Collapse of Humphreys’ Division Along the Emmitsburg Road

Tom Elmore

1st Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Jan 16, 2015
Humphreys’ division of the Third Corps breaks under the combined attacks of Barksdale, Wilcox and Lang. The 21st Mississippi overruns the 9th Massachusetts battery. Wofford aligns on the Wheatfield Road, advancing steadily eastward. Alexander’s artillery batteries take position to closely support Confederate infantry gains. Map depicts events as of 6:55 p.m., July 2.

As soon as we got near them, we were ordered to charge, which we did and drove the enemy” – Fleming W. Thompson, Company B, 11th Alabama.

Our regiment was eager to capture a battery which was throwing its iron hail furiously … and we were getting near enough to it to quicken our speed and to accomplish our purpose, hence we merged into the 11th Alabama regiment” – Private Bailey G. McClelen, Company D, 10th Alabama.

For a moment the rout was complete” – Captain Adolfo F. Cavada, Assistant Inspector General to Brigadier General Andrew A. Humphrey.

The enemy [Wilcox’s brigade] came down in force and killed so many of the horses that four guns were left on the field” – Member of Battery F-K, 3rd U.S. Artillery.

The marks of burnt powder [were visible] in about 20 [holes] inside the house [after the battle]” – Daniel H. Klingle.

Scarcely has the 12th [New Hampshire] opened fire upon [Wilcox’s] attacking columns, when Captain [John F.] Langley, commanding the regiment, receives the order to change front to the rear … the attempt was made, and … was sorrowfully disastrous. It was simply swinging open the gate to the enemy; and the order to retreat, which almost immediately followed it … [was] an invitation for [the enemy] to walk through” – A. W. Bartlett, 12th New Hampshire.

The fire of the enemy at this time was perfectly terrific; men were falling on every side. … Slowly and stubbornly the regiment fell back, keeping up a continuous fire” – Lieutenant and Adjutant John Schoonover, 11th New Jersey.

Another regiment extricating our regiment … enabled it [120th New York] to retire with Carr’s brigade … side-stepping our two wings to unmask that regiment” – Lieutenant Colonel Cornelius D. Westbrook, 120th New York.

I then took a position about 400 yards to the right … I had scarcely gotten my guns unlimbered when the enemy appeared on my right flank and in rear … and getting into my battery along with our own infantry, I could not fire, and it was with the utmost difficulty I succeeded in moving by the left flank and retiring to the rear” – Lieutenant Robert James, Battery K, 4th U.S. Artillery.

“[Enemy] troops … without making any vigorous stand, retreated by the right flank … across a lane on their right” – Colonel Hilary A. Herbert, 8th Alabama.

Hardly were the four guns double-shotted before the enemy appeared above a swell of the ground about fifty yards on my right and front. I became heavily engaged. … As soon as the enemy appeared … they were received with a vigorous fire, some of which was with double canister; but they were too near the prize to be stopped and pressed on and received our fire not six feet from the muzzles of our guns. Then our cannoneers were driven at the point of the bayonet, and were shot down from the limbers” – Captain John Bigelow, 9th Massachusetts battery.

Occupied the enemy’s original position, in time to seriously annoy their retreat /// We spread out all through and about [the position] … There was plenty to shoot at” – Colonel E. Porter Alexander.

Took position in front of the Emmitsburg road and a little north of the Peach Orchard” – Captain Frederick W. Colston, Ordnance Officer and Acting Assistant Adjutant General, Colonel E. Porter Alexander’s Battalion.

I had killed in the lane while going to my second position another excellent gunner (Corpl. Joseph T. V. Lantz). He had both legs broken above the knees [by a shell]; lived but a little while. His only words were, ‘You can do me no good; I am killed; follow your piece’” – Captain Osmond B. Taylor, Virginia battery.

We followed up the infantry and soon occupied the peach orchard. One man was badly wounded in reaching it” – Captain William W. Parker, Richmond Battery.

-July 17, 1863 letter of Fleming W. Thompson, on file at Gettysburg National Military Park.
-Writings of Bailey George McClelen, provided by Norman E. Rourke.
-Diary of A. F. Cavada, by Adolfo Fernandez de la Cavada, photocopy from Carolyn Hartman, Catlett Station Antiques, Catlett, Virginia, Ruth E. Lloyd Information Center, Bull Run Regional Library, Manassas, Virginia.
-Lt. John G. Turnbull’s Battery, Bachelder Papers, 1:231.
-The Klingle Farm at Gettysburg, by Timothy H. Smith, Crossroads to History, March 1999, vol. 4, no. 3, Winchester, VA, p.8.
-History of the Twelfth Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers in the War of the Rebellion, by Capt. A. W. Bartlett, Concord, NH: Ira C. Evans, Printer, 1897, p. 124.
-Official Report of Adj. John Schoonover; Address of Col. Schoonover, 11th New Jersey, Final Report of the Gettysburg Battle-Field Commission of New Jersey, Trenton, NJ: John L. Murphy Publishing Company, 1891, p. 55.
-On the Firing Line, by Col. C. D. Westbrook, 120th N. Y., National Tribune, September 20, 1900.
-Official Report of Lieut. Robert James.
-Colonel Hilary A. Herbert’s “History of the Eighth Alabama Volunteer Regiment, C.S.A.,” ed. by Maurice S. Fortin, The Alabama Historical Quarterly, vol. 39 (1977), p. 116.
-History of the Ninth Massachusetts Battery, by Levi W. Baker, Framingham, MA: Lakeview Press, J. C. Clark Printing Co., 1888, p. 60.
-Official Report of Col. E. P. Alexander; Fighting for the Confederacy, The Personal Recollections of General Edward Porter Alexander, ed. by Gary W. Gallagher, Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 1989, p. 240.
-Reminiscences of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, by Capt. Frederick W. Colston, James Mercer Garnett Papers, Manuscripts Collection, University of Virginia, Charlottesville.
-Official Report of Capt. Osmond B. Taylor; The Boy Gunners of Lee, by Mrs. Nancy North, Confederate Veteran magazine, vol. 32 (1924), p. 59.
-Report of Captain William Watts Parker, 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. 367)


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Oct 30, 2018
The 5th NJ began the day with 206 men present. By morning July 3 only 12 officers and 74 men were found with the Colors. Col Sewell Capt Virgil Healey, Edward Berry and Cyrus Rodgers were wounded and not present. Capt Henry Woolsey was in command though wounded painfully in the ear. Capt Thomas Kelly and Lt Henry Clark were killed. Clark was in command of the divisional ambulance corps. He was killed directing ambulances to the front. Berry would die on July 8 from his wound.