Daylight on the Round Tops - July 3

Tom Elmore

1st Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Jan 16, 2015

photo from @White Flint Bill

Skirmish fire broke out at the Round Tops at early light on July 3, around 4 a.m. Sunrise came at 4:36 a.m. Both sides completed solid works of stone, anchored on larger boulders. Anyone who showed themselves became a target for alert marksmen and sharpshooters. Map depicts positions at 6:30 a.m.

As soon as light of the Third came we went to work and built a stone wall fortification” – Samuel H. McNutt, Company H, 12th Pennsylvania Reserves.

On the morning of the 3d a heavy skirmish line was extended to the left, down the steep side of the mountain, connecting with the Sixth Corps on the plain” – Member of the 12th Pennsylvania Reserves.

Before daylight rose up and made us breastworks of rock” – “Mark,” 5th Texas.

I sent my assistant adjutant-general, Capt. F. L. [Francis Lewis] Price, at daybreak to examine the position of the brigade, and … [he] was either killed or fell into the hands of the enemy” – Brigadier General Jerome B. Robertson.

At daybreak heavy sharpshooting began … [continued] until about 10 o’clock a.m.” – Private Thomas L. McCarty, Company L, 1st Texas.

Sharp-shooters from the top of the mountain [Big Round Top] made it a very precarious business for our men to go down to the rear for water” – Colonel William C. Oates, 15th Alabama.

At daylight … the Tenth Regiment advanced [over 100 yards] … and in surprisingly short time completed the construction of [a] wall” – George W. McCracken, 10th Pennsylvania Reserves.

With the earliest dawn of day … our line was up, and on the alert” – A. P. Morrison, 9th Pennsylvania Reserves.

With break of day the enemy’s sharpshooters commenced their deadly work” – Sergeant D. Porter Marshall, Company K, 155th Pennsylvania.

The picket firing was so sharp as to awaken me” – 1st Lieutenant Francis W. Morse, 121st New York.

Capt. J. H. Baker was detached … with Companies C, I, and K” – Lieutenant Colonel Casper Trepp, 1st U.S. Sharpshooters.

About 7 o’clock, two companies of Berdan’s Sharpshooters … deployed in front of us to drive the rebel marksmen from their rocky stronghold. … Berdan’s men understood their business. There was no unnecessary exposure to the enemy’s bullets. It was from a tree to a rock, then to [a] friendly stump or perhaps flat on the ground” – Lieutenant Delevan Bates, Company I, 121st New York.

About 6 o’clock two companies of Berdan’s Sharpshooters came up the hill in rear of the battery and said: ‘Boys, do the reb sharpshooters trouble you any this morning?’ We told them they had wounded one of our men already. The Berdans deployed from their center to the right and left, and every second and fourth man dropped on his hands and knees and crawled between our guns and to the very brow of the hill, and found good shelter behind the rocks. They now lay flat on their stomachs and kept a good search, while numbers one and three did the same thing, except that when they got to the brow of the hill, they worked down the west face of the mountain” – Thomas Scott, Battery D, 5th U.S. Artillery.

Two companies of Berdan’s … Sharpshooters [detailed] to the position occupied by … Weed’s brigade” – Member of the 155th Pennsylvania.

A company of Berdan’s Sharpshooters was brought up and afforded some protection” – Captain James G. Grindlay, Company D, 146th New York.

We passed the morning listening to the firing in other parts of the field and dodging the bullets of the sharpshooters in Devil’s Den” – Member of the 146th New York.

At daylight, the enemy seeing my position opened with musketry, but failed to make any impression” – Brigadier General Samuel W. Crawford.

At daybreak on the 3d, the enemy’s line of skirmishers … opened with great spirit … soon after the fire on both sides slackened and settled down to the common-place picket fighting. … we were much annoyed by sharpshooters posted in the trees and a number of men of the other regiments were killed and wounded by them” – Evan M. Woodward, 2nd Pennsylvania Reserves.

6 a.m., was ordered to relieve the 3rd brigade [Rice’s] which occupied a mountain upon our left” – Colonel William S. Tilton.

Shortly after daybreak, passing along the westerly face of Little Round Top” – Robert G. Carter, 22nd Massachusetts.

The section [of Battery L, 1st Ohio] in reserve was posted on the slope of the hill between Battery D, Fifth U.S. Artillery, and First Lieutenant Guthrie’s section” – Captain Augustus Martin, Artillery Brigade, Fifth Corps.

About sunrise on the morning of the 3d, our brigade was ordered to Culp’s Hill” – Brigadier General Alexander Shaler.

Early in the morning, [the brigade] was put in position on the extreme left” – Brigadier General David A. Russell.


-July 5, 1863 letter of Samuel H. McNutt to his father, Manuscripts and Rare Books Department, Swem Library, The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia.
-Forty-first Regiment (12th Pennsylvania Reserves), History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5, by Samuel P. Bates, I:885.
-July 29, 1863 letter of “Mark” to his mother, Letters, Texas 5th Inf. Regt., Robert L. Brake Collection, U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
-Official Reports of J. B. Robertson, Casper Trepp, Augustus Martin, D. A. Russell.
-Battle of Gettysburg, by Thomas L. McCarty, 1899, University of Texas Library, Robert L. Brake Collection, U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
-Gettysburg, William C. Oates and Lieutenant Frank A. Haskell, ed. by Glenn LaFantasie, Bantam Books, 1992.
-Address of 1st Lieutenant and Adjutant George W. McCracken, Dedication of the Monument to the 39th Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry (10th Pennsylvania Reserves), Pennsylvania at Gettysburg, I:272.
-Address of Sgt. Maj. A. P. Morrison, Dedication of Monument to the 38th Pennsylvania Infantry [9th Pennsylvania Reserves], Pennsylvania at Gettysburg, I:261.
-Account of Sgt. W. D. Porter, Company “K,” 155th Pa. Volunteer Zouaves, by Bvt. Maj. D. Porter Marshall, 1888.
-Personal Experiences in the War of the Great Rebellion, by F. W. Morse, Albany, NY: Munsell Printers, 1866.
-The March to Gettysburg, by Gen. Delevan Bates, The Otsego Republican, January 20, 1894,, 02/18/2000.
-On Little Round Top, by Thomas Scott, National Tribune, August 2, 1894.
-Under the Maltese Cross, From Antietam to Appomattox [155th Pennsylvania].
-Historical Sketch by Gen. James G. Grindlay, 146th Regiment Infantry, New York at Gettysburg, III:971-972.
-Campaigns of the One Hundred and Forty-Sixth Regiment New York State Volunteers, comp. by Mary Genevie Green Brainard, New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1915, p. 121.
-Correspondence with Major-General S. W. Crawford, Address Delivered 28th November 1866, by Maj. Gen. J. Watts De Peyster, Township of Red Hook, New York.
-Our Campaigns; or the Marches, Bivouacs, Battles, Incidents of Camp Life and History, by E. M. Woodward, Philadelphia: 1865.
-William S. Tilton Diaries, 1862-4, on file at Gettysburg National Military Park.
-The Campaign and Battle of Gettysburg, by Robert G. Carter.
-Oration of Brevet Maj. Gen. Alexander Shaler, Pennsylvania at Gettysburg, I:188.


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Jun 7, 2021

Kurt G

Sergeant Major
May 23, 2018
I found the part from Lt. Col. Trepp of the 1st US Sharpshooters interesting . He said that Captain Baker was detached with Companies C , I and K . These were the companies from Michigan . Would the companies have been kept together like this ? Would the New York companies have been kept together as well ?