Federal Artillery Defends the Third Corps Front

Tom Elmore

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Federal batteries focus on General G. T. Anderson’s Georgia brigade during its 700-yard advance to the Rose woods (off the south edge of the map). Captain Ames’ battery, out of ammunition, retires through the ranks of the 2nd New Hampshire, to be replaced in the Peach Orchard by Captain Thompson’s Pennsylvania Battery C-F (consolidated) from the Artillery Reserve. The 68th Pennsylvania is relieved from skirmish duty, being partially replaced by the 5th New Jersey and a few U.S. Sharpshooters. The 114th Pennsylvania moves up to fill the gap left by the 141st Pennsylvania. Map depicts positions as of 5 p.m., July 2.

As … the enemy was advancing a heavy line in front, an order was received … to fall back … by sections from the right” – Captain Nelson Ames, Battery G, 1st New York.

At five o’clock … Ames’ battery, having exhausted its ammunition, was withdrawn, the men of the Second [New Hampshire] making way for its passage to the rear through its ranks” – Private Martin A. Haynes, Company I, 2nd New Hampshire.

About five o’clock the rebels [Brigadier General George T. Anderson’s brigade] charged across the fields into the [Rose] woods on our left … We poured a very uncomfortable enfilading fire into them as long as they were in sight … but most of them contrived to get into the woods” – Captain Charles A. Phillips, 5th Massachusetts Battery.

At about 5 o’clock a heavy column of rebel infantry [Anderson’s brigade] made its appearance in a grain-field about 850 yards in front, moving at quick time toward the woods on our left … A well-directed fire from all the batteries was brought to bear on them” – Major Freeman McGilvery.

The enemy’s brigades appeared to be in echelon and inclined nearer to us. As each one advanced they received a more galling fire from our line of artillery” – Member of Battery B, 1st New Jersey.

We arose and struck out in the way direct to the enemy. We were under a heavy and severe fire of artillery” – Private Henry C. Harper, Company E, 8th Georgia.

As soon as our line appeared in the open, an artillery fire from many more guns than I could locate or count, commenced upon us, and the shells were well aimed … there was a stunning explosion of a shell in the ranks immediately to my left” – 1st Lieutenant John C. Reid, Company I, 8th Georgia.

Very much exposed to an enfilading fire of the enemy’s batteries” – Captain George Hillyer, 9th Georgia.

A regiment … came up to relieve us” – Major John A. Danks, 63rd Pennsylvania.

Covering the front of the Second Division; Seeley’s battery a few paces in the rear of my center” – Colonel William J. Sewell, 5th New Jersey.

While in this position they [141st Pennsylvania] … suffered no casualties, except that Captain [Joseph H.] Horton was injured by the concussion of a shell bursting above him” – Member of the 141st Pennsylvania.

Sources:
-History of Battery G, First Regiment New York Light Artillery, by Capt. Nelson Ames, Marshalltown, IA: Marshall Printing Company, 1900, pp. 73, 75.
-A History of the Second Regiment New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry in the War of the Rebellion, by Martin A. Haynes, Lakeport, NH: 1896, p. 174.
-History of the Fifth Massachusetts Battery, Boston: Luther E. Cowles, Publisher, 1902, pp. 624, 626.
-Official Reports of Lt. Col. Freeman McGilvery, Capt. George Hillyer, Col. William J. Sewell.
-History of Battery B, First New Jersey Artillery, by Michael Hanifen, Ottawa, IL: Republican-Times, Printers, 1905, pp. 70-71.
-Diary of Henry C. Harper, http://home.earthlink.net/~larsrbl/harperhcdiary.htm, 12/09/2000.
-Diary of J. C. Reid, Alabama State Archives, on file at Gettysburg National Military Park.
-Address of Col. John A. Danks, September 11, 1889, Dedication of Monument to the 63rd Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania At Gettysburg, I:387.
-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. 41.
 

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neyankee61

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Covering the front of the Second Division; Seeley’s battery a few paces in the rear of my center” – Colonel William J. Sewell, 5th New Jersey.

Despite the the about statement I believe the 5th NJ was more than a few paces in front of Seeley's Battery. The 5th's monument reads " The regiment first held the skirmish line 400 yards to the front and left of this spot," This would put the regiment behind the fence in the field. Schultz and Mingus on p 325 state that Sewell led the regiment to a nearby fence.
This picture taken from Longstreet's Tower looks towards the PA monument with the Miilerstown Rd in the foreground. There is a fence line with three small trees in the middle. Wilcox's Alabama Brigade would be advancing left to right towards the 5th's position. Barksdale's would be advancing in the foreground

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Tom Elmore

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Possibly, as you note, the 5th New Jersey was deployed further forward along the fence line that is shown as being held by members of the 1st U.S. Sharpshooters. But I was more influenced by three other sources:

1. The connecting skirmish line held by the 1st U.S. Sharpshooters to the north did not extend as far west as the fence shown on my map as being held by the Sharpshooters. Or to put it another way, if the Sharpshooters to the north had simply extended their line to the left, that would place them in proximity to the fence as I show. They could hardly be posted any further to the west because that ground was likely well covered by Confederate skirmishers, in particular a group located at the Spangler buildings.

2. Sewell writes in his official report that "the skirmishers in our front (the First U.S. Sharpshooters) were driven in ..." If 5 NJ was at that fence, it means the Sharpshooters were further west than I show on my map, which I consider unlikely for the reason just mentioned involving the Confederates occupying the Spangler buildings, and because it would put them near the location reportedly held by Confederate skirmishers per an earlier quoted 63rd Pennsylvania source, in fact closer to the Confederate lines than the Federal lines.

3. Lastly, a source that escapes me at the moment mentioned that the left of the 5th New Jersey was anchored on the Sherfy place, with the right on a log house, which I presume meant the Klingle house, although I do not show them bent back that far on the right. In any case it would be more in line with Sewell's description of "a few paces."
 
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neyankee61

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Sewell anchored his right a short distance south of the Spangler farm lane as he relieved the 63rd PA. "the skirmishers to our front were driven in and immediately after a dense line of the enemy's infantry (Barksdale's) was seen advancing over a knoll about 600 yards distant to our left and front." Sewell ordered his left three companies to fire into Barksdale's flank, hitting the 18th Miss. slowing their advance. He then refused his left, hoping to connect with the 105th PA which had crossed the road. Major Healy commanded the left of the 5th's line as Sewell moved to check on his center and right.
The location of the 5th's monument seems to be where the regiment advanced into the field and also left its color guard, not bring it onto the skirmish line.
 

infomanpa

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The 114th Pennsylvania moves up to fill the gap left by the 141st Pennsylvania. Map depicts positions as of 5 p.m., July 2.
The line that is being described is depicted on your map as being in the Peach Orchard. I am curious as to why you don't have them lined up more advanced along the road in a manner similar to Brewster's brigade to their right. Every other map that I have seen has those regiments (of Graham's brigade) along the road.
 

infomanpa

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Covering the front of the Second Division; Seeley’s battery a few paces in the rear of my center” – Colonel William J. Sewell, 5th New Jersey.

Despite the the about statement I believe the 5th NJ was more than a few paces in front of Seeley's Battery.
Speaking of Seeley's battery, I have stood there and cannot fathom how artillery could be effective from that spot. There is a swell in front that would block part of the ground where attackers could be shielded. Therefore, I am of the belief that the guns were actually more forward across the road. The view is much better there and there is no place to hide!
 

Tom Elmore

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The line that is being described is depicted on your map as being in the Peach Orchard. I am curious as to why you don't have them lined up more advanced along the road in a manner similar to Brewster's brigade to their right. Every other map that I have seen has those regiments (of Graham's brigade) along the road.
When Barksdale advanced, so did 114 PA, 57 PA and 105 PA, the 114 PA to the road and the other two across it.

141 PA, according to Col. Madill, initially took position "some 15 rods" from the road, or 82 yards, so that's about where I put it. 114 PA afterwards occupied the same position.
 

Tom Elmore

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Speaking of Seeley's battery, I have stood there and cannot fathom how artillery could be effective from that spot. There is a swell in front that would block part of the ground where attackers could be shielded. Therefore, I am of the belief that the guns were actually more forward across the road. The view is much better there and there is no place to hide!
If you find a source that places them across the road, I'll be happy to modify my maps. Of course, in that position the artillerymen would also have no place to hide.
 

neyankee61

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"If you find a source that places them across the road, I'll be happy to modify my maps."

I agree. It is mentioned somewhere that Seeley's battery fired one round possibly two rounds at Wilcox's Brigade as it charged towards it. The Alabamians regrouped at the fence line and then advanced, protected by the hill slope. Sewell reformed the 5th on the battery's right, towards the Klingle House. When the rebels reached the crest Seeley sprayed them with canister. "Although creating great havoc in their ranks, did not check their advance." The 5th stood its ground as Seeley' battery withdrew all its guns
 

Tom Elmore

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Sewell anchored his right a short distance south of the Spangler farm lane as he relieved the 63rd PA. "the skirmishers to our front were driven in and immediately after a dense line of the enemy's infantry (Barksdale's) was seen advancing over a knoll about 600 yards distant to our left and front." Sewell ordered his left three companies to fire into Barksdale's flank, hitting the 18th Miss. slowing their advance. He then refused his left, hoping to connect with the 105th PA which had crossed the road. Major Healy commanded the left of the 5th's line as Sewell moved to check on his center and right.
The location of the 5th's monument seems to be where the regiment advanced into the field and also left its color guard, not bring it onto the skirmish line.
Here's what Lt. Edmund D. Patterson of Company D, 9th Alabama had to say about the situation earlier in the day at what I presume was Spangler's barn: " ... my right resting at a large barn which afforded considerable protection to my men and was also a good lookout. We immediately opened fire on the enemy's line of skirmishers and succeeded in making them withdraw some distance and causing some of the more daring, or obstinate ones, to bite the dust, and this too without any loss on our side. We remained at the barn some time and until the Yankees brought a battery to bear upon it, when I withdrew the men, placing them on line with the rest of the company. We, however, still kept a lookout at the place, and about three o'clock ... I noticed battery after battery and brigade after brigade being moved up to our right ..."

Patterson does not mention any Federal skirmishers south of his position. South of the Spangler place is a hollow through which a run passes that feeds Pitzer's Run to the west. It does not seem to be ideal for skirmishers of either side, especially for Federals exposed to view from someone in the Spangler barn.
 

Tom Elmore

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"If you find a source that places them across the road, I'll be happy to modify my maps."

I agree. It is mentioned somewhere that Seeley's battery fired one round possibly two rounds at Wilcox's Brigade as it charged towards it. The Alabamians regrouped at the fence line and then advanced, protected by the hill slope. Sewell reformed the 5th on the battery's right, towards the Klingle House. When the rebels reached the crest Seeley sprayed them with canister. "Although creating great havoc in their ranks, did not check their advance." The 5th stood its ground as Seeley' battery withdrew all its guns
By my calculations, Seeley's battery was moving off before Wilcox advanced, driven off by the left of Barksdale's brigade, so the latter would have been their opponent in my view. Infantry of Brewster and Carr held off Barksdale's left until the advance of Wilcox finished them off, which I expect to address in the near future.
 

neyankee61

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Col Elijah Walker of the 4th Maine established a line 300 yards to the east of the Spangler Farm and about the same distance from Wilcox' position. Walker noted his line was "30 or 40 rods west of the Emmitsburg Road." running the length of a stout rail fence atop the first rise west of the road. A shallow trough-like depression separated Walker's men from Wilcox's. The 2nd US Sharpshooters were located on the Staub Farm and behind his fences. They had a good crossfire towards the rebel position in Spangler's lane.
 

Tom Elmore

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Here's my interpretation of positions a little further north at 6:30 p.m., July 2. At that time 1st Massachusetts (1 MA) held the ground previously held by 4th Maine earlier in the day.

So far as I am aware, the 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters were further south, confronting Hood's division.
 

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For my orientation- are all the fences on the map represented by fences on the battlefield now? Or does the map only show where fences were in July 1863? I read an account (which I'm trying to find again) by a newspaperman who took a participant of the battle back to the field the following summer to "relive the glory" for the paper's subscribers. The soldier complained of the loss of various land marks- fences had been put up and trees cut down etc.
 

Tom Elmore

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For my orientation- are all the fences on the map represented by fences on the battlefield now? Or does the map only show where fences were in July 1863? I read an account (which I'm trying to find again) by a newspaperman who took a participant of the battle back to the field the following summer to "relive the glory" for the paper's subscribers. The soldier complained of the loss of various land marks- fences had been put up and trees cut down etc.
They are supposed to show fences, orchards, woods, etc. as they were at the time of the battle. The map background is to a large extent based upon the Desjardin map prepared for the Gettysburg Friends (Foundation), which was developed with help from prominent historians and guides. I've been working with Hal Jespersen on mine, making a few modifications based on primary source descriptions. Hal does the finished product from rough drafts like those I am presenting here.
 

neyankee61

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My error. I meant the 1st US Sharpshooters. (You are right about the 2nd USSS) The situation around 8AM had the 1st USSS along a fence line that ran across the ER just south of the Klingle farm house past the Staub house to the East Pitzer Woods perpendicular to the ER and parallel the Spangler lane. Union skirmishers were located at Spangler Farm and skirmishers from Lang's Brigade were in Spangler's Woods to the west of the farm having replaced some of Lowrance's NC units. Wilcox was moving into position on Lang's right in woods
 
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