Brooke's Charge a little too easy?

infomanpa

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Can someone explain to me why it appeared to be so easy for Union Colonel John Brooke's brigade to push back the regiments of General Paul Semmes' brigade, who were defending a ridge that Colonel Brooke himself described as almost "impregnable?" After doing some research and making several visits to this steep rocky slope in Rose Woods, I concluded that it's very comparable to the slope of the Little Round Top spur that Colonel Joshua Chamberlain successfully defended at about the same time. I'm wondering if the Confederates were in the process of pulling back their men anyway?

The following map is credited to @Tom Elmore , who previously posted it. Notice the slope contours that attest to its steepness.
Capture.JPG


Here are some of my pictures of the slope.
20200203_144907.jpg

20200203_150101.jpg
 

Tom Elmore

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It's been a while since I focused on this portion of the field, but the way I recall how this fight unfolded is that the regiments in Semmes' brigade were leaderless after Semmes was wounded, and without a guiding hand from a successor to lead them forward, appear to have stalled in place. Brooke was able to brush aside scattered forces in his path, and while moving up toward the top of that rise, saw the men of the 51st and 53rd Georgia lined up a short distance in his front and took the initiative to open that fight. If the latter two regiments had previously moved forward just a short distance to, or beyond, the summit of that rise, they might have seen Brooke before he reached the foot of that steep wooded slope and offered stiff resistance, having the advantage of being on higher ground. Instead, it seems they were taken by surprise. One has to wonder if the commanders of those two Georgia regiments were conditioned to follow orders, and to avoid assuming the initiative; or perhaps they were just untested? I don't know their history off hand.
 

rpkennedy

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51st Georgia

Colonel Edward Ball took command after Colonel William Slaughter was killed at Chancellorsville but he had been the regiment's lieutenant colonel since March 1862. Major Henry M. Dunwoody was promoted from Company A after Chancellorsville and was killed at Gettysburg. They had no lieutenant colonel at Gettysburg.

53rd Georgia

Colonel James P. Simms had been the regiment's commander since October 1862 and had been serving since October 1861. Lt. Colonel J.W. Hance was killed on July 2.

It's plausible that if these officers fell early on that there could have been some confusion in the ranks so that Brooke was able to push them off the hilltop. It's also possible that the woods masked the Federal numbers and position and so the Georgians overestimated their foe's strength.

Ryan
 
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infomanpa

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If the latter two regiments had previously moved forward just a short distance to, or beyond, the summit of that rise, they might have seen Brooke before he reached the foot of that steep wooded slope and offered stiff resistance, having the advantage of being on higher ground. Instead, it seems they were taken by surprise. One has to wonder if the commanders of those two Georgia regiments were conditioned to follow orders, and to avoid assuming the initiative; or perhaps they were just untested? I don't know their history off hand.
It's plausible that if these officers fell early on that there could have been some confusion in the ranks so that Brooke was able to push them off the hilltop. It's also possible that the woods masked the Federal numbers and position and so the Georgians overestimated their foe's strength.

I just looked at Phil Laino's maps and came up with another theory. Do we know if Semmes' regiments were east of the fence when Brooks attacked? If those Georgians were in the field west of the fence, then they were not on the crest of the ridge and would not have seen Brooke's men coming up the wooded hill.
 

rpkennedy

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I just looked at Phil Laino's maps and came up with another theory. Do we know if Semmes' regiments were east of the fence when Brooks attacked? If those Georgians were in the field west of the fence, then they were not on the crest of the ridge and would not have seen Brooke's men coming up the wooded hill.

That's also a possibility.

Ryan
 

Tom Elmore

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Brooke said he drove them from an "almost impregnable position on a rocky crest." Col. Baily of the 2nd Delaware said they occupied a "ledge of rocks upon the brow of a hill." Lt. Col. McMichael of the 53rd Pennsylvania said they finally carried "the crest of the hill." Col. Bingham of the 64th New York said: "We chased the rebels up the rocks, and mounted after them." Pvt. George W. Whipple of the 64th said: "We made for the crest of the bluff in front occupied by the enemy and got there, lying down and firing." But it was the following account that most influenced my placement of the 51st and 53rd Georgia (which actually opened the fight):

"The men with much difficulty clambered up the rocky steep [ledge], but as they appeared upon the crest of the hill, the enemy, drawn up in readiness just beyond, within pistol range, opened upon them a withering fire. Planting the colors upon the top, the men loaded their pieces upon shelter of the brow of the hill, then rising up, delivered their fire." ("The Twenty Seventh," A Regimental History, by Winthrop D. Shelton, late Lieutenant, Company H, 27th Connecticut)

This account clarifies that the Georgians were in a static position, and it suggests to me that the men of the 27th were a bit lower down on the slope than their opponents, although the distance was close, since pistols were typically drawn for close combat. The contour lines on the above map represent an interval of five feet. The first picture (above) helps put Shelton's description into perspective and explains how both sides were surprised to find the foe so near.
 
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rpkennedy

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Brooke said he drove them from an "almost impregnable position on a rocky crest." Col. Baily of the 2nd Delaware said they occupied a "ledge of rocks upon the brow of a hill." Lt. Col. McMichael of the 53rd Pennsylvania said they finally carried "the crest of the hill." Col. Bingham of the 64th New York said: "We chased the rebels up the rocks, and mounted after them." Pvt. George W. Whipple of the 64th said: "We made for the crest of the bluff in front occupied by the enemy and got there, lying down and firing." But it was the following account that most influenced my placement of the 51st and 53rd Georgia (which actually opened the fight):

"The men with much difficulty clambered up the rocky steep [ledge], but as they appeared upon the crest of the hill, the enemy, drawn up in readiness just beyond, within pistol range, opened upon them a withering fire. Planting the colors upon the top, the men loaded their pieces upon shelter of the brow of the hill, then rising up, delivered their fire." ("The Twenty Seventh," A Regimental History, by Winthrop D. Shelton, late Lieutenant, Company H, 27th Connecticut)

This account clarifies that the Georgians were in a static position, and it suggests to me that the men of the 27th were a bit lower down on the slope than their opponents, although the distance was close, since pistols were typically drawn for close combat. The contour lines on the above map represent an interval of five feet. The first picture (above) helps put Shelton's description into perspective and explains how both sides were surprised to find the foe so near.

These accounts indicate that the Confederates were on the ridge rather than in the open behind it. That leaves the conclusion that they didn't seem to put up much of a fight for one reason or another. Do you have any accounts from those 2 regiments which may indicate why, @Tom Elmore?

Ryan
 

Tom Elmore

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Confederate accounts are scarce, particularly from those two regiments, however, Brooke's men had them at a disadvantage based on Shelton's account. The latter presented a small target beneath the ledge or crest and could crouch down out of sight to safely load. If that was true for much of Brooke's line, it would be similar to the protection afforded by breastworks on Culp's Hill. Surprised and unable to stand the steady volume of fire, the 51st and 53rd soon fell back to the shelter of the stone fence on the right of the 7th South Carolina, at which time the left of Brooke's line could direct their fire against the 15th South Carolina, the results of which were captured on post-battle images.
 

Gettysburg Guide #154

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Could Semmes' Brigade have taken heavy casualties, especially the 51st and 53rd GA, on their way to the Rocky Ledge?
If Bradley Gottfried's maps are at least a reasonable estimate of top positions at various times, Semmes brigade is just passing the Rose farmhouse at about 6:15. By that time, Anderson has taken the stone wall on the south side of the wheat field from the 17th ME, Tilton and Sweitzer are in retreat, and the Union artillery along Wheatfield Road has started to pull out. I will say that Bigelow and perhaps Phillips have not yet pulled back, but they are more occupied with Kershaw's left wing. In particular, it is about that time that the 2d SC has turned its flank toward the Union canons. Accordingly, it is hard to see that they would have sustained serious casualties until hit by Brooke's Brigade.
 

rpkennedy

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If Bradley Gottfried's maps are at least a reasonable estimate of top positions at various times, Semmes brigade is just passing the Rose farmhouse at about 6:15. By that time, Anderson has taken the stone wall on the south side of the wheat field from the 17th ME, Tilton and Sweitzer are in retreat, and the Union artillery along Wheatfield Road has started to pull out. I will say that Bigelow and perhaps Phillips have not yet pulled back, but they are more occupied with Kershaw's left wing. In particular, it is about that time that the 2d SC has turned its flank toward the Union canons. Accordingly, it is hard to see that they would have sustained serious casualties until hit by Brooke's Brigade.

Agreed. While they did take some artillery fire on their way to the Rose Farm, based on what else was transpiring, it's hard to see that they were taking heavy fire. They simply did not perform well that day.

Ryan
 

Tom Elmore

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Could Semmes' Brigade have taken heavy casualties, especially the 51st and 53rd GA, on their way to the Rocky Ledge?

I keep a list of identified individuals whose wound is identified by type (gunshot, artillery, etc.) I only have 26 names from Semmes' brigade, which is too small a sample size to draw accurate or firm conclusions, however, half of them are attributed to artillery, which percentage I think well exceeds any other brigade in Lee's army (on my compiled list).

A denotes artillery, GS is gunshot, W is wounded, K is killed:

Cato, Nathaniel C., Pvt, I/10 GA, 2 July, W left thigh by minie ball or grape shot (A or GS)
Davis, James M., C/10 GA, 3? July, W minie ball fractured left humerus two inches below shoulder joint (GS)
Morrow, H. A. “Gus,” E/10 GA, 2 July, K ball passed through his body (GS)
Wilkinson, George, 10 GA, 2 July, W ball struck left knee (GS)

Albritton, J. H., A/50 GA, W, lost hearing from bursting shell (A)
Alderman, James “Jim,” K/50 GA, 2 July, K exploding shell as advance started (A)
Bailey, Thomas R., F/50 GA, W shot two places, ball under left arm and right shoulder (GS)
Bedford, Peter B., Capt.?, B/50, 2-4 July, minie ball struck right ankle joint, amputated (GS)
Centerfeit, Levi, D/50 GA, 3? July, W left arm torn off below elbow, grapeshot (A)
Dixon, James M. “Jim,” K/50 GA, 2 July, K exploding shell as advance started (A)
Griffin, John J., Pvt., I/50 GA, W musket ball above left knee, lower femur shattered, leg amputated (GS)
Hall, Fleming J., G/50 GA, W hip, minie ball (GS)
Jones, William, Sgt., K/50 GA, W right ankle piece of canister shot (A)
Kearse, Francis “Frank,” LtCol, 50 GA, 2 July, K grape shot during advance (A)
Maxwell, Lt., 50 GA, W arm bruised by grapeshot (A)
Merriman, George Henry, K/50 GA, 2/3 July, W left lung as advance started, shell fragment (A)
Stephens, Jesse N., K/50 GA, 2 July, W above left eye by explosion of shell as advance started, bones fractured and lost sight in left eye (A)
Townsend, Lot, 1Lt, H/50 GA, 2 July, W minie ball left forearm about halfway between hand and elbow (GS)
Walker, Henry Clay, D/50, 2 July, W bone shattered and veins severed right foot, shell piece (A)

Adams, James W., B/51 GA, 2 July, W left shoulder broken, shell piece (A)
Armstrong, R. S., I/51 GA, 2 July, W neck and right arm paralyzed, gunshot (GS)
Sauls, Richard R., Pvt, E/51 GA, 3 (2?) July, W minie ball in abdomen, died 27 Aug (GS)
Sellers, David Lott, G/51 GA, W shoulder, shell (A)

Andrews, Thomas C., 1Sgt, A/53 GA, W right elbow by gunshot (GS)
Futral, William J., A/53 GA, W right foot by shell fragment (A)
Heard, Grant D., Capt., E/53 GA, 2 July, W ball never extracted (GS)

According to my research, Semmes' brigade could have been exposed to close artillery fire by: B/1 NJ, 5 MA, 9 MA, and part of the time by C-F/PA and 15 NY, total 26 guns. I also have Semmes passing the Rose buildings at 6:15 p.m., but do not have 5 MA and 9 MA starting to pull back from the Wheatfield road until 6:33 p.m.
 
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rpkennedy

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I keep a list of identified individuals whose wound is identified by type (gunshot, artillery, etc.) I only have 26 names from Semmes' brigade, which is too small a sample size to draw accurate or firm conclusions, however, half of them are attributed to artillery, which percentage I think well exceeds any other brigade in Lee's army (on my compiled list).

A denotes artillery, GS is gunshot, W is wounded, K is killed:

Cato, Nathaniel C., Pvt, I/10 GA, 2 July, W left thigh by minie ball or grape shot (A or GS)
Davis, James M., C/10 GA, 3? July, W minie ball fractured left humerus two inches below shoulder joint (GS)
Morrow, H. A. “Gus,” E/10 GA, 2 July, K ball passed through his body (GS)
Wilkinson, George, 10 GA, 2 July, W ball struck left knee (GS)

Albritton, J. H., A/50 GA, W, lost hearing from bursting shell (A)
Alderman, James “Jim,” K/50 GA, 2 July, K exploding shell as advance started (A)
Bailey, Thomas R., F/50 GA, W shot two places, ball under left arm and right shoulder (GS)
Bedford, Peter B., Capt.?, B/50, 2-4 July, minie ball struck right ankle joint, amputated (GS)
Centerfeit, Levi, D/50 GA, 3? July, W left arm torn off below elbow, grapeshot (A)
Dixon, James M. “Jim,” K/50 GA, 2 July, K exploding shell as advance started (A)
Griffin, John J., Pvt., I/50 GA, W musket ball above left knee, lower femur shattered, leg amputated (GS)
Hall, Fleming J., G/50 GA, W hip, minie ball (GS)
Jones, William, Sgt., K/50 GA, W right ankle piece of canister shot (A)
Kearse, Francis “Frank,” LtCol, 50 GA, 2 July, K grape shot during advance (A)
Maxwell, Lt., 50 GA, W arm bruised by grapeshot (A)
Merriman, George Henry, K/50 GA, 2/3 July, W left lung as advance started, shell fragment (A)
Stephens, Jesse N., K/50 GA, 2 July, W above left eye by explosion of shell as advance started, bones fractured and lost sight in left eye (A)
Townsend, Lot, 1Lt, H/50 GA, 2 July, W minie ball left forearm about halfway between hand and elbow (GS)
Walker, Henry Clay, D/50, 2 July, W bone shattered and veins severed right foot, shell piece (A)

Adams, James W., B/51 GA, 2 July, W left shoulder broken, shell piece (A)
Armstrong, R. S., I/51 GA, 2 July, W neck and right arm paralyzed, gunshot (GS)
Sauls, Richard R., Pvt, E/51 GA, 3 (2?) July, W minie ball in abdomen, died 27 Aug (GS)
Sellers, David Lott, G/51 GA, W shoulder, shell (A)

Andrews, Thomas C., 1Sgt, A/53 GA, W right elbow by gunshot (GS)
Futral, William J., A/53 GA, W right foot by shell fragment (A)
Heard, Grant D., Capt., E/53 GA, 2 July, W ball never extracted (GS)

According to my research, Semmes' brigade could have been exposed to close artillery fire by: B/1 NJ, 5 MA, 9 MA, and part of the time by C-F/PA and 15 NY, total 26 guns. I also have Semmes passing the Rose buildings at 6:15 p.m., but do not have 5 MA and 9 MA starting to pull back from the Wheatfield road until 6:33 p.m.

What time do you have Kershaw's left pressing towards Wheatfield Road? I would have thought that a lot of the artillery fire would have been directed either against Kershaw and the Rose Farm or at Barksdale as he began his advance. Although, now that I'm thinking about it, I could see Semmes catching the last few rounds thrown towards the Rose Farm as the artillery began to pull out. If so, it seems to have been accurately directed fire.

Ryan
 

Tom Elmore

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What time do you have Kershaw's left pressing towards Wheatfield Road? I would have thought that a lot of the artillery fire would have been directed either against Kershaw and the Rose Farm or at Barksdale as he began his advance. Although, now that I'm thinking about it, I could see Semmes catching the last few rounds thrown towards the Rose Farm as the artillery began to pull out. If so, it seems to have been accurately directed fire.

Ryan

My timeline:

1806 [6:06 p.m.]: Kershaw's brigade across Emmitsburg road except 8 SC on far left, just beginning to cross. 2 NH on south edge of Peach Orchard. 3 MI skirmishers falling back from south of Peach Orchard.

1810: 3 ME, 141 PA and 3 MI have joined left of 2 NH along south edge of Peach Orchard, being pressed by 8 SC, 3 SC BN and 2 SC. C-F/PA (the 4 guns facing south) and 15 NY (4 guns) already falling back. Semmes' brigade with 15 SC on right are roughly 500 yards to Kershaw's rear, just crossing Emmitsburg road.

1815: 8 SC and 2 SC BN have fallen back to Rose Run gully, 2 SC in disorganization moving right to join 3-7 SC in woods. Semmes' brigade with 15 SC due south of Rose barn, 50 GA on left of brigade near barn already being disrupted by fire from B/1 NJ, 5 MA, 9 MA (up to 18 guns).

1820: 8 SC and 2 SC BN moved east along gully north of Rose barn and house, 50 GA is 100 yards south of them around Rose house.
10 GA has just reached woods west of Rose house, 51 GA, 53 GA and 15 SC lag a bit. All being pounded by B/1 NJ, 5 MA and 9 MA (18 guns).

1825: 8 SC, 2 SC BN, 50 GA still in about same place, being pounded by B/1 NJ, 5 MA and 9 MA. 2 SC reorganizing in woods just east, have partial cover. 10-51-53 GA now all in Rose woods, but 15 SC still delayed back at stone wall 150 yards to their right rear.

1830: No appreciable change in Confederate positions, except 15 SC has reached woods to right of Semmes. 8 SC, 2 SC BN, 50 GA still fully exposed to fire of B/1 NJ, 5 MA and 9 MA. 2 SC still has partial cover of woods. Barksdale approaching Emmitsburg road, 17 MS reaches road by 1832.

1835: 17 MS and 21 MS confronting Graham/Tippin in Peach Orchard. B/1 NJ in retreat, 5 MA pulling away, 9 MA about to follow.

Summary: 8 SC, 2 SC BN and 50 GA faced brunt of Union artillery fire at close range with little cover for at least 15 minutes by above timeline. The other regiments of Kershaw and Semmes suffered too, but they kept moving until they reached the partial but effective cover of woods and their exposure to enemy artillery was therefore reduced or mitigated.
 

Gettysburg Guide #154

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I keep a list of identified individuals whose wound is identified by type (gunshot, artillery, etc.) I only have 26 names from Semmes' brigade, which is too small a sample size to draw accurate or firm conclusions, however, half of them are attributed to artillery, which percentage I think well exceeds any other brigade in Lee's army (on my compiled list).

A denotes artillery, GS is gunshot, W is wounded, K is killed:

Cato, Nathaniel C., Pvt, I/10 GA, 2 July, W left thigh by minie ball or grape shot (A or GS)
Davis, James M., C/10 GA, 3? July, W minie ball fractured left humerus two inches below shoulder joint (GS)
Morrow, H. A. “Gus,” E/10 GA, 2 July, K ball passed through his body (GS)
Wilkinson, George, 10 GA, 2 July, W ball struck left knee (GS)

Albritton, J. H., A/50 GA, W, lost hearing from bursting shell (A)
Alderman, James “Jim,” K/50 GA, 2 July, K exploding shell as advance started (A)
Bailey, Thomas R., F/50 GA, W shot two places, ball under left arm and right shoulder (GS)
Bedford, Peter B., Capt.?, B/50, 2-4 July, minie ball struck right ankle joint, amputated (GS)
Centerfeit, Levi, D/50 GA, 3? July, W left arm torn off below elbow, grapeshot (A)
Dixon, James M. “Jim,” K/50 GA, 2 July, K exploding shell as advance started (A)
Griffin, John J., Pvt., I/50 GA, W musket ball above left knee, lower femur shattered, leg amputated (GS)
Hall, Fleming J., G/50 GA, W hip, minie ball (GS)
Jones, William, Sgt., K/50 GA, W right ankle piece of canister shot (A)
Kearse, Francis “Frank,” LtCol, 50 GA, 2 July, K grape shot during advance (A)
Maxwell, Lt., 50 GA, W arm bruised by grapeshot (A)
Merriman, George Henry, K/50 GA, 2/3 July, W left lung as advance started, shell fragment (A)
Stephens, Jesse N., K/50 GA, 2 July, W above left eye by explosion of shell as advance started, bones fractured and lost sight in left eye (A)
Townsend, Lot, 1Lt, H/50 GA, 2 July, W minie ball left forearm about halfway between hand and elbow (GS)
Walker, Henry Clay, D/50, 2 July, W bone shattered and veins severed right foot, shell piece (A)

Adams, James W., B/51 GA, 2 July, W left shoulder broken, shell piece (A)
Armstrong, R. S., I/51 GA, 2 July, W neck and right arm paralyzed, gunshot (GS)
Sauls, Richard R., Pvt, E/51 GA, 3 (2?) July, W minie ball in abdomen, died 27 Aug (GS)
Sellers, David Lott, G/51 GA, W shoulder, shell (A)

Andrews, Thomas C., 1Sgt, A/53 GA, W right elbow by gunshot (GS)
Futral, William J., A/53 GA, W right foot by shell fragment (A)
Heard, Grant D., Capt., E/53 GA, 2 July, W ball never extracted (GS)

According to my research, Semmes' brigade could have been exposed to close artillery fire by: B/1 NJ, 5 MA, 9 MA, and part of the time by C-F/PA and 15 NY, total 26 guns. I also have Semmes passing the Rose buildings at 6:15 p.m., but do not have 5 MA and 9 MA starting to pull back from the Wheatfield road until 6:33 p.m.
It is interesting that well over half of these listed casualties are in the 50th GA, which was the regiment from Semmes Brigade closest to the Westfield Road. Indeed, Kershaw suggests that the 50th GA had become detached and was fighting with his brigade.

One more thing: all I can say about a data base with this much detail is WOW!!!
 

lelliott19

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Agreed. While they did take some artillery fire on their way to the Rose Farm, based on what else was transpiring, it's hard to see that they were taking heavy fire. They simply did not perform well that day.
It's a Georgia brigade so you just know I had to chime in here. :wink:

Peter A S McGlashan, a Scottish immigrant, was then Major of the 50th GA Semmes' brigade. When Lt. Col. Francis M. Kearse was killed on July 2, McGlashan assumed temporary command of the regiment. He was eventually promoted to Colonel and was captured at Sailor's Creek April 6, 1865. Years later, McGlashan delivered an address before the Confederate Veterans Association at Savannah in which he recounted the part played by Semmes' brigade [McLaws' division] at the Battle of Gettysburg. Here's an excerpt:

Our brigade, commanded by the soldierly and gallant Paul J. Semmes, was drawn up directly opposite Little Round Top, and consisted of the Tenth, Fiftieth, Fifty-first, and Fifty-third Georgia Regiments; my regiment, the Fiftieth, was then commanded by F. M. Kearse, a gallant South Carolinian. Directly in our front a wooded slope, strewn with large boulders, extended to the top of the ridge, which was separated by a deep ravine from Little Round Top. At the foot of the slope, near the Emmettsburg Road, lay a farm steading, spring house and peach orchard, defended by a 4-gun battery. On the open ground of the ridge top to our left some forty guns were massed, commanding the approach across the valley, in the woods on our front were massed, unknown to us, Sickles Third Corps, posted behind stone fences and other obstructions, making a very strong position.​
We were ordered to cross the valley, attack and drive in whatever troops might occupy the wooded slope, and carry, if possible, the hights [sic] beyond. A battery near us tried to shell the ground in front, but suffered heavily from the return fire of the enemy's heavy batteries. It was understood that the attack by our right against the enemy's left was ordered at 10 a.m., but for some unexplained reason it was delayed until 4 p.m. In the interim the enemy were heavily reinforcing their lines on Little and Great Round Top. At 4 p.m. the advance began in two lines, Gen. Kershaw's South Carolina Brigade supporting ours. As we went out in the open we were directly exposed to the fire of the enemy's guns, they got our range at once, the first shell killing two men on the left of my regiment.....At the Emmettsburg Road, one-half way across, we encountered the skirmish line of the enemy, which was instantly driven in, and their artillery changed to grape and canister, and so terrible was the fire that nothing but the rapid movement of our line saved it from annihilation.
Cheering, and gallantly led by their officers, the line dashed at the edge of the woods in front. Barksdales' Mississippi Brigade being opposite the clear ground to our left, swept on up the ridge, leaving us as we entered the edge of the woods, when a dense mass of the enemy rose up, delivered a heavy fire right in our faces, and charged us with bayonets fixed. The shock was terrible, so swift was the advance of the enemy down the hill that they broke our line by sheer impact of weight and numbers, the first line was driven back on the second, inextricably mixed, and the struggling fighting mass was broken into squads and groups and slowly driven back before the almost irresistible advance of the enemy.​
And any other troops in existence would have been irremediably broken and scattered under the terrible shock. But these troops were the pride and flower of the South, the men who had conquered at Manassas and Seven Pines, at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, and rallying by groups and squads, they gallantly faced their assailants, loading and firing with a rapidity I had never seen equalled. The splendid marksmanship of the Southern soldiers, men raised from childhood with a gun in their hands, told fearfully on the ranks of the enemy, captains, lieutenants, sergeants and corporals seemed to vie with each other in rallying and leading their men, climbing up on the large boulders strewn all about with swords aloft encouraging their men to be instantly shot down, falling in glorious death.​
Generals Benning and Kershaw and Wofford raged up and down the lines like lions at bay while gallant Paul J Semmes with a red skull cap on his head, his fighting cap we used to call it, dashed along the line like a maddened tiger, shouting, "Look to the front men, look to the front, forward, forward." Gallant Col. Kearse leading his regiment and shouting like a demon actually charged sword in hand through the enemy's line and gloriously fell shot through the body to be terribly avenged by his maddened men. Gen. Semmes shot through the thigh, fell beside a large boulder whence we dragged him out and sent him to the rear, with a captured flag. Gen. McLaws cool and imperturbable as if on parade, rallied his line inspiring us all.​
[Colonel Peter A. S. McGlashan, "Longstreet at Gettysburg," an Address delivered before the Confederate Veterans Association, Savannah, Georgia, November 15, 1898.]
<to be continued>
EDIT TO ADD: Has anyone else ever read that Brigadier General Paul J Semmes wore a red skull cap?
 
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rpkennedy

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My timeline:

1806 [6:06 p.m.]: Kershaw's brigade across Emmitsburg road except 8 SC on far left, just beginning to cross. 2 NH on south edge of Peach Orchard. 3 MI skirmishers falling back from south of Peach Orchard.

1810: 3 ME, 141 PA and 3 MI have joined left of 2 NH along south edge of Peach Orchard, being pressed by 8 SC, 3 SC BN and 2 SC. C-F/PA (the 4 guns facing south) and 15 NY (4 guns) already falling back. Semmes' brigade with 15 SC on right are roughly 500 yards to Kershaw's rear, just crossing Emmitsburg road.

1815: 8 SC and 2 SC BN have fallen back to Rose Run gully, 2 SC in disorganization moving right to join 3-7 SC in woods. Semmes' brigade with 15 SC due south of Rose barn, 50 GA on left of brigade near barn already being disrupted by fire from B/1 NJ, 5 MA, 9 MA (up to 18 guns).

1820: 8 SC and 2 SC BN moved east along gully north of Rose barn and house, 50 GA is 100 yards south of them around Rose house.
10 GA has just reached woods west of Rose house, 51 GA, 53 GA and 15 SC lag a bit. All being pounded by B/1 NJ, 5 MA and 9 MA (18 guns).

1825: 8 SC, 2 SC BN, 50 GA still in about same place, being pounded by B/1 NJ, 5 MA and 9 MA. 2 SC reorganizing in woods just east, have partial cover. 10-51-53 GA now all in Rose woods, but 15 SC still delayed back at stone wall 150 yards to their right rear.

1830: No appreciable change in Confederate positions, except 15 SC has reached woods to right of Semmes. 8 SC, 2 SC BN, 50 GA still fully exposed to fire of B/1 NJ, 5 MA and 9 MA. 2 SC still has partial cover of woods. Barksdale approaching Emmitsburg road, 17 MS reaches road by 1832.

1835: 17 MS and 21 MS confronting Graham/Tippin in Peach Orchard. B/1 NJ in retreat, 5 MA pulling away, 9 MA about to follow.

Summary: 8 SC, 2 SC BN and 50 GA faced brunt of Union artillery fire at close range with little cover for at least 15 minutes by above timeline. The other regiments of Kershaw and Semmes suffered too, but they kept moving until they reached the partial but effective cover of woods and their exposure to enemy artillery was therefore reduced or mitigated.

Last night, I was looking through Laino's map book because I didn't know the minutiae of Semmes' movement and I saw that he has the brigade halting at the stonewall on the western edge of the Rose Woods for a time. I was unaware of a prolonged halt there but what do you have on that @Tom Elmore?

Ryan
 
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