were disabled, Brigadier-General Zook, a gallant officer, being killed early in the action; Col. E. E. Cross, Fifth New Hampshire Volunteers, commanding First Brigade, whose intrepid bearing had been so often exhibited on the battle-field, was mortally, and Col. J. R. Brooke, Fifty-third Pennsylvania, commanding Fourth Brigade, slightly, wounded.
The orders of General Meade were that this division should return to its original position after being relieved by the Fifth Corps. It was reformed some distance in rear of the line of battle, but did not return until after dark, when I ordered it to the position it held in the morning.
The Third Corps having advanced far beyond the original line of battle, and Caldwell's division having been detached, a large interval remained on the left of the Second Division without troops. To remedy this in part, General Gibbon extended his line to the left by adding to it his reserve brigade. The right of the Third Corps rested near the brick house, near the Emmitsburg road, a considerable distance in front of Gibbon's division, the general direction of the line being parallel to that road. To strengthen the point between the right of the Third Corps and his left, General Gibbon sent two regiments of General Harrow's brigade, the Fifteenth Massachusetts, Col. G. H. Ward, and the Eighty-second New York Volunteers, Colonel Huston to occupy a crest on the right of the brick house, which position was considerably strengthened by a slight breastwork of such materials as the adjoining fences afforded. Brown's battery B, First Rhode Island occupied a position in rear and somewhat to the left of these two regiments.
Owing to the advanced position of the Third Corps, a very considerable gap was made between its left and the right of the Fifth Corps, through which the column of the enemy which turned the right flank of Caldwell's division appears to have passed.
About this time, General Meade informed me that General Sickles had been wounded, and directed me to assume command of the Third Corps in addition to that of my own. By this arrangement, the immediate command of the Second Corps devolved again upon General Gibbon, and that of the Third upon General Birney. I had just before received an order from General Meade to send a brigade to the assistance of General Birney, whose division had occupied the extreme left of Sickles' corps, and to send two regiments to General Humphreys, who commanded the right of that corps.
I immediately led the brigade Third Brigade, Third Division, under Colonel Willard, intended for General Birney toward the left of the original line of battle of the Third Corps, and was about proceeding with it to the front, when I encountered General Birney, who informed me that his troops had all been driven to the rear, and had left the position to which I was moving. General Birney proceeded to the rear to collect his command. General Humphreys small command yet remained in position. The force which had turned General Caldwell's right and driven the left of the Third Corps now approached the line of battle as originally established. Humphreys' command was forced back, contesting the ground stubbornly. The two regiments sent from the Second Division to General Humphreys' assistance Nineteenth Massachusetts, Colonel Devereux, and Forty-second New York, Colonel Mallon, both under command of Colonel Mallon had not arrived on the ground, though under musketry fire, when, observing that General Humphreys' command was rapidly retiring, they formed line of battle, delivered a few volleys at the advancing enemy, and themselves retired in good order to their position in line in the Second Corps, having suffered a heavy loss. The enemy pushed them so closely that a number of prisoners were captured by these regiments. The two regiments and battery referred to above as having been advanced by General Gibbon to the vicinity of the brick house did excellent service in protecting the flank of General Humphreys' command and in preventing it from being cut off from the line of battle. The enemy's attack being on their flank, the two regiments were, however, forced to retire, having met with heavy losses, Colonels Ward and Huston both being killed. One gun of the battery they had supported, and which was served to the last by the cannoneers, fell into the hands of the enemy temporarily.
I directed General Humphreys to form his command on the ground from which General Caldwell had moved to the support of the Third Corps, which was promptly done. The number of his troops collected was, however, very small, scarcely equal to an ordinary battalion, but with many colors, this small command being composed of the fragments of many shattered regiments. Three guns of one of its batteries had been left on the field, owing to the losses of horses' and men. I established Colonel Willard's brigade at the point through which General Birney's division had retired, and fronting the approach of the enemy, who were pressing vigorously on. There were no other troops on its right or left, and the brigade soon became engaged, losing its commander, Colonel Willard, and many officers and men.
At this juncture, re-enforcements, for which I had previously sent to General Meade by a staff officer, consisting of a part of General Newton's corps Doubleday's division and the remnant of Robinson's, arrived, established themselves on the line, meeting the enemy at once, and doing good execution.
Proceeding along the line, I met a regiment of the enemy, the head of whose column was about passing through an unprotected interval in our line. A fringe of undergrowth in front of the line offered facilities for it to approach very close to our lines without being observed. It was advancing firing, and had already twice wounded my aide, Captain Miller. The First Minnesota Regiment coming up at this moment, charged the rebel regiment in handsome style, capturing its colors, and driving it back in disorder.
I cannot speak too highly of this regiment and its commander in its attack, as well as in its subsequent advance against the enemy, in which it lost three-fourths of the officers and men engaged. One of the regiments of the Vermont Brigade afterward advanced upon its right, and retook the guns of one of the reserve batteries, from which the cannoneers and supports had been driven.
The enemy was now attacking our whole front at different points. On the right advancing from the direction of the brick house on the Emmitsburg road toward Gibbon's division, where he was promptly checked and driven from that portion of Brown's battery temporarily captured. In this last operation the Nineteenth Maine, Col. F. E. Heath commanding, bore a conspicuous part.
On the left of the Second Corps, the line being still incomplete, and intervals existing through which the enemy approached our line of battle, General Meade brought up in person a part of the Twelfth Corps, consisting of two regiments of Lockwood's brigade, under Brig. Gen. H. H. Lockwood, which formed line, and advanced against the enemy, then closely engaged with us, and he was soon driven from the field. By the advance of these regiments, the artillery which had been left on the field in the Third Corps line was recaptured from the enemy. Humphreys' division participated in this advance and in the recapture of its guns.
Brigadier-General Barksdale, of the rebel service, was left on the field, mortally wounded.
The Third Brigade of the Third Division, commanded by Colonel Sherrill, after Colonel Willard's death, made a gallant advance on the enemy's batteries to the right of the brick house, in which the One hundred and eleventh New York Volunteers, under Colonel MacDougall, bore a distinguished part. This brigade lost nearly one-half its numbers.
It was nearly dark. Proceeding to the right of the Second Corps, near Cemetery Hill, and hearing a heavy engagement on General Howard's front, the firing seeming to come nearer and nearer, I directed General Gibbon to send Colonel Carroll's brigade, Third Division, to that point, to report to General Howard at once. I was gratified to hear subsequently, from General Howard in person, that it arrived at a very critical time, and that this unexpected re-enforcement materially assisted him in driving the enemy from his front. Hearing firing farther to the right, and believing it to be on General Slocum's front, and fearing that the troops he had sent to me had left him without sufficient force, I directed General Gibbon to send two regiments to that point. The Seventy-first Pennsylvania, Col. R. Penn Smith, and the One hundred and sixth Pennsylvania, Lieut. Col. W. L. Curry, were dispatched, but they also reported to Major-General Howard. The One hundred and sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers remained until relieved next day, doing good service. The Seventy-first returned to its command about midnight, without having received orders to do so, after suffering some loss.
In addition to the troops specially mentioned heretofore as being on the line of the Second Corps on July 2, I would mention Battery C, Fourth U.S. Artillery, commanded by Lieut. Evan Thomas. This officer is particularly mentioned for bravery and good conduct. A battery of the Artillery Reserve, commanded by ---, was also on the line during this action.
During the night of the 2d, the batteries were supplied with ammunition as far as practicable. Having brought but half the ammunition train of the corps, we were dependent somewhat on others The battery ammunition was supplied by the train of the Artillery Reserve, though not to the full extent required.
For details of the important service rendered by the First Division of the Second Corps, during the time it was detached in the afternoon of the 2d instant, I refer you to the clear and concise report of its commander, Brigadier-General Caldwell, which is herewith transmitted. Between 500 and 600 prisoners were captured by this division on that occasion.
The corps had been so weakened by its losses on the 2d, that on the 3d instant it required every available man in the line of battle to cover the ground held the previous day. Colonel Carroll's brigade, of General Hays' division, was retained by General Howard, and, with the exception of the Eighth Ohio, was not engaged with the Second Corps during the day.
The early morning passed in comparative quiet along our front, but the heavy and continued firing on the right indicated that the efforts of the enemy were being directed on the Twelfth Corps. Trifling affairs occurred at intervals between the enemy's skirmishers and our own, and the artillery of the corps was frequently and successfully engaged with that of the enemy.
From 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. there was an ominous stillness. About 1 o'clock, apparently by a given signal, the enemy opened upon our front with the heaviest artillery fire I have ever known. Their guns were in position at an average distance of about 1,400 yards from my line, and ran in a semicircle from the town of Gettysburg to a point opposite Round Top Mountain. Their number is variously estimated at from one hundred and fifteen to one hundred and fifty. The air was filled with projectiles, there being scarcely an instant but that several were seen bursting at once. No irregularity of ground afforded much protection, and the plain in rear of the line of battle was soon swept of everything movable. The infantry troops maintained their position with great steadiness, covering themselves as best they might by the temporary but trifling defenses they had erected and the accidents of the ground. Scarcely a straggler was seen, but all waited the cessation of the fierce cannonade, knowing well what it foreshadowed. The artillery of the corps, imperfectly supplied with ammunition, replied to the enemy most gallantly, maintaining the unequal contest in a manner that reflected the highest honor on this arm of the service. Brown's battery B, First Rhode Island, which had suffered severely on the 2d, and expended all of its canister on that day, retired before the cannonading ceased, not being effective for further service. The remaining batteries continued their fire until only canister remained to them, and then ceased.
After an hour and forty-five minutes, the fire of the enemy became less furious, and immediately their infantry was seen in the woods beyond the Emmitsburg road, preparing for the assault. A strong line of skirmishers soon advanced, followed by two deployed lines of battle), supported at different points by small columns of infantry. Their lines were formed with a precision and steadiness that extorted the admiration of the witnesses of that memorable scene. The left of the enemy extended slightly beyond the right of General Alexander Hays' division, the right being about opposite the left of General Gibbon's. Their line of battle thus covered a front of not more than two of the small and incomplete divisions of the corps. The whole attacking force is estimated to have exceeded 15,000 men.
No attempt was made to check the advance of the enemy until the first line had arrived within about 700 yards of our position, when a feeble fire of artillery was opened upon it, but with no material effect, and without delaying for a moment its determined advance. The column pressed on, coming within musketry range without receiving immediately our fire, our men evincing a striking disposition to withhold it until it could be delivered with deadly effect.
Two regiments of Stannard's Vermont Brigade of the First Corps, which had been posted in a little grove in front of and at a considerable angle with the main line, first opened with an oblique fire upon the right of the enemy's column, which had the effect to make the troops on that flank double in a little toward their left. They still pressed on, however, without halting to return the fire. The rifled guns of our artillery, having fired away all their canister, were now withdrawn, or left on the ground inactive, to await the issue of the struggle between the opposing infantry. Arrived at between 200 and 300 yards, the troops of the enemy were met by a destructive fire from the divisions of Gibbon and Hays, which they promptly returned, and the fight at once became fierce and general. In front of Hays' division it was not of very long duration. Mowed down by canister from Woodruff's battery, and by the fire from two regiments judiciously posted by General Hays in his extreme front and right, and by the fire of different lines in the rear, the enemy broke in great disorder, leaving fifteen colors and nearly 2,000 prisoners in the hands of this division. Those of the enemy's troops who did not fall into disorder in front of the Third Division were moved to the right, and re-enforced the line attacking Gibbon's division. The right of the attacking line having been repulsed by Hall's and Harrow's brigades, of the latter division, assisted by the fire of the Vermont regiments before referred to, doubled to its left and also re-enforced the center, and thus the attack was in its fullest strength opposite the brigade of General Webb. This brigade was disposed in two lines. Two regiments of the brigade, the Sixty-ninth and Seventy-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, were behind a low stone wall and a slight breastwork hastily constructed by them, the remainder of the brigade being behind the crest some 60 paces to the rear, and so disposed as to fire over the heads of those in front. When the enemy's line had nearly reached the stone wall, led by General Armistead, the most of that part of Webb's brigade posted here abandoned their position, but fortunately did not retreat entirely. They were, by the personal bravery of General Webb and his officers, immediately formed behind the crest before referred to, which was occupied by the remnant of the brigade. Emboldened by seeing this indication of weakness, the enemy pushed forward more pertinaciously, numbers of them crossing over the breastwork abandoned by the troops. The fight here became very close and deadly. The enemy's battle-flags were soon seen waving on the stone wall. Passing at this time, Colonel Devereux, commanding the Nineteenth Massachusetts Volunteers, anxious to be in the right place, applied to me for permission to move his regiment to the right and to the front, where the line had been broken. I granted it, and his regiment and Colonel Mallon's Forty-second New York Volunteers, on his right) proceeded there at once; but the enemy having left Colonel Hall's front, as described before, this officer promptly moved his command by the right flank to still further re-enforce the position of General Webb, and was immediately followed by Harrow's brigade. The movement was executed, but not without confusion, owing to many men leaving their ranks to fire at the enemy from the breastwork. The situation was now very peculiar. The men of all the brigades had in some measure lost their regimental organization, but individually they were firm. The ambition of individual commanders to promptly cover the point penetrated by the enemy, the smoke of battle, and the intensity of the close engagement, caused this confusion. The point, however, was now covered. In regular formation our line would have stood four ranks deep.
The colors of the different regiments were now advanced, waving in defiance of the long line of battle-flags presented by the enemy. The men pressed firmly after them, under the energetic commands and example of their officers, and after a few moments of desperate fighting the enemy's troops were repulsed, threw down their arms, and sought safety in flight or by throwing themselves on the ground to escape our fire. The battle-flags were ours and the victory was won.
Gibbon's division secured 12 stand of colors and prisoners enough to swell the number captured by the corps to about 4,500.
While the enemy was still in front of Gibbon's division, I directed Colonel [General] Stannard to send two regiments of his Vermont Brigade, First Corps, to a point which would strike the enemy on the right flank. I cannot report on the execution of this order, as Colonel [General] Stannard's report has not passed through my hands; but from the good conduct of these troops during the action I have no doubt the service was promptly performed. Just in time to increase the panic of the fleeing fugitives, Battery K, Fifth U.S. Artillery, Lieutenant Kinzie commanding, and Fitzhugh's New York battery arrived, and opened on them. The enemy's attack was feebly renewed immediately after his first repulse. A single line of battle, with its left running nearly along the line followed by the right of the preceding lines, and numbering about 3,000 men, advanced, but it was utterly broken by the fire of the batteries on my left before it arrived within musketry range. A large number of the enemy came in and gave themselves up as soon as their line was broken, and 2 stand of colors fell into our hands.
This great victory was not gained without irreparable losses. In addition to those previously mentioned, the following regimental commanders were killed: Col. Dennis O'Kane, Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers; Lieut. Col. Max A. Thoman, Fifty-ninth New York Volunteers; Col. Richard P. Roberts, One hundred and fortieth Pennsylvania Volunteers on the 2d; Col. P. J. Revere, Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteers, and Lieutenant-Colonel Steele, Seventh Michigan Volunteers. The number of casualties among the field officers was very great, many of the regiments losing them all.
Toward the close of the main contest, I had the misfortune to lose the valuable services of a distinguished officer, Brig. Gen. John Gibbon, commanding Second Division, who was severely wounded. A short time afterward I was myself wounded, but was enabled to remain on the field until the action was entirely over, when I transferred the command to Brigadier-General Caldwell.
The services of the artillery during this engagement are particularly spoken of in the report of the commander of the artillery. Its losses in officers, men, and matériel will sufficiently attest the severity of the ordeal to which it was subjected. Three of the battery commanders, Captain Rorty and Lieuts. A. H. Cushing and G. A. Woodruff, all able, experienced, and distinguished officers, were killed, and another battery commander, Lieut. T. F. Brown, First Rhode Island Artillery, severely wounded.
The losses of the corps during the action at Gettysburg amounted to 4,323 officers and men killed, wounded, and missing. The strength of the corps in the action was about 10,000 officers and men. A statement of the losses in detail is herewith enclosed.
To speak of the conduct of the troops would seem to be unnecessary, but still it may be justly remarked that this corps sustained its well-earned reputation on many fields, and that the boast of its gallant first commander, the late Maj. Gen. E. V. Sumner, that the Second Corps had "never given to the enemy a gun or color," holds good now as it did under the command of my predecessor, Major-General Couch. To attest to its good conduct and the perils through which it has passed, it may be stated that its losses in battle have been greater than those of any other corps in the Army of the Potomac, or probably in the service, notwithstanding it has usually been numerically weakest.
For the services of the commanders of divisions, Brig. Gens. John Gibbon, Alexander Hays, and John C. Caldwell, I need only to refer to the history of the deeds of their commands.
Brig. Gens. John Gibbon and Alexander Hays, being more particularly under my eye in the crisis of the battle, it is but just that I should state that their conduct was all that could be desired in division commanders.
Capt. J. G. Hazard, commander of artillery of the corps, performed his duty in a commendable manner, behaving in the field with gallantry and directing his artillery with skill and judgment.
I desire particularly to refer to the services of a gallant young officer, First Lieut. F. A. Haskell, aide-de-camp to Brigadier-General Gibbon, who, at a critical period of the battle, when the contending forces were but 50 or 60 yards apart, believing that an example was necessary, and ready to sacrifice his life, rode between the contending lines with the view of giving encouragement to ours and leading it forward, he being at that moment the only mounted officer in a similar position. He was slightly wounded and his horse was shot in several places.
Brigadier-General Webb; Col. N.J. Hall, commanding brigade; Colonel Devereux, Nineteenth Massachusetts; Colonel Mallon, Forty-second New York; Col. R. Penn Smith, Seventy-first Pennsylvania, and others, whom I regret I am unable to name, performed in like manner most distinguished services in leading their men forward at a critical period in the contest.
Captain Hall, Fifty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers, and Lieutenant Taylor, both of the signal corps, are entitled to mention at my hands for their energy and usefulness displayed during the entire battle.
For the services of other officers who distinguished themselves, not heretofore mentioned in this report (there are many of them, I respectfully refer to the reports of division, brigade, and regimental commanders, and to the report of the commander of artillery, herewith transmitted.
Lieut. Col. C. H. Morgan, inspector-general and chief of staff, performed highly important services during the entire campaign. His intelligence on all occasions, his forethought, and fine conduct on the field of battle, entitled him to high praise.
Lieutenant-Colonel Batchelder, chief quartermaster, and Lieut. Col. J. S. Smith, chief commissary, ably conducted the services of their departments. Their duties were such as to cause them not to be present on the field of battle.
Surg. A. N. Dougherty, medical director of the corps, in the performance of his duties gave me entire satisfaction. No matter whether under the fire of the enemy or not, he was always at his post.
Maj. S. O. Bull, Fifty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers, provost-marshal of the corps, was actively engaged during the action in taking charge of the prisoners captured from the enemy. During the time of the engagement, he was under the orders of the provost-marshal-general of the army.
Maj. W. G. Mitchell, my senior aide-de-camp and acting assistant adjutant-general, who distinguished himself on several perilous occasions during this battle; Capt. I. B. Parker, aide-de-camp, and Capt. W. D. W. Miller, aide-de-camp, twice severely wounded on the 2d, behaved with their usual gallantry, and added to the esteem their fine conduct has gained for them on many fields.
Capt. H. H. Bingham, judge-advocate, slightly wounded, and Captain Brownson, commissary of musters, acting as aides for me on the occasion, behaved with great gallantry, and shared all the dangers of the field.
My personal orderlies-- Sergeant Owen McKenzie, Private James Wells, color-bearer Sixth New York Cavalry, and Privates Alvin Stearns and David Smith, Company D, Sixth New York Cavalry--behaved with their usual bravery, and always faithfully remained at their posts, no matter how dangerous their position.
I desire to bring particularly to the notice of the major-general commanding the case of Sergt. Frederick Fuger, first sergeant of Battery A, Fourth U.S. Artillery. During the action of the 3d, his conduct was such as to entitle him to promotion, and his character is such as to make this a proper method of rewarding his services.
In this connection I refer to the report of Brigadier-General Webb. Attached hereto is a tabular statement of casualties.
With reference to the number of colors taken from the enemy, it is proper to say that each division has been credited with the number actually turned in, and for which receipts are held, making the aggregate of twenty-seven. There were undoubtedly thirty-three colors captured, the balance having been secreted as individual trophies.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WINF'D S. HANCOCK,
Major-General, Commanding Second Corps.
< Return from Winfield Hancock Gettysburg Battle Report to Gettysburg Battle Reports
< Return from Winfield Hancock Gettysburg Battle Report to Total Gettysburg