A shout out to Drivers Forrest & Brown from Maj Eshleman Washington Artillery/ high risk gun save

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EJ Zander

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 23, 2011
Messages
1,393
Location
Gettysburg, PA
Quite a shout out from Maj Eshleman, Washington (LA) Artillery, for Drivers Forest and Brown for volunteering to go out into no mans land to retrieve an abandoned gun.
He writes:
"Early in the day my attention was called by Captain Richardson to a 3-inch rifled gun (that had been abandoned by the enemy the previous day) standing between the lines, about 300 yards in advance of our line of skirmishers. The horses had all been killed, and lay harnessed to the piece. William Forrest and Jim Brown (drivers), of Captain Richardson's company, immediately volunteered and earnestly requested permission to bring it off. Having given them directions how to proceed, I allowed them to do so, and the piece was drawn off under a heavy fire from the enemy's sharpshooters. Several shots struck the carriages, but the men and horses were unharmed. The limber contained about 50 rounds of ammunition, and the gun was immediately placed in position by Captain Richardson."
At the end of the same report he adds,
"Too much cannot be said in praise of William Forrest (driver), of Captain Richardson's company, for the gallant manner in which he acted in getting off the Yankee gun. Having secured the gun, and finding ammunition with it, it was necessary, in order to put it to immediate use, to have horses and harness. Forrest was indefatigable in his exertions till he had captured from between the lines horses and harness sufficient to haul the gun, having several times approached within near range of the enemy's sharpshooters. He was afterward wounded by a Minie ball in the arm at the battle of Williamsport, Md."
Here's the whole report:
JUNE 3-AUGUST 1, 1863.--The Gettysburg Campaign.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXVII/2 [S# 44]


AUGUST 11, 1863.

Col. J. B. WALTON,
Chief of Artillery, First Corps.

COLONEL: I have the honor to transmit the following report of the operations of the Washington Artillery Battalion under my command at the battle of Gettysburg, Pa., July 3:
I moved my command, in obedience to orders, from Culpeper Court-House, on June 15, in the direction of Winchester. Crossed the Potomac at Williamsport on the 25th; arrived at Chambersburg, Pa., on the 27th; crossed the South Mountain at Cashtown Gap on July 1, and arrived on the 2d near the battle-field of Gettysburg.
Owing to the excessive heat, dry weather, and dust, the march was a severe one, but the endurance of the men and animals proved equal to the task, and my command arrived at Gettysburg in good fighting condition. On arriving within about 3 miles of the battlefield, by your direction, I went into park to await orders. Just before dark, your orders came to move speedily to the front. I mounted my cannoneers, and moved forward at a trot, but before reaching the old school-house the firing had ceased, and, it being dark, you ordered me again into park.
About midnight, I received orders from Colonel Alexander, commanding reserve artillery, to take position on the field before daylight, and with his assistance I placed my battalion, consisting of eight Napoleon guns and two 12-pounder howitzers, as follows, viz: Three Napoleons (Third Company), Lieutenants [Andrew] Hero, jr., and [Frank] McElroy, and one Napoleon (First Company), Lieutenant [C. H. C.] Brown, all under command of Captain [M. B.] Miller, about 100 yards to the left of the peach orchard, and on the immediate left of Captain [O. B.] Taylor's battery, of Alexander's battalion; two Napoleons (Fourth Company), Captain Norcom and Lieutenant Battles, on Captain Miller's left, and two Napoleons (Second Company), Captain [J. B.] Richardson and Lieutenant [Samuel] Hawes, on the left of Captain Norcom. The two howitzers--one of the Second and one of the Fourth Company--were held in reserve, under command of Lieutenant [George E.] Apps, Fourth Company.
As soon as day broke and the enemy's lines became visible, it was apparent that to provide against an enfilade fire, the left of my line had better be thrown a little to the rear. Colonel Alexander having approved the proposed change, Captain Norcom's battery was retired about 30 yards, and Captain Richardson's moved about 200 yards to the left and to the rear of Norcom, forming en échelon by batteries. Major Dearing afterward took position with his battalion on my left, and five guns of Colonel Cabell's battalion were placed in position between Captains Norcom and Richardson.
During the morning, the enemy threw forward heavy lines of skirmishers, endeavoring to gain the ravine and cover of the woods in my front. My guns, with those of Captain Taylor, opened upon them moderately with evident effect. The enemy's batteries replied, but I paid little attention to them, seldom answering their fire at their batteries, in order to save my ammunition for the grand attack.
Early in the day my attention was called by Captain Richardson to a 3-inch rifled gun (that had been abandoned by the enemy the previous day) standing between the lines, about 300 yards in advance of our line of skirmishers. The horses had all been killed, and lay harnessed to the piece. William Forrest and Jim Brown (drivers), of Captain Richardson's company, immediately volunteered and earnestly requested permission to bring it off. Having given them directions how to proceed, I allowed them to do so, and the piece was drawn off under a heavy fire from the enemy's sharpshooters. Several shots struck the carriages, but the men and horses were unharmed. The limber contained about 50 rounds of ammunition, and the gun was immediately placed in position by Captain Richardson.
I was deprived of the services of Capt. Joe Norcom early in the day, who, being struck by a piece of shell, had to retire from the field after turning over the command to Lieut. H. A. Battles.
Between 1 and 2 p.m. you ordered me to give the signal for opening along the entire line. Two guns in quick succession were fired from Captain Miller's battery, and were immediately followed by all the battalions along the line opening simultaneously upon the enemy behind his works. The enemy answered vigorously, and a most terrific artillery duel ensued. Notwithstanding a most galling fire from the enemy's artillery from behind his works, and an enfilade fire from the mountain on my right, my men stood bravely to their work, and by their steady and judicious firing caused immense slaughter to the enemy.
About thirty minutes after the signal guns had been fired, our infantry moved forward over the plateau in our front. It having been understood by a previous arrangement that the artillery should advance with the infantry, I immediately directed Captain Miller to advance his and Lieutenant Battles' batteries. Captain Miller having suffered severely from the loss of men and horses, could move forward only three pieces of his own battery and one of Lieutenant Battles' section. Then, with one piece of Major Henry's battalion, under the direction of Major [J. C.] Haskell, he took position 400 or 500 yards to the front, and opened with deadly effect upon the enemy. With the exception of these five guns, no others advanced.
Captain Taylor, on my right, and Major Dearing, on my left, at this juncture ran out of ammunition and withdrew, leaving my battalion alone to bear the brunt of this portion of the field. The battery of Colonel Cabell's command, on Captain Richardson's right, had also ceased firing.
The advanced position of Captain Miller and Lieutenant Battles made them, as soon as the batteries on their flanks had ceased firing, the center of a concentrated fire from several of the enemy's batteries. Our artillery fire seemed to have slackened upon the whole line, and our infantry, unable to hold the works they had so gallantly taken, were falling back, and being pressed by the enemy, who had advanced from behind his breastworks.
At this juncture, General Longstreet ordered that all the artillery that could be spared from the right should be sent to the position just evacuated by Major Dearing. Finding my advanced guns were suffering severely, I determined to change their position to that indicated by General Longstreet. Captain Miller, Lieutenant Battles, and Captain Richardson were immediately withdrawn, and placed with the section of howitzers, under Lieutenant Apps (till now held in reserve), in this position.
This change, however, could not be made, I regret to say, under such a galling fire, without the loss of several of my gallant men, who fell, killed and wounded; among whom was Lieutenant Brown, commanding the First Company piece, severely wounded in the abdomen by a Minie ball. Lieutenant Battles had both of his pieces disabled-one struck on the face and so badly indurated as to prevent loading, and the other by having the axle broken. Captain Miller's loss in horses was so great that he could maneuver but one piece. Three pieces of the Third Company and the section of the Fourth Company were, therefore, sent to the rear. The captured rifle (Captain Richardson's), after having fired away all its ammunition, was struck on the axle by a solid shot and disabled, and was also withdrawn.
Our infantry having fallen back about 200 yards to the rear of my guns, I was left, with the assistance of Captain Moody's section of howitzers, Captain Parker's battery, and one section of Colonel Cabell's, under Lieutenant ------- -------, and a few skirmishers, to hold the enemy in check.
After having once been driven back, he made no farther advance in force, but threw out a heavy line of sharpshooters, which we held in check till dark, when, by order of Colonel Alexander, I withdrew, and by your direction went into park near the old school-house, and bivouacked for the night.
My officers, non-commissioned officers, and men, by their good judgment, intrepidity, and zealous conduct on the field, fully sustained the proud reputation already won on so many bloody fields.
I am under especial obligations to Sergt. Maj. E. J. Kursheedt, who (having no adjutant) acted as my aide. He was always at hand, frequently under the heaviest fire, performing his duty with coolness and efficiency.
Too much cannot be said in praise of William Forrest (driver), of Captain Richardson's company, for the gallant manner in which he acted in getting off the Yankee gun. Having secured the gun, and finding ammunition with it, it was necessary, in order to put it to immediate use, to have horses and harness. Forrest was indefatigable in his exertions till he had captured from between the lines horses and harness sufficient to haul the gun, having several times approached within near range of the enemy's sharpshooters. He was afterward wounded by a Minie ball in the arm at the battle of Williamsport, Md.
My casualties were: Wounded, 3 officers. Killed, 3; wounded, 23, and missing, 16, non-commissioned officers and privates; 37 horses killed and disabled; 3 guns disabled; 1 limber blown up.
I omitted to state in the proper place that Lieutenant Apps, shortly after putting his howitzers in position, was struck by a piece of shell, and had his horse killed under him. He was obliged to leave the field.

I have the honor to be, colonel, your obedient servant,
B. F. ESHLEMAN,
Major, Commanding.



Forrest also distinguished himself at Fort Stevens for replacing the battery's guidon after is was shot away twice by sharp shooters.
 
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