Barksdale Closes on the Third Corps Along the Emmitsburg Road

Tom Elmore

1st Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Jan 16, 2015
Barksdale’s brigade approaches the Emmitsburg road, the left exchanging fire with Federals around the Sherfy buildings. On the right, the 21st Mississippi presses the 68th Pennsylvania back and begins to diverge from the rest of the brigade. Battery E, 1st Rhode Island withdraws, opening a gap opposite Barksdale’s center that is only partially filled by the 73rd New York and 141st Pennsylvania. The Confederates raise their usual “war cry” to instill fear. Map depicts the situation at 6:30 p.m., July 2.

Reaching the road, we clambered over the fence and crossed it … the right of the regiment was advanced to the rear of the [Sherfy] house. While advancing in this way our men were loading and firing as rapidly as possible … During all this time we were receiving a terrible musketry fire from the approaching enemy, and the men were falling by the scores” – Captain Edward R. Bowen, 114th Pennsylvania.

I was kneeling on one knee looking between the house and the barn. [Lt.] Col. [Frederick F.] Cavada was kneeling beside me. He asked me if the Rebs were coming and I answered quickly, ‘bet your life they are coming.’ Jumping up and waving my sword I ran up the pathway calling to the men to fire out between the house and the barn, which they did” – Acting Sergeant Major Alexander W. Given, 114th Pennsylvania.

The right of the Fifty-Seventh rested on Sherfy’s [house]” – Member of the 57th Pennsylvania.

The men of the 57th who were in the [Sherfy] house kept up a steady fire from the west windows of the house. [I was] by a large cherry tree against which some fenceposts were leaning, on the north side of the house” – Private Ellis C. Strouss, Company K, 57th Pennsylvania.

I ordered the regiment forward to fill a vacancy on the right of the Fifty-seventh Pennsylvania” – Colonel Calvin A. Craig, 105th Pennsylvania.

We reached the houses with the trees on the left; the trees proved to be a peach orchard” – Major George B. Gerald, 18th Mississippi.

When we commenced [firing] we soon silenced their battery and drove their line of battle back” – 2nd Lieutenant Judge E. Woodruff, Company A, 13th Mississippi.

We were hurried at double-quick to a point directly in rear of the barn where the 114th Pennsylvania (Collis Zouaves) though fearfully exposed on that deadly crest, were bravely disputing the ground with the Mississippi Brigade, which came swarming up the slope, yelling like devils and led by Barksdale. For a few impatient minutes … unable to return a shot, the 114th being yet in our front, and about forty yards ahead of us” – Lieutenant Frank E. Moran, Company H, 73rd New York.

Barksdale evidently intended to capture our battery, and as he covertly approached, its supporting artillery seemed to redouble its fury upon us … the battery being so severely crippled, its movement [in retreat] was not in unison and each piece had to be retired as best it could” – Member of Battery E, 1st Rhode Island.

It was deemed best to withdraw the battery … We abandoned one caisson for want of horses” – 2nd Lieutenant Benjamin Freeborn, Battery E, 1st Rhode Island.

I lost one man and two horses and was myself shot through the left lung with a shrapnel while endeavoring to bring off [the] caisson” – 1st Lieutenant John K. Bucklyn, Battery E, 1st Rhode Island.

The 141st [Pennsylvania] immediately formed in their [Barksdale’s] front, east of the road and north of the peach orchard, to resist their advance. … Seeing the situation, Captain [John F.] Clark [of Company E] anxiously inquired of Colonel [Henry J.] Madill, ‘Had we better not get out of this?’ The Colonel replied, ‘I have no orders to get out.’ ” – Member of the 141st Pennsylvania.

If I had my full regiment here, we could whip the whole crew” – Colonel Henry J. Madill, 141st Pennsylvania.

Now some of our boys open fire upon the enemy, when Major [Israel P.] Spaulding shouts, ‘Cease firing boys; those are our own men.’ At that moment a little breeze unfolded the flag in our front, and George Forbes of our company, shouted out, ‘They are rebels, major; I see their flag [probably of the 17th Mississippi].’ And raising his gun he took deliberate aim and fired. The firing now became general all along our lines on both sides. At the first rebel volley thirty of our little band fell to the ground either dead or wounded” – Sergeant J. D. Bloodgood, Company I, 141st Pennsylvania.

The 68th Regt. [Pennsylvania] endured the fire for some minutes but was obliged to retire … I, however, held on, keeping up a constant fire upon the enemy’s right battalion [21st Mississippi], which had the effect to make it move slowly, so that the battalions to its left continued pivoting upon it, until their front became more nearly parallel to the Emmitsburg road” – Colonel Edward L. Bailey, 2nd New Hampshire.

The Sixty-eighth [Pennsylvania], which had been losing heavily, withdrew up the slope before the impact came, and immediately after, the Third Maine also fell back” – Private Martin A. Haynes, Company I, 2nd New Hampshire.

We … moved forward and broke the first line” – Colonel Benjamin G. Humphreys, 21st Mississippi.

-Address of Lt. Col. E. R. Bowen, Dedication of the Monument to the 114th Regiment Infantry, November 11, 1888, Pennsylvania at Gettysburg, II:615.
-Memoirs of Alexander Wallace Given,, 08/06/2015.
-57th Pennsylvania, History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5, by Samuel P. Bates, II:251.
-Address of E. C. Strouss, September 11, 1889, Dedication of Monument to the 57th Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania At Gettysburg, I:359; E. C. Strouss account, History of the Fifty-Seventh Regiment, Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry, by James M. Martin;’s-cherry-tree-on-july-2-and-3.187553/.
-Official Reports of Col. Calvin A. Craig, Lt. Benjamin Freeborn.
-The Battle of Gettysburg, by Judge G. B. Gerald, Waco Daily Times-Herald, July 3, 1913, Robert L. Brake Collection, U.S. Army Military History Institute (now Heritage and Education Center), Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
-Experience in Battle, by W. A. Love, quoting an April 8, 1906 letter of J. E. Woodruff, Confederate Veteran magazine, vol. 33 (June 1925), p. 221.
-January 24, 1882 letter of Capt. Frank E. Moran to J. B. Bachelder, Bachelder Papers, 2:772.
-The History of Battery E, First Regiment Rhode Island Light Artillery, by George Lewis, Providence, RI: Snow & Farnham, Printers, 1892, p. 208.
-Postwar report dated April 30, 1878 of Lt. John Knight Bucklyn, Supplement to the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, ed. by Janet B. Hewett, Noah Andre Trudeau and Bryce A. Suderow, Wilmington, NC: Broadfoot Publishing Company, 1995, vol. 27, serial nos. 43-44, p. 188.
-Our Boys in Blue, Heroic Deeds, Sketches and Reminiscences of Bradford County Soldiers in the Civil War, by Clement F. Heverly, Towanda, PA: The Bradford Star Print, 1898, vol. 1, p. 42.
-Madill quoted in, Personal Reminiscences of the War, by Rev. J. D. Bloodgood, NY: Hunt & Eaton, 1893, p. 140.
-Personal Reminiscences of the War, by Rev. J. D. Bloodgood, NY: Hunt & Eaton, 1893, p. 140.
-Letter of Colonel Edward L. Bailey to J. B. Bachelder, Bachelder Papers, 2:846-847.
-A History of the Second Regiment New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry in the War of the Rebellion, by Martin A. Haynes, Lakeport, NH: 1896, p. 179.
-May 1, 1876 letter of Col. Benjamin G. Humphreys to J. B. Bachelder, Bachelder Papers, 1:478.


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