Baxter’s Brigade Moves into Position on Oak Ridge

Tom Elmore

1st Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
The 12th Massachusetts formed line in a scattered growth of timber, confronting Confederate skirmishers posted along the Mummasburg road. The 97th New York and 11th Pennsylvania changed front and occupied a stone wall. Company K of the 12th Massachusetts advanced and dislodged their opponents at the road, aided by the 45th New York. Map reflects positions as of 12:45 p.m. on July 1.

"The 12th Massachusetts (Col. [James L.] Bates) came up and the 97th flanked to the right … moving along the east crest near to a strip of timber … when a change of direction of our regiment was again made, and marching up near the crest it halted in rear of a stone wall on J. S. Forney's east line – facing west – and Colonel [Charles] Wheelock now ordered the commandant [Captain Isaac Hall] of his skirmish line [Companies A and F] to march his command by the right flank and rejoin his regiment. At this juncture the 12th Massachusetts regiment occupied the right of the line and extended from a short distance to the right of the 97th, diagonally down the easterly slope and faced nearly north. … Not long after our second formation, in the rear of the wall, the enemy … returned and occupied the first field south of the Mummasburg road, and as skirmishers kept up a fire /// A regiment [11th Pennsylvania] … to the left of the 97th fronted the same way … This regiment and that part of the other that fronted to the left were exposed to an enfilading fire which they could not well return" – Captain Isaac Hall, Company A, 97th New York.

"Our regiment went into action on the extreme right of our brigade, facing nearly north" – Adjutant Charles C. Wehrum, 12th Massachusetts.

"At this time no enemy was visible in our immediate front, except a line of skirmishers whose position behind a stone wall gave them an opportunity to annoy us considerably. They were handsomely dislodged by Company K, Captain [Edwin] Hazel, who, deploying his company, moved forward at a double-quick, and drove them at the point of the bayonet" – Member of the 12th Massachusetts.

"Our regiment … in line parallel with the Mummasburg Road, on the eastern slope of the ridge … The enemy … were deploying a skirmish line from the rear of a large red barn [Moses McClean's] over toward Oak Hill. Captain Hazel was ordered by Colonel Bates to lead a line of skirmishers out to meet them. Hazel deployed Company K, and they moved forward rapidly and fell upon the enemy with such spirit that the Johnnies scampered back to their cover. We waited awhile for further demonstrations, occasionally getting in a few shots" – Corporal George Kimball, Company A, 12th Massachusetts.

"While here a [Federal] cavalryman rode to the front and around [the] red barn" – Private James Beale, Company I, 12th Massachusetts.

"The balance of the regiment [six companies] came up to supporting distance" – Members of the 45th New York.

"As we marched forward across the fields … here and there along the line would be heard the words of determined men. 'Boys, do your duty today for the old Keystone;' 'Home and fireside now;' 'The man who runs should be shot in his tracks;' and kindred expressions" – 2nd Lieutenant George W. Grant, Company B, 88th Pennsylvania.

"The regiment had less than 300 men in line, led by Major [Benezel F.] Foust, the brigade numbering about 1,200. … Major Foust called the regiment to arms, and, after loading … the brigade soon reached the fields and woods near the Mummasburg road" – Private John D. Vautier, Company I, 88th Pennsylvania.

"[Enemy] troops … soon made their appearance opposite my center" – Major General Robert E. Rodes.

Sources:
-History of the Ninety-Seventh Regiment New York Volunteers in the War for the Union, by Isaac Hall, Utica, NY: Press of L. C. Childs & Son, 1890; Iverson's Brigade, by Isaac Hall, National Tribune, June 26, 1884 and September 10, 1885.
-Iverson's Brigade, by Adjutant Charles C. Wehrum, National Tribune, August 21, 1884.
-History of the Twelfth Massachusetts Volunteers (Webster Regiment), by Lt. Col. Benjamin F. Cook, Boston, MA: Twelfth (Webster) Regiment Association, 1882, p. 100.
-Stories of Our Soldiers, War Reminiscences, by "Carleton" and by soldiers of New England [George Kimball], Boston, MA: The Journal Newspaper Company, 1893.
-The Statements of Time on July 1, 1863 at Gettysburg, Pa., by James Beale, Philadelphia, PA: 1897. [The cavalryman may be Sergeant Ebenezer S. Johnson, 1st Maine Cavalry, serving as an orderly to Brig. Gen. John C. Robinson, the latter citing his "gallant conduct" in his official report.]
-Historical Sketch by Regimental Committee, 45th New York, New York at Gettysburg, I:378.
-The First Army Corps on the First Day at Gettysburg, Address by George W. Grant, 88th Pennsylvania Infantry, read May 10, 1898, Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, Fifth Series, 1887.
-History of the 88th Pennsylvania Volunteers in the War for the Union, 1861-1865, by John D. Vautier, Co. I, 88th Regiment, P. V., Philadelphia, PA: Printed by J. B. Lippincott Company, 1894.
-Official Report of Maj. Gen. Robert E. Rodes.
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